The best Homemade Hot Chocolate made in 10 minutes! I used to be ok with powdered hot chocolate mix, back when I lived a duller, sadder life. All that has changed! We are using two kinds of chocolate for max flavor (cocoa and Real Actual Dark Chocolate), whole milk, and a special secret ingredient that makes it creamy and sweet without being overwhelming.

a spoonful of hot chocolate being lifted from a white mug.

I mentioned at a party recently that I don’t use face wash. Instead I just grab some of the lather from my shampooed hair, scrub it on my face real quick and call it good.

This is officially my new party trick, because my friends laughed for a solid 30 seconds. Then came the follow up questions. “What kind of shampoo do you use?” “Uh…Herbal Essence?” More cascades of laughter, tears leaking, other groups stopping their conversations to try to find out what was so funny.

a mug of homemade hot chocolate on a table with marshmallows, chocolate chips, and mini Christmas trees.

I should have figured. I was at one of those favorite things parties, you know where everyone brings their favorite $20 item and it’s like a white elephant, opening one gift at a time and stealing the best ones.

A twenty dollar limit means that most people end up bringing beauty care products: lip masks, moisturizers, and yes, of course, face soap. Sorry, I mean “facial cleanser.” It actually came up because one of the gifts was a facial toner, which I don’t even know what that is. (I’m just over here washing my face with shampoo, like an animal. There is no room for toner in my life, clearly.)

recipe for hot chocolate being poured into a gray and white mug with mini marshmallows.

But I mean, come on. Who has time for two soaps when you could just use one? I must have missed out on some girl training as a kid. Mom, this is all your fault. (Now is probably not the time to mention that I also don’t use body wash…shampoo works fine. Soap is soap, people! Lemme get on my soapbox!)

Enough about my poor skincare choices, happy January! How is everyone doing on the December recovery? That’s all January is, right??

Please ignore all the festive Christmas lights and pine needles you see in these photos. That was so last season. We don’t have space for all this twinkle and cheer. Instead it’s time to eat gruel, get back to work, and maybe starve a kitten while we’re at it.

best hot chocolate recipe in a white mug, shot from overhead with whipped cream and chopped chocolate.

Just kidding! Really what happened is that we traveled for Christmas, and although I had lofty plans of getting you this hot cocoa recipe before the big day, I didn’t make it in time. The photos are Christmas themed, but the recipe is not, and I don’t know about you, but I could absolutely use a mug of dreamy creamy hot chocolate for this mid January day.

I hear chocolate has antioxidants that are good for your skin, so after drinking this you could probably skip your whole skincare routine and just use shampoo from now on anyway. Your welcome!

Table of Contents
  1. Honestly, this is my favorite homemade hot chocolate ever.
  2. Ingredients for Hot Chocolate 
  3. How do you make a simple hot chocolate?
  4. How to make hot chocolate from scratch
  5. Do you make hot chocolate with milk or water?
  6. Bloom your cocoa
  7. Add all the other ingredients
  8. Make it rich
  9. Crock Pot Hot Chocolate
  10. Hot Chocolate Toppings
  11. What to Serve with Hot Chocolate
  12. How to Store Leftover Hot Chocolate
  13. Frequently Asked Questions
  14. More drinks to love!
  15. Hot Chocolate Recipe Recipe

Honestly, this is my favorite homemade hot chocolate ever.

Let’s talk hot chocolate my friends. I’ve been making hot chocolate this way for years and years but have never written it down, I just add these ingredients until it tastes the way I like it. Time to record the process for posterity!

Are you a Swiss Misser? A packet addict? A $6 Starbucks supporter? Don’t tell me you bought into the terribly overrated hot-chocolate-bomb trend. You are about to be furious when you find out how easy (and cheap!) homemade hot chocolate is, and what you’ve been missing out on.

pouring hot chocolate from a pot into a gray and white mug with mini marshmallows on the table around it.

Here’s what I want from my hot chocolate:

  • It must be super creamy and smooth (say no to watery hot chocolate)
  • The flavor must be on point: sweet, but not too sweet. Chocolatey, but not coma-inducing. You feel me? Where are all my hot chocolate Goldilocks-ers at?
  • I want to be able to enjoy my entire mug without having to take a nap afterward. (This is not French hot chocolate, or melted chocolate in a mug.)

Here are my secrets to getting a mug of hot chocolate that is rich but not too rich, creamy and smooth without being overwhelming, and done in 10 minutes. The perfect compliment to a snappy sugar cookie or a crispy Cardamom cookie.

