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Homemade Hot Chocolate Done Right

These recipes are sweeter than the packaged stuff.

The temperatures drop, the sweaters come out, the holiday movies are on repeat, and it’s time to just get cozy in front of a real or streaming yule log. And what’s cozier than a mug of homemade hot chocolate? Sure, the packaged stuff might do the trick, but we promise, it’s well worth the little bit of extra effort to forsake the envelope of strange, chocolaty powder and experience the pure luxury that is homemade hot chocolate.

Don’t worry—you don’t need any fancy kitchen equipment or your grandma’s recipe box to pull this off. Here are three homemade hot chocolate recipes that are simple (enough) and beyond delicious, whether you’re lactose intolerant, a firm traditionalist, or one of those people who likes flavored hot cocoa.

Prepare to be the post-playtime hero all winter if you make any of these sweet treats for your family after an afternoon spent in the snow.

Classic Homemade Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

  • Two cups half and half
  • Two cups milk of your choice
  • 1.5 cups chocolate chips of your choice (dark, semisweet, milk)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Heat the half and half and milk together in a saucepan on the stove until boiling. Add sugar, vanilla extract and salt and stir together. Then, turn down the heat on your stovetop to low. Stir in your chocolate chips, always careful to continue stirring until all the chocolate is melted and mixed in (you don’t want it to burn!). We recommend using a whisk instead of a spoon.

Top with whipped cream, marshmallows, candy canes, or whatever you like.

*Bonus mix-ins: Nutella, peppermint extract, cinnamon, orange extract, raspberry syrup, coffee, peanut butter (be sure to mix in at the same time as the chocolate), or—if this is an adult-only treat—booze! Try peppermint schnapps, Bailey’s, or whiskey.

Makes four servings.

Dairy-Free Homemade Hot Chocolate

The key to this recipe is the full-fat coconut milk. It’s what makes this hot chocolate extra creamy and rich.

Ingredients

  • One can full-fat coconut milk
  • Two cups almond, oat, hemp, or cashew milk
  • 1 cup high-quality dark chocolate (should say “dairy free” on the package)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Heat the coconut milk and dairy-free milk together on high heat in a saucepan on the stove until hot. Add sugar, vanilla extract and salt and stir. Then, turn down the heat on your stovetop to low. Stir in your chocolate, always careful to continue stirring until all the chocolate is melted and mixed in (you don’t want it to burn!). We recommend using a whisk instead of a spoon.

Add your toppings and/or mix-ins and enjoy!