Ultimate Hot Chocolate

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This Ultimate Hot Chocolate has become a Christmas morning tradition in our house. It’s rich and creamy and made with two kinds of chocolate.

Also contributing to the richness is the combination of whole milk and heavy cream.

Pin Ultimate Hot Chocolate to make later.

Ultimate hot chocolate in a glass mug with whipped cream on top sitting on a Christmas placemat.

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Ingredients for Ultimate Hot Chocolate

This is truly the best hot chocolate recipe you will ever make. While I make this hot chocolate throughout the winter, it is our Christmas morning tradition.

  • Whole Milk – While you can substitute 2% it’s so much better with whole milk.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream – Again, go for the good stuff. Don’t use half and half.
  • Sugar – The recipe calls for granulated sugar.
  • Cocoa Powder – I like to sift the cocoa powder before making this homemade hot chocolate. 
  • Milk Chocolate Chips – You could substitute semi-sweet chocolate chips if you prefer.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – For best results use only pure vanilla extract. No imitation.

Pro Tip: Sifting the cocoa powder eliminates the lumps which will be more difficult to whisk out once you add liquid.

Hot chocolate in a ladle over a pot on the stove.

Can you use all milk in Ultimate Hot Chocolate?

Why two kinds of milk? For richness, of course. You could substitute 2% milk but anything else and it won’t be as rich. You won’t get good results with 1%.

I don’t recommend using all milk. The mixture of whipping cream and whole milk adds a depth of flavor you won’t get with all milk. 

Plus, it’s creamier. Not using any whipping cream will leave the drink a bit more watery, especially if using 2% milk.

Why milk chocolate chips? It’s my family’s preference. I have used semi-sweet and they work well too. If you only have semi-sweet, use them, it will still be delicious.

Hot chocolate topped with whipped cream in a Christmas mug.

How do you serve hot chocolate?

My ultimate hot chocolate isn’t just for Christmas. It’s perfect anytime you need to warm up on a cold day. Serve it directly from the Dutch oven.

Because my family thinks you can’t have hot chocolate without whipped cream, I always put a large dollop of whipped cream on top.

No time to make whipped cream? Use something like Reddi-Whip in a can. You can find it in your grocer’s dairy section.

From there add a chocolate syrup drizzle, shaved chocolate, sprinkles, marshmallows, crushed peppermints, or whatever you or your guests like.

A fun idea is to set up a hot chocolate bar where you serve the hot cocoa from the stove and let people add what they want from offerings on a side table. Kids and adults alike enjoy decorating their own mug with toppings.

Check out how to make hot chocolate special. There are a lot of fun ideas.

How do you store leftover hot chocolate?

If you have any leftover, you can certainly store it covered, in the fridge and warm it up again. While you can warm it in the microwave, I always prefer to do so on the stovetop.

I have to say, though, we’ve never had any leftovers so it’s not an issue in my house.

What can I serve with hot chocolate?

My best answer is cookies! When I serve hot cocoa after dinner, I usually put out an assortment of cookies. Some of our favorites include:

Find more yummy hot chocolate recipes

Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a 5-star review on the recipe card below.

Ultimate Hot Chocolate

Rich, creamy and delicious. Perfect for a cold day.
5 from 14 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Beverages and Cocktails
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings


  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • In a Dutch oven over medium heat, combine whole milk, whipping cream, sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk constantly until cocoa powder is combined and sugar is melted. Add chocolate chips and stir until melted.Ā 
  • Heat thoroughly, then reduce heat to low to keep warm. Don’t ever let the mixture come to a boil. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn.
  • Serve in warmed mugs with whipped cream, marshmallows and other hot chocolate toppings.

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