A search for the best hot chocolate: 16 of the most delicious hot cocoa recipes

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Nothing smells, feels or tastes quite like childhood like a warm cup of hot chocolate. When the cold weather begins, we can’t wait to wrap our hands around a comforting mug of the good stuff.

While a traditional hot chocolate will almost always do the trick, there are lots of tasty ways to make your cocoa fancy! Here are some of our favorite hot chocolate recipes that will change the way you view the quintessential winter drink.

Kahlúa pumpkin spice white hot chocolate

Pumpkin spice is all the rage every year, but you’re not limited to those hot coffee drinks at your favorite drive-through cafe. Luckily for those who plan to stay parked at home in front of a roaring fireplace this New Year’s Eve, pumpkin spice can make a huge splash in your hot chocolate — and if you want a bit of grown-up flavor in your hot cocoa, there are loads of choices. This Kahlúa pumpkin spice white hot chocolate recipe features a smorgasbord of flavor, including Kahlúa, pumpkin spice and white chocolate, all of which blend together to make a steaming mug of comfort you’ll love.

White hot chocolate Thanksgiving cocktail from Thanksgiving.com


Holiday cocoa with peppermint cream

We all know that peppermint and chocolate go together well, so it’s not too much of a stretch to add some of that fresh-tasting goodness to your hot chocolate. If you’re looking for a homemade hot chocolate that will satisfy your minty cravings, then we definitely have the how-to for you. This recipe for holiday cocoa with peppermint cream is really is easy to make, and the addition of homemade peppermint marshmallows just makes it that much more perfect. Bonus: The minty, creamy marshmallows are kept in the freezer and end up firm enough to cut with cookie cutters. This makes them way more fun than those dried-up bits you’ll find in the packets at the store.


Boozy pumpkin white hot chocolate

This pumpkin-inspired hot chocolate recipe features some of your cold-weather favorites, including pumpkin puree, white chocolate, pumpkin pie spice (of course), Kahlúa, whipped cream and caramel sauce. It really doesn’t get better than that? Add a little heat and some whisking action, and before you know it, you have what might be the best hot chocolate in town. If you’re craving a warm cup of hot chocolate but you’re looking for something different to the run-of-the-mill packets, this recipe for boozy pumpkin white hot chocolate may just be for you.

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Rich mocha eggnog

You may think eggnog is something you either love or hate, but if you subscribe to the latter belief, we’re betting you may not have tried homemade eggnog. And if that’s the case, you’re in for a treat. The addition of real chocolate to this tried-and-true recipe for rich mocha eggnog makes for a unique twist on both classic eggnog and traditional hot chocolate. This drink is made completely from scratch, which, in our opinion, makes it taste far better than any boxed eggnog or packet of hot chocolate. You can even add a bit of bourbon to make it an excellent grown-up drink that your friends will love.


Boozy marshmallow hot chocolate

Have you ever considered adding a bit of Baileys Irish Cream or coffee liqueur to your hot chocolate? If not, then you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by this amazing homemade boozy marshmallow hot chocolate recipe. The addition of a few delish spirits will warm your belly even more than you’d expect, and toasted marshmallows and crushed peppermint candy canes add an even more delightful touch to this unique hot chocolate recipe.


Amaretto hot chocolate with heart marshmallows

A piping hot cup of cocoa is a nice treat, but spicing it up with some amaretto makes it downright indulgent. We’ve added even more fun with heart-shaped marshmallows that gently dance on the surface of this sublime work of (drinkable) art. If you’re not feeling the amaretto, you can sub in your favorite liqueur, such as brandy, Baileys or peppermint schnapps. This amaretto hot chocolate with heart marshmallow recipe should snag a spot on your NYE drinks menu, ASAP.


Decadent slow-cooker hot chocolate

An easy five-minute prep is all this decadent slow-cooker hot chocolate recipe, from Sally’s Baking Addiction, takes. You’ll leave it smouldering on low heat in a slow cooker for around six hours while you get the rest of your party prepared. Don’t leave it cooking all day while you’re out of the house, though, because you’ll need to whisk it every hour or so to make sure it’s not burning on the bottom. For an even more festive spread, gather various toppings, such as chocolate chips, crushed candy canes, sprinkles, whipped cream or marshmallows, and make a hot chocolate bar.

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Gingerbread white hot chocolate

Your winter memories probably include hot chocolate, but if gingerbread is another iconic taste that reminds you of cold winter nights, then we have terrific news for you. This gingerbread white hot chocolate recipe, from Divas Can Cook, features white chocolate chips, heavy whipping cream, molasses, and ground clove and nutmeg — and it also adds in some of that ginger — for an interesting combo you’ll adore. We’d bet you’ll be a white hot chocolate convert after giving this one a try.

