Over-the-Top Hot Cocoa Recipes to Try This Winter

It’s beginning to look a lot like…hot cocoa weather! Hot chocolate, the warm, sweet, milky, delicious drink we know today, began thousands of years ago as a spicy, cold drink and has now evolved into tons of yummy varieties. This holiday season take, your hot cocoa game up a notch with a few of these delicious variations!

The Basics

But first, the basics. Hot cocoa can be made from scratch on the stove or with some powder mix. There are lots of great homemade cocoa recipes that will turn your kitchen into a five-star hot cocoa destination. Let’s be real, though, the holiday season is also finals season and life is hectic as a college student with December nearing. There are tons of great hot cocoa mix options for quick, quality cocoa including an organic option from Whole Foods and the classic Swiss Miss mix.

Everything Peppermint!

Peppermint and hot cocoa is a classic combo for a reason. It’s delicious! Start with your favorite cocoa, then try one (or two, or all!) of these add-ins to create a yummy peppermint hint.

  1. Peppermint Marshmallows
  2. Candy Canes or peppermint candies
  3. Peppermint bark
  4. Peppermint Hot Coco Mix
  5. Peppermint Hersey Kisses


Or, if peppermint isn’t your thing, give your cocoa a kick with cinnamon. Ground cinnamon can be added straight to your cocoa or cocoa mix to achieve this flavor. Cinnamon sticks can also be used to stir in a bit of the flavor in too. As with peppermint, there are also cinnamon marshmallows that can be added. Ground nutmeg goes well with cinnamon and hot chocolate as well.

Hot, Hot Chocolate!

Spicy hot chocolate? It’s not as crazy as it sounds. This recipe from The New York Times uses ancho chile powder to make a spicy hot chocolate. Other recipes call for cayenne and chipotle powder. Nestlé’s Abuelita hot chocolate products are also an easy way to make Mexican hot chocolate, a spicier version of hot cocoa.


There are vegan versions of hot chocolate too! Some hot cocoa mixes may contain milk or lactose, so be sure to check the ingredients before buying. To make homemade vegan hot chocolate, check the milk content of the chocolate you are using to make your cocoa or use raw cocoa powder. Then use almond, soy or other milk substitutes.

With all these yummy hot cocoa options, let the cold weather begin!