Old-Fashioned Hot Chocolate With Variations

Homemade Hot Chocolate
Diana Rattray
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 6 mins
Total: 16 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yields: 4 drinks
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
299 Calories
14g Fat
35g Carbs
9g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 299
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 25mg 8%
Sodium 183mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 5%
Protein 9g
Calcium 286mg 22%
*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.)

Old-fashioned hot chocolate is a delicious drink for the chilly days of fall and winter. This homemade version is creamy, delicious, and surprisingly easy to make. All you need is unsweetened chocolate, milk, sugar, and vanilla.

A steaming cup of hot chocolate is not complete without an indulgent finishing touch. Classic toppings include regular or mini marshmallows or a big spoonful of marshmallow creme or fluff. You can also top it off with freshly whipped cream or whipped topping. 

Hot chocolate is also quite versatile, and there are lots of ways to make it your own or take it over the top. The most popular variations can make it richer, add some spice, or spike it with mint and chocolate liqueurs.


  • 2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/3 cup sugar (white granulated)
  • 4 cups milk (whole)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Garnish: marshmallow creme or fluff, or whipped cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a 2-quart saucepan, place the chocolate, sugar, milk, and salt. Over medium-low heat, stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is well blended.

  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

  4. Pour the hot chocolate into mugs and top with a spoonful of marshmallow creme or whipped cream, if desired.

  5. Serve and enjoy!


  • Keep your hot chocolate warm longer by serving it in preheated mugs. Either fill each cup with hot water while you're making the drink or heat water-filled cups in the microwave for 10 seconds. Dump out the water before pouring the hot chocolate.
  • Adjust the amount of sugar to suit your taste. For instance, 1/4 cup is good if you prefer a drink that's less sweet.
  • If you only have semi-sweet or sweetened chocolate available, you may not need to add any sugar. Melt the chocolate and milk mixture first, taste it, then decide if it needs a tablespoon or two of sugar.


  • Create a richer hot chocolate by replacing 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the whole milk with half-and-half or light cream.
  • Transform the drink into a grown-up grasshopper by adding 2 ounces of crème de menthe and 1/2 ounce of crème de cacao. A shot of peppermint schnapps creates an adult hot chocolate, while the midnight snowstorm recipe adds a drizzle of green crème de menthe on top.
  • Make spiced Mexican hot chocolate with the addition of 3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a dash of ancho chili powder. Add a cinnamon stick to each cup and top with a dollop of whipped cream.
  • For cinnamon hot chocolate, stir in 1 scant teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of instant espresso powder to the saucepan along with the chocolate, sugar, milk, and salt to create mocha hot chocolate.