  • Use a decent brand of dark chocolate, Ghirardelli is my fav: affordable and high quality
  • Use two kinds of chocolate for diversity of flavor: cocoa and dark chocolate
  • Bloom your cocoa powder. It wakes up the flavor, the same way we toast spices to amp up the flavor in Chicken Curry. I’ll show you how to do it, keep reading.
  • Use sweetened condensed milk. This is my official “secret ingredient.” It gives the hot chocolate a creamy, milky texture and adds great depth of flavor without being over-chocolatey. I LOVE the subtle toasty-milk flavor it adds.

Ingredients for Hot Chocolate 

  • Cocoa powder
  • Whole milk
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Sugar
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • Salt 
overhead shot of ingredients for how to make hot chocolate.

How do you make a simple hot chocolate?

Here’s the basic idea:

  1. Boil water and cocoa powder to wake up the flavor (HEAR ME OUT ON THIS)
  2. Add whole milk, dark chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and salt
  3. Simmer and done. 10 minutes max!

Below are all the details and photos to show you exactly what to do! The full recipe card is at the bottom of the post.

How to make hot chocolate from scratch

First, heat up some water in a pot with a bit of cocoa powder.

pouring water from a glass measuring cup into a white pot with cocoa powder.

Water? Water?? I can feel your rage. “Are you trying to sell me on some low calorie hot chocolate, thin and flavorless, an affront to all that is cozy in the world? Like the free stuff in the corner of the hotel lobby, that you had no intention of even taking advantage of, because you know it is terrible, and yet somehow you wind up with a styrofoam cup in your hand anyway?? What kind of blog is this?

Do you make hot chocolate with milk or water?

Hear me out, folks. We are using both water and milk in this recipe for the perfect balance of flavor and creaminess. I am an over-the-top kind of girl, in general. Bring on the extra whipped cream, the Ridiculous Amount of Streusel, the extra chocolate chips.

But hot chocolate gets too thick and overwhelming if you use too much dairy, even for someone like me. Water balances out the milk, and allows you to use more chocolate (hello flavor) without turning it into an overwhelming experience. I’ve tried making it a million different ways: all milk, all water, spiking it with cream. Sometimes simplicity wins.

cocoa and water whisked in a white pot.

Bloom your cocoa

Water is also handy in this recipe because we are using it to bloom our cocoa. Blooming cocoa helps wake up the flavor of the dry cocoa powder.

It’s super easy: add water and cocoa to a pot and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking well. This small step intensifies the chocolate-y-ness (a technical term) of the cocoa by releasing flavor that is trapped in solid particles. Trust me, it’s worth the extra 2 minutes!

Add all the other ingredients

Add the whole milk to the pot of boiling water and cocoa.

milk being poured into a white pot full of hot chocolate.

Lower the heat to medium and add the sweetened condensed milk, sugar, dark chocolate chips, and a bit of salt.

adding sweetened condensed milk and dark chocolate chips to a white pot full of hot chocolate.

Why sweetened condensed milk? It’s rich, it’s creamy, it’s toasty, it’s shelf-stable. I absolutely LOVE the flavor and texture it brings to hot chocolate.

You will need about 1/3 cup, which is about 1/3 of the can. You can save leftovers in the fridge for a few weeks, and use it the next time you make this. (Or make this Brazilian Limeade, or these Buried Cherry Cookies, or this Key Lime Pie; all of these recipes use a partial can of sweetened condensed milk!)

Adding sugar to a white pot full of hot chocolate.

I like to add about 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in addition to the sweetness from the sweetened condensed milk, but you can adjust this measurement if you want. Start with 1 tablespoon if you’re worried it might be too sweet.

Don’t forget a pinch of salt.

Once all the ingredients are in the pot, keep the heat at medium and wait for it to come to a low simmer. This should take another 5-7 minutes. You will know it’s ready when it is steaming continuously and it starts to bubble gently. Once it is simmering, turn the heat down to low or medium low and let it bubble gently for another 2-3 minutes, to help the flavors meld. Turn off the heat.

an immersion blender in a pot full of hot chocolate.

My last tip and favorite step is to use an immersion blender to froth the hot chocolate. This is totally unnecessary but I love the texture and lightness it adds! Plus, if you are taking your hot chocolate to-go, the layer of froth on top can help keep your hot chocolate warmer longer.

overhead shot of hot chocolate in a mug with mini marshmallows and chopped chocolate, with twinkle lights.
See how bubbly it is? Gimme all the froth!

Make it rich

If you want super decadent hot chocolate that is more thick and viscous, simply double the dark chocolate in this recipe. Your hot chocolate will be more syrupy and thick and rich. This is a great way to have hot chocolate if you are looking for a decadent treat to sip on it’s own, or with a little whipped cream maybe. (Preferably by a warm fire with a blankey.) If you are having hot chocolate with cookies or anything else sweet, go for the recipe as written.

