Homemade Hot Cocoa Recipe

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My Hot Chocolate recipe is the perfect cup of sweet, rich chocolate flavors that make the cold winters enjoyable.

Homemade Hot Cocoa Recipe

I remember being really young, like 3 or 4 years old, and my favorite drink was frozen chocolate milk. So chocolate, milk, and I have a history. I remember drinking hot chocolate as a kid, and it always made me feel like an adult since my dad always drank hot tea and coffee, so it made me feel like a big boy. Plus, it was so easy to make my parents let me make it by myself. They would warm the milk and let me stir my chocolate Nesquik mix into it, and hot chocolate was served.

When I got older, we switched to the hot cocoa mix with the mini marshmallows that we all have grown to love. That was cool, but now that I’m Chef Kenneth, I love making a homemade batch of hot cocoa mix in the winter so I can have hot chocolate whenever! It’s also clutch to have on hand for when the whole family comes over.

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History of Hot Chocolate

There’s nothing quite like a hot cup of cocoa on a cold day. The chocolatey goodness is comforting and satisfying, and there’s just something about making it yourself that makes it all the more special.

Hot chocolate has been around for centuries, with different cultures developing their own variations. The Aztecs were some of the first to drink hot chocolate and made it with spices like chili pepper and vanilla. It wasn’t until Hans Sloane brought a recipe he learned in Jamaica to mix cocoa powder and milk together during the late 17th century that hot cocoa became popular in Europe and America.

Today, there are a plethora of different hot chocolate flavors, including Nutella hot chocolate and hot chocolate coffee. However, all you need for the classic hot chocolate recipe is cocoa powder, sugar, water, and milk.

What is the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa?

Hot chocolate and hot cocoa are spoken of interchangeably. Both are hot drinks made with chocolate, but they have different flavors, ingredients, textures, and tastes.

Hot chocolate’s deep chocolate flavor comes from melted chocolate. You take your favorite chocolate bar, melt it, then stir in hot water, milk or cream. The final drink is thicker than hot cocoa.

Hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder, sugar, and other flavors your heart desires. Then you stir in hot milk, cream, and water, resulting in a hot drink much thinner than hot chocolate.

Anything marketed as hot chocolate mix is hot cocoa in America.

Hot Chocolate Mix

Key Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for the best hot chocolate.

Milk

Any milk you have at home will work with this recipe.

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

You just need the classic unsweetened cocoa powder. However, you can use any cocoa powder.

Granulated Sugar

Unsweetened cocoa powder is very bitter, so adding sugar and a pinch of salt makes it sweet and removes the bitterness.

Vanilla Extract

This is the chef in me. Once you try it, you’ll be hooked, but the recipe is delicious without it.

Marshmallows

Any marshmallow or marshmallow fluff will work.

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How to Make Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe?

I wanted my homemade hot chocolate recipe to be easy, satisfying, and chocolatey!

In a small pot, heat milk over medium-low heat for 1-1:30 minutes until hot but not boiling. Tiny bubbles are a good sign it’s ready.

While the milk is heating up, add cocoa powder, sugar, and salt to a mug. 

Stir hot milk into cocoa mixture, then add vanilla, and garnish with marshmallows or whipped cream. 

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Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks

Here’s what you need to know to keep making hot chocolate at home easy.

  • Bittersweet chocolate powder, Dutch-processed or dark chocolate cocoa powder will make the best hot cocoa.
  • Try using brown sugar instead of granulated sugar.
  • Yes, any milk will work in this recipe, from almond to whole milk.
  • You can heat your milk in the microwave for 1-1:30 minutes until the milk is hot.
  • I recommend using marshmallow fluff or vegan marshmallows.
  • Use 1 ounce of chopped chocolate or chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder.
  • Milk chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and dark chocolate chips or squares will do the job.
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What is the difference between cacao and cocoa powder?

The difference between cacao and cocoa powder is the amount of processing. They both are made from the whole bean, but cacao is raw, fermented, and unroasted. After it’s grounded into a powder, it retains tons of health benefits. Since it’s not as processed as cocoa, it’s known for its bitterness; this is possibly what the Aztecs were drinking.

