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 Jayne December 5, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Fancy ass indeed! Hot chocolate from scratch always tastes so much better than packet ones. This one looks so rich and thick and perfect.

  • Reply Kasey December 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    I’m obsessed with those mugs!

  • Reply Tess @ Tips on Life and Love December 5, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Wow, this makes hot cocoa sound (and look) like drinking saw dust. I can’t wait to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply allie@sweetpotatobites December 5, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I love everything about this! Will definitely have to give it a try.

  • Reply Iris December 5, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    My husband is Peruvian and my mother in law makes the best hot chocolate around Christmas time. She uses star anise, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Yum!

  • Reply Billy December 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    OHMYGOD I NEED THIS. When I was a kid my jam was either peanut butter toast or cinnamon toast, folded up and dunked in hot chocolate. We were doing it right.

  • Reply kamran siddiqi December 5, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Oh, love the touch of ancho chile powder in here! I’ll need to make this over the weekend! Mother Nature decided that she’d tease the NYC /NJ-area with 60 degree weather today and tomorrow.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme December 8, 2013 at 11:54 am

      Speaking of chocolate. Excited for your cookbook, sir! x

  • Reply Lydia December 5, 2013 at 11:14 am

    I feel like such a wimp complaining, but San Francisco has been REALLY COLD lately.. Thanks for a great recipe!

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

      I was there last week and I thought it was legit cold!

  • Reply Arlene December 5, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Can I ask where you got those great mugs. Love them thanks

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme December 5, 2013 at 11:57 am

      Yes! I got them from a thrift store in Palm Springs for $6! If you search on Ebay “copper ceramic mugs” you’ll find a bunch!

      • Reply Judy Peters December 12, 2017 at 10:38 am

        Sorry to ask my question here, but I couldn’t find how to comment–just to reply.
        My question is why does it say it makes 2 cups of hot chocolate if there are 4 cups of milk in the recipe? I want to make this for my holiday party and will need to quadruple the recipe, and I am trying to decide how much of each ingredient to buy. Thank you.

  • Reply Arlene December 5, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Can I ask where you got those mugs. Love. Thanks

  • Reply Mary December 5, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Yumm – that is truly fancy!
    Mary x

  • Reply Jordan Lynn: Life Between Lattes December 5, 2013 at 11:01 am

    I never knew the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate, but I’m about to go pick up some chocolate so this can happen tonight. This looks amazing!

  • Reply Kim of Mo'Betta December 5, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I love your blog, and I love chocolate, and I love fancy ass stuff that I can actually make at home 🙂 Of course, it is supposed to be 77 here tomorrow….Mother Nature is so confused.

  • Reply Lin December 5, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Pure Decadence! Oh my and love those copper mugs!

  • Reply dishing up the dirt December 5, 2013 at 9:47 am

    I’ve always wanted to make fancy ass hot chocolate. Love those mugs!

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