Rich and Thick Hot Cocoa Recipes - Coffee Life by EspressoWorks

From Switzerland to Mexico to Sweden, homemade hot chocolate has long been a fall and winter favorite. Some hot chocolate lovers make a point of ordering it when visiting their favorite café or coffee bar. Honestly, the best hot chocolates are ones where you don't even have to leave your home to whip up and enjoy. Here are some delicious recipes for homemade hot chocolate.

Creamy Homemade Hot Chocolate

Preparation time: 1 minute

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Servings: 4 


  • 4 cups, milk (ideally, whole milk or 2% milk)
  • ¼ cup, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup, granulated sugar/honey
  • ½ cup, bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bar
  • ¼ teaspoon, pure vanilla extract


  1. Combine the milk, sugar, and cocoa powder in a small saucepan on the stove.
  2. Heat these ingredients using low to low-medium heat.
  3. While heating the milk, sugar, and cocoa powder, whisk them constantly until they are warm. But don’t bring them to a boil.
  4. Add the chocolate chips to the saucepan.
  5. Continue to whisk until the chocolate chips have completely melted and are evenly distributed in the heated milk.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and whisk for 30 seconds. 
  7. Serve. 

Classic Homemade Wake-Me-Up Hot Chocolate

Preparation time: 5 minutes 

Cooking time: 10 minutes 

Total time: 15 minutes 


  • ¼ cup, granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 cups, whole milk
  • ½ cup, semisweet chocolate (chips, chunks or shavings)
  • ½ teaspoon, vanilla extract
  • 1 shot, espresso
  • A handful of small marshmallows (or big ones chopped)
  • Cinnamon (to garnish)


  1. Place the cocoa powder and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan, whisking them together.
  2. Add the whole milk, vanilla extract, and chocolate chips to this combination and whisk all the ingredients together in the saucepan.
  3. Place the saucepan on a stove and heat the combined ingredients, stirring them nonstop until they reach a soft boil.
  4. While stirring, add in the espresso and make sure the chocolate is totally melted and evenly distributed.
  5. Turn off the heat and set the saucepan aside, allowing the ingredients to cool to the preferred temperature.
  6. Top with the marshmallows and a sprinkle of cinnamon
  7. Add any optional toppings, if desired, and serve. 


Tips for Better Homemade Hot Chocolate

One of the reasons why hot chocolate tastes so great in coffee houses is the fact that baristas have a great deal of practice making it. But there is no reason why homemade hot chocolate cannot be equally delicious.

To make homemade hot chocolate richer and creamier, use half and half — which is a combination of whole milk and cream. But on the other hand, options for making homemade hot chocolate healthier include replacing whole milk with skim milk or almond milk and reducing the amount of sugar used. Those who like their homemade hot chocolate less sweet can use bittersweet or dark chocolate chips.

There are many ways to add different flavors to homemade hot chocolate, and they include adding peppermint extract, cinnamon, or a shot of espresso. Another option: give your homemade hot chocolate a caramel flavor by adding a touch of caramel sauce.

How to Reheat Hot Cocoa

Lovers of homemade hot chocolate often feel a sense of disappointment when the beverage turns cold, but there is no reason why it cannot be reheated easily. One option for reheating homemade hot chocolate is placing it in a saucepan on the stove. For that option, be sure to use low heat and keep stirring until it is warm again. Another option is using a slow cooker, which works well when serving homemade hot chocolate at a party. Only a low heat setting should be used with the slow cooker option.

Common Questions About Homemade Hot Cocoa

How do I prepare Mexican hot chocolate? 

Homemade hot chocolate is not only a favorite in European countries like Switzerland, Germany, and Austria — it is also a favorite in Mexico. But the Mexican version of homemade hot chocolate is distinct from the traditional Swiss or German versions. To make Mexican homemade hot chocolate, follow one of the recipes above but add a ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and a touch of cayenne pepper — and be sure to use bittersweet chocolate.

Does hot chocolate contain caffeine? 

The answer to this question is, “Yes, but not as much caffeine as coffee or black tea.” Because unsweetened cocoa powder has some caffeine, one can expect a slight energy boost when drinking homemade hot chocolate. But “slight” is the main focus here. While one serving of unsweetened cocoa powder contains roughly 12 mg. of caffeine, a cup of black coffee contains 95 mg. of caffeine — and black tea contains around 25-50 mg. of caffeine.

Is it OK to use a pre-made hot cocoa mix?

Yes, a store-bought hot cocoa mix can be used for homemade hot chocolate, but the cocoa and sugar should be omitted. And 4 packets or 4 servings is a good amount to use, depending on what the instructions recommend.

How do I make my hot chocolate frothier?

The perfect what to do this is with a whisk while your homemade hot chocolate is being cooked on the stove. Or, by using a handheld frother after taking it off the heat. The choice is yours - the result is just as yummy!