Perfect Homemade Hot Chocolate

Drinks, The Holidays, Winter

How to Make Hot Chocolate

I don’t think anyone would argue that hot chocolate is the coziest of cozy drinks. And since this is lil’ blog is called A Cozy Kitchen I think I’ve gone way too long without sharing a proper recipe for it. So, let’s talk about this Perfect Homemade Hot Chocolate.

How to Make Fancy-Ass Hot Chocolate //

Hot Cocoa vs. Hot Chocolate!

Let’s talk about the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate. Hot cocoa is exactly that – cocoa powder dissolved into milk or (God forbid) water. I have good memories of hot cocoa, actually. When I was a kid, I used to sit in my way-too-long PJ t-shirt and watch cartoons, sipping on Swiss Miss cocoa mix. I also loooved dipping whole wheat bread into my hot cocoa. (I was a weird child.)

But during the holidays, it was always hot chocolate. My mom would tell us stories about how in Peru, on Christmas Eve, right before midnight mass, a big pot of hot chocolate was made. They’d take big blocks of chocolate, melt it and then mix it into warm milk until it dissolved. Real, thick hot chocolate is a game changer.

There’s like two or three steps–this ain’t rocket science.

How to Make Hot Chocolate!

  • Step 1: Get your hands on some good chocolate. I had some Scharffenberger chocolate in my pantry. Other brands I love: Green & Black or Ghiradelli. I love using chopped chocolate for my hot chocolate; you could even use good quality chocolate chips. I like to use a dark chocolate (70%) or semi-sweet chocolate for my hot chocolate.  I think it adds a nice depth and lends a lot of richness to this hot chocolate, but feel free to go sweeter if you like.
  • Step 2: Don’t be shy to add some other stuff like a cinnamon stick, 1/4 of a vanilla bean or a splash of vanilla extract, some Ancho chile powder and salt. I looove steeping the milk or almond milk with a cinnamon stick and vanilla bean–it smells like heaven.

How to Make Hot Chocolate

  • Step 3: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and then add it to the warm milk. I tried it with just adding the chocolate straight to the milk and I swear the viscosity and mouth feel is better if you melt the chocolate first. If you’re feeling particularly lazy and don’t want to dirty an extra bowl, you’re more than welcome to just add the chopped chocolate to the warm milk–it’ll still be delicious.

How to Make Fancy-Ass Hot Chocolate //

  • Step 4: And lastly, put it in a cute mug. Everything always taste better if the vessel you’re using is cute and pretty. I found these in a vintage shop in Palm Springs. I basically want my whole kitchen to be copper. I’m going through a copper phase.

What Are Good Toppings for Hot Chocolate?

My favorite toppings for hot chocolate are marshmallows, fluffy whipped cream and chocolate shavings. I like to keep it simple!

Is It Better to Make Hot Chocolate with Milk or Water?

This is a common question. I like my hot chocolate with milk (or a milk alternative) compared to water. I like the richness that milk or a milk alternative give hot chocolate. Water makes it a bit too thin in my taste.

How to Make Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate Recipe

5 from 13 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serving Size: 2 cups
Calories: 120kcal
How to Make Hot Chocolate with this step-by-step recipe. Hot cocoa vs. hot chocolate. This recipe has melted rich chocolate with warmed milk and spices.


  • 4 cups whole milk, or milk of choice (oat, almond, soy)
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 whole vanilla bean, scraped (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, 60%
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
  • Pinch kosher salt


  • To a medium saucepan, placed over low heat, pour in the milk, sugar, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean caviar and bean. Heat until a very gentle simmer and take the saucepan off the heat and allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean and discard.
  • Create a double boiler, by setting a stainless steel or glass bowl over a saucepan filled with simmering water. Add the chocolate to the bowl and heat until the chocolate is melted.
  • Place the steeped milk over medium low heat, and pour in the melted chocolate; whisk until completely incorporated and mixture is hot. Add a pinch of salt and ancho chile powder. Divide between mugs and top with homemade marshmallows.


*Feel free to use a dairy substitute with this recipe. I've made it with oat milk and almond and they're both delicious! 
CourseDrinks, Holiday
CuisineAmerican, Christmas, Holiday
Keywordhot chocolate recipe, hot chocolate run, how to make homemade hot chocolate, how to make hot chocolate with milk, mexican hot chocolate
Calories: 120kcal
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen
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Recipe Rating

  • Reply B Alex September 4, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    5 stars
    I would love to know where you got those copper, brass and glass mugs! They are beautiful! I would love to order a dozen or so to use during the holidays in my café…

    I use a similar base for my old fashioned drinking chocolate, it’s bliss. (^_^)

  • Reply Lauren December 1, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    5 stars
    This looks delicious! I like to add just a bit of pink himalayan salt to mine 🙂

  • Reply Swiss Miss K-Cups November 6, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Oh my lanta that looks good.

  • Reply becky July 19, 2014 at 3:15 am

    5 stars
    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
    I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous
    blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  • Reply JoAnn January 6, 2014 at 8:55 am

    5 stars
    This would be perfect for the below freezing temps today, but I have no milk nor chocolate and am snowed in. But next time I’m at the store this is on my recipe list and will be getting the milk and chocolate! Thanks for a great recipe! And awesome mugs.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme January 6, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Honestly, being snowed in sounds amazing. Have fun and stay safe.

  • Reply Francesca December 16, 2013 at 11:24 am

    5 stars
    I love adding a lil chili to my fancy-ass hot coco 😀

  • Reply Vanessa December 13, 2013 at 1:33 am

    Ooh this looks divine and super fancy 🙂

  • Reply Sarah VanWychen December 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    That sounds so fantastic! Where could I get some of that kind of chocolate that you mentionec?I have never heard of those kind s of chocolate? I live in a very ordinary area kwhere we don’t have specialtey store.

  • Reply Candice December 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    I don’t think you’re weird about the bread thing! Reading about it brought back memories of my siblings and I. We used to drink hot chocolate and dip our toast in it!

  • Reply Renee @ Awesome on $20 December 10, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    When I was a kid, my mom used to make my brother and me buttered toast to dip into our Swiss Miss. I still eat that sometimes. I thought I might be the only person in the world to do such a thing.

  • Reply Courtney December 9, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Just found your blog and I’m so glad I did, just in time for the holidays and I’ll definitely be making this before Christmas!

  • Reply dervla December 8, 2013 at 11:11 am

    OOOH YES! fancy ass all the way.

  • Reply autumn December 8, 2013 at 2:37 am

    of all the how-tos on the internet, I’m pretty sure this one is the most essential! So pretty.

  • Reply RLT December 6, 2013 at 8:17 am

    South Americans serve the best hot chocolate and at home they make it with a molinillo to get the best froth. Kids love this wooden device with a wooden ring on it. Thanks for reminding me to take the time to do this. It was -20 on my thermometer this morning too. And I grew up dunking buttered toast in hot chocolate too – heavenly.

  • Reply Laura (Tutti Dolci) December 5, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Gorgeous, and those mugs are killer!

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