The secret to perfect homemade hot chocolate


During the last Snowpocalypse when I had 5 kids stuck in my house during snowy weather I whipped up a batch of homemade hot chocolate that the kids just loved.  The parents were pretty impressed that I could make homemade hot chocolate from scratch without a recipe.  My mom taught me at a very early age to make this recipe for hot chocolate with just three ingredients, so today I’m going to pass along my secret recipe to y’all.  I actually had to do a few test batches to figure out the measurements since I’ve always eyeballed the ingredients and never followed an actual recipe.  My mother taught me to mix sugar and cocoa powder together until it was “the color that hot chocolate is supposed to be”.  I’ll try to be a little more exact.

Here is what I came up with in my non-test test kitchen.

The Perfect Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe

1 Tablespoon Hershey’s cocoa powder
1/3 cup white sugar (use 1/4 cup sugar if you like your hot chocolate less sweet)
1 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup milk (to be used separately from other milk)


1. Stir together the cocoa powder and sugar in a medium saucepan.


2. The cocoa powder is going to be lumpy, and that’s ok. Just get them blended together.

Homemade-hot-chocolate-recipe (2)

3. Add 1/4 cup of milk.My mama always used condensed milk for this part, but I figure most people don’t even know what that is these days, so any kind of milk will do.  I used skim. You can use whatever you have on hand.

This is where the secret part comes in.  See how the cocoa and milk don’t want to mix together very easily?  We’re going to force them to love each other.  Homemade-hot-chocolate-recipe-with-skim-milk

4. How can you force it? By applying heat.  Bring the mixture to a low boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly.  Homemade-hot-chocolate-recipe-boiling

5. I let it boil for a minute or two, until the sugar is dissolved an no longer grainy.  Be sure to stir, stir, stir.  Don’t let it burn!

And PS?  Is there anything more beautiful than boiling chocolate? Yum. Homemade-hot-chocolate-recipe-perfect

6. Once it’s all good and mixed together, I add the rest of the milk. I’m not going to lie—I didn’t even measure this out, I just poured straight from the jug.  I think it was about 1 3/4 cup.   If you like a super sweet hot chocolate you could add less, if you like it less sweet, add more milk. This recipe is totally flexible, folks.   Homemade-hot-chocolate-recipe-on-stovetop

When you add the cold milk, you’ll need to turn the heat back up to get the temperature hot again.  You can let this simmer on the stove as long as you’d like, depending on how scalded your taste buds like to be when you sip hot drinks. When I make it for kids I don’t let it heat back up after adding the milk and it makes it just lukewarm enough for my six year old’s tender mouth.


 And that’s it!

The trickiest part of this entire process is pouring the cocoa from the saucepans into the mugs.  I usually stand over the sink to do it in case I spill it, but if you pour it fast with confidence you shouldn’t spill too much.

Marshmallows are totally optional!  Stay warm out there and enjoy! And if you want to kick it up a notch- try this! If you need some peppermint oil, click here:
Perfect homemade peppermint hot chocolate

Want to find out how to turn this recipe into the perfect stocking stuffer or wedding favor? Here you go! Click here:

Homemade Hot Chocolate Stocking Stuffers

If you like this post, be sure to check out a few more yummy recipe ideas I’ve whipped up:

Simple Gingerbread Star Cookies Soft Amish Pretzels Two-Ingredient Hot Apple Cider
  Milk and Cookies for Santa-2 IMG_3935 HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER


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Speak Your Mind



  1. I first started making a similar version to this when I was counting WW points many years ago. Once I learned there are no calories in plain cocoa I was all over using it whenever I could.

  2. This reminds me of the movie The Santa Claus when Elf Judy makes the hot chocolate. She has that special process-“Not too hot-extra chocolate-shaken, not stirred.” My 6 year old loves to create with various ingredients, so this is PERFECT for her to try! Cheers~Michelle

  3. Hi Beth!
    We have made a similar recipe in our house for decades. When the chilly weather hits Wisconsin, the salt-glazed pitcher finds its way to the refrigerator with a mixture of cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, and milk that serves as a hot cocoa concentrate. Stir the cocoa concentrate in the pitcher (some of that yummy cocoa will sink to the bottom as it stands), fill your mug halfway with the concentrate, add milk and reheat in the microwave.
    Here is the recipe:
    1/4 – 1/3 c. sugar
    1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
    several shakes of cinnamon (or about 1/8 t.)
    about 1/4 c. water

    Mix and heat the above ingredients in a medium saucepan on medium heat to boiling; whisking or stirring until the mixture forms a syrup (about 5-7 minutes). (By the way, you can add cream or half & half at this point and boil down to a hot fudge sauce for dessert!)

    Add about 1 liter (1 quart +) milk to the saucepan, stir and heat – do not boil.

    Pour into a pitcher or into mugs.
    We fill our mugs about 1/2 full and add milk to the mixture to get a yummy cocoa, but you can certainly drink it in the more concentrated form straight from the saucepan.
    Marshmallows or cream optional!

  4. Hi Beth
    Sounds delicious. Will file this on Pinterest for cooler weather (still very warm summer weather here in Adelaide, South Australia). One suggetion with the pouring issue – have you got a saucepan with a pouring lip? I have a milk saucepan for heating milk on the stove and it has left and right poring lips to make pouring easier.

  5. I use a similar recipe. And I use a ladle to dish out the hot chocolate. It can still make a mess, but if you hold the mug over the pot, it will drip back in.

