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Make Your Perfect Hot Chocolate

Updated on November 12, 2014

Explore the family of drinks called "hot chocolate"

Hot chocolate might be anything from melted, spiced drinking chocolate to a packet of instant mix that just needs hot water. You might call it hot cocoa or hot chocolate and it may or may not have whipped cream or tiny marshmallows on top. Recipes and traditions for hot chocolate vary greatly, so make a mug of your fave and get ready for hot chocolate lusciousness! (And there's even some cool recipes for frozen/iced hot chocolate too!)

Just like tea and coffee, when chocolate was first brought to Europe as an exotic spice, it too sparked a craze. As with those other beverages, drinking hot chocolate goes through periods of being trendy and being not so trendy. But those who love it, will drink it regardless of what anyone else thinks.

What you see right before that first sip hits your tongue.

Here's one of my most recent cups of cocoa, out at a neighborhood cafe. I've been playing around with a clip-on lens that allows me to shoot macro photographs of my cocoa foam using my iPad.
Here's one of my most recent cups of cocoa, out at a neighborhood cafe. I've been playing around with a clip-on lens that allows me to shoot macro photographs of my cocoa foam using my iPad. | Source

Do you need a Hot Chocolate Maker?

Mr. Coffee BVMC-HC5 Cafe Cocoa Hot Chocolate Maker, Black
Mr. Coffee BVMC-HC5 Cafe Cocoa Hot Chocolate Maker, Black

For very busy people or those who have to serve a LOT of cocoa, having a dedicated kitchen device for hot chocolate just might make your life a little more luscious.

A Tweety mug and sprinkles make cocoa more delicious
A Tweety mug and sprinkles make cocoa more delicious | Source

Ode to Hot Chocolate

My Absolute Favorite Hot Drink

This isn't really an ode, if you're going by the strict classical definition of "lyrical poetry." It's more of an enthusiastic rant about hot chocolate.

My most favorite thing about hot chocolate presently is actually this travel mug I own. It's a bit shorter and wider than most that you find, so it doesn't fit in cup holders but with the lid off it makes a rocking soup bowl. I found it at the hardware store. It holds 16 ounces perfectly, which is also known as a pint. Yes, MY hot chocolate comes in pints! I love being able to use that line from the Lord of the Rings movies, as I'm sure I love hot chocolate as much as any Hobbit would.

The tradition of hot chocolate I was raised with is hot chocolate based on hot milk, not hot water. I grew up in a 2% household and that's still what my palate sorts of expects when you think of a level of richness and content. Almost all hot chocolate is better than no hot chocolate, except for this one kind I have found that tends to primarily inhabit hotel buffet bar dispensers. (stage-whispers) Don't drink the funny brown water....

Mom used to put a small handful of miniature marshmallows in my hot chocolate when I was a little girl. As an adult, most often when I'm out somewhere and I get a hot chocolate, it's topped with whipped cream, and sometimes drizzled with a touch of chocolate syrup. Here's the hot chocolate I got at a neighborhood cafe, not only in a fantastic Tweety Bird mug but topped with whipped cream and dusted with sugar sprinkles.

Are you more formal with your cocoa?
Are you more formal with your cocoa? | Source

The Hot Chocolate Dairy Poll - got milk? hot chocolate drinkers share their favorite tastes

So far, the voters who've told us their preferences seem to be really split across a lot of the hot chocolate variations. What does your mouth tell YOU is the perfect hot chocolate?

Do You Use Milk To Make Your Perfect Hot Chocolate?

See results

A Hot Chocolate Cookbook

Hot Chocolate: 50 Heavenly Cups of Comfort (50 Series)
Hot Chocolate: 50 Heavenly Cups of Comfort (50 Series)

Hot chocolate is featured on the menus of trendy coffeehouses and upscale restaurants everywhere, and with Hot Chocolate anyone can make this gourmet beverage at home.


On Heating The Milk...

You want to make sure to heat or steam your milk so that it gets hot, but don't actually take it as far as reaching a full boil. If the milk gets too hot, not only does it start to ruin the rich flavor but it also forms a skin on top (which can be kinda gross and makes it hard to mix in the cocoa powder).

