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Hot Chocolate

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Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe |

Call me crazy, but yesterday as a blizzard was rolling into Kansas City, I decided to get out of the house.

I know. I’m usually the girl who happily cozies up inside when the weather outside gets frightful. But when all of my neighbors decided to bundle up and trudge through the blizzard to get coffee together in the morning, I couldn’t resist the chance to start the day with them and watch the snow fall from the huge windows in our neighborhood coffee shop. Then one of my friends with her big SUV offered to come pick me up and go out for my favorite vegan nachos for lunch (which, if you’ve ever had these nachos, they are 100% impossible to resist). And then of course, I couldn’t resist a trip to the park for the family member who loves playing and dive-bombing and running windsprints and rolling in the snow almost more than life itself — my dog.

But then of course, once we finally returned home it was time for my snowed “in” favorites — my favorite warm sweatshirt, the best slippers ever, a day full of cooking, and one of my favorite warm treats. You guessed it.

Homemade hot chocolate.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe |

When it comes to comforting sweet drinks on a cold day, there’s no beating a warm cup of hot chocolate. I’ve shared with you before about some of my favorite twists on the classic — from Nutella Hot Chocolate to Mexican-Spiced Hot Chocolate to the always delicious White Hot Chocolate.

But yesterday I was craving the real deal. No frills. No gourmet twists. And definitely no powdered mix from a box. Just good ol’ fashioned hot chocolate.

So for anyone else who might be craving the same, I thought I would share my favorite recipe with you. It is super simple, only takes about 10 minutes to make, and has a few tiny secrets that I think kick it up a notch to a chocolate lover’s dream come true. Here’s the how to:

Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe |

First, start by warming your milk in a saucepan. You can use any kind of milk here — cow’s milk, almond milk, soy milk, etc. I’m a 2% girl myself when it comes to hot chocolate, but you can go with whatever floats your boat. (And if you really want to get decadent, sub in a little half and half for part of the milk.)

Keep a whisk or spoon on hand to stir the milk as it heats so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. Then once it’s scalding (stop before it reaches a boil!), turn off the heat and stir in the cocoa, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. A few notes about those ingredients:

  • Cocoa: I prefer to use the dark cocoa (Hershey’s dark) because I love the depth flavor it gives, but you can use any unsweetened cocoa. You’ll notice the dark cocoa makes the hot chocolate look a little darker in color, too.
  • Sugar: You can also use more/less sugar to taste, or substitute in your desired kind of sugar or sweetener. I prefer the “all things in moderation” rule with hot chocolate — opting for a smaller portion of the real deal rather than a larger portion with a sugar substitute — but go with whatever works for you!
  • Vanilla Extract: A “must” with my hot chocolate! It rounds out the flavor perfectly.
  • Salt: All you need is a little pinch, but it helps bring out the flavor of the cocoa and vanilla.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe |

Once your chocolate is ready, ladle it into your mugs.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe |

Then if you’re feeling decadent, top with marshmallows and chocolate syrup.

(And cue the “Would you like some hot chocolate with your marshmallows?” comments. To which I promptly answer, “Yes, I would thankyouverymuch.”)  :)

Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe |

I mean, just look at it. Who can resist a steaming mug of good hot chocolate? I certainly and happily won’t. :)

Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe |

Hot chocolate cheers to you from me and my pup from snowy Kansas City!

Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe |

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Homemade Hot Chocolate

  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: About 4.5 cups 1x


My favorite recipe for homemade hot chocolate!


  • 4 cups milk (any kind)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa (I prefer dark cocoa)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, store-bought or homemade
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • (optional toppings: marshmallows and chocolate syrup)


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until scalding (not boiling!), stirring occasionally. Whisk in sugar, cocoa, vanilla extract and salt until combined.
  2. Serve hot topped with marshmallows and chocolate syrup, if desired.

Be sure to check out these other yummy hot chocolate recipes:

Homemade White Hot Chocolate |

Homemade White Hot Chocolate

Nutella Hot Chocolate |

Nutella Hot Chocolate

Mexican Spiced Hot Chocolate Recipe |

Mexican-Spiced Hot Chocolate

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70 comments on “Hot Chocolate”

  1. Oh how gorgeous and how delicious, I bet. It’s still frigid in Chicago so this hot chocolate is perfection for another one of those nights.

  2. YOUR DOG! I die. So cute!
    I literally started drooling at that first picture with all the chocolate drips.
    This looks like the best darn hot chocolate out there, thanks for sharing a good homemade recipe!

