Hot Chocolate

8 servings
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

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.


  • 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

Hot Chocolate is a traditional creamy winter treat that's EASY to make in under 5 minutes with whole milk, melted chocolate, and vanilla!
Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drink
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder



  • 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.
  • 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.


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


Calories: 359kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 82mg | Potassium: 482mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 320IU | Calcium: 233mg | Iron: 2.7mg

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.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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. So much better than the store-bought packs! This is the only way I am going to make hot chocolate from now on — thank you for sharing!

  2. 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.

  3. I can’t wait to give this a try to warm up on a chilly winter day! Thanks for all the hints and tips too, genius!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!