The Best Hot Cocoa from Scratch

What would winter be without cocoa? 

Hot Cocoa

Hot Cocoa–just add marshmallows

I have many wonderful childhood memories but one of my favorites is sledding–right in my own front yard.   I grew up on a big hill, and on a snowy day, all the neighborhood kids would be over, sledding first, then making snowmen and snow forts.  When it grew too dark to go on, everyone headed home, cheeks rosy and fingers pale, to warm their toes over steamy heating vents.  My siblings & I got an extra treat when we went inside–our mother made hot cocoa from scratch! 

Hot Cocoa from Scratch Topped with Whipped Cream

Hot Cocoa from Scratch Topped with Whipped Cream

Hot cocoa helped make winter special, poured into a pretty mug and topped with marshmallows or sweet whipped cream! I swear that sometimes I went outside just for the cocoa afterwards.  Today I wonder if my mother wasn’t complicit–make a little hot cocoa for a couple hours of peace inside! 

When I had children of my own, homemade hot cocoa was high on my list of treats to share.  And after switching to natural foods, homemade looked even better.  If I’m entertaining someone vegan, I can even use a non-dairy milk like almond milk.  And it isn’t hard at all!

Making Hot Cocoa from Scratch

Making Hot Cocoa from Scratch

Now my mother made her cocoa right out of the Hershey’s can and that is where my recipe comes from.  But I buy my organic cocoa in 1 lb bags, two at a time, from one of my Buying Clubs!

Today, the health value of chocolate is all over the news.  While the joy of cocoa may be enough, if you want to maximize the health value, consider buying a cocoa that is not dutch processed.  Per Wikipedia,Dutch cocoa, (processed with alkali, to lower the natural acidity of cocoa) has lower levels of antioxidants, (though both kinds may be organic).  

Happy winter!



Homemade Hot Cocoa
Serves 5
Making hot cocoa from scratch is a perfect winter treat--easy, extra tasty, and an all natural alternative to mixes.
Write a review
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
161 calories
33 g
4 g
1 g
7 g
0 g
238 g
116 g
31 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 161
Calories from Fat 6
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 4mg
Sodium 116mg
Total Carbohydrates 33g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 31g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. • 1/2 cup sugar
  2. • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  3. • Dash salt
  4. • 1/3 cup hot water
  5. • 4 cups skim milk (or full fat or non-dairy milk if you prefer)
  6. • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. • Miniature marshmallows or sweetened whipped cream (optional)
  1. Stir together sugar, cocoa and salt in medium saucepan, pressing out most of the cocoa lumps with the back of a spoon. (This helps it whisk together without lumps)
  2. Stir in water and cook over medium heat, stirring with a whisk, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil and whisk 2 minutes.
  3. Add milk; stirring periodically, and heat to serving temperature. Do not boil.
  4. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour into mugs and top with marshmallows or whipped cream, if desired.
  1. MICROWAVE SINGLE SERVING: Combine 1 heaping teaspoon cocoa, 2 heaping teaspoons sugar and dash salt in microwave-safe cup or mug. Add 2 teaspoons cold milk; stir until smooth. Fill cup with milk. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until hot. Stir to blend; serve.
Art of Natural Living

12 thoughts on “The Best Hot Cocoa from Scratch

  1. David Sain

    Belated merry Christmas or happy Chanukah, Inger! And happy winter! I love to make hot cocoaxfrom scratch & am grateful that you posted a link to organic cocoa! When I make it my wife likes the taste but not the silt. Can you advise about that? I bag a dry mix of cocoa & dry milk. I omit sugar & use stevia for me. Blessings

    1. Inger Post author

      I don’t know of any way to completely avoid the silt David. I believe that cooking the cocoa powder with the water first helps, which won’t be possible if you pre-mix the cocoa and dry milk. Still good! I intend to focus on “cozy” the whole month of January, so I’ll probably be mixing my cocoa with stevia or allulose to take off a few seasonal pounds while staying merry!

  2. Inger Post author

    Oh Grace–you should try cocoa from scratch! Even if you have to put up with soft marshmallows (though mine seem to end up hard pretty fast anyway…)

  3. grace

    if you can believe it, i’ve never made hot chocolate from scratch! there’s something comforting to me about that little packet with its rock-hard marshmallows. 🙂 this is far more decadent though–bravo!

  4. Beth

    I used to have homemade hot chocolate when I was a kid, too. I haven’t made it for ages. Thanks for bringing back memories of hot chocolate on a cold winter day!

    1. Inger Post author

      Don’t you think good memories are especially important on cold winter days Beth?

  5. Lynn

    Looks great! I have to admit – the promise of a cup of hot cocoa is what motivates me to shovel my driveway. And if I’m really treating myself I add a shot of Fireball too it. 🙂

  6. Lynn Wiese

    Yum, Inger. I love hot chocolate. Might have to make some tonight! Since moving to Arizona, we also make Mexican hot chocolate. It has a hint of cinnamon.

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