Baby it’s cold outside and there’s nothing that gets me into that holiday hygge mood more than a mug of hot cocoa! Thankfully, homemade hot cocoa recipe is super fast to make and you can make one mug at a time or make it in a big batch if you’re entertaining friends. Plus, I’ve got a bunch of fun ideas for add-ins so you can make a new flavor every time. :) Make sure to bookmark this one because you’re going to want this delicious, chocolatey goodness every night!
Why We Love This Hot Chocolate Recipe
I went all out with this homemade hot chocolate. To make it extra creamy and extra chocolatey I used a 50/50 mix of milk and half and half, semi-sweet chocolate, and unsweetened cocoa powder for a one-two chocolate punch. I added just enough sugar to keep it sweet, but not so much that it’s hard to finish your mug (you can always add more if you want it sweeter). The result is a perfectly balanced rich, sweet, and chocolatey mug of hot cocoa that will give you all the warm and fuzzy cozy winter vibes.
Ingredients for Hot Chocolate
Homemade hot chocolate is super easy to make. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Unsweetened cocoa powder is inexpensive and packs a huge chocolatey flavor punch without adding too-too much sugar.
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate: Semi-sweet chocolate contains a lot more cocoa butter than cocoa powder, which makes this cup of cocoa extra rich.
- Sugar: Adding sugar allows you to sweeten your cup of cocoa to your liking. Add a little for a more bitter sweet cup or add a lot for a truly decadent delight!
- Salt: Salt is often underrated in sweet treats but a little bit goes a long way towards making the chocolate flavor extra bold.
- Whole Milk & Half and Half: We use a combination of whole milk and half and half to make the hot chocolate extra rich. Half and Half is just what it sounds like, half milk and half heavy cream. So, if you don’t have half and half you can simply use a 3:1 ratio of milk to heavy cream for this recipe.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla makes chocolate flavors extra creamy and I wouldn’t want a cup of cocoa without it!
What Type of Chocolate to Use
I used Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate because that’s what I had on hand, but you can definitely use semi-sweet chocolate chips to make this hot chocolate more affordable. You can also experiment with using either milk chocolate or dark chocolate depending on how sweet or bitter you like your hot cocoa. Semi-sweet is right in the middle, which fits my flavor preferences.
Can I Use a Different Type of Milk?
Technically, you can use different types of milk or non-dairy milk substitutes for your hot chocolate, just keep in mind that the type of milk you use will directly impact the creaminess and sweetness of your hot chocolate. The recipe below is designed for a combination of whole milk and half and half, which I found to be rich and creamy without being too heavy.
Half and half is a 50/50 mix of whole milk and heavy cream, so if you don’t have half and half you can change the ingredients below to be 3 cups whole milk and one cup heavy cream for the same result.
Hot Chocolate Add-Ins
This is where homemade hot chocolate gets fun. There are so many extra ingredients that you can add to make new flavors. Here are a few things you can add to hot chocolate to give it more flavor:
Homemade Hot Chocolate
- Add the cocoa powder, semi-sweet chocolate, sugar, and salt to a medium saucepot. Pour the milk and half and half over top.
- Place the saucepot over medium heat. Heat the ingredients over medium while whisking until the chocolate has fully melted into the milk and the milk is beginning to steam (but not simmering).
- Once the chocolate is fully melted into the milk and the milk is has begun to steam, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Taste and adjust the sugar or chocolate to your liking.
- Serve hot with your favorite toppings.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Homemade Hot Chocolate – Step by Step Photos
Add ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, ¼ cup sugar, and ⅛ tsp salt to a saucepot. Pour 2 cups whole milk and 2 cups half and half over top.
Heat the mixture over medium while whisking. The cocoa powder will sit on top at first while the milk is cold, but will begin to incorporate as the milk heats up. The semi-sweet chocolate will begin to melt as you heat, but will not fully incorporate into the milk until the milk gets so hot that it begins to steam. Once steaming, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Taste the hot chocolate and adjust the sweetness or other ingredients before serving and adding your favorite toppings! If you want it to be extra, EXTRA special, try topping it with some homemade whipped cream!