The Best Homemade Hot Cocoa

filed under: Food + Drink on December 23, 2011

Drop everything and make this BEST HOMEMADE HOT COCOA. Check out my tips and tricks for the most flavorful and FUN way to serve hot chocolate! This is quite possibly the richest and creamiest cocoa I have ever made.  And I lurve it.  It’s like a piece of warm chocolate cake in a cup. Looking for the perfect cookie to dunk in your hot cocoa? You might want to try my Snickerdoodles or Sugar Cookies or Hot Cocoa Bombs!

PIN this recipe here!

How to Make Hot Chocolate

The process is so simple! Seriously, once you try this you will never buy powder packets again. (In fact, I also have a homemade chocolate powder you might love.) Simply add all ingredients to a saucepan (following the recipe) and heat. I have doubled and tripled this easy hot chocolate recipe and let it simmer on the lowest heat setting. The kids come in from playing outside on a cold day and can help themselves! Serve a cup with love by adding whipped cream hearts on top.

The Best Homemade Hot Cocoa

Easy Hot Cocoa Recipe

I add something special to my homemade hot chocolate and that is marshmallows! Not after it’s made, but during! I add the marshmallows right into the pan when cooking. (Then I added more to my cup.  That’s how I roll.) It creates this amazingly rich and frothy cocoa… the texture is like velvet!


Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe

Tips, Tricks, Variations

Another way to make this recipe even more amazing is using a dutch process or special dark cocoa. All the sweetness of the marshmallows really cuts into any bitterness and just leaves you with a perfect cup!

Homemade hot chocolate is 100x better than anything you can get in a can, and you can totally customize it to fit your tastes. Try adding a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of cinnamon or even a dollop of homemade whipped cream or peppermint whipped cream on top! Sprinkle with more cinnamon or cocoa powder for a decadent hot cocoa experience.

Try using whole milk instead of skim. My family prefers a thick, rich, velvety hot cocoa experience, and the higher fat content in whole milk certainly helps with that.

Easy Hot Chocolate Mix Recipe

Can you make this crockpot hot cocoa?

Absolutely! Just add all ingredients (even the marshmallows) to your crockpot on low for about 1-2 hours. I do recommend doubling it for the best crockpot hot cocoa recipe.

Homemade Hot Cocoa Recipe

Personalized Marshmallows

One thing that has really made my homemade hot cocoa recipe legendary is my personalized marshmallows. The recipe is easy!

You will need:

1 bag large marshmallows (I have used mini and they work great as well)

powdered sugar

non-stick spray

baking pan/cookie sheet

alphabet cookie cutters or any shape you prefer

Heat marshmallows in a microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray and do a light coat of powdered sugar. Remove the bowl of hot marshmallows from microwave and stir until smooth.

These customizable marshmallows are SO EASY!!

Immediately pour the marshmallows onto the cookie sheet. Dip your hands in powdered sugar and press the marshmallow down into a flat layer.

Place marshmallows in the freezer for about 4 minutes. Remove and press your cookie cutter into the powdered sugar, then into the marshmallow. Remove your marshmallow shape and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat until you have all the shapes you want. Place the personalized marshmallow into a cup of hot cocoa or place in the freezer until ready to use.

This trick also works with completely homemade marshmallows, I would just try to make the layer a little thinner if using cookie cutters.

Looking for More Chocolate Treats?

Spanish Hot Chocolate

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Frozen Hot Chocolate

The Best Homemade Chocolate Milk

5 from 8 votes
Best Homemade Hot Cocoa
Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins

It's the best! Super easy and always delicious!

Course: Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: hot chocolate
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Amanda
  • 4 cups milk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup good quality cocoa
  • cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a saucepan combine all ingredients. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until the marshmallows are melted, about 10 minutes. (I actually had mine on the stove for about 30 minutes and I just stirred occasionally)
  2. Remove from the heat and pour into mugs.

Recipe Video

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  • Tracey says:

    Replace half of the milk with heavy whipping cream. The taste will be 100 times better and oh so amazing!

  • ginger says:

    I heat a cup of milk in the microwave for 1-1/2 minutes. In a small glass, I mix 1 tsp Hershey’s baking unsweetened cocoa with one artificial sweetener and a little water. I put this in the microwave for 15 seconds. Mix the chocolate well so it all dissolves then pour it into the milk.

