The perfect blend of chocolatey flavor with one little secret ingredient makes this the Best Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe around. Rich, chocolatey flavor that’s perfectly creamy….great for cold winter nights and fantastic as a homemade gift.

Hot cocoa in a glass mug with snowflakes on it and jars of hot cocoa mix in the background.

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

Who loves Hot Cocoa? I used to be addicted to the packets of instant hot cocoa that our office used to buy in bulk. It wasn’t until I made my own Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix that I realized my addiction just got an upgrade.

Commercial Hot Cocoa mix it loaded with stabilizers and other mystery ingredients but my homemade hot cocoa is made with simple pantry ingredients to you can whip up batch after batch all season long.

I had some stellar hot chocolate in my lifetime and once you have something so amazing it makes your toes curl you can’t go back to the packet….you just can’t.

Hot Cocoa mix in a Weck jar with chocolate chunks and mini marshmallows on top.

What is Hot Cocoa?

Hot Cocoa or Hot Chocolate, Drinking Chocolate or Chocolate Tea is a beverage consisting of melted chocolate or cocoa powder mixed with heated milk or water and sugar. It can be topped with just about anything you like, we love a dollop of whipped cream.

The best hot cocoa (or should I call it hot chocolate…it can get confusing) I ever had was in the chocolate capital of the world….Hershey Park. Yeah, they sell the good stuff there. It’s like melty, liquid, chocolate crack.

And they only have it there in the winter because who wants to be sipping that stuff when it’s 90 degrees in the shade during the summertime. But in the winter….when you just spun around on a ferris wheel in 32 degrees and your face feels like it’s going to crack in half if you try to smile….that’s when you need a big cup full of this molten heaven.

Hot chocolate with marshmallows on top in a glass mug on a wood background with a jar of cocoa mix in the background.

How To Make Hot Cocoa Mix

I have no idea what they put in the Hershey’s hot cocoa but I had to make something better than the store bought packets and so….I spent a few days pondering on exactly how to make the Best Hot Cocoa Mix recipe ever.

I started by trying out some recipes I found on the internet…and I tested sooooo many recipes until I found one I could start with.

 This one from Alton Brown was my favorite so I adapted it a bit to make it even better….I added something super special to the mix that was a bit of genius, if I do say so myself. I whisked in a bit of Vanilla Powder, which is just powdered vanilla which you can buy using this link (affiliate), to the mix taking something already pretty amazing and making it completely bonkers, insanely delicious.

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together to combine.
  3. Transfer to an airtight container. 
  4. Store for up to 6 months.

That’s it…’s sooooooo easy!

glass jar filled with hot cocoa mix chocolate chunks and marshmallows with a glass lid and a red checked ribbon.

Hot Chocolate vs. Hot Cocoa….are they the same thing?

The short answer…..yes….and no. Technically, Hot Chocolate is made by melting chocolate shavings in hot milk and Hot Cocoa is made with cocoa powder. But you can make hot chocolate with cocoa powder and chocolate shavings so, in essence, they are the same.

Hot Chocolate has a thicker, richer consistency where Hot Cocoa is a bit thinner and the added sugar makes it quite a bit sweeter. You can make your hot cocoa richer by stirring it into a mug of steaming half and half.

Hot Cocoa is so easy to make you’ll want to make a big batch to last all winter but I urge you to double….no, TRIPLE the batch and give it to your friends.

Or give it to people you want to be friends with. OR mail it to your favorite celeb crush and THEY will want to be friends with you. Bonus points if you send along some of these homemade Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing made from scratch.

hot cocoa in a glass mug with marshmallows on top.

Hot Chocolate Bar

If you decide to keep all your Hot Cocoa Mix to yourself, you can use it to create an epic holiday Hot Chocolate Bar. To set up your Hot Cocoa Bar, simply make the entire recipe for Hot Cocoa in a slow cooker or crock pot for guests to serve themselves.

Our favorite mix-ins for Hot Cocoa are:

We also use this Hot Cocoa Mix to fill out festive Hot Cocoa Bombs! They’re super fun to make and even more fun to melt.

Either way….make a gigantic batch of the Best Hot Cocoa Mix and ruin your kids forever because they’ll never let you buy it at the store again. It’s simple and spectacular.

Looking for something a little more special? We love this Birthday Cake White Hot Chocolate! It tastes just like a birthday cake!

Want more fun food inspiration? Follow us on Instagram!

Hot chocolate with marshmallows on top in a glass mug on a wood background with a jar of cocoa mix in the background.

Get the Recipe: The Best Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

A fantastic hostess gift, this Hot Cocoa Mix will convince you to never buy it in those little packets ever again.
4.63 from 16 votes


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 tablespoon Powdered Vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup mini Marshmallows


  • 1 whisk


  • In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, both cocoa powders, powdered milk, vanilla, salt and cornstarch until combined.
  • Transfer the mixture to an airtight container. Layer with chocolate chunks and marshmallows.
  • Store at room temperature indefinitely.
  • To make the cocoa:
  • Whisk 2 1/2 heaping tablespoons cocoa mix with 1 cup hot water or steamed milk until dissolved.
  • Serve immediately.


YouTube video


Can be stored in an airtight container indefinitely.
If you’re having trouble finding vanilla powder, vanilla coffee creamer makes a great substitute.
Serving: 2g, Calories: 109kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 8mg, Sodium: 104mg, Potassium: 195mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 85IU, Vitamin C: 0.8mg, Calcium: 100mg, Iron: 0.5mg