Flavored Syrup Additions

Torani Syrup Variety Pack, 25.4 Ounce (Pack of 6)
Torani Syrup Variety Pack, 25.4 Ounce (Pack of 6)

Add a dash of flavor to your hot chocolate with a flavored syrup! I'm partial to adding vanilla flavor to my own hot chocolate, but you might prefer a mint, caramel, nut or fruit accent.


Homemade Cocoa Mix - recipe

make your own hot cocoa powder mixes

Would you like to make your own homemade hot chocolate mix? It's really easy and it makes a fantastic mix that works great with hot water. You'll want an empty quart jar to hold your mix and a big bowl for blending the ingredients.

Basic Hot Cocoa Mix

1 C sugar

1 C unsweetened cocoa powder

1 C powdered milk

1/2 C mini chocolate chips

1/2 C mini marshmallows

1 tbsp salt

Just mix all of the above dry ingredients together in a bowl and then keep the cocoa mix in a quart jar, or a similar cotainer that keeps it dry. This recipe makes approximately a dozen servings.

To make a mug of cocoa, add 1/3 cup cocoa mix to a cup of boiling water and stir well. If that is too rich for your tastes, reduce the amount of cocoa mix or increase the amount of water. If it turns out too sweet for you, the next time you make the mix, reduce the amount of sugar used.

Flavor variations:

~ chocolate varieties - the recipe can be changed depending if you use semi-sweet, bittersweet or milk chocolate chips.

~ peppermint - substitute 1/2 C crushed peppermint candies for the mini marshmallows.

~ mocha - substitute 1/2 C espresso powder for the marshmallows.

~ for a gift presentation - layer the ingredients in a jar (see photo) and add your own designer label

The Mixing Trick

If you don't like finding all the cocoa or chocolate at the bottom of the mug when you get done, always put the powder or syrup into your mug first!

Then add just an inch or two of liquid. Blend that small amount thoroughly and once everything is fully combined, then add the rest of the liquid to the mug and stir again!

Fun and Funky Moo Mixer Makes Perfect Cocoa

Moo Mixer Supreme
Moo Mixer Supreme

Tired of fighting those lumps and clumps at the bottom of your mug of cocoa? If that's the case, this clever mixing tumbler might be just what you are looking for to stay well-blended right to the last drop...


Non-Dairy Hot Chocolate

If you can't do dairy, don't despair... you are not stuck with water-only hot chocolate! Use pure cocoa powder (many ready-made mixes contain milk byproducts), the sweetener of your choice and substitute rice milk, almond milk or soy milk in place of the usual cow moo juice.

The World of Hot Chocolate - recipes from around the world

Hot Chocolate
Hot Chocolate

In HOT CHOCOLATE, the first book to come out of the growing trend of haute chocolate consumption, preeminent chocolatiers from around the world contribute more than 60 recipes.


Share Your Cocoa-licious Thoughts! - suggestions, comments and feedback from readers

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    • mansfisa44 profile image

      mansfisa44 3 years ago

      Straight Up!

    • MVKilgore profile image

      M. Victor Kilgore 4 years ago

      Love it with milk and marshmallows...what a tasty lens.

    • profile image

      Owen Barry 4 years ago

      Great lens. Have bookmarked for future use!

    • halvmarathonJes profile image

      halvmarathonJes 4 years ago

      Tasty. I'm gonna try this out after Copenhagen 2014.

    • profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 4 years ago


    • rosiembanks profile image

      rosiembanks 5 years ago

      Mmm, this lens made my mouth water! I grew up with skimmed milk but I love using higher-fat milk in hot chocolate for a special treat!

    • Euryale Sinclair profile image

      Euryale Sinclair 5 years ago from The Left Coast

      @TheGardenGuys: I hear you.... I hear you...

