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Homemade Hot Chocolate

Posted by in Step-by-Step Recipes

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Hot Chocolate. Guest post and recipe from Erica Kastner of Cooking for Seven.

This is hot chocolate (or drinking chocolate), not hot cocoa. What’s the difference, you ask? Hot cocoa is made by adding hot water or hot milk to a powdered mix of cocoa, often containing sweeteners, dried milk, and flavoring. Hot chocolate is created by melting chocolate (either from a bar or chips) in milk.

The difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa is not only in the method and ingredients, it’s in the flavor and texture as well. I find many of the hot cocoa mixes to be quite sweet and lacking in good flavor and somewhat thin. Hot chocolate, on the other hand, is rich and creamy and deep. The chocolate flavor takes center stage, not the sweetener or artificial flavorings. It’s so rich that I find that I can’t drink very much of it! Granted, you can make some excellent hot cocoa by mixing it yourself. But it lacks the depth of flavor and wonderful texture of hot chocolate.

Last winter I tried hot chocolate for the first time. I was won over instantly. It was so thick and smooth that it felt like I was drinking chocolate pudding.

Now get into your kitchen and try it out! It’s so easy to make.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Hot Chocolate. Guest post and recipe from Erica Kastner of Cooking for Seven.

You’ll need 6 simple ingredients: whole milk, cream, a little sweetener (I used demerara, but you can use anything you like), a bit of salt, pure vanilla extract, and some good-quality chocolate (I used 70% cacao, but you could use something sweeter if you prefer).

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Hot Chocolate. Guest post and recipe from Erica Kastner of Cooking for Seven.

Begin by chopping up your favorite chocolate nice and fine. You want to chop it up quite a bit so it melts easily.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Hot Chocolate. Guest post and recipe from Erica Kastner of Cooking for Seven.

Heat the milk and cream to a low simmer, whisking occasionally. You don’t want to scorch your milk. Add your sweetener, salt, and chocolate.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Hot Chocolate. Guest post and recipe from Erica Kastner of Cooking for Seven.

Whisk in the vanilla extract.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Hot Chocolate. Guest post and recipe from Erica Kastner of Cooking for Seven.

Whisk vigorously until all of the chocolate has melted. Cook for an additional 4 minutes, whisking constantly. The hot chocolate will thicken a bit as it cooks.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Hot Chocolate. Guest post and recipe from Erica Kastner of Cooking for Seven.

Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy all by itself or with a dollop of whipped cream or some good marshmallows. Prepare for some major enjoyment!

Note: If you find this hot chocolate to be too rich, you could try replacing the cream with milk.

You can check out my original post on my blog, or view the recipe below.


Printable Recipe

Homemade Hot Chocolate

See post on Erica Lea’s site!
4.66 Mitt(s) 3 Rating(s)3 votes, average: 4.66 out of 53 votes, average: 4.66 out of 53 votes, average: 4.66 out of 53 votes, average: 4.66 out of 53 votes, average: 4.66 out of 5

Prep Time:

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Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 4


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Real hot chocolate, made with dark chocolate and whole milk. It’s like drinking chocolate pudding.


  • 8 ounces, weight Chocolate (preferably Dark)
  • 3-½ cups Whole Milk
  • ½ cups Heavy Cream
  • 3 teaspoons Maple Syrup Or Natural Sweetener Of Choice
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ⅛ teaspoons Salt

Preparation Instructions

1. Chop chocolate very finely.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring milk and cream to a low simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally.

3. Add chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Whisk vigorously until all of the chocolate has melted. Cook for an additional 4 minutes, whisking constantly.

4. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.


Newly-married Erica Kastner shares her wonderful recipes and amazing food photography on her blog, Cooking for Seven. She also writes about crafts and posts more of her beautiful photography in her personal blog, There really isn’t much that this amazing young lady can’t do, and we’re thrilled she does some of it here.



Comments are closed for this recipe.

karen on 12.3.2011

Oh my is this ever good. We made this last night for the 2nd time. I’d never had hot chocolate before – only hot cocoa. This is so rich and good. 6 oz in a cup with a candy cane is more than satisfying:

Last night, I just broke the dark chocolate bar (Lindt 70% cocoa) into squares and tossed into heated milk, cream, etc. There was no difference at all — no need to finely chop chocolate. Brought to a boil, then simmered, softly boiling, for 4 minutes.