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Aztec cocoa

This recipe for Aztec cocoa, from Budget Bytes, will totally wow you. It’s loaded with flavorful chocolate, of course, but the kick comes from the addition of a zesty spice — cayenne pepper.

This recipe is really easy to make with run-of-the-mill pantry staples, but it won’t cost you a ton if you’re missing an ingredient or two.

The extra kick, courtesy of the pepper, will surprise your guests (in a good way, of course), and the cinnamon and brown sugar work together to add another dimension of flavor. Stovetop hot cocoa requires a watchful eye, but it doesn’t take long, and you’ll be happy you tried something new.

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Slow-cooker mint white hot chocolate

Here’s another delicious hot cocoa recipe from Divas Can Cook that you can make in your slow-cooker. You can pop these ingredients into your favorite small kitchen appliance, and a couple of hours later, you’re reveling in delicious and minty white hot chocolate.

If you’re planning a party, you can set up a hot chocolate bar, complete with a bevy of delightful toppings. Whipped cream, marshmallows, mint chocolate cookies, chocolate chips, sprinkles, Andes mints — you’re only limited by your imagination. A light green color, courtesy of a few drops of food coloring, completes this masterpiece that you, your family and your guests will love.

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Cioccolata calda: Italian hot chocolate

This Italian hot chocolate recipe, from Chocolate Covered Katie, is so deeply satisfying, you’ll never want to make the packet stuff again. Dark chocolate and pure vanilla extract each make an appearance, but so do cornstarch and either salt or sugar — your choice. Keep in mind that a milk higher in fat will probably work better, and before you know it, you’ve got some delicious homemade hot chocolate. It’s thicker and bolder than the super-sweet stuff you might be used to, so a little goes a long way.

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Vegan hot white chocolate with pumpkin

Here’s another tempting pumpkin and white hot chocolate drink to consider. This one packs a boozy punch with the addition of a little bourbon, which will add some extra fire to your warm mug of hot chocolate. The recipe for vegan hot white chocolate with pumpkin, from A House in the Hills, calls for pumpkin puree as well as pumpkin spices, and it also utilizes almond milk, so the drink isn’t dairy-heavy. For whipped cream, you’ll take some coconut milk and whip it up into some pretty heavenly (and unique) whipped cream. This sweet treat is perfect for your gathering, or for sipping with your family as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.

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Crockpot coconut hot chocolate

Coconut gets another look with this fantastic crockpot coconut hot chocolate recipe from How Sweet Eats. If you’re after a super-creamy, impressively rich hot chocolate, then look no further. We’re talking about chopped real dark chocolate and full-fat coconut milk, among other luscious ingredients. Best of all, you simply pop your ingredients in a slow cooker, and a couple of hours later, you’re golden. Of course, you’ll want to whisk your ingredients every 15 minutes or so to ensure they’re melting evenly and not sticking in any way, shape or form. Some toasted-coconut-rimmed mugs complete this beautiful masterpiece, and you’ll probably be tasked with making it for every holiday party from here on out.


Vegan boozy Mexican spiced hot chocolate

Vegan hot chocolate recipes can be hard to find because milk is a common ingredient in hot cocoa. Good news, though — we’ve got a pretty nifty vegan boozy Mexican spiced hot chocolate recipe, from Kara Lydon, for you that packs extra gusto with the addition of some great spice action. Not only will you find cinnamon here, but there is also chipotle powder and cayenne pepper. Last, but not least, mezcal adds a nice touch. While full-fat coconut milk may be your first instinct in a recipe like this, a lighter coconut milk works better here.


Homemade hot cocoa mix

OK, so we’ve talked down the idea of packet cocoa mix throughout this search for the perfect hot chocolate recipe, but did you know that you can make a homemade hot cocoa mix yourself, like this one from Wonky Wonderful, and it’s way better than anything you’ll find on store shelves? Whip up a batch of this chocolaty, cocoa-infested goodness to keep on hand during the cold weather — and for times when you’re gathering with family and friends (like this New Year’s Eve). All you need are a few simple ingredients, a food processor and a good, airtight container to store your mix in, and you’ll be ready to go when hot chocolate is needed.


Campfire s’mores hot chocolate cocktail

Who doesn’t love s’mores? Well, if you don’t, maybe this recipe will change your mind. Did you know you can create a mug-based concoction that’s exactly like your favorite campfire treat? This recipe for a campfire s’mores hot chocolate cocktail, from Sugar & Soul, brings together all those flavors from childhood campouts and turns them into something that will make your pad the place to be this New Year’s Eve. Milk, heavy cream, chocolate chips, graham crackers and honey work together to make a steaming cup of warmth straight from your childhood. Don’t overlook nostalgia when you’re planning your NYE drinks!