  • Jeremy says:

    After the marshmallows melted, the mixture expanded and made quite the mess in my kitchen, but the remaining hot chocolate was delicious!

  • Carol Lopez says:

    I could see this a great Xmas gift. But use instant milk instead. But how much Instant milk?

  • Denise says:

    I simmered cinnamon sticks in the milk for a short time before adding the rest of the ingredients, take them out before adding marshmallows. I love cinnamon in hot chocolate

    • Amanda says:

      Great idea!

  • toots says:

    This is literally just the recipe from the side of the Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa container.

    • Amanda says:

      Except without marshmallows in the pan, which then makes it different. 🤨


    Do you have a dry mix recipe for gift giving?

  • Sherry says:

    As soon as I saw this recipe, I made it! I’m a hot cocoa enthusiast, and I am always trying to find the best recipe possible. I was very disappointed. I love the “Favorite Hot Cocoa” recipe on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa box, and have experimented with different brands and kinds of cocoa. I think I’m disappointed, because I taste all the chemicals in the marshmallows or something. It’s a little too sweet and not enough chocolate flavor for me. My son even said that it tasted similar to Swiss Miss.
    I get the frothiness from adding freshly whipped cream to the top of our hot cocoa. My kids stir it in, then you get pure heaven! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, if you don’t like store bought marshmallows then you will not like this recipe… it’s an important ingredient! And yes, those marshmallows do make it extra sweet. VERY sweet. We love it, but tastes will differ. 🙂

  • Ronnie says:

    I have actually use the same recipe for years the only difference is a pinch of salt it makes a world of difference.

  • Mags Williams says:

    I also simmer a couple of cardamom sees with the cinnamon. It gives a subtle flavour but obvs you don’t have to.

    Also, I have been making my own marshmallows. It’s much easier than it sounds and you can add natural flavours. They are truly delicious and I don’t think I could go back to the shop marshmallows now.

  • Griffith says:

    Dear Amanda.

    Thank you for the great recipes you are sharing with us.

    I want to bake a simple caramel cake for my birthday which is on the 6th of November. Do you have a simple recipe that you can share with me?

    Kind regards
    Griffith. South Africa

  • Fatima says:

    Love love your recipes God bless you and your family

  • Kelly Alderman says:

    It’s not sweetened cocoa…Hershey’s or Godiva unsweetened you add the sugar.

  • V mcmullen says:

    Looks like fun and great hot chcolate

  • Margie says:

    Husband tried some of mine 🤔 dumped he’s coffee out and grabbed his own cup 😂❤️ Thank you for sharing ❤️❤️

  • Louise eversole says:

    I change the sugar for spends and its just as good.

  • Eric Geiger says:

    I like homemade also, everything homemade, if a corp. can box it, you can scratch it. Occasionally I add a little bit of Black Cocoa, ratio is about 10% of your regular cocoa, if you have a tbls of regular add a shy tsp of Black to it. (I also use whole raw milk, I fortunately have a dairy close by)

  • Cathy Carrubba says:

    I have tried dozens of hot chocolate recipes, and this is the best!!

  • Linda says:

    How many does the recipe serve?

  • Margie says:

    I’ve done the homemade hot chocolate ❤️❤️❤️ Grandkids enjoyed, if your going through that much effort for marshmallows why not homemade marshmallows ❤️ Js

  • Alycia Henshaw says:

    I watch your baking videos on Facebook all the time you are a great baker..

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Thank you Alycia!

  • Barbara says:

    Will this recipe work with soy milk?

  • Joan Davis says:

    For a slighty nutty variation I sometimes add a 1/2 tsp Almond Flavoring.

  • Toni DePriest says:

    I just adore you so much. Your kids must feel so loved from all of the little special things that you do. I’ll never forget the things my mom did with me while baking when I was a child and here I am 55yo. Those special feelings matter so much and your kids will always hold those feelings for you. You’re a great mom with Blessed kids. Thanks for sharing all of your recipes and joy. Toni

  • Jan says:

    I’m diabetic; used Splenda or equivalent in place of sugar…worked fine!