Cocoa powder is fermented and roasted; due to the high roasting temperature, the ground powder is darker and has lost some of its health benefits. When cocoa powder is processed into the hot cocoa mix, additives are added to preserve the product so it can sit on our shelves longer.

If you don’t mind something bitter that’s full of health benefits, go with cacao powder but for everyday baking, cooking, and hot drinks, choose cocoa powder. 

FAQs

Here are the top questions readers have about hot chocolate at home.

Is hot chocolate better made with milk or water?

For the best creamy hot cocoa, it’s better with milk. Milk adds a creamy texture, and it doesn’t matter what kind of milk you use: almond, oat, whole, or skim milk. It’s much better than water.

How do you make hot chocolate coffee at home?

In order to make hot chocolate coffee at home, you mix hot chocolate and coffee together instead of milk.

Do marshmallows absorb hot chocolate?

I wouldn’t say that marshmallows absorb hot chocolate, but after sitting for a while, they will become soft. Vegan and mini marshmallows will soften faster than traditional ones.

How do you make hot chocolate in 5 steps?

Here’s how you make hot chocolate in less than 5 steps.
 
1. Heat milk in a pot until warm.
2. Add homemade hot cocoa mix to a mug.

Pour and stir milk into mug; enjoy with marshmallows.

How do I make hot chocolate better?

You can add cinnamon, peppermint extract, brown sugar, coffee, whipped cream, hot fudge, or caramel to your cup of hot chocolate to make it better.

Can you just heat chocolate milk for hot chocolate?

In theory, this appears to be a straightforward solution, but chocolate milk is not prepared like hot chocolate. The difference between chocolate milk and hot chocolate lies in the ingredients used. Chocolate flavoring is added to milk to make chocolate milk, whereas cocoa powder is used to prepare hot chocolate. Heating up cold chocolate milk will not produce a comparable product to that of homemade hot chocolate.

How to store hot cocoa mix

I like to keep a batch of hot cocoa mix on hand at all times in an airtight container during the winter and use 2 tablespoons for every cup of hot chocolate.

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More Chocolate Recipes

I love chocolate, and if you’re like me, then I know you’ll love these recipes too!

Latest Recipe Video:

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Before You Begin

Before you start

Step 1: Gather all your ingredients.

Step 2: Measure everything out.

Step 3: Follow the recipe and get ready to enjoy some delicious hot chocolate.

So if you’re looking for a cozy winter treat, I hope you will enjoy this hot chocolate recipe. It’s sure to warm you up from head to toe! If you make it, please leave a comment and star rating below. I love hearing from readers!

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Homemade Hot Cocoa Recipe

Kenneth Temple
My Hot Chocolate recipe is the perfect cup of sweet, rich chocolate flavors that make the cold winters enjoyable.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 3 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 person
Calories 309 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 marshmallows

Instructions
 

  • In a small pot, heat milk over medium-low heat for 1-1:30 minutes until hot but not boiling. In a mug, add cocoa powder, sugar, and salt.
  • Stir hot milk into mug, then stir in vanilla and garnish with marshmallows.

Notes

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks
Here’s what you need to know to keep making hot chocolate at home easy.
  • Bittersweet chocolate powder, Dutch-processed or dark chocolate cocoa powder will make the best hot cocoa.
  • Try using brown sugar instead of granulated sugar.
  • Yes, any milk will work in this recipe, from almond to whole milk.
  • You can heat your milk in the microwave for 1-1:30 minutes until the milk is hot.
  • I recommend using marshmallow fluff or vegan marshmallows.
  • Use 1 ounce of chopped chocolate or chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder.
  • Milk chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and dark chocolate chips or squares will do the job.
Storage:
I like to keep a batch of hot cocoa mix on hand at all times in an airtight container during the winter and use 2 tablespoons for every cup of hot chocolate.

Nutrition

Calories: 309kcalCarbohydrates: 53gProtein: 10gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 397mgPotassium: 521mgFiber: 4gSugar: 44gVitamin A: 395IUCalcium: 314mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cocoa powder, homemade hot cocoa recipe, hot chocolate and marshmallow recipe, hot chocolate with marshmallows, hot cocoa with marshmallows recipe, mini marshmallows
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