Hot Chocolate

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Hot Chocolate is a traditional creamy winter treat that’s EASY to make from home, made from whole milk, melted chocolate, and vanilla in under 5 minutes!

Nothing says holidays like a cup of hot chocolate, serve this with my Homemade Cool Whip and Award Winning Gingerbread Cookies!

Homemade Hot ChocolateHOT CHOCOLATE

Hot Chocolate is sweet and creamy winter treat that I love making with my kids, especially when it’s cold and snowing outside. It’s WAY better than store-bought mix. We use real melted chocolate instead of cocoa, because it adds a really indulgent texture to the recipe. Then whisk everything together in the saucepan, pour into a mug, and top with a big handful of marshmallows and whipped cream.

You can add almond, peppermint, or vanilla extract to this hot chocolate recipe. My kids like to stir theirs with peppermint candy canes. You can also use a tablespoon of brown sugar or white sugar and add a dash of cinnamon to the milk when cooking to make this sweeter.


Hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder, milk, and sugar, and typically comes out a lot thinner than hot chocolate. Hot chocolate is richer and more indulgent because it’s made from actual melted chocolate, which has more fat than cocoa powder. The chocolate also mixes better with the milk than cocoa powder, which usually settles on the bottom of the cup.

Hot cocoa is also typically made from water, while the other is made from whole milk. In my opinion, hot cocoa takes second place any day of the week.


You can make this hot chocolate recipe non-dairy but substituting the milk for almond or coconut milk, and using allergen free chocolate chips for the chocolate. Use the vanilla almond milk if you want more vanilla flavor in this recipe, and avoid anything that says “milk chocolate”.


Hot chocolate is already rich because it’s using real chocolate instead of cocoa. But you can make this even richer by using heavy cream instead of milk, or adding a tablespoon of coconut oil.

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  • Mini marshmallows
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips or shavings
  • Crushed peppermint candies
  • Whipped cream
  • Powdered sugar
  • Caramel sauce
  • Sweetened coconut flakes



You can make this ahead of time, then let it cool down and store it tightly sealed in the refrigerator. When you’re ready, reheat it in a saucepan until it’s hot enough to drink.


  • Serve with candy canes, cocoa, marshmallows, or cinnamon to make a fun hot chocolate bar!
  • Add some Irish cream for an adult version.
  • Make this recipe with melted white chocolate and peppermint candies.
  • Melt the chocolate before adding it to the milk to get a smooth texture and prevent lumps from forming.
  • This recipe doesn’t call for sugar, but if you want a sweeter cup you can add a tablespoon of white sugar.
  • If you don’t have whole milk, you can substitute half and half in this recipe.
  • Cut the fat down by making this recipe with water, then adding a splash of whole milk to the cup right before serving.

Hot Chocolate topped with Marshmallow

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Hot Chocolate

5 from 10 votes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Course: Drink
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder

Hot Chocolate is a traditional creamy winter treat that's EASY to make from home, made from whole milk, melted chocolate, and vanilla in under 5 minutes!



Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Microwave the chocolate in 30 second increments in a microwave safe bowl until smooth (90 seconds total) while bringing the milk to 180 degrees in a saucepan over medium heat measuring with a thermometer.

  2. Turn the heat off the milk and add in the chocolate whisking them together well and adding in the vanilla before serving with whipped cream if desired.

Recipe Notes

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 8 servings, Amount per serving: 359 calories, Calories: 359g, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 82mg, Potassium: 482mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 24g, Vitamin A: 320g, Calcium: 233g, Iron: 2.7g

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Keyword: hot chocolate
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Hot Chocolate

About the Author

Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

See more posts by Sabrina

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. Thank you so much for this recipe! I’m making hot chocolate every time the temperature dips below zero right now (sorta every other day!) and I needed a nice new recipe.

  2. How funny. I never thought about what the difference between cocoa and hot chocolate was. Hot chocolate is soooo much better. And this recipe looks great.

  3. I love all of the topping choices! I’m a big fan of whipped cream, but your marshmallow slices on top just seem perfectly elegant! Great post!