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Horizontal image of mugs filled with a chocolate-based beverage on plates next to mini marshmallows.

The Best Homemade Hot Cocoa

  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


The quintessential winter beverage, basic homemade hot cocoa is an easy recipe to share and enjoy with family and friends, from kids to adults.


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Marshmallows or whipped cream, for serving (optional)


  1. Heat the whole milk and half-and-half in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk reaches a gentle simmer, about 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the granulated sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Continue whisking constantly until the sugar and any lumps of cocoa powder are completely dissolved and the mixture is hot and smooth, for another 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and distribute between 4 mugs. Serve hot, topped with marshmallows or whipped cream.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Hot Chocolate
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Beverage

Keywords: hot cocoa