Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix


There seems to be an awful lot of interest surrounding the topic of hot cocoa. Specifically, how to make it. This is not surprising considering the recent enormous dump of snow that has blanketed Calgary, slowing it down considerably and sending it scrambling to find its mittens and snow shovels. (Confession: I love it. Even the driving part. I love walking the boys to school and shoveling the sidewalk and coming in with the bottom inches of my jeans cold and wet. I’m sure the novelty will wear off sometime around January 2nd.)

So to make real, for-true-life hot cocoa this is what you do (or what I do): stir together a tablespoonful each of cocoa and sugar (or honey) in a small pot, and add about a cup of milk (soy or almond milk is fine, although it’s sweeter so you may want to cut down the sugar). Heat. (You’ll have to heat the water anyway-you may as well heat milk, right?)

Or, if you’d like to make yourself a nice stash of mix for the kids to dip into, you can get yourself a charming old glass jar (Value Village: $1) and spoon into it equal amounts of cocoa powder and sugar. Shake it up. This will take approximately twelve seconds, and take you from:



Ingredients: COCOA, SUGAR.

The boys today declared their hot cocoa the best they’ve ever had, and this was it. Made with 1% milk. It was no different than usual, but made me think maybe we all might need a steaming cup.


About Julie

You May Also Like

32 comments on “Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

  1. Amber
    November 17, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    My suggestion to make it even chocolate-ier is to use Dark Chocolate Silk Almond Milk as the milk part. Yum.

    I think I will try making my own hot chocolate once my Nativa Organic Hot Chocolate – Rich Chocolate version runs out. I bought it because I could understand all the ingredients on the box:

    Organic dehydrated cane juice solids, organic whey, organic nonfat dry milk, organic cocoa (processed with alkali), sea salt, calcium carbonate, natural vanilla flavour and xanthan gum.

    Would agave syrup work as the sweetener too? I don’t keep white sugar in the house and am out of honey at the moment (except for pumpkin honey which would taste a bit funny I think!).

    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  2. Doréus
    November 17, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    I make mine with brown sugar (an old Franco-Ontarian thing). For a more adventurous version, a bit of nutmeg, chili… or a shot of espresso in the mix does wonders. If it were not so late, I think I’d get to the kitchen to make some. Right now.

  3. Liana @ femme fraiche
    November 18, 2010 at 4:43 am

    It’s definitely Christmas time…my chocolate cravings are attacking with a vengeance and I’m reading these posts and drooling onto my keyboard (eek). The espresso suggestion (above) is clever!

  4. molly
    November 18, 2010 at 5:36 am

    Okay, why have I never done this?

  5. nikkapotamus
    November 18, 2010 at 5:59 am

    isn’t it crazy what ingredients need to go into a commercially made product vs. what you can do at home?

    thanks for the recipe. I always think about doing this for family AFTER Christmas. Maybe this year, I’ll do it BEFORE 🙂

  6. Jennifer Jo
    November 18, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Mixing the cocoa and sugar with a little water and bringing that to a boil before adding the milk makes for a creamier cocoa. Also, I add a pinch of salt and a bit of vanilla at the very end. http://bit.ly/czI9dc

  7. Brigitte
    November 18, 2010 at 7:38 am


  8. Robyn
    November 18, 2010 at 8:17 am

    okay seriously julie. first the skillet jam, then ketchup, then chewy granola bars (which i am eating right now), and now hot chocolate! at this rate, i won’t be buying anything in a jar or box in 2011. love!

  9. Cheryl
    November 18, 2010 at 8:24 am

    The girls and I had some last night after playing in the snow. We put on our PJs and sipped. It was awesome. This morning we are making our own marshmallows to add to it.

    (You are not the only one to love winter.)

  10. Stephanie
    November 18, 2010 at 9:15 am

    I make mine by putting a spoonful each of cocoa and brown sugar in the bottom of a mug and stirring it to a paste with a splash of milk. Heat milk to steaming in a saucepan and add it to the mug. Then I’ll add a little vanilla or almond or peppermint extract — or a pinch of cinnamon and shot of applejack.

