Hot Cocoa

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Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 drink
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
151 Calories
4g Fat
23g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 151
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 13mg 4%
Sodium 212mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 199mg 15%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 229mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Although many of us are used to making hot cocoa with a packet of mix, preparing it from scratch is actually simple and requires just a few ingredients. Plus, there aren't any preservatives, and you can control the amount of sugar. Calling for cocoa powder, sugar, salt, water, and milk, this easy recipe comes together quickly and can be dressed up with a variety of toppings. The salt may seem like an odd ingredient, but it really helps bring out the flavor of the cocoa; do not omit it unless you absolutely must. And Dutch process cocoa powder is recommended, as the natural variety has a stronger taste and is more acidic; Dutch cocoa also dissolves better and thus is ideal when making hot cocoa.

For this recipe, the water is slowly added to the dry ingredients and the mixture is brought to a boil; once the milk is added and heated, the cocoa is ready to serve. The warm, comforting beverage can be topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg or a dollop of whipped cream; of course, a few marshmallows are always welcome.

We may only think of making hot cocoa to enjoy by the fire after a day of skiing or ice skating, or just when it's snowy outside, but there are also some foods that pair well with cocoa. So consider serving this chocolatey beverage with salty popcorn, tangy citrus, sweet caramel, or coffee-flavored desserts.

This recipe was reprinted with permission from "The New Doubleday Cookbook."


  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 2/3 cup milk

Optional Garnishes

  • Ground cinnamon

  • Ground nutmeg

  • Whipped cream

  • Marshmallows

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Mix the cocoa, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Slowly stir in the water.

  3. Place over moderately low heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture boils; keep it at a low boil, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

  4. Add the milk and heat to scalding, but do not allow it to boil.

  5. Pour the hot cocoa in a mug and sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg, or top with whipped cream or marshmallows, if you like.

  6. Enjoy.

What's the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate?

What differentiates these two wintertime beverages can actually be found in their names. Hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder, while hot chocolate is made from actual chocolate. Because of this, hot chocolate is richer and denser than hot cocoa and is mainly enjoyed in small quantities. Hot chocolate, also called "drinking" or "sipping chocolate," is more popular in Europe than in the United States where hot cocoa is more common.