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The Creamiest Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe

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This homemade hot chocolate recipe is rich and creamy and perfect for wintertime sipping. It's made with melted chocolate and real cream and is as delicious as it is creamy!
Two cups of creamy homemade hot chocolate and pieces of dark chocolate.

Creamy Homemade Hot Chocolate

I’ve been on a mission to create the creamiest hot chocolate, that’s rich, decadent and perfect for serving to guests.

After much recipe testing, I’ve found a way to make creamy hot chocolate at home, that’s like a mixture of chocolate ganache and cream.

The key is to make it with premium chocolate and not chocolate chips or cocoa powder.

The result is a hot chocolate that’s perfectly smooth and the perfect winter sip for chocolate lovers!

Melted dark chocolate makes the creamiest homemade hot chocolate.

Why You’ll Love this Hot Chocolate

  • This hot chocolate recipe is easily scaled. It’s easy to make a single serving or multiply the recipe to make more for larger groups.
  • Melted chocolate gives this hot chocolate a perfectly smooth texture, free of any undissolved, gritty powder.
  • This hot chocolate is a great base for combining with other flavors using extracts, syrups and toppings.

Rich and Creamy Hot Chocolate Recipe

What sets this recipe apart from regular hot cocoa is that it’s made with melted dark chocolate and real cream.

Ingredients

  • Premium Dark Chocolate Bar (about 70% cocoa)
  • Light Brown Sugar
  • Heavy Cream
  • Whole Milk
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Sea Salt
Overhead picture of all the ingredients need to make creamy hot chocolate at home, including a dark chocolate bar, heavy cream, milk and sugar.
Dark chocolate high in cocoa butter is the key ingredient for making silky smooth homemade hot chocolate.

Premium Dark Chocolate: Premium dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa butter melts into a glossy smooth mixture.

You can use a dark chocolate baking bar or a dark chocolate bar similar to Lindt 70% or greater.

Do not use regular chocolate chips meant for cookies and other desserts. They contain emulsifiers to retain their chip shape and our goal is for the chocolate to be as creamy as possible.

Also, don’t sub in cocoa powder for the real chocolate. While it makes delicious hot cocoa, this recipe is for the creamiest hot chocolate.

Use a chocolate bar that has a high percentage of cocoa butter for hot chocolate that comes out rich and creamy every time!

Sugar: My preference is to make this recipe with light brown sugar. It adds another flavor dimension.

However, you can use white granulated sugar, if preferred. Either way, it’s delicious!

Heavy Cream and Whole Milk: Using real heavy cream and milk is a must for achieving creamy hot chocolate.

Low-fat milk, plant-based milks and water are just too thin.

Vanilla: I always add a splash of vanilla to dark hot chocolate, just like the original Starbucks hot chocolate recipe.

Vanilla balances the rich chocolate.

You can use pure vanilla extract or vanilla syrup. If you opt for syrup, then use it in place of the sugar in the recipe.

Sea Salt: A pinch of sea salt heightens the chocolatey flavor.

Ingredients for making this recipe in packages and containers.
Keep a few premium dark chocolate bars on-hand to make homemade hot chocolate all winter.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Chop the chocolate bar into small, evenly-sized pieces. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine heavy cream and sugar. Warm up until sugar is dissolved (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add chocolate to cream mixture, stirring continuously until melted (about 1 minute).
  4. Once the chocolate is melted and you have a glossy blend of chocolate and cream, slowly drizzle in the milk in small increments. Whisk until heated through before drizzling in more milk.
  5. After all the milk is added, heat the hot chocolate to about 130-150 degrees F. Remove the hot chocolate from the stove and stir in vanilla extract and sea salt.
  6. Pour the creamy hot chocolate into individual cups and garnish with toppings. My favorite is whipped cream!

Detailed recipe and instructions are in recipe card at bottom of post.

Recipe Notes

Melting the Chocolate: It’s important to melt the chocolate slowly and over low heat. You don’t want to risk burning it.

Make sure to chop chocolate into pieces of equal size for even melting. In other words, try to avoid having some pieces of chocolate (small ones) melt before other pieces (large ones).

Melted chocolate in a saucepan next to a whisk and chocolate squares on a foil wrapper.
Melted chocolate with a high percent of cocoa butter is silky smooth.

Adding Milk to Chocolate Cream Mixture: It’s important to add small streams of milk at a time for two reasons.

First, adding a large amount of cold milk comes at the risk of the chocolate seizing and losing its creaminess. So add it slowly and make sure the hot chocolate is hot before adding more.

Secondly, if you add cold milk all at once, it takes longer to make the hot chocolate hot enough, especially since we don’t want to increase the heat and risk scalding the cream and milk.

Hot Chocolate Variations

Switch up the flavor with extracts, syrup, other types of chocolate and toppings.

Flavored Extracts: Substitute the vanilla extract with a flavored extract, such as peppermint.

Flavored Syrups: To combine this hot chocolate recipe with flavored simple syrup, leave out the brown sugar and warm up the syrup with the heavy cream. I use 1 1/2 tablespoons of syrup per cup of hot chocolate.

My favorite simple syrup/hot chocolate combos are vanilla, peppermint, cinnamon dolce and hazelnut.

Chocolate: Use white chocolate in place of the dark for the creamiest white hot chocolate or use both dark and white to make zebra hot chocolate.

Toppings: Top hot chocolate with marshmallows or whipped cream. I always use this recipe for Starbucks whipped cream.

But, gingerbread whipped cream is a fun option for the holidays!

Sprinkle on some slivered chocolate, crushed peppermint or cookie crumbles, if desired. You can even drizzle on caramel or chocolate sauce.

More Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipes

Want to save this recipe to make later?
Pin it to your Pinterest board!

Rich & Creamy Homemade Hot Chocolate

Rich & Creamy Homemade Hot Chocolate

Yield: 8 ounces
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes

This homemade hot chocolate recipe is rich and creamy and perfect for wintertime sipping. It's made with melted chocolate and real cream and is as delicious as it is creamy!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Chop the chocolate bar into small, evenly-sized pieces. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine heavy cream and sugar. Warm up until sugar is dissolved (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add chocolate to cream mixture, stirring continuously until melted (about 1 minute). Do not rush this process or be tempted to increase the temperature.
  4. Once the chocolate is melted and you have a glossy blend of chocolate and cream, slowly drizzle in the milk in small increments and whisk until heated through. Make sure the hot chocolate is hot before drizzling in more milk.
  5. After all the milk is added, heat the hot chocolate to 130-150 degrees F. Remove the hot chocolate from the stove and stir in vanilla extract and sea salt.
  6. Pour the creamy hot chocolate into individual cups and garnish with toppings. My favorite is whipped cream!

Did you make this recipe?

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