Homemade Hot Cocoa takes just five minutes and only five ingredients. Enjoy a hot cup of this easy, affordable hot chocolate any day. It’s delicious topped with marshmallows or Homemade Whipped Cream.
Serve this stovetop hot cocoa alongside your favorite cookies or with a Chocolate Dessert Board for the ultimate sweet treat. This hot chocolate drink packs well in a thermos so you can even take it on the road with you, a huge bargain over hot chocolate you might buy elsewhere.
Full day of skiing and sledding?
Just a cozy day at home?
A hot chocolatey drink is just the ticket on many a day. When we want a sweet, warming treat or some comforting sustenance, hot cocoa can totally fill the bill.
Believe it or not, cocoa-based beverages have been used to fortify soldiers for hundreds of years, so it can certainly help us fight whatever battles we face on a daily basis.
Great thing is, this drink can come together on the stovetop in about five minutes — with just five ingredients. It’s totally worth your while!
Why Make This
Homemade Hot Cocoa has a nice, normal ingredients list. I haven’t purchased commercial cocoa mix in years. I read the side of the package one day and decided to just say no. There were way too many unpronounceable ingredients for something that’s so simple to make. Homemade is perfect, with just milk, cocoa powder, sugar, water, and salt. Some things are just better made yourself.
It’s quick to make. While we still love my Malted Hot Chocolate Mix, this stovetop hot cocoa comes together just as quickly. The kids absolutely love it. I love it that my youngest can mix it up on the stovetop in about five minutes. She started at about age 9, so there’s freedom here for you parents of littles.
Quick and delicious with no weird stuff. What more could you ask for?
Here’s what you’ll need to make homemade hot cocoa:
granulated sugar – Plain sugar is all you need to sweeten it, but if you prefer an alternative sweetener, you can certainly use honey or sucanat. Just be sure it dissolves completely in the hot water before adding the milk.
unsweetened cocoa powder – This is not the same as cocoa mix. Be sure yours is labeled baking cocoa or unsweetened cocoa powder.
pinch salt – Salt really complements the flavor of the cocoa. You just need a pinch.
hot water – You want to first dissolve the cocoa powder and sugar in hot water, then you’ll add the milk. If you prefer, you can substitute strong coffee for the hot water for a mocha flavored beverage.
milk – The higher the fat content, the richer and creamier will be your hot cocoa. You can use any milk you like: cow’s milk, coconut, almond, or another plant-based milk.
This recipe comes together in just minutes on the stovetop. Here’s how to make homemade hot cocoa:
- In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk together.
- Stir in hot water to help the mixture dissolve.
- Heat this and stir in the milk. Simmer the mixture, stirring, until very hot.
- Divide into mugs and top as desired.
Store leftovers in the refrigerated in a covered container. Reheat before serving.
FAQs & Recipe Costs
It’s easy to make a cup of this creamy, sweet drink. Of course, you can buy those packets of instant cocoa at the store or even create a mix of your own.
But, there’s something so delicious in a cup of cocoa made with fresh milk. The dry mixes just can’t compare with this stovetop concoction.
Unsweetened baking cocoa is perfect for making stovetop cocoa. However, hot chocolate is made with chocolate, not cocoa.
Hot cocoa is a mixture of milk, sugar, cocoa, and salt, while hot chocolate is usually made from melted chocolate and milk. Hot chocolate is thicker and more dessert like than hot cocoa.
Hot cocoa, like hot coffee drinks, is perfect for topping with fun treats. Consider any of the following toppings for a cocoa bar: whipped cream, steamed milk foam, chocolate shavings, cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon, chocolate or caramel syrup, chocolate or rainbow sprinkles. Remember, too, that adding a shot of coffee or espresso is a nice touch, too.
Knowing how much it costs you to prepare a recipe can help you decide if it’s the type of recipe to make regularly or one you might want to save for special occasions. Let’s crunch some numbers and see how this recipe pencils out.
- granulated sugar – $0.05
- unsweetened cocoa powder – $0.32
- milk – $0.34
While your costs may vary depending on where and how you shop, you can expect to pay about $0.71 for a batch of Stovetop Hot Cocoa, about $0.35/serving!
This recipe isn’t expensive to make, even from scratch. However, there are things that you can do to make your sweet treat even better.
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. When you see a good price on milk, sugar, and cocoa, buy a few extra to stash for later. You know you’ll use them. Stocking up can save you money.
More Great Chocolate Desserts
Tell us what you think!
We love to hear your experiences with Good Cheap Eats. Click the STARS on the recipe card or leave a STARRED comment to let us know what you think of the recipe.
Stovetop Hot Cocoa
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- pinch salt
- ¼ cup hot water
- 2 cup milk
- toppings for hot cocoa : whipped cream, chocolate shavings, ground cinnamon, cinnamon sticks
- In a small saucepan, whisk the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk in the hot water until smooth. Add the milk and stir until well combined.
- Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring, until hot.
- Divide into mugs and top according to your preferences.
This post was originally published on October 15, 2019. It has been updated for content and clarity.
Love this recipe. A little chocolatey for my taste sometimes, but I always thought the packets were too chocolatey growing up. I add cinnamon to mine!
I FOUND THAT CONFECTIONERS SUGAR MELTS BETTER THEN GRANULATED SUGAR. ALSO I ADDED 2/3 CUP OF CHOPPED DARK CHOCOLATE AND 1 TSP OF VANILLA. I’LL NEVER BUY HOT COCOA PACKETS EVER AGAIN! SO GOOD ON A COLD DAY!!
Big hit with grandpa and grandkids.
We added just a bit more milk when tripling the recipe.
Yay! So glad to hear it.
I’m wondering if I can whip some cream and then put it on a parchment lined baking sheet in individual size dollops and freeze? Then I can add it to my hot cocoa daily. Will that work?
Yes, ma’am! I do it whenever my cream is getting close it its date. This was particularly helpful during quarantine so I never worried that I would run out of cream for my coffee. 😉
Love your recipes; Hate the negative adds about Trump!
Hey Jane, did you see political ads on my site? Those are supposed to be banned. Can you take a screenshot the next time you see one and email it to me: [email protected] Thanks!
I just started milking one of my goats after a long break and since I have extra milk I made a mug of hot cocoa, love the recipe!
Yay! So glad to hear it. Thanks for leaving a review.
Love this recipe, very easy and delicious! Making my own additions here and there, and tried the vanilla addition, tastes great. Thank you! I found the sugar to be slightly much for my liking so added just under 1/4 cup sugar. Otherwise, it’s great!
So glad to hear you tweaked it to suit your tastes.
This is SO good and SO easy! Yum!!!
Super easy and the proportions are just right, sweet, but not too sweet.
Choclatey, but not bitter. Added a teaspoon of vanilla just for a little nuance
Love the addition of vanilla. Thanks!
Glad you liked it, Lauren!
Do you make your own marshmallows? Looks delicious!
Sometimes I do, not always.