Stovetop Hot Chocolate

Make this easy Stovetop Hot Chocolate any time you’re craving a cup of rich, creamy comfort. This homemade hot chocolate recipe takes less than five minutes to make and is so much tastier than the packets!

If you’re looking for more cozy winter beverages, you’ll want to check out our Bailey’s Irish Coffee and Homemade Tea Lattes.

Quick and Cozy Stovetop Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream in a white mug.

There’s something so wonderfully old fashioned and nostalgic about standing at the stove, stirring a pot of homemade hot chocolate.

It’s a full sensory experience–watching the swirls of chocolate melt into the milk, feeling the steam rise from the pan, and getting that first whiff of sweet, warm milk and cocoa. Everything about it sends me straight to cozy, drowsy cuddle mode.

This stove top hot chocolate is worth every bit of effort it takes (which isn’t a whole lot, to be honest). In just five minutes, you can make a gourmet hot cocoa, and it’s likely you already have all the ingredients on hand!

Hot chocolate from a packet is often watery and clumpy, but you won’t find any of that here! This is a creamy, frothy cup that’s perfect for the holidays and all winter long.

Let it be your emotional support drink after a cold and gray day, or serve it to your kids after a tromp in the snow. And if you really want to take it to the next level, add a scoop or two of ice cream and make Hot Chocolate Floats!

Hot chocolate being poured from a sauce pot into a white mug.

Ingredients in Hot Chocolate

  • Milk– We prefer to use whole or 2% milk. Oat milk is the best non-dairy substitute for hot chocolate we’ve found. It’s not quite the same, but still very good.
  • Cocoa powder– We’re using regular, unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch process.
  • Brown sugar– You can use granulated sugar if you prefer, but I like the slightly darker flavor of brown sugar.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips– This is our second layer of rich, chocolate flavor and part of what makes this hot cocoa so creamy!
  • Vanilla extract- Compliments the chocolate and rounds out the flavor.
  • Sea salt– I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it a thousand more times. Salt makes sweet things so much better, particularly very rich flavors like chocolate and caramel. (See: Salted Caramel Sauce, Salted Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies, Double Chocolate Sea Salt Truffles, and Buckeye Brownies).
Bowls of milk, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, brown sugar, and salt.

How to Make Hot Chocolate on the Stove

  1. Combine milk, cocoa powder, and sugar in a medium sauce pot on the stove. Whisk together well. Heat over medium heat, whisking often, until the mixture is steaming and tiny bubbles appear around the edges. Do not boil.
  2. Turn the heat to low and add the chocolate chips, stirring until they’re melted completely.
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract and salt. Serve immediately with whipped cream and/or marshmallows, if desired.

Tips and FAQs

Storing Leftover Hot Chocolate

Leftover hot chocolate can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in individual mugs in the microwave in 1 minute increments.

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

Hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder and hot chocolate is made with melted chocolate. Since this stovetop hot cocoa is made with both powder and chocolate chips, it’s technically a hybrid of the two!

Frothy mug of stovetop hot chocolate.

How do you heat milk for hot chocolate on the stove?

Milk can be heated in a sauce pan over medium to medium low heat, stirring often, until tiny bubbles appear along the edges, and the milk is steaming. This will take about 5 minutes. It’s important to continue stirring to avoid burning the bottom. Milk can go from hot and steaming to boiling very quickly (and is prone to boiling over!), so it’s best to keep a close eye on it.

Can I keep hot chocolate warm in the slow cooker?

Yes! If you’re making the hot chocolate ahead of time, or making a large batch, use the warm setting on your slow cooker to keep it hot until ready to serve.

Top down image of hot chocote topped with whipped cream and marshmallows.

Stove Top Hot Chocolate for One (or a Crowd!)

If you’re wanting to make a single cup of hot chocolate, use these amounts:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Drop vanilla extract
  • Teeny pinch salt

You can also double or quadruple the ingredients to make enough for 8 or 16 people. Just make sure to use a big enough pot!

More Holiday Drink Recipes

Looking for more festive drink recipes? Try these other favorites!

Top down image of hot chocote topped with whipped cream and marshmallows.

Stovetop Hot Chocolate

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes

Rich and creamy Stovetop Hot Chocolate takes just five minutes to make and is so much better than the powdered packets!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups milk, whole or 2%
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Generous pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Combine milk, cocoa powder, and sugar in a medium sauce pot on the stove. Whisk together well. Heat over medium heat, whisking often, until the mixture is steaming and tiny bubbles appear around the edges. Do not boil.
  2. Turn the heat to low and add the chocolate chips, stirring until they're melted completely.
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract and salt. Serve immediately with whipped cream and/or marshmallows, if desired.

Notes

For a single serving:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Drop vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

Feel free to use oat milk and vegan chocolate chips for a dairy free version of hot chocolate.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 283Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 143mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 31gProtein: 9g

Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.

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