  11. Jan @ Family Bites
    November 18, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Delicious. We make ours with honey, cocoa and cinnamon, and this year we’ve swapped the honey for maple syurp to make a maple cocoa(PS – My hockey obsessed family is fond of winter too).

  12. eddy
    November 18, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Home made cocoa is the best! I tried the instant mix once-enough said. I do add a dash of salt to the dry mix as it seems to impart a fuller flavor to the finished product.

  13. JulieVR
    November 18, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Brilliant ideas everyone! Love brown sugar in it, but maple syrup cocoa? Yum!!

    Robyn – yay!

    Jennifer – yes, I do this too when I make the ultra-indulgent stuff with cocoa and chocolate. Yum!

    Amber – sorry, but I always get a kick out of names like dehydrated cane juice solids – Which is just sugar. All white sugar (sucrose) is made from sugar beets or sugar cane – so it’s really just a healthier-sounding name for sugar. Agave nectar would work fine, but it has a high concentration of fructose, making it chemically more similar to high-fructose corn syrup…

  14. erin
    November 18, 2010 at 9:44 am

    I have to get some more Gem jars – yours look so pretty!!

    Speaking of cane sugar – is it any healthier than refined white sugar? Superstore now carries organic cane sugar, and someone told me it’s healthier because it’s not bleached, but it also costs about a thousand times more!!

  15. JulieVR
    November 18, 2010 at 9:49 am

    All white table sugar comes from sugar cane or sugar beets. Side by side, you wouldn’t know the difference. So calling it “cane sugar” doesn’t really make it any better than “beet sugar”, which people don’t tend to use because it doesn’t sound as appetizing! I’d say the only benefit is that it’s organic.

  16. JulieVR
    November 18, 2010 at 10:17 am

    From the FDA website (http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/FoodLabelingNutrition/ucm181491.htm)

    Over the past few years the term “evaporated cane juice” has started to appear as an ingredient on food labels, most commonly to declare the presence of sweeteners derived from sugar cane syrup. However, FDA’s current policy is that sweeteners derived from sugar cane syrup should not be declared as “evaporated cane juice” because that term falsely suggests that the sweeteners are juice…

  17. Jenn
    November 18, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I do my ratio of 1:1:1 with cocoa, powdered dry milk, and sugar or splenda, then keep it at work for a quick cup of hot cocoa that doesn’t require anything except hot water!

    Check out my blog later this week for a post on how to make homemade marshmallows. People will think you’re a domestic diva when all you’re doing is cooking & whipping sugar.

  18. Jake
    November 18, 2010 at 11:27 am


    Almost 40 years of plain ol’ Fry’s Cocoa and Southern Alberta White Beet Sugar. A glug of brandy is nice too.

    The Hot Chocolate at Caffe Beano is pretty good…grated Callebaut and Milk. Have you tried the concoctions at Choklat? Overkill IMHO.

    I keep a few tablets of Ibarra Mexican drinking chocolate around as well. If you make it with a bit of masa harina(cornmeal), and brown sugar it makes a pretty decent champurrado (chocolate atole).

    Now i want to go home from work and whip up a steamer full of tamales to go with the cocoa.


  19. Vivian
    November 18, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Yes. I too received the dump of Alberta snow! Thanks for suggesting something so comforting and dark brown as an antidote. This first real smack of winter kills me…I retreat to my “happy place”: the kitchen! As to agave syrup I’ve read that its nasty processing makes it not any better than regular old white sugar. Plus, it takes so many agave plants out of TEQUILA production! Now, really, what’s more important?! (Only kidding). I loved all the suggestions for flavour extenders with the cocoa: brown sugar, espresso, maple syrup, even salt (I would not have thought of that), cinnamon, and chili. Wonder what a few pink peppercorns would impart? What about “chai” cocoa? Such a world of taste adventures you’ve opened!

