Christmas Morning Hot Cocoa Recipe

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One thing I am repeatedly asked for a lot is my homemade hot cocoa recipe. I don’t buy hot chocolate powder mixes and I never, ever, ever make hot cocoa with water (seriously? It’s just chocolate water at that point..). The best way to make hot cocoa is the same way the French make their decadent chocolat chaud – from scratch! I first learned how to make hot chocolate in France back in December 2011.

It was my very first trip to Europe, and we were treated to many culinary experiences including a stop at Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat where I indulged in delicious cookies and mini cakes with a delectable mug of fresh hot cocoa. It doesn’t take much to make a sinful cup of hot chocolate. In fact, it’s pretty easy! This would be the perfect drink to serve on Christmas morning with breakfast and as everyone opens their gifts by the fire.



– 3 cups milk
– 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or for a true holiday kick, use Andes Mints baking chips instead!)
– 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
– 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (my secret ingredient!)
– extra cup of milk for foam topping
– Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate bar for topping

I brought a special hot chocolate pot from the US which makes making hot chocolate and mochas a lot easier, but you can also use a regular saucepan. Fill the hot cocoa pot or saucepan with 3 cups of milk. Let the milk heat up a bit on medium heat before adding the chocolate chips. Do not let the milk foam up yet! If you see it rising/about to boil over, reduce the heat. After adding the chocolate chips, stir them in the milk until you see the milk start to turn a chocolate color. Add the sugar and stir. Add the cocoa powder and stir. Finally, add the vanilla extract and stir. Keep the hot cocoa in the saucepan on medium heat until everything is smooth. Remove from heat and pour into your mug. Tor and I recently added glass mugs to our collection after drinking the most delicious hot chocolate from glass mugs in Iceland at Deplar Farm.

You can always grab a can of Reddiwhip to put on top as a topping, or you can enrich your hot cocoa by taking 1 cup of milk and steaming it. We use our espresso machine’s steamer to create steamed milk and foam, but you can easily make it with a stand alone milk frother too, such as this one or this one. Just add the steamed milk to your mug, and shave some of the semi-sweet chocolate bar on top using a vegetable peeler or cheese grater for the perfect hot cocoa topping!

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  1. Victoria

    I love doing my own hot chocolate too and I’m Always excited to see other people’s recipe! Also this post makes me feel so cosy and Christmassy!! Happy holidays! 🙂🎄

    • The A List

      Thank you, Victoria! Happy Holidays!

  2. Shannon Nishida

    I always love reading your posts, you have great ideas and are so relatable. Also, please tell Torrance I think he’s a great photographer! Happy Holidays to you both.

    • The A List

      Aww thank you, Shannon! Happy holidays!

  3. Erika

    This looks delicious! Plus that plaid robe is so Christmassy- I love it. I had an awesome boozy hot chocolate during our stop at Chateau Lake Louise last week, I definitely recommend if you ever go, it’s a fun treat after skating 🙂

    • The A List

      Thank you Erika! And I’ve had chocolate wine before if that counts? haha

  4. Ariana

    Hi Alyssa !! Your home looks fabulous….. truly Christmassy!! The hot chocolate looks delicious I cannot wait to try it! I do have a question though which do you prefer real Christmas trees or artificial ones? Merry Christmas from Oxford !

    • The A List

      I’ve had my artificial tree for 7 years now! Real trees bring in bugs and can catch fire easily.

  5. Kimberly Cooksey

    Thank you for sharing your recipes and beautiful pictures.

  6. Ester

    I just made it! it tastes awesome, my mom loved it ❤️
    Thank you alyssa 💕

  7. Shelley Human

    While I was reading this post my hubby said oh I want hot chocolate now! Lol but we only have skim milk so would that work? Thank you for sharing your recipe! My mother in law loves hot chocolate so I’ll pass your recipe to her on Christmas Day. It is my 30th Christmas with my hubby’s family and next April is our 30th anniversary which doesn’t seem possible! Lol have a lovely weekend!