Give the Gift of Warmth With Our Comforting Holiday Hot Chocolate Mix

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Hot chocolate means one thing in my world: the holiday season has arrived.

Cuddling up with a mug of hot cocoa in your Christmas pj’s is one of the things I look forward to all year long.

Oblique overhead shot of two glass jars filled with layered homemade hot chocolate mix and topped with metal lids, on a dark brown wood surface with metal jingle bells and decorative holiday baubles, artificial greenery, and pine cones, printed with red and white text.

I have been waiting for the holiday season to roll around since New Year’s Day last year, when I wasn’t ready for it to end. Now that it is officially in full swing, I am not stopping the celebration until January.

The Christmas movies are queued up, the records are ready to be spun, and my oven is doing overtime with all the cookies I’m baking right now.

A jar of homemade hot chocolate mix topped with a bow is in the foreground, with holiday greenery and decorations in the background, on a dark brown wood table, with scattered candy cane crumbs.

If there is anyone who could listen to Christmas music 24/7, it would be this gal. There’s something about this season that will always put me in a good mood, no matter how terrible I might be feeling otherwise.

And this recipe can help too.

A glass jar filled with layered homemade hot chocolate mix and topped with a bow is in the foreground, with a holiday mug and decorative Christmas baubles in the background and scattered to either side on a dark brown wood table.

This mix is such a fantastic gift idea for anyone who likes to give something that’s homemade. Personally, I think the gifts that we take a little extra time to create ourselves are all the more meaningful to people that we give them to.

It shows that you care, even if it is something as simple as hot chocolate.

One glass jar of layered hot chocolate mix is topped with a red and green bow, and another in the foreground contained a mixture stirred together with a metal measuring spoon, with holiday decorations and bows on a dark brown wood surface.

Just look at the gorgeous layers you can see in this hot chocolate mix. The ingredients are simple, but the balance that this recipe strikes makes for a mix that the recipient will want to enjoy over and over again

It’s the kind of hot chocolate that makes you feel like you could be on The Polar Express.

Did anyone else love that book as a kid? I am not a huge fan of the movie because the animation creeps me out (anybody with me on this one?) but whenever my mom would read that story to me, I loved the part when the kids got on the train and guzzled delicious servings of hot chocolate.

It sounded like it was so rich, smooth, and creamy. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it…

A glass jar of layered homemade hot chocolate mix topped with a bow beside a red and green holiday mug of hot cocoa topped with chocolate chips and marshmallows, with bows and decorative Christmas baubles on a dark brown wood table.

This hot chocolate mix is just like that, especially when it is made with milk. You can also make it with water, but it won’t be quite as creamy.

It’s so simple to make: just shake the dry mix, add your hot liquid of choice, and enjoy. While we love our recipes for homemade white hot chocolate and homemade chesnut hot chocolate, this pre-made mix is so quick and easy to whip together after sledding outside all day in the cold!

Balanced and packed with excellent chocolate flavor, I like the option to add peppermint candy to the mix. You can customize your own with extra chocolate or marshmallows instead, if you like.

Overhead shot of a red and white holiday mug of hot chocolate with scattered jingle bells and peppermint candy crumbs, on a dark brown wood surface.

All you have to do to make this a standout gift is layer up the ingredients, seal the jar, and decorate with a ribbon. You can type out the instructions to make the cocoa and print the tag, or you can hand write it if you are creatively inclined.

For a fun add-on idea, you can give the gift of a festive mug or even a monogrammed drinking vessel with the recipient’s initials. These Christmas tree mugs from Spode are perfect, and they’re available from Wayfair.

White Spode Christmas tree mug isolated on a white background.

Spode Christmas Tree Mug

The only question is, who will you gift this lovely present to?

You can spend an afternoon easily whipping up several of these jars for gifts to have on hand when you need them for upcoming holiday gatherings. This makes a lovely option to offer the host at the next potluck or cookie party that you attend.

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Two jars of layered homemade hot chocolate mix, on a dark brown wood surface with jingle bells, peppermint candy crumbs, and decorative white baubles and artificial holiday foliage.

