How to Make a Great Cup of Hot Chocolate

Cup of hot chocolate marshmallows and a cinnamon stick with chunk of chocolate in the background

Winter is full of freezing nights, and there’s nothing better to warm you up then a great cup of hot chocolate. Making a great cup of rich, creamy hot chocolate depends on your method and ingredients you use. You can get creative with your recipes, try new ingredients, and spice it up with candies or try some of our favorite hot chocolate recipes.

Chocolatey Goodness

If you are a chocolate lover, you will love this recipe. Unlike hot cocoa (which is precisely that, cocoa powder mixed with milk), hot chocolate uses good quality whole block chocolate. This will make your cup of hot chocolate, rich, creamy, and delicious!

  1. Start with good quality chocolate, somewhere around 70%. This gives it a bittersweet taste. Have fun experimenting with different types of chocolate, if you prefer sweeter hot chocolate look for chocolate lower than 70% or opt for milk chocolate bars. 
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. To create a double boiler, place a glass bowl or saucepan over another saucepan filled with water. Simmer on medium heat, stirring the chocolate frequently, so it doesn’t burn. This will help create the creamy, rich chocolate before pouring in your milk. If you want to go the lazy route and only use one pot, chop up the chocolate into small pieces and add it directly into your simmering milk. This way is quicker and uses fewer pots, but isn’t as rich or creamy. 
  3. In another medium, pot steep the milk on a gentle simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Get creative here, add vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, cayenne powder, sugar, or whatever spices you enjoy. Reduce heat to low until the chocolate is ready to be added. Be sure to remove any cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans before adding the chocolate. To make it extra chocolatey, use chocolate milk. 
  4. Once the chocolate is fully melted, slowly pour it into your milk mixture. Stir thoroughly until the chocolate is fully incorporated into the milk. Add a pinch of salt and top it off with marshmallows, whip cream, fudge, and sprinkles.

Vegan Hot Chocolate

You may be wondering… how do you make hot chocolate without milk? Will it even taste good? Surprisingly using plant-based milk still gives you a rich and creamy taste. Even if you’re not vegan, this recipe will warm you from the inside out.

  1. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler. 
  2. Once the chocolate has melted completely, whisk in non-dairy milk.
  3. Add vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup and continue stirring, watching it closely, so it does not burn. 
  4. Divide into mugs and top it with almond whip cream and vegan marshmallows.

Traditional Hot Chocolate

There is no limit to how you can create a great cup of hot chocolate, but if you are looking to enjoy a traditional cup of hot chocolate, this recipe is just right for you. You can get creative, add new ingredients, or even candy bars. The sky is the limit.

  1. If you’re are starting with a chocolate bar, you’ll want to chop it up into smaller pieces, so it melts faster and creates a smooth, silky texture. Add your chocolate pieces to a double boiler and melt. You can add the chocolate directly to your warmed milk, but melting the chocolate first will create a smoother, creamier, hot chocolate. 
  2. Warm-up your milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add a pinch of salt, sugar, and vanilla extract. Watch your milk closely, so it doesn’t burn. Heat it until small bubbles start appearing on the surface. 
  3. Add the melted chocolate to your warmed milk and stir continuously until the chocolate and milk are well mixed. 
  4. Divide and pour into mugs top with whip cream and marshmallows.