How To Make Hot Chocolate (With Ingredients You Likely Have On Hand)

Have you ever wanted to make hot chocolate, but you didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand? Learn how to make hot chocolate from scratch with ingredients that everyone most likely has on hand here.

A mug of hot chocolate with a holly leaf homemade marshmallow, sprinkled with crushed candy cane. In the background is a silver christmas ornament and two gingerbread men.

The other day on Facebook I shared an article from The Weather Channel titled Drink Up! 5 Ways Hot Cocoa Is Good for Your Heath. Fans and I agree that we certainly don’t need to be told twice that drinking hot chocolate is a good idea. 

Some Health Benefits of Cocoa

Is hot chocolate healthy? In case you needed the stats to justify making a cup or two or three…

  1. Is nutritious
  2. Contains antioxidants
  3. Promotes heart health
  4. Aids memory
  5. Makes your brain happy

Making Hot Cocoa from Scratch

There are some days I put in that little extra effort when I make a cup. A bit of homemade whipped cream, a dash of cinnamon, and some shredded chocolate bits make for a heavenly cup of liquid chocolate. Someone, please grab me an afghan, a book, and my cat and I am good to go.

While a cup of cocoa from a packet isn’t terrible, I knew homemade had to be better. Being a savvy (and frugal) girl, I knew making hot chocolate myself was something I could figure out. Turns out the basic recipe for a hot chocolate mix is quite easy. The difficulty is sampling cup after cup after cup in the name of perfecting the recipe. Don’t worry, I did all the hard work for you.

A red, christmas "believe" mug with peppermint coated marshmallows inside. Christmas greenery surrounds the mug and you can faintly see the Christmas tree in the background.

Hot Chocolate Recipe

Here’s how you make a super simple hot chocolate.

Jump to Recipe


  • 4 c. Milk (or milk substitute – like almond milk; I prefer using whole milk)
  • 1/2 c. Sugar
  • 1/3 c. Water
  • 1/4 c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
A red mug with white polka dots filled with cocoa and marshmallows. Mug is surrounded with red knit gloves, a green and white striped scarf, and a candy cane.


  1. Mix cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan with a whisk.
  2. Add water and put the saucepan on medium-low heat.
  3. Stir constantly until the chocolate mixture comes to a boil. Continue boiling for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in milk, reduce heat, and simmer until it reaches the desired temperature (do not boil!).
  5. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
A white rounded mug with christmas candy pictures on it. Mug is filled with hot chocolate and a candy cane. Mug is surrounded with holiday ornaments.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Toppings

As I said, I love whipped cream on my cocoa with some chocolate chips or chopped chocolate sprinkled on top. There are so many ways to dress up your hot chocolate. Here are a few variations for you:

5 stars

Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe (Delicious And Easy!)

This homemade hot chocolate recipe is quick to make with just three ingredients (plus milk). It's delicious and easy! Learn how to make homemade hot chocolate here.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:8 minutes
Cook Time:7 minutes
Total Time:15 minutes

This post may contain paid links. If you make a purchase using the links in this recipe, I may earn a commission.




  • Mix cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan with a whisk.
    1/2 c. Sugar, 1/4 c. Cocoa Powder, 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • Add water and put the saucepan on medium-low heat.
    1/3 c. Water
  • Stir constantly until the chocolate mixture comes to a boil. Continue boiling for 1 minute.
  • Stir in milk, reduce heat, and simmer until it reaches the desired temperature. Do not boil!
    4 c. Milk
  • Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
    1 tsp. Vanilla Extract


Nutritional information is based on whole + vitamin D milk.


Serving: 300g | Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 175mg | Potassium: 644mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 1625IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 326mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword: Chocolate
Servings: 4
Calories: 297kcal

Now, because I care about the blood flow and oxygen going to your brain, and your ability to think clearly, I insist you stop what you’re doing and go make a cup of cocoa. Maybe pair it with some chocolate pudding pie. Trust me, you’ll thank me.

A pinterest-friendly graphic with pictures of homemade hot chocolate.

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  1. Every fall I get a major craving for hot chocolate and hot apple cider. I’m glad I came across this article because homemade is so much better than anything you can get in the store.

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      So much better! I hope you like it.

  2. Jean | says:

    Jessica, sounds good! There’s no earthly reason to use packaged hot chocolate mixes unless you’re camping.

  3. This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home! Happy New Year!

  4. Jennifer A says:

    I cannot wait until it gets chilly enough for some hot chocolate! (And you know what’s really good on top of hot chocolate? Vanilla ice cream. Yes.) This is a great recipe Jess! Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop!

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      Why that sounds positively delicious. I happen to have some vanilla ice cream hiding in the back of the freezer…

  5. Jean | says:

    Don’t know why so many people by mixes when it’s so easy. Like that you linked to ways to embellish!

  6. Here in NZ we have other Irish creams than Bailey’s. It doesn’t matter, hot chocolate, Irish cream (or a shot of vodka for fewer carbs) and some soy milk for the benefits of soy. And in summer? Put into the blender: 1 Tbsp peanut butter, some cocoa, stevia (or chosen sweetener), 1/2 to 1 banana (frozen if possible). Use your chosen glass or mug and fill with ice cubes. Now pour in your milk, soy beverage or chosen liquid to just below the ice cubes. Add a shot or two of Irish cream (or vodka or . . . ). Pour into the blender and blend away. Personally once everything is blended I turn the blender off while I refill the ice cube trays and tidy up the kitchen. One more quick whirl in the blender, fill your glass or mug with delicious ‘chocolate milkshake’ and enjoy! Thank you for a wonderful view into your lifestyle. As a young mom I raised my three daughters on a 47 acre farm/ranch in northern California. Namaste

  7. You forgot the Baileys’ — that’s what I like to add to hot cocoa. Not a lot. Maybe a 1/2 ounce. Their caramel flavoured Baileys’ is perfect, and I omit the sugar and just put 1 tsp of cocoa powder in the cup with boiling water and a dollop of organic cream. Then Baileys’.

  8. Bruce Anderson says:

    Hope you didn’t have too many jitters from all the taste testing!!!!

    1. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make for my dear readers 🙂

  9. Rebecca | says:

    Oh yum!! I’ve been craving hoot chocolate all week. Now I’ll just have to break down and make a pot. I approve of the addition of book, blanket and cat(s).