Quick & Easy Hot Chocolate

With just four ingredients, you can make a cup of homemade hot chocolate in about 5 minutes! This is an easy hot cocoa recipe that you can customize with different ingredients. Use milk or dairy-free milk, add your favorite toppings like marshmallows or whipped cream, or change the flavor with different extracts to give it a delicious twist.

a mug of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream.

This easy hot chocolate goes into heavy rotation this time of year. It’s my go-to hot cocoa when it’s cold because it’s easy to make with pantry ingredients and takes all of five minutes to make.

No complicated steps and no fancy chocolate are required. Just stir, heat, and serve. So go ahead and toss that packaged hot cocoa mix and give this homemade cocoa a try.

It’s simple but effective.


I bet you already have everything on hand, so you can go right to the kitchen and whip up a batch of this classic hot chocolate. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Milk
  • Vanilla extract
hot chocolate being whisked in a pan.

How to Make Homemade Hot Cocoa in 5 Minutes

Whisk the sugar and cocoa powder together in a small saucepan. Add the milk and whisk the mixture over medium-low to medium heat until the sugar and cocoa are dissolved and the hot chocolate is heated through.

hot chocolate being poured into a mug.

Topping Ideas

A plain mug of hot chocolate is great, but a topping makes it even better. Here are some ideas:

  • Whipped cream
  • Marshmallows
  • Frothed milk
  • Crushed cookies like Oreos or gingersnaps
  • A dusting of cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves
  • Grated chocolate or mini chocolate chips
  • Crushed candy canes
  • Chocolate sauce or caramel sauce
hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and marshmallows.


  • Peppermint Hot Chocolate: Add a touch of peppermint extract to make this a holiday hot chocolate. You can use peppermint syrup, too, but you should reduce the amount of granulated sugar so it’s not too sweet.
  • Almond Hot Cocoa: Swap the vanilla extract for almond extract to give it a nutty flavor.
  • Cinnamon Spice: Add a few pinches of ground cinnamon when you mix the cocoa. Add a sprinkle on top for garnish.
  • Spiked hot chocolate: Add a splash of Kahlua or peppermint schnapps for a grown-up twist.


Can you double the recipe?

Yes, you can double, triple or quadruple this recipe.

What kind of milk should I use?

I usually use 2% milk because it’s what I have on hand, but I’ve also made it with whole milk which makes it a little richer.

For a really decadent treat, try adding a splash of cream when you heat the hot chocolate.

I’ve also made this hot cocoa with dairy-free milk like almond milk and oat milk.

Can you make it ahead?

This hot chocolate recipe is for sudden-onset chocolate cravings and I’m not sure how it would be if it’s made ahead of time. Plus, it’s so easy you can make a batch in about five minutes.

That said, if you want a hot chocolate mix you can make ahead to have on hand you might like my Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix, which keeps in an airtight container for up to six months.

Happy hot chocolate-making, friends!

💌 Sign up for the Girl Gone Gourmet Newsletter and get recipes delivered straight to your inbox!

a mug of hot cocoa topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate.

More Easy Recipes

Want more cozy chocolate treats? Here are a few more easy recipes perfect for a cold winter’s night…

📣 Do you love this recipe? I would love to know! Leave a comment below the recipe along with your recipe star rating.


Easy Hot Chocolate

a mug of hot cocoa.

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 5 reviews

A super easy 4 ingredient hot chocolate. Takes only a few minutes to whip up a batch! This recipe is for one serving, but you can easily double or triple it for more servings.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x
  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 generous tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 generous tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup 2% milk (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Marshmallows or whipped cream for topping (optional)


  1. Heat all the ingredients in a small pan over medium-low heat while whisking.
  2. Whisk continuously until the sugar and cocoa powder have dissolved into the milk, and the cocoa is heated, about 3-4 minutes.


Milk: 2% milk or whole milk is great. To make it extra rich and decadent, try adding a splash of cream. You can also use dairy-free milk like almond milk or oat milk. 


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 186
  • Sugar: 25.2g
  • Sodium: 116.9mg
  • Fat: 5.6g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1.8g
  • Trans Fat: 0.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 27.6g
  • Fiber: 1.6g
  • Protein: 9.1g
  • Cholesterol: 19.7mg

Do you love this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment and your recipe star rating!

The nutrition is an estimate only. It was calculated using Nutrifox, an online nutrition calculator.

Post and photos updated from the archives. First published in January 2015.


  1. Appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and in depth information you offer. You’ve really covered up almost all the possible info that every chocolate enthusiast and gourmand like me should follow. Worth sharing! Please continue sharing updates! Thanks a lot!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.