The Best Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot cocoa is one of my favorite things to sip on during the holiday season. When the snow starts falling I always start craving it! But I haven’t really found a store-bought cocoa that I really love. They’re all good, but are often expensive and full of all sorts of preservatives. So this year I thought I’d make my own cocoa mix using a few pantry staples along with one or two secret ingredients. The results? The BEST homemade hot cocoa mix I’ve ever had!

The Best Homemade Hot Cocoa

It all starts with a few cups of dry milk powder. I prefer using whole milk powder but often times nonfat is easier to find. Whole is slightly more rich and creamy while nonfat is a little more on the bitter side. That’s where the white chocolate comes in. Not only does t helps sweeten things up (along with the powdered sugar) and make this cocoa extra smooth and creamy. Make sure you buy white chocolate, not vanilla chips… there’s a difference! Next is comes the cocoa powder, probably the second most important ingredient! I prefer unsweetened dark or Dutch cocoa but natural works too if you prefer more of a milk chocolate flavor. And like I always say, use quality ingredients (especially cocoa), because you can definitely taste it in this recipe!

The Best Homemade Hot Cocoa

The last two ingredients you’ll need are salt and pure vanilla powder. That’s my secret ingredient. It’s what makes this recipe taste 10x better than any other recipe out there. Nielsen-Massey makes one that I love, and I use it in place of vanilla extract in dry mixes and baked goods. It’s worth the extra money, I promise! (It can also be found in the bulk spice section of stores that carry bulk foods) If you happen to have ground vanilla bean you can definitely use that too, I know I’ve used it in recipes and it’s excellent! Once you have your ingredients measured out, mix them together in a large bowl and then puree them in batches until the mix is nice and smooth (basically until the white chocolate is finely ground). That’s it! Store it in an airtight container for up to 6 months and enjoy at your leisure!

The Best Homemade Hot Cocoa

Whether you’re making a batch of this cocoa for your family or for holiday gifts, everyone is going to love it! If you’re feeling extra fancy you can buy those dehydrated marshmallows and mix those in, or package up some fluffy homemade marshmallows for people to add in later. I hope you’ll give this quick and easy recipe a try! Enjoy & happy holidays!


5.0 from 7 reviews
The Best Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
Prep time
Total time
Quick, easy and delicious, this is the best homemade hot cocoa mix you'll ever try! It's especially perfect for holiday gift giving!
Yield: 20-25 servings
  • 3 c. dry milk powder (nonfat or whole)
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1½ c. special dark (or Dutch-process) cocoa powder*
  • 1½ c. white chocolate chunks or chips**
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla powder***

  • 1 c. mini dehydrated marshmallows (optional)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Working in 2-3 batches, pulse the ingredients in a food processor until the chocolate is finely ground. Add mini dehydrated marshmallows if desired, stir to combine. Store the cocoa mix in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
  2. To prepare the hot cocoa, put ¼ cup to ⅓ cup of the mix in a large mug and stir in 1 cup of hot milk or water.
-Whole milk powder will give this cocoa a slightly more creamy flavor
-Try adding ground candy canes for peppermint hot cocoa!
-If using ground vanilla bean in place of pure vanilla powder, use 1 tsp. Vanilla powder can be found at most stores with bulk food sections as well as specialty stores like Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma.
*Using high quality cocoa powder is always better than going with the cheap stuff. Quality ingredients yield quality results! Natural cocoa powder can be used in place of dark or Dutch-process for more of a milk chocolate flavor.
**I prefer using Ghirardelli white chocolate baking bars and chopping them into chunks
***My favorite brand of vanilla powder is Nielsen-Massey. You can find this ingredient at most well stocked grocery stores, specialty food stores or even online. It really makes a huge difference in the overall flavor of the cocoa. It's worth the money and can be used in all sorts of dry mixes or baked goods!

Recipe source: adapted from Brown Eyed Baker