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 is very easy to make! 

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! I love sipping warm hot chocolate during the holidays.

One of my favorite entertaining ideas is to set up a charming hot chocolate bar or a hot chlorate charcuterie platter for my family. I love making special memories with my family even when it’s just sipping hot chocolate!

The best homemade hot chocolate in a mug topped with whipped cream and and an edible flower.

This recipe has a creamy texture and rich flavor. It tops any hot chocolate packet or cocoa made with water!

You will fall in love with this easy recipe and how amazing this drinking chocolate is! Perfect for cooler months when you want a little cocoa to warm you up! This is the only recipe our family uses and it always turns out wonderful.

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

We’re covering everything you need to know about this delicious drink and what makes hot chocolate an excellent addition to the holiday mood!

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. 

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

Hot chocolate with whipped cream and an edible flower.

How to Make Homemade Hot Chocolate

Here are all of the ingredients you’ll need to make this homemade recipe.

Ingredients

Whole Milk – This type of milk gives the creamiest texture. You can also use 2% milk or a milk alternative like soy milk or almond milk,

Chocolate Chips – This hot cocoa is sweetened with real chocolate chips. It’s a combination of semi-sweet chocolate and milk chocolate chips. You can also use a chopped chocolate bar to make this as well. However, that adds an extra step to the recipe. You can also use dark chocolate for a rich hot chocolate flavor.

Vanilla Extract – We like to add a splash of vanilla to enhance the flavors in the recipe and add subtle vanilla flavors too.

Honey – The honey gives it a touch of sweetness but doesn’t overpower the deep chocolate flavor. You can also use maple syrup too.

Salt – A little salt also enhances the flavors in the hot chocolate.

Nutmeg – This spice adds so much delicious flavor to the drink! It’s optional but highly recommended.

The best hot chocolate recipe in large mugs.

Making 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

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 

We have the best peppermint hot chocolate recipe that is similar to this creamy cocoa! It’s made by adding peppermint extract to the chocolate.

Caramel Hot Chocolate 

Substitute the honey in the recipe for 2 tablespoons of caramel. Also, line the inside of 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 milk for heavy cream. 

Espresso Hot Chocolate

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

Naturally Sweetened Hot Chocolate 

If you want to limit the sugar you can make 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. 

Dairy Free Hot Chocolate

To make this, made sure you use dairy-free chocolate as well as a good non-dairy milk alternative like oat milk or almond milk.

Hot chocolate on a board with mugs filled with hot chocolate

Hot Chocolate Toppings

We love adding toppings to our hot cocoa! Here are the best toppings you can add to make an even sweeter and more delicious hot chocolate:

  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Sprinkles
  • Whipped Cream
  • Cocoa Powder or Chocolate Sauce
  • Fresh Spices like nutmeg or cinnamon

How to Store Leftover Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated the next day. We only recommend that you reheat hot chocolate one time and store it for just two days for the freshest flavor and texture.

Peppermint hot chocolate recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

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! Chocolate can be high in antioxidants and even help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and other heart-related illnesses. 
You can also make it healthier by using honey to sweeten 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.
When you’re 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. 

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. 

Is Hot Chocolate Better With Milk or Water?

While better often comes down to preference, there are benefits to both using milk and using water.
Water helps to push out chocolate’s natural flavors, making hot chocolate with water more intense and richer in chocolate flavor. Milk, on the other hand, can dim the chocolate taste and provide a creamy texture to the drink. 

Hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, nutmeg and marshmallows.

When to Serve Homemade Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is a cozy drink that is perfect for the winter season or any cold day. Here are some of our favorite occasions to serve this homemade hot chocolate recipe:

Gingerbread House Party

Christmas Party

Pumpkin Carving

Halloween Movie Night

Campfire Evenings

Mug filled with hot chocolate recipe

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

Let us know your thoughts!

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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the best hot chocolate recipe

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.
    Adding honey to a pot of cream.
  • Whisk constantly while the milk is heating to avoid the milk from burning.
    whisking hot milk on the stovetop
  • 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.
    Chocolate chips melting in a pot of hot milk.
  • Add in the vanilla and fresh nutmeg and whisk.
    vanilla extract and nutmeg on a counter.
  • Serve in mugs and top with whipped cream.
    Two mugs filled with homemade hot chocolate.

Notes

Make peppermint hot chocolate and add 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. 
Use alternative milk like soy milk or almond milk. 

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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Homemade hot chocolate recipe.

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