In our house, this has been a cherished family tradition for decades. It’s nice to have a hot cup of creamy rich hot chocolate to drink after sledding, skiing, building snowmen, after Christmas shopping, or to host a hot chocolate bar with friends or family. We especially enjoyed it as kids and looked forward to it around the holidays and winter season. There is not much that trumps this deluxe recipe as it is pretty much a dump and go recipe. Simply just mix all the ingredients and cook it in the slow cooker in just two hours.
Plus, there is something special about being able to dip a big ladle into a seemingly bottomless pot of hot chocolate to endlessly fill our overflowing cups whenever we want. We are the house that keeps a couple of bags of
mini-marshmallows in a nearby bowl to add to the crock as friends and family try to get a full scoop of them each time.
There are so many variations to this classic recipe as you will see below. It is truly an easy recipe to customize with flavor, texture, and taste which makes it the ultimate recipe. Let us know what your favorites are in the comments!
How to Make Crock Pot Hot Chocolate
- Turn crockpot on low. Pour milk and cream into crockpot and stir.
- Whisk in unsweetened cocoa powder along with powdered sugar, stirring as you slowly add.
- Stir in sugar, vanilla extract, and salt.
- Add chocolate once the liquid is warm enough.
- Cook for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
- Serve with toppings of your choice.
To learn how to make hot chocolate on the stovetop, see reader questions below.
Homemade Crockpot Hot Chocolate Ingredients
Dairy: Whole milk creates the creaminess and sweetness of the hot chocolate, while the cream will help make a thicker, richer hot chocolate.
Chocolate: Use a good quality unsweetened cocoa powder. A Dutch cocoa powder will produce a much richer flavor and darker color. A good quality semi-sweet chocolate chip such as Ghirardelli will go a long way in making the perfect from-scratch batch of hot chocolate. Of course, using a baking bar of semi-sweet chocolate is even better. Grate it with a cheese grater or chop it then stir it into the slow cooker.
**Do NOT use chocolate candy bars. Other varieties of chocolate chips like milk chocolate will make the batch sweeter, while dark chocolate will yield a very rich and deep chocolate flavor.
Sugars: The use of sugars adds sweetness as well as binds the ingredients together. The cornstarch in the powdered sugar will slightly thicken the hot beverage.
Toppings: Peppermint candy canes, chocolate spoons, whipped cream, flavored coffee creamers, alcohol, marshmallows, and more.
Hosting a Hot Chocolate Bar this Winter
When temperatures start to drop outside and with friends and family spending more time inside, hosting an epic winter hot chocolate bar inside your cozy home makes for the perfect excuse to get together. Here, I have included a wide variety of tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years to make the event unforgettable.
Toppings: crushed candy canes, peppermint spoons, chocolate dippers, peppermint candy dippers, dipped candy spoons, whipped cream, marshmallows, fudge sauce, caramel sauce, chocolate chips, or a dollop of raspberry jam. I am able to stock up on these unique stocking stuffers or hot chocolate essentials at specialty stores like World Market, and the Hallmark Store.
Extracts: Peppermint, mint, coconut, maple, almond, cookie butter, raspberry, cherry.
Alcohol: Make a spiked adult version to share with friends. Stir in Baileys Irish cream, Peppermint Schnapps, Butterscotch Schnapps, RumChata, spiced rum, cinnamon or cherry liqueur, or a coffee liqueur like Kahlua. Other great options include chocolate stout beer an almond flavored liqueur like Amaretto.
Non-alcohol flavors: For years, I have been adding a few splashes of refrigerated coffee creamers or flavored “coffee” sugar syrups to hot chocolate. In addition to flavored creamers adding that special taste, the drink will be creamier, thicker, and richer. Holiday classics include hazelnut, peppermint, pumpkin spice, sugar cookie, sweet cream, Irish creme, amaretto, white chocolate mocha, white chocolate raspberry, vanilla, caramel, or any other kind that is available.
Coffee: Add a shot of espresso or a bit of strong coffee to your cup before filling the rest of the mug with hot chocolate.
Cookies: I like to serve trays or platters of cookies like Danish cookies, shortbread cookies, pecan snowballs, pirouette sticks, pecan fingers, jam-filled cookies, or sugar cookies with hot chocolate.
Food: I like to set out cupcake liners and fill them with a scoop or two of homemade moose munch. Little snacks like pretzels or fruit are also popular.
Reader Questions and Tips
Can I make half of this recipe for a smaller crowd?
Yes, of course, just divide the recipe to accommodate the servings you desire.
Can I heat this up any quicker for more immediate use?
You can make this in a large pot just remember to keep the heat on low to medium and stir all ingredients as you add them. When you are done it is best to turn off the heat or turn it on the lowest and stir often.
Can I refrigerate leftovers and use later?
If you want to put any leftovers in the refrigerator, you can microwave cup by cup or reheat in the crock pot or on the cooktop on low.
Do I need to use dairy?
No, you can use oat milk which is super creamy or soy milk. I wouldn’t recommend almond milk as the protein content isn’t as high as soy which is what makes it more stable for heating. When heating up soy be sure to maintain more of a low and medium temperature as boiling soy will make it curdle.
Can I make this recipe vegan?
Swap out the milk for soy and use a vegan marshmallow such as the Dandi or Yummallo. These marshmallows do not contain gelatin which is an animal protein. You will also need to find a semi-sweet chocolate chip such as Guittard, Great Value Organic, or Simple Truth. These types of ingredients can be found at Target and Walmart as well as most grocery stores.
Want to make this homemade hot chocolate into a gift? Simply fill a mason jar with the sugars, cocoa powder, salt, and chocolate chips. Next include fun stocking stuffer food gifts like peppermint candy sticks, chocolate spoon dippers, mini marshmallows, or other unique foodie gifts. Don’t forget to include two large handpicked coffee mugs to add to the package. Also, a bottle of Baileys or Peppermint Schnapps makes a great addition.
Crock Pot Hot Chocolate
- 8½ cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 10 oz semi sweet chocolate chips I use Ghirardelli or baking chocolate
- 5 oz mini marshmallows to serve
- Pour milk and cream into crock pot.
- Whisk in cocoa powder, and powdered sugar. Stir until mostly mixed. Note that it won't all be able to be whisked in yet.
- Stir in sugar, vanilla extract, and salt.
- Cook on low for 1 hour.TIP: If you have a slower crock pot, turn it to high for 1 hour.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Cook for 1 hour, stirring once at 30 minutes.
- Stir before serving. Serve with mini marshmallows, crushed candy canes, whipped cream, or fudge sauce.
- Toppings – crushed candy canes, chocolate dippers, peppermint candy dippers, whipped cream, marshmallows, fudge sauce.
- Extracts – Stir in ½-1 tsp of peppermint, mint, coconut, maple, almond, cookie butter, or raspberry extract.
- Alcohol – For a spiked version, stir in Baileys Irish cream, RumChata, Amaretto, spiced rum, Peppermint Schnapps, or Kahlua.
- Non-alcohol – Refrigerated coffee creamers such as include hazelnut, peppermint, pumpkin spice, sweet cream, Irish creme, sugar cookie, white chocolate raspberry, and vanilla. Also, coffee sugar syrups work well, too.
Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.
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