Get cozy with this easy from-scratch creamy hot chocolate recipe for two (or one)! With just a few simple ingredients, you can make creamy hot cocoa anytime.
A mug of creamy hot chocolate, with rich cocoa flavor is one of my favorite treats! If you’re reading this, it might be one of yours too. If it isn’t yet, it will be after this recipe. From-scratch hot chocolate is hands down next level amazing, and it’s so easy to make at home with pantry staples!
I love homemade hot cocoa made with real chocolate. It’s fun to switch up the kind of chocolate we use, and it’s so easy to adjust the sweetness level to suit our preferences that day. There are so many options, and homemade hot cocoa makes you instantly feel fancy.
My only problem with making hot cocoa from scratch at home has always been scaling.
There are some fabulous slow cooker recipes that are great for parties or large families. Sometimes, I can even get away with a batch for our family of 4. But when it was just the Godfather and me? Or just me alone? It would be waaaay too much.
I also rarely plan hours ahead for hot chocolate anyway. We are nothing if not last-minute here much of the time.
Then of course, when it was just the two of us, I didn’t always keep hot chocolate mix on hand. I knew it was possible to make from scratch, so I started messing with recipes and came up with the perfect small-batch hot chocolate recipe!
Hot Chocolate for Two Ingredients
The ingredient list for this recipe is simple, which is good. Because there’s nothing worse than looking up a last-minute recipe and not finding the ingredients in your pantry. This section is a bit long, but only because I’ve been making this recipe a while, and have gone through many many variations based on what I had on hand.
Milk – The “go-to” milk for hot chocolate per the internet (where all wisdom is found, haha) is whole milk. If you love it, use it, but I’m going to disagree. I like using low-fat milk – 1% or 2% – to keep this from getting too creamy I can’t drink my whole mug. Do what makes you happy.
Of course, skim milk works great. I’ve even made this with nondairy milk! Personally, I think cashew milk and coconut milk make the best substitute, but almond milk or soy milk also provides a great base for this recipe.
Once, I even tried just using water because I read that water in hot chocolate helps the chocolate flavor shine through a bit more. It was fine, but not as decadently creamy as I wanted. But if you’re out of milk… now you know.
Cream or half-and-half – This is not required, but just like in slow cooker recipes, the extra fat and creaminess provided are worth it. Fat is friend in dessert recipes, hot drinks included!
Heavy cream will obviously be the richest choice. If you’re using whole milk, adding heavy cream too will turn this recipe into serious drinking chocolate and you might even be able to eke out an extra serving or two using smaller mugs. It is CREAMY! I skip this when I use whole milk.
If you don’t have heavy cream though, half and half is a great alternative. Or you can get super fun and make flavored hot chocolate by using your flavored coffee creamer!
Obviously, there are other ways to flavor your hot chocolate (melting in a tablespoon of peanut butter or caramel anyone???), but coffee creamer is an easy one.
Unsweetened cocoa powder – I first tried making this with just chocolate as I’d seen my mom and mother-in-law do. The problem is, that they also always overcooked their hot chocolate, and we’ll talk about why that’s not a good idea later.
The cocoa powder adds chocolate flavor without adding sugar. This helps balance the sweetness.
What kind of chocolate should I use?
You knew chocolate would get its own section, didn’t you? Since we are going for classic hot cocoa flavors, I’m skipping white chocolate here and just talking about milk and darker.
If you have it on hand, baking chocolate, also called coverture chocolate, melts fastest. This is the same kind of chocolate used for making ganache, and doesn’t have the same coating as chocolate chips. It melts faster, especially if you chop it into small pieces.
Do I use chocolate chips anyway sometimes? Yes.
Have I just chopped up a chocolate bar and used that too? Also yes. If you only have the kind with chopped almonds or something in it, strain before pouring into your cup, or the texture gets super weird at the end. Ask me how I know.
Milk chocolate will give you the absolute most classic flavor. If you want that transport-me-to-childhood feeling at the first sip, use milk chocolate.
For a little less sweetness and if you’re feeling a bit more grown-up, semisweet and dark chocolate are also fabulous! Use what you’re in the mood to enjoy.
If you find you’re a little short on chocolate and only have 2 ounces instead of 3… add an additional tablespoon of cocoa powder. You’d probably be fine with 2 ounces of chocolate too, but I like a rich chocolate flavor, and so I use a little extra. If we’re going to enjoy a chocolate treat, let’s commit to it.
A few final recipe tips…
Keep the heat low. You don’t want to let the milk boil or you’ll get that nasty milk skin. Both family members mentioned earlier in the post are notorious for bringing milk to a rolling boil. Not only does this cause a gross skin everyone has to pick out of their drink, but it can also make the chocolate grainy.
Slow at steady works best, and this recipe literally takes only about 5 minutes anyway.
Stir constantly while the chocolate is melting and the milk is heating. A whisk is great, but if you don’t have one, use a rubber spatula or cooking spoon. You want to avoid uneven heating. Stirring also helps the chocolate melt faster which means we get to dessert faster.
I don’t add additional sugar to this recipe because the chocolate usually provides enough sweetness. If you find you’d like your cocoa a little sweeter, add sugar at the end.
If you’d like to add a little something extra, some of my favorite hot chocolate toppings include:
I hope you enjoy this recipe, darlings! Cheers!
- 1 1/4 cups milk (see notes)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half (see notes)
- 3 ounces chocolate (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- Place the milk, cream, cocoa powder and chocolate in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Stir the mixture to allow for even heat distribution and try to whisk in the cocoa powder.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Remove from heat and divide between two mugs (or one really big one because treat yo'self)
- Top with your favorite hot cocoa toppings and enjoy!
There are a lot of notes, I know, but it's because you can customize this recipe so easily! I just want to be sure you have an easy way to reference your ingredient options.
- You may use whole milk, low-fat, or skim. The creamiest results come from the higher fat content, but this will be creamy either way thanks to the chocolate. I usually use low-fat.
- A non-dairy milk substitute can work, especially if you use non-dairy chips.
- If you do not have heavy cream or half-and-half available, replace it with a little extra milk. I include them in the recipe because they really make this cocoa recipe extra creamy. If you don't have either, skip it! In fact, I usually do if I'm using whole milk.
- For classic hot cocoa flavor, use milk chocolate. For a richer flavor, use dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate. Couverture (also called baking) chocolate will melt faster than chocolate chips, but both will melt smoothly in time.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 424Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 118mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 31gProtein: 10g
These nutrition values are estimates. Exact values will vary depending on the ingredients, brands, and quantities used.