  20. kickpleat
    November 18, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    This is the only kind of cocoa I grew up on – and I still make it today. Why have I never thought to have a mix of it on the ready?? Brilliant! I do like adding a bit of peppermint extract to make my hot chocolates minty 🙂

  21. Vincci
    November 18, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    @Julie @Amber

    May I pipe in that HFCS *theoretically* has a very similar composition to sugar (sucrose)? Sucrose should be 50% fructose and 50% glucose, whereas HFCS should be 55% fructose and 45% glucose. It’s only called “high fructose” because corn syrup alone is almost all glucose. Unfortunately, some studies are now showing that some products sweetened with HFCS are containing more fructose than expected: http://www.foodpolitics.com/2010/10/new-study-hfcs-sweetened-drinks-higher-in-fructose-than-expected/

    Agave syrup/nectar/sugar can vary in fructose content depending on the manufacturer/distributor, but generally it has a higher fructose content than sugar and HFCS.

    Is fructose that bad for you? Well, some studies are now showing that because fructose is metabolized differently in the body than glucose, a diet high in fructose could increase the risk of some diseases. But I think the bottom line is, a sweetener is a sweetener – you shouldn’t be using so much that the minimal benefits of one are outweighing the other.

  22. JulieVR
    November 18, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Well said Vincci! Thanks for chiming in!

  23. Manon from Ontario
    November 19, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Youpie, I’m so glad you shared this with us…I have maple sugar or maple syrup year round….yeah!
    I might just make 125ml or 250ml jars of cocoa mix and add these to my gift baskets this year….

    Thank you sooooooo much!

    Love winter but not before December…I actually woke up a friend this morning, my time 8h00 am your time 6h00 am….crap! He said that it’s -24 and 20cm of snow!!!!!

    Love your blog,

  24. susie
    November 19, 2010 at 6:57 am

    SNOW!? I forget here in the South that 50 and rainy, which is our winter, translates to something a bit colder and a whole lot prettier elsewhere. Thanks for reminding me how much more I like the home made version of cocoa, I am trying the maple syrup variation……

  25. JulieVR
    November 19, 2010 at 7:07 am

    Right now it’s -15 (at 7am) and yes – lots of snow out there! It’s very pretty.

  26. Ruth
    November 19, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I made hot chocolate mix as gifts last year. Added crushed candy canes to the ones with kids in the family and a pinch of cayenne and cinnamon to the families with no small children. Everyone loved them.

    PS. I made them with milk powder so all you had to do was mix with hot water.

  27. Colleen
    November 19, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Oooh, I’m going to have fun with hot chocolate this year! Since discovering that commercial hot chocolate mix is in the same category as canned soup–ain’t nothin’ like the real thing–it turns out that I actually do like hot chocolate afterall. And homemade mixes….you know, Bernard Callebaut sells cocoa powder…I think I’ve got stocking stuffers figured out for this year.

  28. Tiffany
    November 19, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Julie, wanted to ask this yesterday what kind of coco powder do you recommend for your coco base?

  29. JulieVR
    November 19, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Tiffany – if you can get it, Bernard Callebaut is fantastic. Depending on where you are, most chocolate makers also produce cocoa, so you can get some good stuff! Otherwise Fry’s cocoa is just fine. Kids won’t notice the difference! or mine don’t, anyway!

  30. mar
    November 19, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Instead of milk, use coffee. A cafe mocha anyone?

  31. Heather
    November 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    White sugar isn’t bleached. It’s refined which means the impurities are taken out (the rest of the plant material). Sugar is naturally white. Brown sugar has molasses added back to it.

  32. Beverley M
    January 28, 2023 at 10:28 pm

    I decided to make boozy hot chocolate tonight and used regular store-bought powdered mix with my peppermint schnaps and it came out way too sweet. So then I remembered seeing this receipe ages ago and came back to find it, thinking I could cut down on the sugar somewhat. Oh… just cocoa and sugar? Well then!

    So now I’m drinking 1 tbsp of cocoa + 2 oz of peppermint schnaps + tiny pinch of salt + fill the mug with hot water from the kettle and it’s Just RIght. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.