Crock Pot Hot Chocolate

Yes, you can make this hot chocolate in the slow cooker! I love how adaptable this recipe is. It could not be easier.

Adding water to a black crock pot with cocoa powder.

If you have time, take a few minutes to bloom your cocoa in water, just as you would have done on the stovetop. Turn your crock up to high, add the water and cocoa, and wait about 30 minutes until it is bubbly. Then add the remaining ingredients.

adding dark chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk to a black crock pot.

If you don’t have time to fuss over it, just add all the ingredients together at the beginning: water, cocoa, milk, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, dark chocolate, salt.

a whisk stirring hot chocolate in a black slow cooker.

Once all the ingredients are in, turn the heat to LOW and cover with the lid. Come back every 30 minutes to stir with a whisk, making sure to break up those chocolate chips.

Once it’s hot and creamy, use an immersion blender if you want to froth it up! Totally optional.

If you are serving a large crowd, make this in a 6 quart crock pot and times the recipe by six.

a black measuring cup pouring best hot chocolate into a white pot.

Hot Chocolate Toppings

This hot chocolate is stand alone, I swear. But there are so many ways to dress up a mug of hot chocolate for fun. Here are some of my favorites!

  • Whipped cream
  • Mini marshmallows, of course. My kids think it’s a crime against humanity if we have hot chocolate without these.
  • Candy cane, use one as a stirrer for a gentle peppermint flavor!
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Cinnamon or other spices (like cardamom, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, or even cayenne pepper!)
  • Cookie Butter (this will make it so rich!)
  • Peanut Butter (stir it in while it’s super hot to it melts! Decadent!)
  • Chocolate or caramel syrup
  • Essential oils or imitation flavorings, like orange oil, rum flavoring, peppermint, etc. Be careful because a little goes a looong way! Add in droplets.
a gray mug of homemade hot chocolate on a table with whipped cream and greenery in the background.

What to Serve with Hot Chocolate

A big mug of cocoa is not complete without some delicious dippers and snacks! Hot chocolate and cookies at Christmas time (or anytime) is a staple for my family.

SWEET. Here are my favorite not-overly-sweet cookies to go with hot chocolate:

  • Spritz << the almond flavor in these cookies and the snap are what kill me. so good with hot chocolate.
  • Butter Pecan Cookies << these brown sugar shortbread style cookies are perfect and not overly sweet
  • Swedish Sour Cream Twists << perfectly flaky and layered, like a pastry disguised as a cookie
  • Crispy Swedish Cardamom Cookies << These are so crispy they shatter in your mouth, the perfect foil for hot chocolate.
  • Mexican Wedding Cookies << I don’t dunk these, but the buttery, nutty flavor is a great complement alongside the hot chocolate

More non-cookie sweet ideas:

SALTY. After drinking hot chocolate your tongue will be feeling sweet and ready for something salty.

  • Salted pretzels or popcorn
  • Southern Pecan Cheese Wafers << These look like cookies but they are savory and cheesy and YUM.
  • Roasted nuts or pumpkin seeds
  • Crackers or grainy bread
  • Cheese! You’d be surprised just how well a good hot chocolate and some Brie or Gouda go together.

How to Store Leftover Hot Chocolate

Before storing in the refrigerator, let the hot chocolate cool down a bit. Pour what remains into an airtight container. My favorite way is to use glass mason jars with a lid. The hot chocolate will keep for about 2-3 days. Ours is never around long enough to test that timeframe to its limits.

To reheat, simply shake the jar, add the contents to a sauce pan, and heat over medium heat til warmed through. You can warm in the microwave, but I recommend warming at 50% power and stirring every 30 seconds or so until warm, that way it doesn’t separate or scald.

Because it stores so well for a few days, it’s a great candidate to make ahead of time! If you make the whole batch ahead of time, instead of warming in a sauce pan, pour everything into a crockpot an hour or two before you need it and set it to low. Stir occasionally.

homemade hot chocolate being poured from a clear measuring cup into a white mug.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freeze hot chocolate?

You bet! Let the hot chocolate cool until tepid. Pour into a freezer ziplock bag, and first place in the refrigerator for an hour or two to cool it down even further. Once cooled completely, move the bag to the freezer. To thaw, place the bag in a sauce pan and put the whole thing in the refrigerator (in case there is a leak, that would be so sad). Once it is fully thawed, warm up in the saucepan on the stove (with heat set to medium low) or in a crockpot until warm, stirring occasionally.

