Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

Our homemade hot cocoa mix has variations to make this hot cocoa recipe your very own. Choose between plain, peppermint, and Mexican chocolate versions. Homemade hot cocoa mix makes easy, thoughtful gifts!

Hot Cocoa Mix
Sally Vargas

Do you hate crowds? Do you have gift-giving anxiety? I do.

In fact, I’ll do almost anything to stay out of the stores during the holidays. My friends all know that they will receive a gift, but that gift will come from my kitchen.

Hot Cocoa Mix
Sally Vargas

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix Is the Perfect Gift

Now I’ve been given some doozies in the past from friends similarly inclined to edible gift-giving. So, I try to make gifts of food that will appeal to as many people as possible. No dilly beans. No “what’s-in-that?” unidentifiable candies. Nope. I’m playing it safe.

A cocoa mix like this one is universally loved and goes a long way toward solving my holiday shopping anxiety. Preparation time is ridiculously fast. The result is ridiculously charming.

Hot Cocoa Recipes: So Many Options!

I tried many versions before deciding that a simple approach is really the best—no fancy chocolate bits to melt, just cocoa powder, sugar, and flavorings. Dutch process cocoa is more alkaline and darker in color than natural cocoa powder, and therefore slightly more appealing in a hot cocoa. But you could really use either kind.

I've also included variations for Mexican Hot Chocolate and Peppermint Hot Chocolate, just in case you'd like to mix it up!

Hot Cocoa Mix
Sally Vargas

Try This Trick for Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

One pastry chef trick I use: Blend pure extracts or finely grated citrus zest into the sugar so the sugar becomes perfumed. I’ve done this here for this recipe, but the trick is good enough that you should think about using it in other sugary situations as well. Try combining sugar and lemon zest the next time you make a lemon bundt cake, for example.

Packaging and Gifting Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

When you’re shopping for ingredients, pick out some pretty jars, wrapping paper, ribbon, and few holiday baubles in which to wrap your gift. Print out the mix directions and paste them on oak tag labels, or write them out by hand. Check out your local office supply stores for ideas and supplies.

Don’t Forget to Enjoy Some Hot Cocoa Yourself!

A homemade gift is truly a gift of love. Love thyself, too, and keep a jar stashed in the cupboard for yourself. You’ll be glad you did, when the four o’clock slump hits on a chilly, gray day.

Hot Cocoa Mix
Sally Vargas

How Long Does Hot Cocoa Mix Last?

Once made up in jars with airtight lids, homemade hot chocolate mix will last about 3 to 6 months in the pantry. It'll last even longer in the freezer.

Fun Hot Cocoa Upgrades 

For some added fun, here are some other flavors and add-ins you can pop into your jars before sealing them!

  • Mini marshmallows
  • Chocolate chips
  • Candy cane bits
  • Some cayenne or other chili powder
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or other spices
  • Cinnamon sticks for stirring
  • Instant coffee for a mocha mix

Cozy Recipes to Enjoy with Your Hot Cocoa

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Servings 24 servings

Cornstarch gives the cocoa a smooth and creamy texture that doesn’t interfere with flavor.

Ingredients

  • BASE RECIPE: Plain Hot Cocoa Mix
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • VARIATION: Mexican Chocolate Cocoa Mix
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder (optional)
  • VARIATION: Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure mint extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • To make one cup of hot cocoa:
  • 4 teaspoons hot cocoa mix
  • 3/4 cup milk (any milk of your choice)
  • Cinnamon sticks, optional
  • Peppermint sticks, optional
  • Mini-marshmallows, optional
  • Whipped cream, optional

Method

  1. Combine the extract with the sugar:

    In a bowl, place the sugar and sprinkle the extract over the top (along with the orange zest, if making the Mexican Hot Chocolate variation). With a whisk or your fingers, work the extract into the sugar until thoroughly combined.

    The addition of extract to the sugar makes it slightly damp, but the moisture is distributed when you mix it with the cocoa and cornstarch.

    Hot Cocoa Mix
    Sally Vargas
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the mix:

    Add the cocoa powder, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon (if using) to the bowl and whisk to combine. Store in jars for up to three months.

    Hot Cocoa Mix
    Sally Vargas

To make one cup of hot cocoa:

  1. Make a paste of the mix and cold milk:

    In a microwave-safe cup, stir 4 teaspoons of hot chocolate mix with 1 tablespoon of milk until blended.

  2. Stir in the rest of the milk:

    Pour in the rest of the milk and stir until the paste is dissolved into the milk.

  3. Warm the cocoa:

    Warm in a small pot on the stove top until steaming, or in the microwave for about 1 minute.

    Serve immediately with any optional toppings you like.