  6. I need to make this tomorrow after we freeze out on the soccer field! Oh, and marshmallows are mandatory! 😉

  7. Add a tiny bit of peppermint extract for peppermint hot chocolate. Mmmm

  8. Found this recipe on Pinterest, exactly the easy recipe I was looking for! Might I suggest that you use a ladle to pour the cocoa into the cups? 🙂

  9. Amanda Withrow says:

    Just made this and it is SO GOOD! I added 1/4 teaspoon of Vanilla and a dash of salt. Not buying the packaged stuff anymore! Thanks for the recipe (:

  10. Amanda Withrow says:

    Oh and some mini marshmallows of course!

  11. I doubled this and it needed something… So I added 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp vanilla… Thank you for sharing this! I LOVE IT!!!

  12. Sounds delicious! We love hot chocolate at the Hines house…I’ll be trying your recipe!

  13. How many servings does this recipe make?

  14. Next time…add a dash of salt as well. Nothing better

  15. Found this hot chocolate recipe on Pinterest, pined it and made it for my boys and they loved it.
    Best hot chocolate ever!!! Thank you for posting details:)

  16. Has anyone made it with 2% or whole milk? If so how did it come out? I’m getting different ideas for a hot chocolate bar party I’m hosting 🙂

    Thanks everyone!!

    • I use whole milk. It is rich and creamy. I make mine in the microwave. Mix cocoa, sugar, dash of salt in bottom of mug. Add a few tablespoons of milk one at a time to moisten cocoa stir until cocoa is all moistened than slowly add the rest of the milk stir. Pop in microwave till hot. Add a dash of vanilla and top with marshmallows or I prefer whipped cream. Enjoy!

  17. I made it with only whole milk and it’s super yummy. In my opinion, whole milk is best because it makes the chocolate milk creamier than the other milks. Also, added vanilla and salt like other commentators. Def worth making!

  18. Fantastic recipe! Do easy to adjust to one’s personal taste. As for pouring the mixture from saucepan to mug, hold a spoon vertically to the lip of the pan while you pour. The liquid will run down the spoon and into the mug with very minimal dripping. Something I learned in chemistry way back in school, but we used beakers and glass stir sticks.

  19. we used reduced fat milk and it was really good 🙂

  20. We started out the New Year with your Hot Chocolate recipe. Cliff said “Mom, I’ve never had perfect hot chocolate before but this is PERFECT!” 🙂 I reheated it just a little after I added the milk in but the temp was perfect for his little mouth. Happy New Year, friend!

  21. The big marshmallows are better because they become super gooey! 😉

  22. Thank you for sharing! This was my daughter & I’s first recipe for home made and it now the one we will keep. She is 10 and decided we should add just a few hersheys choc. chips to our mugs. YUM!

  23. Awesome recipe, thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to try it! I do have a question, I’m not a big fan of skim milk but I do drink 2% would it be okay to substitute 2% for skim in the recipe?

  24. Thank you for the recipe! It is a tradition of ours to have hot chocolate after playing in the snow. It’s a really special treat since we only have playable snow once or twice a year in Oklahoma. Today was that day and I was all out of hot cocoa but I don’t think I will ever buy the mix again. So yummy

  25. For anybody looking to make this even simpler (like you said the hardest part is pouring from the pan to the mugs) You can use this general ratio (about two parts sugar to one part cocoa) in mugs too and just microwave it and stir!!!! Great for when you don’t want to make too much. Also a pinch of salt brings out the chocolate flavour even more.

  26. Alexa moeller says:

    This is pretty good! I made it the first time today, but it seems kind of weird. It burns my throat a little bit? Do you think I used too much coca?

  27. I’m going to pin this and use it!

    I like to add caramel syrup to my cocoa sometimes, too – with salt, of course.

    I do love cocoa with cinnamon as well. Also a little cayenne!

  28. I found this to be very sweet and a little bit grain. . My bf loved it though.

  29. Great and simple recipe. The family enjoyed. I threw in some malted milk…just to see…and it was yum yum! Thank you.

  30. This is really good and easy! I added a splash of 1/2&1/2, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt. Yummy!

    Also – I scooped it into mugs with a large ladle 🙂

  31. To me it was way too sweet! The sugar for that amount of milk should be 1/4 cup and not 1/2 a cup! That could be what was burning the throat of the person that thought the coco was burning their throat. But I really like boiling the coco with the sugar and a bit of the milk. With more milk and 1/3 cup coco it is really good!

  32. I love this and love your cute enthusiasmwhen writing this. Makes it fun! You put a smile on my face today and I can’t wait to try this! 🙂

  33. Love this recipe, i usually use a ladle to pour it into cups, less mess…..yummmm

  34. KirstenNB says:

    Hafta add my two cents… I used less sugar, BUT added a shot of schnapps (your favorite flavor), then added just 1 cup milk before reheating. Love it!

  35. This recipe is way too sweet for my taste. Other recipes call for a couple of tablespoons of sugar, not 1/2 cup.

  36. I just made this with Half whole milk & half heavy whipping cream & it was delicious. I added a pinch of salt too. IT’S a perfect recipe. I used a bit over the cups of dairy. Ty

  37. Hiya, I am really glad I have foujd this info. Nowadays bloggers
    publish just about gossips and web and thhis is really annoying.

    A good blog with interesting content, this is what I need.
    Thankms ffor keeping this site, I’ll be visiting it. Do you doo newsletters?
    Can’t find it.

  38. I add cinnamon on top, mmm good!

  39. We always made this in my family, but 1 part cocoa to 3 parts sugar, then milk until it looks like cocoa. Nothing beats the flavor!!



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