This recipe is zipping around our family at warp speed – thank you!

Girls' Guide to Guns and Butter on 12.1.2011

I made a drink based on this recipe today, although I went with unsweetened chocolate cause that’s what I had on hand and extra sugar. It was wonderful – but why would you bother chopping the chocolate? It makes perfectly well without the extra mess/effort. Everyone loved it, thanks for sharing!

Dee on 12.1.2011

I’m going to try this with almond milk and coconut cream. I think I can get the same chocolate in this teeny tiny town. My husband will flip! Thanks for the awesome recipe! It’s supposed to snow tonight, so it should be cold enough to enjoy a delightful hot beverage!

LaurenM on 12.1.2011

Oh my stars….. I must try this as soon as humanly possible! I make a homemade hot cocoa mix every year that is really good, but has a long list of ingredients. It ends up being creamy and rich, but it can get pricey. I bet that this will be my new go-to recipe!

Suzanne on 12.1.2011

That looks really good!!!!

ajane2 on 12.1.2011

If I could get just *ONE* person to try half whipping the cream for the topping, I would be happy! Try half whipping the cream and pour it over the back of a spoon it will float atop the hot chocolate and each time you take a sip you get cold cream first then warm chocolate. SO good.

Laura on 12.1.2011

I will have to try this!!!!!!! It looks so good! :)

Amanda on 11.30.2011

This recipe looks fantastic! I like trying different brands of chocolates as the different varieties lend themselves to different “tones” of hot chocolate. Keep the recipes coming!!

Jenn @Glynne's Soaps on 11.30.2011

Wow! This recipe is now on the must try list. I can’t wait!

Heather :) :) :) on 11.30.2011

I didn’t know there was a difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa. Now I do :) :) The hot chocolate looks really decadent and yummy :) :) Thanks for the recipe ;) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

Kristel on 11.30.2011

Oh gosh, I just bought some hot cocoa mix from Starbucks, not cheap! Now I don’t even want to taste it much less give it to my kiddos. Will be trying this recipe soon, as the temps have started to drop.

Linda L on 11.30.2011

Yummy! Kind of reminds me when my wonderful Mother-in-Law made vanilla pudding from scratch one day. Never knew you could make pudding from something other than a box. Tee hee Now I can not stand box pudding. Bet that will happen when I make this awesome looking “hot Chocolate” Thanks for all the wonderful recipes you post.

L. on 11.30.2011

I love how much butter and cream are used in your recipes. It is awesome.

Lynne on 11.30.2011

Drink chocolate pudding? Why YES, I have! Warm chocolate pudding – LOVE IT!!

Wendy R on 11.30.2011

This would be amazing topped with homemade marshmallows! After eating, and making homemade marshmallows it is hard to buy them from the store!

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twopeasandtheirpod on 11.30.2011

This is my kind of hot chocolate! The real deal!

Claire on 11.30.2011

OMG. thank you for promoting delicious REAL hot chocolate! I make my own hot chocolate all the time and it is worlds different from the instant powder packets. Even the hot chocolate that I get at fancy places doesn’t measure up. I salute your excellent hot chocolate recipe! and I salute you for spreading the word!

Katie on 11.30.2011

Thank you so much! We had our first snow day today in Indiana and after sending my kiddos out to play in the snow, I realized I didn’t have any of the powdered hot cocoa crap in the house. I did however happen to have all the ingredients for this hot chocolate. Not only was it delicious, but I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to the powdered stuff again!

Jane D. on 11.30.2011

My sister (who lives in New Zealand…stinker) has a set of “Chocolate Ceremony Cups.” The mugs sit on a stand that houses a candle, and you can continuously add milk/cream and shaved dark chocolate to the mug, thus making your own drinking chocolate. It’s possible we did that for a few hours one day… (and, it’s possible I came home from NZ a few sizes larger than when I left). I’ll make this recipe and toast her from afar. :)

Katrina on 11.30.2011

This is such a lovely recipe! Can’t wait to try!

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A Cozy Kitchen on 11.30.2011

Who wants hot cocoa after this! No one. It looks delicious and decadent.

Beckie on 11.30.2011

My mother made it very much like this, 50 yrs ago. Thanks for stirring a memory. Yummy.

Pip on 11.30.2011

I’m looking for a hot chocolate recipe that I can store in the fridge. Sort of a chocolate syrup? Any that I find include cocoa and simple syrup mix, I’m more a milk chocolate girl.

