The Gay Globetrotter

Classic Hot Chocolate

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You’ve found the best hot chocolate recipe ever! This classic warm winter drink is rich, creamy, chocolatey, and oh so delicious. There’s always time for homemade hot chocolate!

Like CrockPot hot chocolate and white hot chocolate, this classic hot chocolate (without hot chocolate mix) is great alongside appetizers like cranberry pecan cheese ball bites and cream cheese stuffed mushrooms!

A cup of homemade hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, marshmallows, and chocolate chips.

How To Make Hot Chocolate

To make the best hot chocolate ever:

  1. Combine milk, cream, and sugar over low heat. 
  2. Whisk in cocoa powder and semi sweet chocolate until incorporated. 
  3. Stir in vanilla, and serve hot. 

Bittersweet VS Semisweet Chocolate

Bittersweet chocolate contains 10%-50% sugar, and semisweet chocolate can overlap with this but is generally sweeter. You can use either in this homemade hot chocolate recipe, but will need to adjust the sugar to taste. 

I like to use bittersweet chocolate chips for hot chocolate, as they melt evenly and double as a hot chocolate topping. If you get a chocolate bar or bulk chocolate, make sure you chop it up before adding it to the hot chocolate. 

2 images showing homemade hot chocolate ingredients being mixed together in a saucepan.

My Favorite Hot Chocolate Toppings

The best part of making homemade hot chocolate is toppings! We love making a fun hot chocolate bar full of toppings for everyone to enjoy. Some of our favorite toppings to include are:

  • Whipped cream 
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Regular marshmallows
  • Crushed candy canes
  • Crushed skor pieces
  • Crushed oreos
  • Sprinkles
  • Chocolate shavings

A close up of hot chocolate with candy cane pieces, chocolate chips, marshmallows, and whipped cream.

Tips For Making Homemade Hot Chocolate

  • For spiked hot chocolate, we love adding an ounce of bourbon, rum, or even vodka to the hot chocolate while serving.
  • Try making nutella hot chocolate by adding 1/3 cup of nutella to the pot. 
  • Keep the element on medium low. Milk, cream, and chocolate can all burn very easily. Don’t let it sit for too long without giving it a stir.
  • Cocoa powder is a little difficult to incorporate to cold liquids, so heat the milk / cream mixture first. I find a whisk is the easiest tool to help incorporate everything smoothly. 
  • For mexican hot chocolate, add a cinnamon stick, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the hot chocolate while it cooks. Don’t forget to remove the cinnamon stick before serving.
  • For an added holiday flair, try whipping up some eggnog whipped cream to top this hot chocolate recipe!

Two cups of homemade hot chocolate on a serving tray with marshmallows and candy cane pieces.

What To Do With Leftover Hot Chocolate

You’ll be able to enjoy hot chocolate all year round! Here are some of my favorite uses for leftover hot chocolate:

  • Once cooled, pour the hot chocolate into ice cube trays and freeze. These make great additions to coffee that help flavor it and cool it down! 
  • Blend the cooled hot chocolate with some ice for a delicious ice malt drink. 
  • Reheat the hot chocolate, and pour it over some vanilla ice cream for a hot chocolate affogato! 

Hot chocolate freezes well, and can be reheated over low heat to defrost. It will last up to 5 days in the fridge.

More Delicious Drink Recipes

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5 from 3 votes

The Best Hot Chocolate Recipe

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Bailey
This creamy, chocolatey hot chocolate is a simple and delicious winter drink!
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Tried this recipe?I'd love to hear what you think. Leave a comment and rating below!


  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, or chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  • Heat milk, cream, and sugar over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
  • Add cocoa powder, and whisk until combined. Stir in chocolate and vanilla until completely incorporated.
  • Serve immediately, with your favorite hot chocolate toppings!
Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 119mg | Potassium: 488mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 833IU | Calcium: 309mg | Iron: 2mg

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A cup of homemade hot chocolate on a serving tray.

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