  3. What a perfect hot chocolate! Can’t get enough of your cutest little dog too!! xo

  4. We got quite a bit of snow here too! My kids can’t wait to get out in it today to play, and we have everything to make this yummy looking hot cocoa later! And the marshmallows and chocolate on top is a must!

  5. Oh this is perfect! I could use a cup right now!

  6. Oh how I love snow days! I’m having one today…. But also working. At least I have my blanket and morning coffee… though i now think I’m going to need this hot chocolate, too!

  7. oh my god this looks perfect!! throw a little toasted coconut on top and I will literally swoon :)

  8. marshmallows always!! Your pup is sooo adorable.

  9. I love the puppy pic! And I must try this hot chocolate, thanks so much for sharing it with us! :)

  10. Even though I am out here in sunny California and havent seen cold weather yet…. this looks FAB!!!!!

  11. As a resident of Kansas City, I would love to know the location of said irresistible vegan nachos….thank you for your wonderful recipes and favorite things tips! Those slippers look so so comfy!!!

  12. Looks delish and can’t wait to make it! Tell me where you go for your vegan nachos? I also am from KC and my daughter is vegan and we love to try new places.

  13. I’m not much for hot chocolate and especially Hershey’s cocoa but I had to say your little dog is just the cutest.
    And your capuring his little snowy face is good photography. Thanks for sharing it all.

  14. What a wonderful account of your snowy day. We just got a foot, yes a FOOT of snow today, but I haven’t done anything fun with it yet!!

    I need some hot choc stat!

  15. Your dog is so cute! And this looks simple and perfect, love it!

  16. I’m curious about where the nachos are from? Always looking for a new place to eat.

    • I think the nachos are from Fud. it’s the only vegan one that comes up in the search. It looks like it’s between the crossroads and power and light!

    • Yes please share! Always looking for “to die for” food in KC.

  17. Gorgeous! I need a cup right about now!

  18. This looks absolutely decadent! Perfect for a cold, snowy day. We got 4 inches of snow yesterday and are expecting more this weekend. The cold temps make me want a warm drink like this!

  19. There is absolutely nothing better on a snowy day than homemade hot chocolate! This is gorgeous!

  20. Ohhh man. WE might not have the snow – but we have the frigid temps here in Seattle!! I need a big olllleeee pot of this immediately!!

  21. Ohhh man. WE might not have the snow – but we have the frigid temps here in Seattle!! I need a big olllleeee pot of this immediately!!

  22. Perfect for this HORRIBLY cold KC weather! I wish I was home with a big mug now. :)

  23. Dat drizzle tho….. and your little pop! Super cute >< That mug looks so enticing and warm, I hope things warm up for you soon!

  24. Oh yum, I can’t resist classic hot chocolate :) seeing this put a smile on my face!

  25. Oh my, this looks amazing. This is dangerous for choco-holics!! Your dog is adorable by the way!! Thanks for sharing!

  26. Ali, I’ve tried a lot of hot chocolate over the years, and this is the best homemade hot chocolate I’ve ever had! I just finished my first cup while writing up my February Favorites post and included it in my post. Now I’m off to go have my second cup of it! Thanks for the great recipes!

  27. delicious!  I have made this a few times now. Canadian winters are so cold, this helps us get through the day:) 

  28. This recipe is amazing! I used Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa and the ingredients listed. After it was done and incorporated in I poured it into a cup and added coffee mate and sprinkled a bit of cinnamon into it. Literally tastes like a chocolate cinnamon doughnut! 

  29. Haley,

    These look so delicious! I know my four boys will want to taste the Nutella Hot Chocolate!

    Great photos of one of my favorite things: Hot Chocolate. :D


    • Hi Adrienne! This is actually Ali’s blog and recipe, but we appreciate your sweet comment and we hope you and your boys enjoy this! :)

  30. It’s great.
    Thank you so much!

  31. This is so good!! Very easy and perfect taste. Thanks as always, Ali!

  32. I’m in Kansas City too! I’m definitely craving some homemade hot cocoa right now, it is soooo cold. Thank you for posting! Do I buy the cocoa powder in the tin? I guess I do, right. Lol. I have all the ingredients except that!

  33. Oh my gosh this is so good! Really sweet but it’s by far the best hot chocolate ive ever had! Thanks for sharing this recipe!!! My girls are infatuated! ?