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Homemade Hot Cocoa Recipe

When it's cold outside there's nothing better than a cup of hot cocoa! And this homemade hot cocoa recipe is a 1000 times better than any packet you can get from the store. This recipe is made with cocoa powder only and is ready in about 20 minutes!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 186kcal


  • 6 Tablespoons (32 g) Dutch process cocoa powder *see note
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 3 cups (720 ml) milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream (or half-n-half)


  • Stir cocoa, sugar, salt, and water together. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and water together over low heat until smooth. Heat for 2 minutes, whisking continuously.
  • Add milk and heat. Stir in the milk, and increase the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook for about 12 to 15 minutes until you see steam rise from the surface, and bubbles form around the edge. Do not let the mixture boil.
  • Add vanilla and cream. Stir in the vanilla and the heavy cream. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into mugs and serve.


  • Cocoa Powder - I use and recommend Dutch cocoa powder because it's less acidic and creates a richer cocoa. But you can use natural cocoa powder, but you may want to adjust the sweetness if you do. I found an extra tablespoon of sugar was perfect.
  • Milk - You can make this richer by using full-fat milk, but I prefer low-fat milk to lighten it up a bit.
  • Heavy Cream - This adds creaminess and richness. I tried it with both half-n-half and heavy cream and preferred the richness of heavy cream. But you can always lighten it up a bit with half-n-half.
  • Flavoring: Try adding in a little peppermint extract, or dash of cinnamon, a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce wouldn't be too bad either!
  • Servings: You can cut this recipe in half if you want and make less servings.
  • Hot Cocoa Mix: If you want you can make a batch of the dry ingredients (cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and salt) and keep in a bag and then store to have on hand. Then just make the recipe as directed. I would recommend making a double or triple batch to have on hand. Store in a cool, dry place.


Sodium: 108mg | Calcium: 152mg | Vitamin C: 1mg | Vitamin A: 343IU | Sugar: 23g | Fiber: 2g | Potassium: 246mg | Cholesterol: 26mg | Calories: 186kcal | Saturated Fat: 5g | Fat: 8g | Protein: 5g | Carbohydrates: 26g | Iron: 1mg