    • profile image

      TheGardenGuys 5 years ago

      I just had hot chocolate out of a packet (with boiling water) as I was reading this..... It just wastn't the same :(

    • leesholden profile image

      Lee 5 years ago from Derbyshire, UK

      Great lens for any chocolate fan! :)

    • profile image

      greatgifts4u 5 years ago

      Great lens - love the Tweety mug!

    • profile image

      MBCOnline 5 years ago

      We love hot chocolate! Thanks for this great lens!

    • profile image

      fbnaturals 5 years ago

      Hot chocolate is best in these cold months! Definitely accumulating a stash!

    • mrsclaus411 profile image

      mrsclaus411 5 years ago

      Drinking chocolate is really awesome whether if it is hot or cold. Hope to have one of the hot chocolate maker in the future. Good lens!

    • profile image

      winelove 5 years ago

      I love hot chocolate! It's such a great comfort food!

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Hot or cold, you can't miss with chocolate! I like presented variations of flavors:)

      Thumbs up!

    • HarrietC LM profile image

      HarrietC LM 5 years ago

      what do you know? The perfect lens to stumble upon on a cold and rainy afternoon! Thanks ^_^

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nothing beats a warm cuppa hot chocolate on a cold day!

      Blessed by a Squidoo Angel

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Love hot chocolate! The MOST hot chocolate I ever made at one time was during a recess in a 6th grade age boys soccer tournament. It was a very cold day, too cold for my team and the visiting team to stand around for 2 hours outside for their next game, so I took them all, along with their coaches, back to my house for endless rounds of hot chocolate to warm them up! :). Nothing like it! :)

    • profile image

      HotChocolateBliss 6 years ago

      Yum! Some great ideas for my favorite drink. :-)

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 6 years ago

      I adore hot chocolate. Thanks for the great info!

    • profile image

      RebeccaE 6 years ago

      I am delighted and very much wanting a hot chocolate after this!

    • Ursel001 profile image

      Ursel001 6 years ago


    • profile image

      Shadrosky 6 years ago

      Very good tips on here! Nice!

    • ChristineSama profile image

      ChristineSama 6 years ago

      I want to have them all!

    • davenjilli lm profile image

      davenjilli lm 6 years ago

      oh yum, I have sworn off sweets but hot chocolate doesn't really count as sweets does it? Isn't chocolate a food group of its own?

    • jadp27 profile image

      jadp27 6 years ago

      hot chocolate on a cold winter day is just perfect!

    • oceansky lm profile image

      Lisa Morris 6 years ago

      Wonderful, I love chocolate. Great lens.

    • rayray131 profile image

      rayray131 6 years ago

      great lens for a cold day.

    • profile image

      faye durham 6 years ago

      Great photos - yummy recipes!

    • Shana rios Chavez profile image

      Shana rios Chavez 6 years ago

      yummy yummy yummy

    • thehometeam ire profile image

      thehometeam ire 6 years ago

      liquid gold...mmmm!!!

    • profile image

      FashionMommy 6 years ago

      Lovely lens! The tips are amazing and i will try them out.

    • petermurray profile image

      Peter Murray 6 years ago from Izmir, Turkey

      I just had a hot chocolate before reading this lens. Now I want another one.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      yummy too sweet

    • girlwiththeumbr profile image

      girlwiththeumbr 6 years ago

      Yum! I love hot chocolate. Nice lens!

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 6 years ago

      Thanks for the tips and delicious hot chocolate recipes.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love chocolate!

    • normandes profile image

      normandes 6 years ago

      Lovely lens, just pick this lens to finish my chocolate quest :)

    • TheWritingnag profile image

      Writing Nag 6 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Great lens! I want to try many of these!

    • profile image

      phpdeveloperindia 6 years ago

      I Love it

    • profile image

      BradKamer 6 years ago

      I enjoy a good cup of hot chocolate second only to the perfect cup of coffee. So true about being careful not to overheat (boil) the milk when preparing. Great lens!

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 6 years ago

      I love ANYTHING chocolate!

    • vividviolet profile image

      vividviolet 6 years ago

      I am so trying that!