What’s the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa?

Most Americans tend to use the terms interchangeably, but technically there is a difference! Hot Chocolate generally has melted chocolate as a base, and warm liquids like water, milk, or cream are added to make it thin enough to drink. It tends to be creamier and has a bit richer taste thanks to the fat in the chocolate. Hot cocoa starts with a base of cocoa powder and sugar, which is then mixed with water, milk, or cream. It tends to be thinner and more sugary-sweet than hot chocolate.

How can I make my hot chocolate better?

TL;DR 😂 Here are the basics:
– Use two kinds of chocolate: cocoa powder and dark chocolate
– Bloom your cocoa powder in water
– Use mostly milk, with some water
– Use sweetened condensed milk for creaminess and flavor.
– Use a whisk or even an immersion blender to make it frothy! Voila!

More drinks to love!

Fun drinks really make all the difference for any occasion. I’m guilty of putting off drinks til the last minute when planning a gathering, but I always love myself when I make it happen! Makes all the difference.

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Hot Chocolate Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 2 mins
Cook: 8 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 4
The best Homemade Hot Chocolate made in 10 minutes! I used to be ok with powdered hot chocolate mix, back when I lived a duller, sadder life. All that has changed! We are using two kinds of chocolate for max flavor (cocoa and Real Actual Dark Chocolate), whole milk, and a special secret ingredient that makes it creamy and sweet without being overwhelming.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, high quality, please
  • 2 & 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk, not evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips*, about 2 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • whipped cream or mini marshmallows, optional

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons high quality cocoa powder. Set over medium high heat on your stove and use a whisk to incorporate the powder into the liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking occasionally.
  • Once the water is at a rolling boil, turn the heat down to medium. Add all the remaining ingredients: 2 and 1/2 cups whole milk, 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/3 cup chocolate chips (be careful not to splash yourself! I always do this and it hurts!!), and start with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt.
  • Whisk all the ingredients well. Let the mixture come to a low simmer over medium heat, it should take a few minutes. Whisk occasionally. Once the mixture has started a low boil, turn the heat to medium low and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Carefully taste a spoonful and decide if you want to add another 1/8 teaspoon salt. Depending on your preferences, you might want to add more dark chocolate (this will make your hot chocolate richer and thicker. Sometimes I'm in the mood for this, sometimes not! If you add more chocolate you will need to whisk more and heat it a little longer until it melts and is incorporated.)
  • Pour or ladle the hot chocolate into 4 mugs, top with whipped cream or mini marshmallows! Don't burn your tongue!

Slow Cooker Instructions

  • If you have time, take a few minutes to bloom your cocoa in water, just as you would have done on the stovetop. Turn your crock up to high, add the water and cocoa, and wait about 30 minutes until it is bubbly. Then add the remaining ingredients.
  • Or, just add all the ingredients to the crock pot right away. Turn the heat to LOW and cover with the lid. Heat for about 2 hours. Come back every 30 minutes to stir with a whisk, making sure to break up those chocolate chips.
  • Storing hot chocolate: My favorite way to store is in glass mason jars with a lid. The hot chocolate will keep in the fridge for about 2-3 days.
    To reheat, simply shake the jar, add the contents to a sauce pan, and heat over medium heat til warmed through. You can warm in the microwave, but I recommend warming at 50% power and stirring every 30 seconds or so until warm, that way it doesn’t separate or scald.

Notes

Chocolate: you can make this recipe with semi sweet chocolate! You might consider leaving out the 2 tablespoons of sugar if you use semi sweet. 
If you are serving a large crowd, make this in a 6 quart crock pot and times the recipe by six

Nutrition

Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 328mg | Potassium: 456mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 317IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 311mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Calories: 283
Keyword: 10 Minute Recipe, hot chocolate
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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Comments

  1. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, this is DIVINE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    A few years back, you shared a Starbucks GC with your readers. I’d never been, but I went & got some hot chocolate. It was very good. (Thanks for the fun gift & the happy memory!) This year my daughter introduced me to “Torani” flavorings, and we had fun exploring 6 kinds over Christmas. NOW, thanks to you, our hot chocolate is AAA+++, and I’m telling all the children that they missed the BEST part of Christmas, and they’d better hurry back while we’ve still got snow on the ground!

    Thank You, Karen, for the DELISH recipe, and the detailed instructions! Even I couldn’t find a way to mess this up, and you’ve taken our hot chocolate to a much higher level!

  2. Hi Karen,
    Thank you for all the delicious recipes. I love your style and quick concepts for easy, hurry up meals. Thanks so much.

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