Stovetop Hot Chocolate

It takes just six minutes and three ingredients to make this rich and creamy homemade stovetop hot chocolate recipe.

A cup of stovetop hot chocolate.

I’ll never forget the first time I had homemade, real, hot chocolate, made on the stove and not with a mix. Although we made our own mix from scratch (and it was delicious) there was just something about that extra chocolaty decadence of classic hot chocolate, with that little extra bit of cocoa lingering for the last sip that had me hooked.

A while back the folks from Domino Sugar contacted me to ask if I’d like to feature Domino Sugar on Southern Plate. They asked if I’d use one of their recipes on their handy dandy recipe site as well. I had planned on bringing y’all homemade hot cocoa for a while now but I usually make it without a recipe and had yet to take the time to measure everything out. Lo and behold, Domino did that for me so why mess with perfection? After you make this a time or two with their best hot chocolate recipe, you’ll likely settle into just eyeballing it as I do.

Either way you go, though, you just can’t beat a cup of this easy homemade hot chocolate! When I say easy, I mean it. All you need is cocoa powder, whole milk, white sugar, and vanilla as an optional extra. 5 minutes of stovetop cooking later and you’ll be topping your hot cocoa with mini marshmallows and taking a sip. It’s that quick and easy.

Special thanks to Domino for sending me a gift card to gather up all of the supplies I’d need for this post, including some Domino Sugar in their new little canister! Be sure to check out their recipe website for plenty of yummy holiday recipes, including mixes and printable tags.

Labeled ingredients for stovetop hot chocolate.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Cocoa powder
  • Whole milk
  • Sugar

Vanilla extract and a mini marshmallow topping are optional but don’t try telling that to my kids!

How to Make Stovetop Hot Chocolate

Add sugar to saucepot.

First, add the sugar to the saucepot.

Add cocoa powder to saucepot.

Then add your cocoa powder.

Add 1/2 cup of whole milk to saucepot.

Pour in 1/2 cup of whole milk.

Mix ingredients together.

Stirry, stirry!

Close-up of ingredients mixed together to resemble a paste.

It will look kinda like a paste.

Bring ingredients to a boil.

Stirring constantly, bring it to a boil.

Remove saucepot from heat and add in remaining milk.

Remove the saucepot from the heat and pour in the remaining milk.

Stir that up well and then place to saucepot back on the stovetop, set to medium heat.

Place saucepot back on heat and add vanilla.

Pour in a little vanilla extract if you’d like.

Continue stirring until heated through

Continue stirring over medium heat until heated through.

Be careful and ensure it doesn’t come to a boil again.

Pour stovetop hot chocolate into cups.

Once it is heated through, pour it into cups.

Cup of stovetop hot chocolate.

Now you can keep things plain and simple…

Add mini marshmallows to hot chocolate if desired.

Or you can add mini marshmallows…

Glass of stovetop hot chocolate.

And a peppermint candy cane stir stick.



It’s best to serve the hot chocolate immediately. But just adjust the measurements to match the number of servings you wish to make. However, if you do have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container (like a mason jar) for up to 3 days and reheat them on the stovetop until heated through.

Recipe Notes

  • To enhance the chocolate flavor, feel free to add a pinch of salt to your hot cocoa.
  • Garnish your creamy homemade hot chocolate however you like:
  • You can use any milk in this recipe including dairy-free varieties like almond milk and coconut milk.
  • Here are some fun stovetop hot chocolate variations. When you add the vanilla extract, also add:
    • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (then serve with a cinnamon stick).
    • 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract to make peppermint hot chocolate (serve with a peppermint candy cane over the holidays).
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons of powdered instant coffee. 
    • 1/16 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper.

Here are more delicious drinks to make for your family soon:

Snowman Soup With Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

Gingerbread Spiced Coffee

Mocha Coffee Floats

Sugar-Free Pumpkin Spice Latte at Home

Glass of stovetop hot chocolate.

Old Fashioned Stovetop Hot Chocolate

It takes just six minutes and three ingredients to make this rich and creamy homemade stovetop hot chocolate recipe.
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 6 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate, hotchocolate
Servings: 6
Calories: 323kcal


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4.5 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)


  • In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cocoa, and 1/2 cup of milk.
    1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 4.5 cups whole milk
  • Stir constantly over medium heat until the hot chocolate mixture comes to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the remaining milk. Then return to medium heat and stir in vanilla if desired. Stir until heated through.
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional), 4.5 cups whole milk
  • Serve hot with mini marshmallows.


Calories: 323kcal
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  1. I was born and raised partly in Iowa, now live in Colorado and I call it cocoa. Cocoa is assumed to be hot already-at least by my family

  2. We called it “hot chocolate” growing up in West Texas, and because we’re so close to Mexico, it’s not hot chocolate unless it has a pinch of cinnamon in it – or, if you’d been very, very good, Mother would put a whole cinnamon stick in it as a stirrer! Or sometimes a candy cane! Oh my gosh, I can remember how exciting that was. Hot chocolate happened on Christmas Eve, after the tamales, to fortify us for the trip to midnight Mass – and sometimes on Christmas morning, if it was cold enough.

    And if I may answer – skim milk would make it pretty thin, yes. Go on, splurge! Whole milk or even cream once a year won’t kill ya!

    1. We call it hot chocolate here in the Dallas area, too. And, I love cinnamon in mine. I usually buy Mexican hot chocolate tablets at the Mexican grocery store, and make it with those. I might have to try the cnnamon stick stirrer – that sounds good!

  3. I love my Cocomotion machine. You dump all of the ingredients in and it whirls it around into nice hot cup of hot chocolate. Yes, it’s Hot Chocolate in Arkansas!

    1. Where do you get a cocomotion machine. I live in Arizona so I would guess it would be hard to find one out here!! I miss making homemade hot chocolate. Think tonight calls for a cup after supper!!

  4. Thanks for the cup of hot Chocolate…My Mother use to make it for me when I was a little girl..Memories. Love you , Dahling.

  5. My mom would make this for me during winter! Once you taste of this you can never go back to that stuff in the package! So good! I also make thins for my kids as well!

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