This homemade hot chocolate mix takes five minutes to prep, is easy to store, and makes a super-rich and decadent cup of hot chocolate. It’s easy to gift and simple enough for little chefs to make!
This time of year, I get as excited for hot chocolate as I did when I was a kid. I am not a big coffee or tea fan, so in the cold months, it is my favorite warm drink. Store-bought mixes are easy but aren’t always as rich and delicious as I’d like, so years ago I began keeping my own homemade mix in the pantry for when I got a craving.
This version is the smooth, luxurious flavor I had been looking for. I think it comes down to the cornstarch in this recipe which takes it to a totally new level. You can switch up the type of cocoa powder you use, and below are tons of ideas for topping and add-ins. I can’t wait to hear how you make yours!
How to make homemade hot chocolate mix
This is so super simple, you won’t believe it! It literally takes only 5 minutes, so no excuses!
Making the mix: Pour all of your dry ingredients into a food processor. Pulse those ingredients together for 60 seconds (seriously! that’s it!) and store in an airtight container
When you’re ready for your hot cocoa: Warm 1 cup of milk and ¼ cup of cocoa mix in a saucepan. Simmer for two to three minutes until thickened and serve!
How to pick the cocoa for your DIY hot chocolate mix
Depending on the level of sweetness and bitterness you and your family like, you will choose between Dutch-process and natural cocoa – or a mix of both! I wrote a comprehensive run-down of how these two types of cocoa act differently in recipes (see: Cocoa Powder 101), but for the purposes of hot chocolate the differences are fairly simple and either choice will work!
A quick recap:
Dutch cocoa is less bitter, more mellow, and darker in color (this is what they make Oreos out of!). For these reasons, many people choose Dutched and sometimes balance it with a bit of natural cocoa.
Natural Cocoa Powder is a strong, bitter, chocolate flavor. For a chocolate purist or someone who loves coffee, natural cocoa powder is a great choice for a homemade hot chocolate mix. Of course, adding in Dutch for some sweetness is awesome too!
Storage, serving, and substitutions for hot cocoa
Gifting: This super simple recipe is fantastic for holiday gifts. Layering ingredients into a jar, or filling it with complete mix and marshmallows, is a beautiful way to give this to someone else!
Storage: The mix can be kept in a sealed container, in a cool dry place, for up to 3 months.
Sweetener: The cup of granulated sugar can be substituted with raw sugar, coconut sugar, or monk fruit sweetener. If you are looking for reduced sweetness, reduce sugar, and add in more cocoa powder. More sugar or sugar replacement can easily be added later.
Milk Substitutions: If cow’s milk isn’t an option, there are a few alternative kinds of milk that are great with this homemade hot chocolate mix. Oat and cashew milk are the creamiest when warm, and have the right amount of fat to replicate the texture you’re used to!
Additions/mix-ins: We all love a good marshmallow, but there are plenty of other things to add to your hot cocoa! Additional flavors like cinnamon, cardamom, espresso, and chili powder can all be added to the mix. Marshmallows, chocolate chips, whipped cream, marshmallow fluff, caramel sauce, and flaky sea salt can all be added to the top!
More hot cocoa variations, as well as some great treats to go with it!
Process all of the ingredients in a food processor until ground to a powder, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 2 months.
To Make Hot Chocolate: Heat 1 cup of milk (whole, 2% or 1%) in a small saucepan over medium heat until it starts to steam and bubbles appear around the edge of the saucepan. Add ¼ cup of the hot chocolate mix and continue to heat, whisking constantly, until simmering, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Pour into a mug and serve.