How to Make Homemade Hot Cocoa

It seems that as soon as the temperature begins to fall my children start requesting hot cocoa. This recipe never disappoints.

How to Make Homemade Hot Cocoa

For years, I kept my pantry stocked with a variety of store bought hot cocoa mixes, until one, snowed bound day, I found myself without.  It was then I discovered how easy it is to make hot cocoa on my own.

The ingredient list could not be more simple, many you probably already have in your pantry.

To spice up your hot cocoa add in a cinnamon stick or pinch of cinnamon at step #2, or maybe a drop of peppermint extract to mimic the delicious peppermint hot cocoa from Starbucks.

I sometimes pack hot cocoa in a thermos and send it to school with my boys. Their favorite way to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa is next to a bowl of homemade popcorn as an after school snack during the winter months.

5.0 from 23 reviews
How to Make Homemade Hot Cocoa
yields 5 cups
Cuisine: Snacks
  1. Combine the cocoa, sugar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan.
  2. Over medium heat, stir constantly until the mixture boils. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the milk and heat, but do not boil.
  4. Remove from the heat and add vanilla; stir well. Serve immediately.
**I've used both vanilla soymilk as well as almond milk to make this and both are delicious!**


adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking



  1. CMJ says

    Can’t believe this is getting such good reviews. Did anyone make this? We did and it wasn’t that good. Too much cocoa & not enough sugar I think.

  2. Selah Marie says

    Other than the fact that the recipe makes so much, it was the best recipe I’ve ever used to make hot chocolate.

  3. Rob says

    Excellent recipe, but I found it to be too sweet. I use half the sugar and it’s perfect! Even with skim milk it turns out great.

  4. says

    This is by far the best hot cocoa recipe I’ve ever had. I used Ghirardelli Sweet Cocoa and doubled the amount of cocoa and cut the amount of sugar in half and it was seriously the best hot cocoa I’ve ever drank. This is definitely my new go-to cocoa recipe. Its perfectly sweet, creamy and chocolatey without being too sweet or too bitter. Some cocoa recipes are bitter or sickening, but this one I can just drink easily. Thanks so much!

  5. Michele S says

    This was a huge hit with my family! We used unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder and LOVED it! I will never buy the store bought crap again. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Sila says

    I used 1/4 cup maple syrup instead of the sugar and added 1/4 tsp cinnamon as well. It was delicious and perfectly sweet! Thank you for the recipe!

  7. Rachel says

    I’d love to make this mix in 8-9 mason jars as gifts. Do you have the recipe estimate for a mix and not a single serve cup? Thanks!

  8. Vickie says

    I just made this and OMGSH it is soooooo good! I added a drop of orange extract to my cup and it tastes even better. Thank you for sharing!!!!!

  9. Danielle says

    This hot cocoa recipe is delicious. It is exactly how you expect hot chocolate to taste when reading The Polar Express ~ Chris Van Allsburg. Creamy, sweet, deep chocolate flavor – any thicker it may be like melted chocolate before poured into a mold. I used coconut milk and Dagoba organic unsweetened cocoa powder. Thanks! It has been snowing for days over here and i needed an alternative from the boxed bags. Love it!

  10. Ruby Red says

    I was hesitating as to whether I should try this recipe or not, as my first attempt at re-creating this delicious recipe was horrendous. I’ve got to say – this was delicious! Exactly the way I was craving. 5 stars for sure! ♥

  11. Ashley says

    Absolutely perfect! I added half a teaspoon of peppermint extract and it reminds me of Starbucks’ peppermint hot chocolate. Perfect for winter time! (Or turning the air conditioner waaaaaaay down in order to excuse having this drink with Florida’s climate!)

  12. HerHubby says

    As with others here, we didn’t have any hot chocolate mix in the house. My wife was out shopping and the kids and I wanted hot chocolate. I never cook anything so I just searched for this recipe and thought to try yours. I used 1/8 cup regular baking cocoa and 1/8 Hershey’s Dark baking cocoa. I also used 4 cups whole milk. Turned out really well. I tried adding a couple drops of peppermint extract but can’t really tell it’s in there so more might be needed to get the desired effect. Thanks!

  13. Michele says

    This sounds awesome & can’t wait to try it! Is there any chance that you have a “recipe” or recommendation for making chocolate milk without using the store bought powders???

  14. Katie says

    My mom never bought hot cocoa mix from the store. From an early age we were taught to make our own. Single serving 1 spoon unsweetened baking cocoa, 2 spoons sugar, dash of salt, splash of vanilla. Mix together and add hot water from the tea kettle. Add milk or half and half to make it creamy and help cool it down.

  15. Christi says

    Living in Alaska, we drink a lot of cocoa. I usually make a bunch of the mix up and keep it in an airtight jar. Before using we give the jar a couple of shakes to mix the dry ingredients up and viola’ done in a flash.

  16. Aisha says

    OMG, this was so quick and easy, I don’t think I will ever purchase Swiss Miss again. The kids loved it, and I even had little marshmallows to put on top! I made the recipe exactly as is, and it gets 5 stars from this momma!

  17. Tehya says

    I love this recipe! It taists so good! I dont think the store bought brand will ever taist the same :)
    let alone ever be my favorite!

  18. Rachel Eugene says

    Me and the kiddos decided to try this. I must say it’s a little sweet, but we have a dentist appt. at 4 pm on Monday, so we’re all good to go. Little Roger really enjoyed the sweetness, while my precious twins, Sofia and Kimmy enjoyed the bitter chocolate I chopped and sprinkled on top. I even gave some to the hubby after a long Black Friday. He’s so sweet for giving me a foot massage after the long hours at the mall. My little cutie Jedidiah asked where we were and we told him we were meeting with Santa over some AWESOME momables hot cocoa!!! LOL love the recipe! Def sharing it with the fam on xmas!!!

  19. Imani says

    O.M.G! Just made this for me and the kiddos…. Used 2cups heavy cream and 2cups whole milk…. Added a pinch, of cinnamon to step 2 and forgot to add the vanilla, but i didnt even miss it! Kudos to the GREAT recipe!

  20. Alan Lieb says

    I add cream of wheats to this add enough for 5 cups comes out great cocoa wheats. Since they have stopped selling cocoa wheats due to the cost of making it is much higher. Enjoy

  21. Angie says

    As others have said, wanted hot chocolate and didn’t have mix. This was perfect!! And much more reasonable than the Food Network ones made with heavy cream.


  22. Joy says

    Thank you! The whole family love it. My girls are already planning to make this for Santa. I used organic cane sugar instead.

  23. Loretta says

    I was craving hot chocolate, but had no mix. I went searching online and found many different recipes. This one turned out to be one of the best! Even better than Martha Stewarts! I love the way it came out! Hands down better than mix! From now on when my family and I want hot chocolate, we will be using your recipe! Thanks a million for sharing it!

  24. Crystal says

    Oh my goodness this recipe is fabulous! I made it today- at 11 pm! haha!- and I didn’t think I’d like it but WOW!!! I sure was surprised! Every cold day will now be made warmer because I have this recipe under my belt :)

    I like to add some espresso powder, chocolate chips, and a dash of cinnamon into my HC and this was an AMAZING idea!!!!

  25. IndianaAnna says

    i just surprised my kids with this cocoa after school today and it is so good! I’ve never made my own before, but this is so much better than a mix! Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Rate this recipe: