Best Hot Chocolate

Homemade hot chocolate is infinitely better than boxed mix. And our recipe is extra decadent, thanks to the cup of actual chocolate (not just cocoa powder). For a perfect cup of cocoa every time, here’s what to remember.

Whole milk is preferable. 

When you’re drinking hot cocoa, you’re most likely trying to be festive and cozy, not healthy. Go all out with whole milk. Remember, fat = flavor. If you only have skim or low-fat, don’t worry. This recipe will still totally work.


Watch the milk! 

If you walk away as it’s coming to a simmer on the stovetop, it will likely boil over. Trust us, this has happened to us too many times to count.

Use your favorite kind of chocolate. 

We’re partial to semi-sweet (60% cocoa) or bittersweet (70%). But if you like your cocoa a little bit sweeter and creamier, feel free to use milk chocolate. We usually use chocolate chips because they’re always in our pantry. But if you want to splurge on a nice bar of chocolate, go for it. It’ll be worth it!

Have fun with the toppings. 

Homemade whipped cream is classic and always a good idea. But ice cream (to make hot cocoa floats!)  is really amazing too.


2 c. whole milk
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 c. chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whipped cream, for serving
Chocolate shavings, for serving


  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to simmer. Whisk in sugar and cocoa powder and stir until no lumps remain. Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla and cook, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is completely melted. Turn off heat.
  2. Pour hot chocolate into mugs, then top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.