This homemade hot chocolate recipe is perfectly rich, creamy, and a chocolate lover’s hot chocolate! Made with rich chocolate, milk, and sugar and an optional ingredient that makes it even more chocolatey!
A mug of hot chocolate is definitely a cozy treat that is welcome throughout the year, but especially as the weather is colder. I love my favorite homemade hot cocoa recipe that I love to keep on hand for quick and easy cups of hot cocoa, but there is just something extra special about a warm mug of homemade hot chocolate that gets me every time.
I’m immediately transformed back to Switzerland on a trip my husband and I took there. We stayed at a lovely inn where the chef made his famous (at least to those of us who stayed there!) hot chocolate each evening. I never knew exactly what all was in his delicious drink, but when we returned home I was determined to remake it as close to his as I could. This is it.
Table of Contents
Hot Chocolate vs Hot Cocoa?
You may be wondering what in the world is the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa.
- Hot chocolate is made using chopped chocolate or chocolate chips that are melted into warmed milk or cream. Chocolate contains cocoa butter that adds to the creaminess of hot chocolate.
- Hot cocoa is made using cocoa powder added to warmed milk or hot water.
Homemade Hot Chocolate Ingredients
For this recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients
- Milk – For a creamy hot chocolate, I use whole milk. You can use whatever milk you prefer. It will affect the creaminess of the final drink.
- Cream – for additional creaminess, I add cream to my milk. You can omit this and add the same amount of milk if you’d prefer. It will make the drink less creamy.
- Sugar – I use granulated sugar, but you can use your favorite sugar or sugar substitute. Please make sure that whatever sugar substitute you use works well when heated and has a delicious taste with chocolate.
- Chocolate – I use bittersweet chocolate bars that I chop finely for my hot chocolate. I have found this to provide the best results for smoothness and consistency for me. You can also substitute with semisweet or milk chocolate if you prefer. If you do, adjust the sweetener used and add it at the end of the drink to make sure it is perfect for your tastes.
- Espresso powder – I love to use espresso powder in my chocolate recipes. This hot chocolate is no different! While you can omit it if you do not have it, it deepens the intensity of the chocolate flavor in this hot chocolate recipe.
- Vanilla extract – similar to the espresso powder, the vanilla extract helps deepen the flavors of the drink.
- Salt – I love the addition of a pinch of salt to this recipe. It helps to enhance the flavors.
- Whipped cream – whipped cream is great as an optional topping on your hot chocolate. I love to let a little whipped cream sink into my warm mug of hot chocolate, and then, right as I’m serving, add another dollop.
How to Make Hot Chocolate
Heat. Pour your milk and cream into a medium saucepan set over low heat. Stir in your sugar and bring to a simmer. You’ll know that it has reached a simmer when you see bubbles begin to form along the inside edges of the saucepan. DO NOT LET IT REACH A BOIL. Remove your saucepan from the heat.
Stir in chocolate, vanilla and salt. Add your chopped chocolate to the heated milk and stir until smooth and well combined. Stir in the espresso powder, vanilla extract, and salt.
Serve. Pour into individual mugs and top with whipped cream if using.
Can You Reheat Hot Chocolate?
Yes! Once cooled, store in the refrigerator covered tightly with plastic wrap or in an airtight container. To serve, reheat on the cooktop at a low simmer or in the microwave in 30-second intervals until heated throughout. Stir at each interval.
If you are unable to enjoy dairy or prefer another milk alternative, you can substitute it with your favorite non-dairy milk. I’ve used oat milk with great success. While it did not taste exactly like when made with milk and cream, it was delicious and creamy!
Here’s my Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe. I think you’ll love it, too!
Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe
- Pour milk and cream into a medium saucepan situated over low heat. Stir in your sugar. Bring to a simmer. You should be able to see fine bubbles forming at the edges of the saucepan, but not in the middle of the milk. Remove from the heat.
- Add your chocolate chips to the warmed milk, stirring constantly until the chocolate has melted and is well combined.
- Stir in espresso powder, vanilla extract and salt.
- Serve in two large mugs. Top with whipped creaming, if using.
How to Store and Reheat Hot ChocolateOnce cooled, store in the refrigerator covered tightly with plastic wrap or in an airtight container. To serve, reheat on the cooktop at a low simmer or in the microwave in 30-second intervals until heated throughout. Stir at each interval.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.