How to Make Hot Chocolate

You already know you can buy hot chocolate mixes in the supermarket, and yet you’re here, so you are clearly game to make your own!  You are obviously a smart person who loves hot chocolate and who is aware that homemade hot chocolate is something else altogether.  Nothing wrong with those mixes (though I would make a strong case for milk vs. water), but yes, let’s make this happen today.

Best Homemade Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows or Whipped Cream?

The answer is either, but the better answer is both.  Sometimes I use small marshmallows which are lovely as you get little melty bits of marshmallow with many sips, but there is something beautiful and dramatic about a single large marshmallow (or maybe two) bobbing along on top of a mug of hot chocolate.

For your deciding pleasure: here it is with whipped cream:

Best Homemade Hot Chocolate

And here it is with mini marshmallows.

Best Homemade Hot Chocolate

And you can imagine what it looks like with both!

Hot Cocoa vs. Hot Chocolate

The two terms are used interchangeably in everyday lingo, but technically hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder, while hot chocolate is made with actual chocolate.  I like the combo of both, so I guess this is hot cocoa-chocolate.  There is some water in the mixture, but most of the liquid is milk.  All water in hot chocolate makes for a very weak drink, and I don‘t really see the point in that.  Some people put cream in their hot chocolate or cocoa – I think if you were using only cocoa powder that might add some nice richness, but because there is actual chocolate in this recipe, I’d rather save the cream for whipping and dolloping on top.

I like using whole milk in this recipe, but if you are looking to be a bit more restrained, think about 2% milk, possibly 1 %.  Do not use skim.  Find something else to drink.

Best Homemade Hot Chocolate: Creamy, chocolatey, and rich — the only question is: marshmallows or whipped cream?

Tweet This

What Kind of Chocolate to Use in Hot Chocolate?

You can go as basic or as fancy as you like with the chocolate.  Nothing wrong with some bagged semi-sweet chocolate chips, whether a store brand, or something tonier.  If you have a favorite semisweet or perhaps bittersweet chocolate bar, try using it here.  When a high end chocolate bar lands in my kitchen during the cold months, this is a nice way to stretch it into a hot chocolate treat for a group. 

How to Chop Chocolate

Types of Chocolate for Hot Chocolate:

If you choose chocolate labeled semisweet or dark, you will have rich hot chocolate that isn’t too sweet nor too bitter.  Bittersweet chocolate, with a higher percentage of cacao solids will result in a less sweet hot chocolate, and milk chocolate the opposite — sweeter and softer in flavor.

Best Homemade Hot Chocolate

The percentage of chocolate solids determines the level of sweetness in chocolate.  Sometimes the labels can be subjective though, as 62% chocolate solids might be labeled bittersweet for one brand, or semisweet in another brand.  The higher the percentage of chocolate solids, the more bitter the chocolate will be.  For reference, Nestle Semisweet chocolate chips are at 47% cacao.  If you choose chocolate that is higher than about 65%, you will want to add a bit more sugar, just a tablespoon or two, as it will be slightly bitter and intense.  It’s all a matter of taste!  

How Bad is Hot Chocolate for You?

What kind of question is this?  Apparently one that gets asked a lot, but I don’t like this question.  Are you seriously drinking hot chocolate because you think it’s healthy?  NO.  You are drinking hot chocolate because it is delicious and warming and comforting and you deserve a treat.

Best Homemade Hot Chocolate

Other Hot Drink Recipes:

Other Chocolate Recipes:

Like this recipe? Pin it to your favorite board on Pinterest.

Pin This

Best Homemade Hot Chocolate

Creamy, chocolatey, and rich — the only question is: marshmallows or whipped cream?
Yield: 4 People
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian


  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 6 ounces chopped semi-sweet or dark chocolate, or chocolate chips

Toppings (Optional):


  • Combine the water, cocoa powder and sugar in a medium saucepan, and place over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently, and then continue to whisk until the sugar and coca powder are dissolved. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer whisking very frequently. Add the chopped chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and everything is smooth.
  • Pour into mugs and topped with marshmallows, whipped cream, or stick a peppermint stick in there!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 439kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 155mg | Potassium: 673mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 400IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 413mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

Made this recipe? Post a photo of your delicious creation on Instagram with our hashtag #dinnersolved

Rate & Comment

Recipe Rating