BeckARoo on 11.30.2011

Try adding a dash of ground red pepper when you add the chocolate. It adds an awesome warmth and personality to the recipe!!!

Joy on 11.30.2011

I made up a similar recipe but I add some chili powder and love the tiny bit of spice it adds. I call my “Mexican Hot Chocolate.”

Thanks to you, I am now going to have make some! YAY!!! :)

Lisa D. on 11.30.2011

I just made it with totally 1% milk and semisweet chocolate (I think 54% cacao) and it was way rich (and wonderful), but I can’t imagine making it with whole milk & cream.

Erica Lea | Cooking for Seven on 11.30.2011

Cheryl: Have you ever tried carob? The texture is DEFINITELY not as smooth as chocolate, and the flavor is much different (more “malty”), but it is used as a substitute for chocolate. You could give that a try! Many natural food markets carry carob chips. Hope that helps!

Katie on 11.30.2011

Well I love chocolate as is, so I’m assuming I’d love it melted in milk and vanilla and sugar.

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Jane on 11.30.2011

Looks so yummy! I want to make some right now!

barbarareed on 11.30.2011

Mother lso made from scratch hot cocoa (using the Hershey powder) which was sonderful also….but grands wouldn’t drink it either.

barbarareed on 11.30.2011

I made this hot chocolate several Christmases ago and tried again last year Christmas( made the way Granny and Mama made it for us in the “olden days”) and my grands wouldn’t drink it…..tasted funny they said. They were so accustomed to that pre-mixed junk that they didn’t even like the good stuff…….I quit.

Cheryl on 11.30.2011

Looks delicious, warming, comforting. But, I don’t do chocolate so what would be a good alternative?

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The Suzzzz on 11.30.2011

@ A., try using a hand held blender or mixer to emulsify the chocolate and the milk. I used a handheld blender on my recipe and it works great for a large batch (about 24 servings).

This is a link to my recipe for homemade hot chocolate with nutella and marshmallow fluff.

Allyn on 11.30.2011

Please send me some right now. It would make my work day much better.

Jenn on 11.30.2011

Yum! I use chocolate chips and just milk instead of cream, but they sound very similar. I think I need to whip some up for second-breakfast. Right. Now.

country@heart on 11.30.2011

Goodness, this looks delicious! I want some now…and love the china cup, beautiful! Thanks for the tip to let the flavors meld together and bind melted chocolate and hot milk, always learning! May break down and try homemade marshmellows to serve with this delciousness!

Laurie {Simply Scratch} on 11.30.2011

Love homemade hot chocolate and with dark chocolate too… wowza!

Lindsey on 11.30.2011

This is lovely Erica! I actually made some last night for my husband and a friend. Once you make it yourself, like this, you can never go back to a package of cocoa mix. Besides, I like using natural ingredients…not artificial sweeteners and powdered milk.
Makes me want more!

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maryw on 11.30.2011

Oh yum, I can’t believe this hasn’t entered my life yet! Thanks – can’t wait to try it!

The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh on 11.30.2011

I think my hubby’s mom used to make it like this when he was a kid. Might have to surprise him with this! Adorable mug!

Miz Booshay on 11.30.2011

I love that ingredient list.
When I was in Paris I had hot chocolate at Angelina’s.
It was thick and delicious.
But until I get back to Paris….I will try yours!!

Amy on 11.30.2011

Lovely! I want some now.

Ann on 11.30.2011

“Hot cocoa” may not necessarily be from a mix- it can be made from scratch with cocoa powder and can be an excellent variant on hot chocolate when you want a warm and delicious hot beverage that isn’t rich enough to be a meal on its own.

Heather (Heather's Dish) on 11.30.2011

this sounds so perfect…i’m officially going to become and addict and make it all the time :)

A. on 11.30.2011

Love the china – my mother’s wedding set has the same pattern. Thank you for the recipe. It looks delicious. I’ll try it and see what it’s like, I generally find that the chocolate ends up un a gloop on the bottom of the cup, and the milk is solo on the top, but perhaps that’s because I don’t boil it after melting?

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tinaehb3 on 11.30.2011

My daughter would LOVE this!

siwka on 11.30.2011

Looks delicious :)

Jessica @ How Sweet on 11.30.2011

I didn’t even know what the difference is, but I definitely want to drink some chocolate for breakfast now.