In cold weather months, hot cocoa is a must and this homemade recipe never disappoints.
It’s creamy, chocolatey, and everything hot cocoa should be. Did I mention how easy it is to make? Scroll down and I’ll show you how it’s done in a quick video, or you can print the recipe for later at the bottom of the page.
There’s nothing like a cup of homemade hot cocoa made with real cocoa powder, sugar, and milk. It’s another reason we love the cold months!
How to Make Hot Chocolate
Let’s whip this up!
- First, combine cocoa powder, sugar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil while stirring, until smooth.
- Add the milk and continue to stir over medium heat, be sure not to boil.
- Once the cocoa has reached the desired temperature, remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and pour into mugs.
- Top with whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate chips, sprinkles- whatever you’re heart desires and enjoy!
Hot Cocoa Ingredients
I used to keep hot cocoa packets on hand for quick use on a cold day, but nothing compares to hot cocoa made with real cocoa powder. Unfortunately, the packets usually contain hydrogenated oils, preservatives, and corn syrup solids- bummer.
Thankfully, homemade hot cocoa is extremely easy to prepare with a few pantry staples such as unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla extract, and milk.
You can also batch make this recipe into your own DIY Hot Cocoa Mix, that way it’s on hand to stir into hot milk for a quick treat on a cold day.
Make Next: Caramel Hot Cocoa
Healthy Hot Chocolate Ingredient Swaps
Although it is a treat, you can make it healthier without sacrificing taste.
Swap the sugar for ¼ cup of honey, maple syrup, or ½ cup coconut sugar.
To make this a dairy-free hot chocolate, swap the regular milk with your favorite nut or soy milk. I’ve tried soy and almond milk, and both times it turned out delicious. Want an epic dessert to pair with your healthier hot cocoa? You’ve got to try one of the recipes from my latest cookbook, Clean Treats for Everyone.
Clean Treats Cookbook
Healthy and wholesome dessert recipes you’ll want to eat made with clean ingredients you already have on hand.
Grab your copy today!
Why Do You Add Vanilla at the End?
Vanilla is like alcohol and usually made with it, and it evaporates and cooks down when heated. When you’re making this hot cocoa recipe, you add the vanilla last because the vanilla will evaporate and the taste will not be as strong, or it could completely disappear if you add it too early.
Hot Chocolate Toppings & Add-Ins
Toppings are a fun and delicious bonus for hot cocoa, and sometimes we like to go over the top! Whether you want to make hot cocoa for an afternoon treat or create a hot cocoa bar for a party, these topping ideas will be a hit.
- Whipped cream
- Mini marshmallows
- Chocolate chips
- Chopped peppermint
- Caramel sauce drizzle
- Peppermint sticks, for stirring
Speaking of peppermint, add in a drop of peppermint extract for a copycat version of Starbuck’s peppermint hot chocolate.
Homemade Hot Cocoa
Nothing compares to homemade hot cocoa, and this recipe is so easy to make with unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, milk, and a pinch of salt.
- Cook Time: 8 minutes
- Total Time: 8 minutes
- Yield: 4 cups 1x
- Category: Drinks
- Cuisine: Snacks
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, water, and salt over medium heat.
- Cook, stirring constantly until smooth and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat, and stir in the milk, do not boil.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into mugs and serve immediately.
- I’ve used both vanilla soymilk as well as almond milk to make this and both are delicious!
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 196
- Sugar: 37.7g
- Sodium: 687mg
- Fat: 0.9g
- Saturated Fat: 0.6g
- Carbohydrates: 40.4g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 9.3g
- Cholesterol: 4.9mg
What to Serve with Hot Chocolate
Healthy No-Bake Blondies – For a guilt-free snack, check out how these healthy blondies are made.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies – What goes great with hot cocoa? Chocolate chip cookies of course! Check out my fool-proof recipe.
Healthy Desserts – Sip sip horray! Now it’s time to pick one of these healthy desserts to go with your hot cocoa.