Hot Chocolate in a Jar

  • Author: Lorna Kring
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x


Craving a hot cup of cocoa? Gift your loved ones with a homemade mugful of happiness and make our hot chocolate mix in a jar.



For the Mix:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows (or dehydrated marshmallow bits)
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy canes (optional)

For Hot Beverages:

  • 80 fl oz hot milk or hot water (8 oz per mugful)


To Make the Mix:

  1. In one clean and dry quart-sized jar (or divided between 2 pint-sized mason jars), layer the sugar, cocoa powder, powdered milk, chocolate chips, and sea salt. Top with the marshmallows and crushed candy canes if using.
  2. Seal with a tight fitting lid.
  3. Print or hand write the instructions below on a label and affix to the jar with ribbon.

To Make the Hot Chocolate:

  1. Shake the cocoa mix vigorously.
  2. Place 2 tablespoons of mix in a mug. Stir in 2 fl. oz. hot water or hot milk until combined.
  3. Fill the mug with 6 fl. oz. additional hot water or hot milk. Stir to combine. Top with additional marshmallows as desired. Enjoy!


Nutritional information reflects beverage made with whole powdered milk and whole liquid milk. Low-fat or nonfat versions may be substituted.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Family-Friendly Beverages
  • Method: No-Cook
  • Cuisine: Winter

Keywords: Christmas, hot chocolate, hot beverages, holiday beverages, chocolate

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Crush Candy and Measure Ingredients

Crush enough candy canes or peppermint hard candy with the smooth side of a mallet or a rolling pin until you have 1/2 cup in total.

Overhead shot of a glass jar filled with crushed candy canes, on a dark brown wood surface with scattered white crumbs.

Measure out all remaining ingredients as listed in the ingredients list.

You can use homemade marshmallows (for an extra layer of fun and flavor, I like to make chocolate-covered marshmallows) , and feel free to include an oxygen absorber dessicant packet to help with moisture absorption. Just be sure to indicate on your label that this should not be eaten. Or, if you want them to have an even longer shelf life, use dehydrated marshmallows. You can make these at home as well, in a home food dehydrator!

Step 2 – Layer Mix

In one clean quart-sized jar (or divided between 2 pint-sized mason jars), layer the sugar, cocoa powder, powdered milk, chocolate chips, and salt.

A glass jar is filled with layers of sugar, cocoa powder, powdered milk, mini chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows, on a dark brown wood table.

Add marshmallows and crushed candy canes, if you are using them.

A glass mason jar is filled with layers of granulated sugar, cocoa powder, powdered milk, mini chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, and crushed red and white peppermint candy, on a dark brown wood surface with scattered candy crumbs.

Seal with a tight-fitting lid.

Creative Ways to Decorate the Jar

There are a few ways that you can creatively decorate your jars of hot chocolate mix:

  • For those who are less crafty (like myself!) top with a premade bow.
  • Tie a ribbon around the neck of the jar and affix with a handwritten label detailing the instructions to make a mugful.
  • Use a chalkboard label to outline the instructions and adhere to the jar.
  • Make a gift basket with the hot chocolate mix, extra homemade marshmallows, candy canes, cookie stirrers, chocolate chips, and other fixings for a homemade hot chocolate bar.

6 Peppermint Candy Cane Spoons from Wilton, available via Amazon

Don’t miss our recipes for other tasty holiday items that make excellent pairings:

Two jars of layered homemade hot chocolate mix, on a dark brown wood surface with jingle bells, peppermint candy crumbs, and decorative white baubles and artificial holiday foliage.

And if you are in need of more hot beverages to keep you warm and jolly on a cold winter night, try our recipe for Hot Indian Spiced Milk!

How would you choose to decorate and gift these jars of deliciousness for the best mug of hot cocoa? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate this how-to once you make it yourself.

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Wayfair and Wilton. Adapted from an article originally published by Lorna Kring on December 16, 2015. Last updated: January 6, 2023 at 9:39 am. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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