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 11 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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Leave a Reply

  • Reply misskimberlynn December 5, 2013 at 9:42 am

    My friend is Colombian and he puts cubes of queso fresco in his homemade hot chocolate. It is an amazing marriage of savory and sweet. The cheese doesn’t melt it just kind of soaks of up the chocolate. This is a Colombian breakfast staple, served with fresh crusty bread for dunking.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme December 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      My dad is Colombian and I’ve never heard of this. It sounds crazy amazing. I need to bother him and ask him if he knows of this AND then try it. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Esther December 5, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Lovely an yummy! I hear you…I’m from Spain and for us hot chocolate MUST be super thick and rich, we cannot have it any other way… Lol so thick it can almost holdthe spoon sticking up 😉 and if you have fresh home made churros around… Heaven on a plate! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Chelsea ( December 5, 2013 at 9:14 am

    this looks divine!! i am going to make this (possibly spiked with caramel vodka??!!) for christmas with my family!!

  • Reply christin December 5, 2013 at 7:57 am

    this is the ONLY way to make it. the fancy-ass way.

  • Reply Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) December 5, 2013 at 7:07 am

    A couple of things. 1) Obsessed with those coffee marshmallows 2) You own the world’s best mugs! 3) Chocolate > cocoa 4) Love your fancy-ass series.

    That’s all.

  • Reply Alex December 5, 2013 at 6:19 am

    If you could just deliver that to me right now, that’d be swell.

  • Reply Tieghan December 5, 2013 at 5:58 am

    Yes, Please!! I would give anything for these right now. It is 20 below (yes, I am not joking it really it!!) right now and I am freezing. This would be so good!

  • Reply Bev @ Bev Cooks December 5, 2013 at 4:55 am

    And I’m dying for those coffee marshmallows. omg.

  • Reply Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily December 5, 2013 at 4:53 am

    Best title ever ;} A couple of weeks ago I made the kids hot cocoa with water since we were out of milk and my 7 year old said and I quote “What are you trying to pull?!! This isn’t real hot chocolate!” ;}

    This certainly is however! l.o.v.e.

  • Reply Becki's Whole Life December 5, 2013 at 3:57 am

    I never really thought about the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate! This looks a-mazing and I love the addition of the chili powder, too.

  • Reply Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar December 5, 2013 at 3:28 am

    LOVE these fancy ass posts! This hot chocolate looks perfect!

  • Reply Rachel December 5, 2013 at 3:27 am

    I love Sharffenberger! And I love those cups!

  • Reply Jason @ Plenty Of Zest December 5, 2013 at 3:04 am

    Looks very posh Adrianna! After my own trial and error I agree it seems best to melt the chocolate separately, and gently. And to use at least 70% and a lot of it!

  • Reply Lene Svingel December 5, 2013 at 1:55 am

    This recipe is so necessary for this time of the year. It is exactly what is needed to get through a long and dark winter here in the north – Denmark to be precise.
    Since we are such a dairy country, we always top our hot chocolate with wipped cream, but your coffee marshmellovs might just be a lovely change.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme December 5, 2013 at 7:35 am

      Oh Denmark in the winter sounds soooo lovely. I know the days are short and somewhat dark but how cozy!

  • Reply Sarah | The Sugar Hit December 5, 2013 at 1:19 am

    GAH! My coffee marshmallows, hot chocolate dream came true.

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