The Best Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe

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A classic, creamy homemade hot chocolate recipe that is full of flavor and perfect for any season, especially the holidays! This truly is the best hot chocolate and very easy to make!

Mug filled with hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, a marshmallow and an edible flower.

The winter months are coming and while everyone’s minds are on presents and family, we can’t forget the sweet and delightful drink of the season, hot chocolate! 

Hot chocolate recipe in a mug with whipped cream and marshmallows.

Hot chocolate has been a delcious staple of the holidays to warm us up and fill us with good cheer. Need a good hot chocolate recipe to make the holidays perfect? We have what you need and more!

Let’s dive into the delicious drink and learn what makes hot chocolate such a wonderful addition to the holiday mood. Before we dive into the recipe and answering questions about making the perfect cup, here is a brief history of hot chocolate!

History of Hot Chocolate

Chocolate comes from cocoa, which comes from seeds from the cacao tree! While this doesn’t make chocolate a vegetable, it does grow as a plant that thrives in more tropical climates. The original makers of chocolate had it across Central and South America, though it was far from what we consider today as chocolate.

Cocoa does not have natural sugar like how we know chocolate now. We add sugar to the process to give chocolate its trademark sweetness. Sugar came into the picture when Europeans brought cocoa over from the Americas. 

Hot chocolate with whipped cream and an edible flower.

Over 400 years since the European discovery, the chocolate drink known as hot chocolate came into popularity. 

How do you make hot chocolate from scratch?

It’s simple to make hot chocolate from scratch. We share the full recipe below but in general, you’ll need a few ingredients (chocolate chips, milk, vanilla extract, honey, and salt) as well as a medium saucepan, and a whisk.

  • Heat milk, honey, and salt in a saucepan on medium heat to just below the simmering point.
  • Whisk constantly while the milk is heating to avoid the milk from burning.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Let them sit for 30 seconds in the milk to soften. Then whisk until all of the chocolate is melted.
  • Add in the vanilla and fresh nutmeg and whisk.
  • Serve in mugs and top with whipped cream
The best hot chocolate recipe in large mugs.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Variations

This recipe is absolutely perfect to use as a base, then simply add in your own flavor options to switch it up. Here are a few of our favorite easy ideas:

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Add in 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract to the recipe. Then, top the hot chocolate with crushed peppermint candy.

Caramel Hot Chocolate

Substitute the honey in the recipe for 2 tablespoons caramel. Also, line the inside the mug with caramel and drizzle it over whipped cream.

Extra Creamy Hot Chocolate

For a very thick and rich hot chocolate substitute 1 cup of the milk for heavy cream.

Espresso Hot Chocolate

Add in 1 tablespoon espresso to the recipe and whisk with the chocolate chips. This will also bring out even more chocolate flavor and add a little hint of espresso to the drink.

Naturally Sweetened Hot Chocolate

If you want to limit sugar you can make a healthy hot chocolate by using Lily’s Baking Chips which are sweetened with Stevia. Using honey, as we do in this recipe, is also a way to naturally sweeten hot chocolate.

Hot chocolate on a board with mugs filled with hot chocolate

Is Hot Chocolate Healthy?

This truly depends on what you feel is “healthy” and what’s not. At the very least, the more sugar and cream and sweetness something has, the more it may go away from being healthy.

Homemade hot chocolate falls right into the category of sweet and semi-healthy, but it doesn’t have to be all bad. If you don’t go overboard with the cream and sugar and other additives, hot chocolate can be a harmless drink.

That doesn’t mean hot chocolate has no benefits! The chocolate itself can be high in antioxidants and can even help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and other heart-related illnesses. 

Peppermint hot chocolate recipe

You can also make it healthier by using honey to sweetened and naturally sweetened chocolate chips like Lily’s Baking Chips.

What is the Meaning of Hot Chocolate?

A hot drink like hot chocolate often brings up memories of happy homes, warming up from a fun day in the snow, and calming contentment with friends and family.

Having a hot drink in the cold months does more than keep away the cold. It can be a great bonding moment, sharing something sweet and enjoyable with those you love can bring an extra dose of happiness to all around. 

Hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, nutmeg and marshmallows.

What is the Difference Between Hot Cocoa and Hot Chocolate?

We make hot chocolate with liquid chocolate in some form, often melted from solid chocolate bars. Hot cocoa, on the other hand, comes from pure cocoa powder.

While many use the term interchangeably, the difference can be stark! The big difference is hot cocoa is often sweet and light, while hot chocolate can be richer and thicker. 

Mug filled with hot chocolate recipe

Is Hot Chocolate Better With Milk or Water?

While better often comes down to preference, there is benefits to both using milk or using water.

Water helps to push out chocolates natural flavors, making hot chocolate with water more intense and richer in chocolate flavor. Milk, on the other hand, can dim the chocolate taste but also provide a creamy texture to the drink. 

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Hot chocolate in a mug topped with whipped cream and an edible flower.

A Hot Chocolate Recipe and More With Sugar and Charm

With a hot chocolate recipe in hand and a treasure trove of hot chocolate trivia, you are ready to tackle the holidays head on! 

Let us know if you try this recipe by leaving a comment and review below. We love to know your thoughts!

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Classic Hot Chocolate Recipe

A creamy, rich classic hot chocolate recipe that is incredibly easy to make!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drink
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Servings: 5 cups
Calories: 460kcal
Author: Eden

Ingredients

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 5 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Instructions

  • Heat milk, honey, and salt in a saucepan on medium heat to just below the simmering point.
  • Whisk constantly while the milk is heating to avoid the milk from burning.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Let them sit for 30 seconds in the milk to soften. Then whisk until all of the chocolate is melted.
  • Add in the vanilla and fresh nutmeg and whisk.
  • Serve in mugs and top with whipped cream.

Notes

Make peppermint hot chocolate add in 1/2 tsp peppermint extract. 
Spike the hot chocolate with Irish Cream or Kahlua. 
Add toppings like giant marshmallows, peppermint, cinnamon, malt balls, edible flowers, spices, or even gingerbread cookies.
Make sure you whisk the milk while bringing it to a soft boil so the milk doesn’t burn. 

Nutrition

Serving: 5cups | Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 339mg | Potassium: 418mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 394IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 271mg | Iron: 2mg
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