Warm Up Your Winter With Cozy Homemade Hot Chocolate

The art of homemade hot chocolate isn’t as complicated as it seems. Prepare for these to be your new go-to hot chocolate recipes.

Updated November 20, 2023
fancy hot cocoa

No matter how you stir, mix, heat, or melt it, there's nothing that comes close to the first sip of homemade hot chocolate. The rich flavors capture you with a cozy warmth from head to toe. It's as though a soft blanket is instantly wrapped around you. Better yet, making homemade hot chocolate is simple. Sounds like it's time to get cozy. 

Recipe for Homemade Hot Chocolate

girl with hot chocolate

You can use any chocolate that you have on hand to make hot chocolate. You read that correctly. But chocolate chips or an oversized chocolate bar are the easiest to work with. Baking chocolate, which is unsweetened, is also easy to work with, but you'll need to add something sweet so it's enjoyable — and not a bitter experience.

When you're done, don't forget to garnish with whipped cream, marshmallows, a pinch of nutmeg, or other non-dairy whipped topping.


  • 6 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 2 cups of milk


  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
  2. Heat the milk in a saucepan over low heat.
  3. Add the chocolate to the warmed milk.
  4. Stir until completely mixed.
  5. Warm a mug, then carefully pour hot chocolate into the warmed glass.

For the adults, homemade hot chocolate is an excellent chance to make a nostalgic childhood treat into an adult delight. Craft a seasonal peppermint hot chocolate cocktail with a touch of schnapps or slip into something a little richer, with an amaretto hot chocolate

Oh, and not a double boiler person? You go right ahead and warm that milk up, add the chocolate, and keep stirring until it all melts together. Just do it on low heat.

Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate

dairy-free cocoa

Some of us live a dairy-free life. And whether that's by choice or because of genetics, there's no reason not to indulge in homemade (dairy-free) hot chocolate. Decadent? Yupp. Creamy? Oh yeah. Even better than the traditional hot chocolate? It is, but don't tell anyone else. Then you'll have to share.


  • 2 cups coconut milk, oat milk, OR almond milk
  • 8 ounces dairy-free chocolate chips OR other dairy-free chocolate, roughly chopped


  1. Melt the dairy-free chocolate in a double boiler.
  2. Heat the dairy-free milk in a saucepan over low heat.
  3. Add the melted chocolate to the warmed milk.
  4. Stir well to completely mix.
  5. Warm a mug, then carefully add hot chocolate.
Quick Tip

Depending on how sweet the dairy-free milk or dairy-free chocolate is, you may want to add a touch of sweetness. You can do this with a touch of white or brown sugar, simple syrup, or even a dash of maple syrup.

Sugar-Free Low-Carb Hot Chocolate

hands holding hot chocolate

Hot chocolate might be indulgent, but that doesn't mean it needs to be overflowing with sugar! Keep all the flavor, but take a walk on the lighter side of homemade hot chocolate. 


  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk, or preferred unsweetened dairy-free milk
  • 8 ounces sugar-free or fat-free chocolate morsels, roughly chopped


  1. Heat the dairy-free milk in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Stir in the chocolate, stirring constantly until melted.
  3. Once totally mixed, warm a mug, then carefully add hot chocolate.
Helpful Hack

You can find Lily's stevia-sweetened chocolate at most grocery stores, and it's perfect in keto hot chocolate.

Popular Hot Chocolate Flavors 

hot chocolate with peppermint

Just like those who make and serve hot chocolate on the Polar Express, there's only one rule: never, ever, let it cool. Truthfully, sometimes we let it cool because it's easy to lose track of your mug. But when it comes to adding flavors? Go wild and dream big. And don't lose your mug.

  • Peppermint (add peppermint candy, a dash of peppermint extract, or use mint-flavored chips)
  • Vanilla (add a dash of vanilla extract to the cocoa)
  • Coffee (add instant espresso to the pan as you cook)
  • Pecans (add pecan syrup to the cocoa)
  • Chocolate-covered strawberry (either add strawberry extract or strawberry candy)
  • Dark chocolate (use dark chocolate chips)
  • Coconut (add a dash of coconut extract and use coconut milk)
  • White chocolate (use white chocolate chips)
  • Almond (add a dash of almond extract)
  • Hazelnut (add a tablespoon or two of Nutella)
  • Peanut (add a tablespoon of peanut butter)
  • Raspberry (add a dash of raspberry extract)
  • Nutmeg (garnish with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg)
  • Cinnamon (add a pinch of cinnamon to the pan)

The Difference Between Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa

Hot chocolate and hot cocoa are similar, but they are not the same beverage. Hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder, while hot chocolate is made with melted chocolate. Both will have a strong chocolate flavor, but the hot cocoa will have a sharper edge while the hot chocolate will be sweeter with a creamier texture. It's all about preference! 

Cuddle Up With Homemade Hot Chocolate

Is there anything cozier than your favorite flannel PJs, warm fuzzy slippers, a soft throw, a good book, and a mug of hot chocolate? Nah — we didn't think so. And with our hot chocolate recipes, it's time to snuggle up with a warm chocolate hug. 

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Warm Up Your Winter With Cozy Homemade Hot Chocolate