    • sarahrk lm profile image

      sarahrk lm 6 years ago

      Thanks for these recipes. I love hot chocolate, especially Mexican

    • indigomoth profile image

      indigomoth 6 years ago from New Zealand

      I love this stuff.

    • TheHealthCabin profile image

      TheHealthCabin 6 years ago

      I'm sticking the kettle on now :) Great lens, Thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      My kids are going to love me for finding this lens. Thanks!

    • profile image

      raincoats 6 years ago

      Yum. I've been looking for a good from-scratch recipe for hot chocolate.

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 6 years ago

      Beautiful!! Love hot chocolate made with milk. And a dollop of whip cream. Nothing better. Blessed!

    • profile image

      BlowDryBar 6 years ago

      Hot chocolate will be around forever!

    • canoz profile image

      Heather Bradford 6 years ago from Canada

      Take the recipe to a new level by using rapadura sugar and organic cocoa. Divine! Great lens. Thanks!

    • profile image

      KittKattz 6 years ago

      I really enjoyed your lens, especially the recipes! Am going to make a batch of the Basic Hot Cocoa Mix tonight.

    • Scotties-Rock profile image

      Clairissa 6 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      Sounds so good! I really want one now.

    • snazzify lm profile image

      Katie Harp 6 years ago

      blessed by a squid angel :) <3

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nice lens, well done! :)

    • TiannasCafe profile image

      TiannasCafe 6 years ago

      These recipes sound delicious! Gotta go to the store now so I can have some :) Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      Rokzalo 6 years ago

      That looks wonderful :)

    • buttercupguinea profile image

      buttercupguinea 6 years ago

      This lens makes my mouth water,

      I going to drink some hot chocolate right now!

    • Daphsam LM profile image

      Daphsam LM 6 years ago

      So so good! I am going to fix this for me and the family! Thank you for this lens!

    • maytheforcebewi profile image

      maytheforcebewi 6 years ago

      Love this.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 6 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      I need to try some of your tips. When I get hot chocolate when I'm out somewhere I'm always disappointed. It's basically brown hot water. Bleck! Then I tried some hot cocoa (don't remember where) and it was like hot sugar water. Nothing chocolate in either case. Guess I need to try to make my own at home.

    • profile image

      JZinoBodyArt 6 years ago

      Omnomnom! Bookmarking this for a snow day! Great lens :D

    • profile image

      dealnation 6 years ago

      Love me HoCho!

    • SecondHandJoe LM profile image

      SecondHandJoe LM 6 years ago

      I loved it so much...that's what I named my dog! Delicious lens!

    • profile image

      ultrascati95 6 years ago

      Read this lens made me hungry xD i will ask my mumto make a cup of chocolate right now :D Thank you for these important advice i will add this lens to favourites so that i can come here to read all these delicious recipes :P YAMMI! Squidliked ;)

    • Merstarr profile image

      Merstarr 6 years ago

      Now making hot chocolate... well, my version. Coffee with a whole packet of hot chocolate and a shot of half Baileys Irish Cream and half Frangelico .

    • Alethia LM profile image

      Alethia LM 6 years ago

      Mmmm... me hungry! How on earth can someone make that leaf pattern on top of the chocolate? I saw it in the Green Hornet movie and I've wanted to learn ever since!

    • profile image

      qbessi 6 years ago

      I love hot chocolate

    • shandigp profile image

      shandigp 6 years ago

      If the hot chocolate is particularly sweet I add a touch of sea salt to the top. It brings out the fruity cocoa flavor while making the sweetness, which is often too much for me, more enjoyable (think a dark chocolate covered pretzel).

    • profile image

      myamya 6 years ago

      nice lens! thumbs up!

    • profile image

      embrycreations 6 years ago

      I like all types of hot chocolate! The homemade recipe looks like something I am going to try!

    • profile image

      rockhardtreats1 6 years ago

      Great article when you're CRAVING hot chocolate on a cold January day like today

    • JeanJohnson LM profile image

      JeanJohnson LM 6 years ago

      I love coffee, but sometimes a chocolatey cup of hot cocoa can really hit the spot!

