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15 Things to Put in Hot Chocolate (Besides Mini Marshmallows)

Baby, it's sure cold outside and just the time for hot cocoa. But don't be basic! Try a few new things to put in hot chocolate that you might not have tried before!

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Hazelnut Mocha haute chocolateTaste of Home


We know Nutella fans can’t get enough of the spread. Add a touch of Nutella to your hot cocoa as it heats. If you want to go a little further, add a splash of Frangelico to your cup!

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Pumpkin Spice

No reason to limit pumpkin spice to just your latte. Stir a bit of leftover canned pumpkin into your mug along with pumpkin pie spice.

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Vanilla or Almond Extract

Your favorite extracts for baked goods also add sweet magic to homey drinks. Try vanilla almond hot chocolate for a taste that’s out-of-this-world good!

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An easy way to add extra flavor to any cup of cocoa—be it out of the box or homemade—is to add a touch of your favorite spices. A sprinkle of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg or even cayenne can all be welcome warming additions.

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Combine one favorite cozy drink with another. Steep a bag of chai tea in your hot chocolate for added spice and flavor. Top with a little extra cinnamon for more of a kick! Here’s how you can make this chai-chocolate recipe from scratch.

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A Splash of Your Favorite Tipple

Hot chocolate is a guilty pleasure on its own, but spiked hot chocolate takes the treat to a whole new level. Just add a splash of Kahlua, bourbon, whiskey, amaretto or Irish cream.

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Chili and Orange Zest

Wake up your senses with a chili-orange hot cocoa. Add a pinch of chili powder, cayenne and orange zest to your favorite packaged hot cocoa.

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Flavored Marshmallows

We know you keep a bag of the basic mallows on hand, but hot chocoalate is an excellent excusse to snatch a few bags of the flavored ones. Our editors love Smash Mallow flavored marshmallows. Try the mint, cookie dough or cinnamon churro flavors—all are great matches for cocoa.

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White Chocolate

If you’re a white chocolate fan, skip the cocoa in your go-to hot chocoalte recipe. Instead use white baking chips and a splash of vanilla extract. Bonus points if you coat the rim in more chocolate and pretty sprinkles!

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Turn your hot chocolate into a mocha-like drink by adding coffee or espresso. Want an easy way to get that cocoa-coffee fix? Sub coffee for the hot water or milk with your powdered cocoa mix. That’s a hack directly from the Taste of Home break room!

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Caramel, Butterscotch or Dulce de Leche

We love these sticky sweet toppings. You can add their sweetness and flavor to your favorite cocoa. Just stir in a spoonful into your favorite mix or homemade cocoa recipe.

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No matter how frigid the temperature, the refreshing, delicious icy taste of peppermint is a hallmark of the season. Stir in crushed candy canes or peppermint candies, mint chocolate chips, a drop of mint or peppermint extract, or fresh mint leaves.

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Biscoff Cookie Spread

Get your hot cocoa and cookie fix all in one cup. Whisk in Biscoff creamy cookie spread until smooth. Pour into mugs; top with sweetened whipped cream and a Biscoff cookie.

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Warm and cozy just met its match. Try maple hot chocolate alongside your favorite Saturday morning pancakes and syrup.

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More Chocolate

Is your packaged hot cocoa mix leaving a little to be desired? Add more flavor by stirring in a teaspoon or two of baking cocoa or even stirring in a little chocolate syrup. This will amp up the chocolatiness and make it the perfect vehicle for all those marshmallows.

Amy Glander
Amy is a book editor at Taste of Home where she gets to pour her passions for food and storytelling into trade and series cookbooks. When she’s not writing or editing, you’ll find her antiquing, cooking and baking from her favorite vintage cookbooks and exploring Milwaukee’s urban beauty with her digital SLR in hand.
Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated 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.