How to Make the Best Hot Chocolate

It's time to skip the mix! Learn how to make the best hot chocolate you've ever tasted. This decadent recipe is as easy as it is delicious.

What would winter be without a steaming cup of hot cocoa to keep you warm at night? Not any sort of winter I’d want to endure, that’s for sure. That’s why I like to mix up a cup for myself on the coldest nights of the year. If I’m feeling a little sluggish, sure, I’ll use a packet of good hot chocolate mix (here are Taste of Home staffers’ favorite brands). But when I’m craving the real deal, I rely on the best hot chocolate recipe I know—one that uses milk (never water!), dark chocolate and a whole heap of whipped cream. The result is supremely rich and satisfying—the perfect complement to a cozy night in. The best part though: It’s super easy to make and only takes minutes. Let me walk you through it.

The Best Hot Chocolate Recipe

This recipe is a real cinch—just the thing for when you just got in from shoveling the sidewalk and are craving a homemade treat. In less than 15 minutes, your boots will be off and you’ll be holding a cup in your hands.


  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Whipped cream or the garnish of your choosing

Makes two servings.

How Do You Make Your Own Hot Chocolate?

To make, start by chopping four ounces of chocolate. I used a very dark chocolate, but you can use milk if you prefer—just be sure to use a chocolate that you’d be happy to eat on its own. Once it’s chopped, add it to a small saucepan with the whipping cream, milk and sugar.  Warm this over medium heat until it comes to a simmer, stirring constantly. Once you’ve got it to a nice simmer (not a boil—here’s the difference), remove from the heat and stir until smooth.

Taste of Home

From there, just pour into your favorite mug and garnish with your favorite toppings. I like the classics—mini marshmallows or whipped cream—but there are a lot of other fun garnishes and mix-ins to consider. Check out our list!

The Result

Taste of Home

This recipe makes an exceptionally decadent hot chocolate. That’s thanks to the dark chocolate the recipe calls for, not to mention the milk and cream! This hot cocoa definitely proves that the best hot chocolate is always made with milk. It’s what gives it such a silky texture. I’m certain that once you make hot chocolate like this, you won’t be going back to a powdered mix anytime soon.

Looking to fancy up your hot chocolate? Just add some of these delicious dehydrated marshmallow bits. Don’t forget to check out this handy hack that pairs hot chocolate with Cool Whip to create a cup straight out of your winter dreams, or add these festive hot chocolate bombs from Target to your mug. Also check out the best hot chocolate mixes according to cocoa and cozy experts.

Up Next, learn how to make hot chocolate brownies just like Christina Tosi, queen of sweet treats and nostalgic flavors.

Check out our other favorite hot cocoa recipes.
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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is a former Taste of Home editor and passionate baker. During her tenure, she poured her love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa also dedicated her career here to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.