Homemade Hot Cocoa

Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 15 min.


5 cups

Updated: Jun. 30, 2023
This homemade hot chocolate recipe will make people think you fussed, but it is so simple. —Cheryl Reitz, Hershey, Pennsylvania


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • Dash salt
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: Miniature marshmallows, sweetened whipped cream or cinnamon sticks


  1. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa and salt. Add water; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in milk; heat to serving temperature (do not boil). Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Whisk until frothy. If desired, garnish with marshmallows, cream or cinnamon sticks.
Hot Chocolate Tips

How can you make hot chocolate your own?

Turn your hot chocolate into a Swiss mocha by adding 2 to 2-1/2 teaspoons instant coffee along with the vanilla. For a Canadian flair, add 1/2 teaspoon imitation maple flavoring with the vanilla. Spice things up by adding 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne for a take on Mexican hot chocolate. For peppermint hot cocoa, add a few drops of peppermint extract or stir cocoa with a peppermint stick or candy cane.

What toppings can you put on hot chocolate?

Jazz up your hot chocolate with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream, or pile on the marshmallows! You can also sprinkle with some grated chocolate or chocolate shavings—even with some warm spices such as cinnamon or cardamom.

How do you reheat hot chocolate?

While a microwave will do the trick in a pinch, hot chocolate (like other warm and cozy drinks!) always warms up better on the stovetop. Heat hot chocolate over low to medium heat in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, until nice and hot.

Mark Neufang, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 211 calories, 7g fat (4g saturated fat), 27mg cholesterol, 125mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate (28g sugars, 1g fiber), 7g protein.

More from Taste of Home