    • Image Girl profile image

      Image Girl 6 years ago

      There's a store here that adds chili pepper in! Nice lens!

    • BuddyBink profile image

      BuddyBink 6 years ago

      The Mixing Trick is genius. I had never thought to do it that way, well done. I do like your introduction image, it is just beautiful. Thanks

    • BananaSlug profile image

      BananaSlug 6 years ago

      Any mix that asks for water, I usually add milk. So rich!

    • oxfordian profile image

      oxfordian 6 years ago

      A lens after my own heart! Here's an Chocolatey-blessing (with whipped cream on top).

    • profile image

      sojourner-1 6 years ago

      Coffee is my first love, but at times I cheat and get a little white chocolate at night.

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 6 years ago from Texas

      Sounds really good! I can't remember when I had hot chocolate last. Good job!

    • Lenskeeper profile image

      Lenskeeper 6 years ago

      I use rice milk for my hot chocolate, but I'm going to try the mocha power in it as well. Thanks for the idea!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      I do love chocolate, hot or cold. My favorite is made with home made mix, a recipe similar to yours from Martha Stewart ... mmmmm. Add a dab of whipped cream or big dollop of Marshmallow Fluff and I'm in heaven.

    • knitter82 profile image

      knitter82 6 years ago

      oh, the frozen hot chocolate sounds so good...even if it is freezing outside!

    • MaryQuinlin profile image

      MaryQuinlin 6 years ago

      Cadbury hot chocolate is my favorite, but I've never tried making my own. Next time I'm at the store...

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      tasos30fullou 6 years ago

      better than coffee!

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      anonymous 6 years ago


    • spider-girl profile image

      spider-girl 6 years ago


    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 6 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      Great lens...I'm including it in the food & drink section of my Favorite Lenses lens.

      Oh also another idea for mixing the powder (or syrup) thoro... I have this little battery powered hand mixer I bought at Ikea for $2.99. I LOVE it. I also use it when I make chocloate milk. Its mostly to mix drinks & to froth milk (i think) on top of your hot drinks.

      I also like Hot 'cocoa' with milk. It just tastes like water if there isn't at least some milk in it. (we to are a 2% house) but to me up to whole milk or cremer can be put it in it. The creamier tasting the better. (& I LOVE mini mellows on top)

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Yum, love hot chocolate once in a while. That scoop of ice cream in the cup looks delicious!

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      djroll 6 years ago

      Now my coffee next to me doesn't seem so inviting. I think I'll have hot chocolate instead. Great lens - thanks!

    • profile image

      careermom 6 years ago

      I love hot cocoa. I'm enjoying a cup while reading your lens.

    • vincente lm profile image

      vincente lm 6 years ago

      Making me a hot chocolate right now!

    • stylesuxx profile image

      stylesuxx 6 years ago

      Interesting recipes, I think I'll have a cup right away :-)

    • Sunfish LM profile image

      Sunfish LM 6 years ago

      I actually like my hot coco with water ... I know, I'm in the minority on that one.

      I get the unsweetened cocoa powder in the baking section and add hot water. That's it! No sugar.

      When I travel,I have occasionally gotten a hot chocolate in almond milk. Hmm, that's a treat for sure, and only at those times away form home after a good day of walking/hiking.

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      SuneXtra 6 years ago

      Now I'm really really craving some hot chocolate!!

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 6 years ago

      It's winter and every afternoon is a hot chocolate afternoon! Really great lens.

    • queenofduvetcover profile image

      queenofduvetcover 6 years ago

      I'm addicted to hot cocoa =D

      Great lens!

    • profile image

      cleanyoucar 6 years ago

      Ohhh I love chocolate!

    • Julia Morais profile image

      Julia Morais 6 years ago

      Yummy hot chocolate, my favourite drink in the world. Thanks for the recipe for the chocolate mix.

    • profile image

      leeleon 6 years ago

      nice lens.I have chocolate fondue recipe.Welcome to see it and try it. Enjoy!!

    • profile image

      amitjivani 6 years ago

      Chocolate shakes are my most favorite....