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How to make hot chocolate and never drink pre-mixed again

A cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows and chocolate drizzled over the top
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Everyone should know how to make hot chocolate. After all, it’s one of the most comforting drinks you can get over the colder months. And with the right balance of cocoa, cream and vanilla, this sweet drink can be undeniably delicious. The trouble is that so many of us live such busy lives, that finding the time to make something like hot chocolate from scratch can seem unrealistic. 

What you'll need

¼ cup Unsweetened cocoa powder

4 cups Milk

½ cup Granulated sugar (or to taste)

⅓ cup Chocolate chips 

¼ tsp Vanilla extract

Whipped cream (optional)

Marshmallows (optional)

However, that’s where you’d be surprised. Hot chocolate is actually incredibly easy to prepare yourself. It takes a matter of minutes and the ingredients are pretty common — so even a novice chef can make it. Try this recipe out for yourself, and you will never go back to pre-mixed powders again. Here’s how to make hot chocolate.

The following measurements will make enough to serve four, so adjust as necessary.  

How to make hot chocolate 

1. First, you’re going to want to add the milk to a saucepan. You can use whichever kind of milk you want, but whole milk will give the best results and a more creamy consistency. 

Milk being added to a saucepan on a stove

(Image credit: Future)

2. Now, whisk in the unsweetened cocoa powder and sugar — regular granulated sugar will work for this. It’s better to use a manual whisk, such as the OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk ($10.90, Amazon), rather than electric, as you can keep using this later while it heats. 

A whisk in hot chocolate in a saucepan

(Image credit: Future)

3. Next, heat the mix up on your stove, but do so slowly, using a medium heat. Keep stirring it regularly. 

4. Once it’s warm, add your chocolate chips, and keep whisking until these melt in. Doing this stops the chocolate from burning to the base, so make sure you keep whisking.  

A whisk with melting chocolate on the end above hot chocolate

(Image credit: Future)

5. You can now add your vanilla extract (you won’t need much), and then mix that in. 

6. Once it starts to steam, leave the hot chocolate to cool until it’s a good temperature for serving. While it’s cooling, you can preheat your cups with warm water. 

7. Serve up your hot chocolate to taste with whipped cream, marshmallows and grated chocolate if you want the whole shebang.    

A finished hot chocolate with whipped cream, marshmallows and cocoa powder

(Image credit: Future)

And there you have it, fresh hot chocolate! You can use one of the best dishwashers to help with the clean-up. If there’s any left over, you can also refrigerate it and reheat it later.  

Make it to taste 

Of course, you can adjust this recipe to your liking. Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Fancy a Mocha? Add a shot of espresso to your drink. 
  • If you want it even creamier, you can add some half and half.  
  • Not a fan of dairy? Substitute whole milk for almond milk or soy milk. 
  • If you want more flavor, feel free to add spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. 

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed kitchen appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be stand mixers as she loves to bake in her spare time.