Classic Homemade Hot Chocolate

Velvety smooth and rich in chocolate flavor makes this Classic Homemade Hot Chocolate the warm beverage of choice during the winter. This beverage is a thick and sweet dessert drink that can be made on the stovetop or crockpot.

Three homemade hot chocolates topped with whipped cream in tall slim glasses.
Three hot chocolates in tall glasses.

Whether you’re sipping this dessert fireside or warming up kids after snowball fights, hot chocolate is a luxurious winter indulgence. Just this morning I heard my kids talking about how much they loved hot chocolate over breakfast. It made me excited to make it for them soon.

There’s also something to be said about the homemade version of this dessert drink. The store-bought powdered packets, though they’re good, aren’t quite as decadent as when you make it at home.

Dessert beverages are what make colder months so sweet, which is why I love making this pumpkin hot chocolate in fall and then eggnog during the holidays.

How do you make hot chocolate from scratch?

Preparing hot chocolate from scratch is extremely simple and requires only a few ingredients. Though chocolate can be pricey I suggest getting the best quality ingredients you can find for this recipe.

  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and brown sugar and combine using a whisk.
  • Slowly pour in the milk while continuing to whisk the mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and then reduce to low.
Homemade hot chocolate ingredients in a medium saucepan.
  • Stir in chocolate and salt. Continue stirring until chocolate is completely melted.
  • Remove from heat and add in the vanilla.
Chocolate chunks in a medium saucepan with a wooden spoon and a glass filled with hot chocolate.

The Best Chocolate for Hot Chocolate

To counter the sugar mixed into this creamy beverage you’ll want to use a bar of plain chocolate that’s 60% or higher. I recommend using high-quality chocolate since it’s a key ingredient in the mixture.

Is it better to make hot chocolate with milk or water?

Hot chocolate is supposed to be a thicker and more creamy beverage than hot cocoa and is traditionally prepared using milk or cream. Hot cocoa is thinner and made using water.

Though it comes down to preference the best type of milk to use for making hot chocolate is whole milk. Some versions of the recipe will use half-and-half or heavy cream, but smooth and not too thick consistency is achieved with whole milk.

If you’d like to make a dairy-free hot chocolate then use canned coconut milk instead of other non-dairy milk. The other versions are too thin, which will result in a drink closer to hot cocoa.

Three hot chocolates in tall glasses with slim handle.
Plain hot chocolate poured into three tall glasses.

Best Toppings and Add-ins

To add even more flavor to this dessert drink you can top it off with all kinds of sweet treats or turn it into an adult beverage with alcohol. If you plan on going in this direction the three best alcohols to use are Kahlua, amaretto, or Bailey’s.

  • Homemade Whipped Cream
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Shavings
  • Kahlua
  • Bailey’s
  • Amaretto

Want to make this beverage a holiday one? Use a candy cane as a stirring stick and you’ll get a delicious peppermint flavor. Better yet, use eggnog instead of milk.

Two homemade hot chocolates in tall slim mugs topped with whipped cream.

Classic Homemade Hot Chocolate

This easy recipe for Classic Homemade Hot Chocolate will warm you up on those cold winter days and nights and is the perfect sweet drink.
4.34 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 564kcal
Author: Aimee Mars


  • 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 4 cups Whole Milk
  • 6 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract


  • Melt the Butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the Cocoa Powder and Brown Sugar and combine using a whisk. Slowly pour in the Milk while continuing to whisk the mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and then reduce to low.
  • Stir in Chocolate and Salt. Continue stirring until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and add in the Vanilla.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 564kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 188mg | Potassium: 739mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 766IU | Calcium: 327mg | Iron: 4mg
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About The Author


I’m thrilled you’ve stopped by my space here and love to connect with new friends through food. I’ve always felt sharing meals brings people together, which is one of the many reasons I began this site.


10 thoughts on “Classic Homemade Hot Chocolate

  1. 5 stars
    This is definitely not the hot cocoa I grew up on! 🙂 This looks decadent and delicious..can’t wait to make!

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