Best Hot Chocolate from Scratch

This rich and creamy hot chocolate is easy to make, and has intense chocolate flavor. I’ve tested all the different ways to make hot chocolate and settled on this method as the best. Garnish with whipped cream or marshmallows for a cold weather treat!

Homemade Hot Chocolate From Scratch In White Tea Cup From Melted Chocolate

I am the type of person who gets cabin fever very easily, but it is SO darned cold lately that all I want to do is stay inside, wrap myself up in my fuzzy throw blanket, and drink hot beverages.

Since I’m not much of a coffee drinker, when I want something hot to drink I usually make tea or hot chocolate.

Chopped Chocolate Next To Homemade Whipped Cream Garnished Homemade Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is made in many different ways, beginning with either cocoa powder or actual chopped chocolate.

Personally, I don’t like cocoa powder hot chocolates. They never seem to get silky smooth (oh, the clumps), and cocoa powder doesn’t have the cocoa butter content that a chocolate bar has, so it’s not as rich and creamy.

So, in my opinion, hot chocolate always starts with real chopped chocolate:


The next thing I have played with is how to actually incorporate the chocolate into the milk.

A lot of recipes say to add the chopped chocolate directly into the hot milk, and stir until the chocolate melts.

But again, I don’t think the hot chocolate ends up smooth enough, because it’s hard to chop the chocolate finely enough that it melts in the hot milk. The chopping is something that has to be done by hand (the food processor doesn’t work well, in my experience), and it’s an annoying enough task as it is.

So here’s what I do.

I heat up my milk in a saucepan per usual (with a little sugar):


I bring it to a scalding temperature (about 180 degrees F). If you don’t have a thermometer, no problem, because you can tell when it’s about 180 degrees F when little bubbles start to form on the side of the pot, but it’s not quite boiling:


Be careful to not let the milk come to a boil, or your hot chocolate will be grainy.

When the milk is properly hot, I turn off the heat, and add melted chocolate straight into the milk (just microwave the chopped chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring after each time, until melted):


The melted chocolate whisks in beautifully and you end up with creamy, smooth hot chocolate:


Serve with either homemade marshmallows or whipped cream.

For another quick chocolate fix, check out my Actually Good Chocolate Mug Cake.

These Chocolate Pots de Creme are also one of my favorite chocolate desserts!

Below is a video I made for this Hot Chocolate recipe, and get the full recipe & instructions below.

Hot Chocolate Tips:

  • Can hot chocolate be reheated? Yes, you just need to make sure you don’t bring it to a boil. For that reason, I recommend reheating it on the stovetop until it’s hot and steamy (but not boiling), instead of using the microwave where it’s harder to control the heat.
  • How to store leftover hot chocolate: Let the chocolate cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat per instructions above.
  • Hot chocolate vs cocoa: What’s the difference? Hot chocolate is made with actual chopped up chocolate (like this recipe), whereas hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder. Hot chocolate is richer.

Best Homemade Hot Chocolate

 This rich and creamy hot chocolate is super easy to make, and has intense chocolate flavor. Garnish with whipped cream or marshmallows for a cold weather treat!

4.5 rating
10 reviews


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (just under 1 cup measured)
  • splash of vanilla extract, optional
  • whipped cream, optional
  • marshmallows, optional


  1. Combine milk and sugar in a small saucepan and place on the stovetop over medium heat.
  2. While the milk is heating place the chopped chocolate in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds. Take the chocolate out and stir it. Return to microwave and heat for another thirty seconds, remove and stir. Continue to heat and stir the chocolate in 30 second intervals until just melted.
  3. When the milk reaches the scalding point (180 degrees F, with bubbles on the side), turn off the heat and add the melted chocolate, whisking to combine. Add the vanilla extract now, if desired. Top with whipped cream or marshmallows if using, and enjoy!


Recipe Notes

Make sure you don’t overheat the milk. You want it to just have bubbles on the sides, about 180 degrees F. You do not want the milk to boil.

Nutrition Information Serves 2 servings
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