Creamy Cinnamon Hot Chocolate
Stay warm this winter with homemade cinnamon hot chocolate! With vanilla, semisweet chocolate, and toasty cinnamon, this cocoa is rich, creamy, chocolatey, and beyond delicious. This is one of my favorite recipes for holiday parties, winter brunches, and snowy adventures!
It’s been cloudy, rainy, and chilly for days and I am in total bliss. So naturally, I’ve been leaning into the season with my favorite Winter indie Spotify playlist and hot drinks like Norwegian mulled wine, ginger tea hot toddies, and hot chocolate.
I genuinely think homemade hot chocolate is an elite beverage. It’s one of my go-tos for winter brunches, snowshoeing adventures, cookie exchanges, and Christmas morning. Like, who doesn’t get excited about a hot chocolate buffet situation?
This recipe is the ultimate mix of creamy, decadent, and extra special thanks to a dash of cinnamon! It’s completely unreal. Save this one for your next get-together and stay cozy friends!
This hot chocolate is the best
I have opinions when it comes to hot chocolate. First off, it must be made with milk, never water! Also it should be chocolatey and creamy but not too thick. (Unless it’s Spanish hot chocolate, of course.) But in this case, we’re going with a classic recipe that I’ve been working on for years. I’ve tried it with different ratios, spices, and chocolates but this is the one I come back to time-after-time.
- This recipe comes together in about 5 minutes.
- It’s rich, chocolatey, and has a lovely hint of spice.
- This hot chocolate is perfect for holidays and chilly nights.
- Make this hot chocolate for one or for a crowd!
- Whole milk – as I said above, milk is key to good hot chocolate. Never water! Use whole milk for rich and creamy hot chocolate.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder – to add intense chocolate flavor without too much sugar. I like Dutch processed the best!
- Sugar – for a touch of sweetness. Regular granulated sugar works great.
- Chocolate – we’ll use chopped semisweet chocolate to add extra creaminess and richness. I use a bar but you can also use good-quality chocolate chips.
- Vanilla – a bit of vanilla extract tastes amazing with the bitterness of the chocolate.
- Cinnamon – a dash of cinnamon adds depth and extra warmth.
- Salt – we’ll add a pinch of Kosher salt at the end to offset the sweetness of the chocolate. I use Morton’s Kosher salt.
- Dairy free – feel free to use unsweetened creamy oat milk or almond milk.
- Extra creamy – replace half of the whole milk with half-and-half for extra creamy hot chocolate.
- Chocolate – you can also use milk, dark, or bittersweet chocolate if you prefer.
- Spices – apple pie spice would also be delicious in this recipe!
- Boozy – add a shot of bourbon, dark rum, Kahlua, or Bailey’s for a real party.
How to make this recipe
- Combine the milk, sugar, and cocoa powder in a saucepan.
- Then, cook the milk over medium heat, whisking until any lumps dissolve.
- Once the milk is hot, remove it from the heat. Add the chopped chocolate.
- Let the chocolate sit for about 2 minutes. Then, whisk it until smooth.
- Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt.
- Whisk the hot chocolate until it’s well-combined. Enjoy!
Don’t let the milk come to a full simmer. You want to heat the milk just until it’s hot and has a few bubbles on top. If the milk is too hot, the chocolate will seize and make the texture grainy instead of creamy and smooth.
- Top the hot chocolate with marshmallows.
- Add a dollop of whipped cream.
- Sprinkle the cocoa with extra cinnamon.
- Serve the cocoa with a cinnamon stick garnish.
- Enjoy this hot chocolate with rolled wafer cookies.
Storing & make-ahead
To store leftover hot chocolate, first make sure it’s completely cool. Then, pour the hot chocolate into an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.
You can also make this hot chocolate up to 3 days in advance! Just refrigerate the hot chocolate in an airtight container and reheat it when you’re ready to enjoy.
To reheat the hot chocolate, you can either microwave it or heat it on the stove. Microwave individual mugs in 30 second increments until it’s hot. Or, to heat it on the stove, place the hot chocolate in a saucepan. Re-warm over medium-low heat, stirring often, until it’s hot.
Place a sheet of beeswax wrap or plastic wrap on the surface of the hot chocolate before storing it. Otherwise, the top of the hot chocolate will develop a thick film!
Slow cooker instructions
You can also make cinnamon hot cocoa in the slow cooker to keep it warm for a party!
- Combine the milk, sugar, and cocoa powder in the bowl of a slow cooker.
- Whisk the mixture vigorously until it’s as mixed together as possible.
- Stir the chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt into the milk.
- Cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
- Stir every 30 minutes or so to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn. Enjoy!
If you’re serving this hot chocolate at a party or get-together, set up a hot chocolate bar! Add bowls of marshmallows, whipped cream, candies, chocolates, and other add-ons and let your friends make their own hot chocolate creation.
- Large saucepan
- Rubber whisk
- Kitchen scale or measuring cups
- Sharp knife & cutting board
- Mugs – for serving
Tips & tricks
- Splurge on high-quality semisweet chocolate. Since it’s the main flavor in this recipe, you want it to be good!
- If you use non-dairy milk, make sure it’s unsweetened. Otherwise, it might end up being too sweet with the addition of sugar and chocolate.
- Use a rubber whisk to mix everything together. Metal whisks can damage the surface of your saucepan.
- Heat the milk low-and-slow. Otherwise, the chocolate can seize and end up grainy instead of smooth.
What is the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa?
The difference might seem subtle, but hot chocolate and hot cocoa are totally different! Hot chocolate is made with melted chocolate and milk which makes it reach and creamy. Hot cocoa, on the other hand, is made with a mix of cocoa powder and sugar. It can also be made with either water or milk. Overall, I find that hot cocoa isn’t as complex or decadent as hot chocolate.
Can I double or triple this recipe?
Definitely! Just mix it up in a big pot and use a ladle to pour the cinnamon hot cocoa into mugs. This recipe is lovely for a hot chocolate bar, Christmas morning, or a holiday party!
Is chocolate and cinnamon good together?
Yes! I love the combo of the warm and woodsy flavor of cinnamon with rich, bitter, sweet chocolate. It adds depth to the chocolate and gives it a festive touch. But, if you want even deeper flavor, feel free to add other warm spices like cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, or cloves.
Is this recipe the same as Mexican hot chocolate?
Nope! While Mexican hot chocolate does have cinnamon, it also has cayenne for a hint of spice. Some recipes also have other spices like nutmeg or anise. Super delicious!
More cozy winter drinks
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Creamy Cinnamon Hot Chocolate
- 4 cups whole milk (960 milliliters)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (28 grams)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (113 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of Kosher salt
- Marshmallows or whipped cream, for serving
- Large saucepan
- Rubber whisk
- Combine the milk, cocoa powder, and sugar in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking until the sugar is dissolved and the cocoa powder is thoroughly combined.
- Heat the milk mixture until it's hot and there are just a couple of small bubbles on the surface (don't let it come to a simmer). Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for about 2 minutes.
- Whisk the chocolate into the milk until it's smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until the hot chocolate is thoroughly combined.
- Ladle the hot chocolate into 4 mugs. Top with marshmallows or whipped cream and enjoy!
- 1 cup whole milk (240 milliliters)
- 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder (7 grams)
- 1 Tablespoon sugar (13 grams)
- 1 ounce semisweet chocolate (28 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Small pinch of salt
xo Sara Lynn
Song of the day – Snowshoes by Caamp