Our easy Homemade Gluten-Free Hot Chocolate recipe is the perfect cozy drink for cold weather! Don’t miss our favorite toppings & flavorings to try!
We don’t get snow where I live in the desert, but when the weather gets chilly or rain rolls in, my family LOVES to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate (and maybe a batch of gluten-free cookies!).
This is especially true around the holiday season! It doesn’t get much cozier than twinkle lights and a mug of cocoa. Yes please!
We especially love making our own hot chocolate from scratch, and if you’ve never done it before, you’re in for a literal treat!
Our easy homemade hot chocolate recipe rivals what you’ll find at a cozy cafe or coffee shop. It’s got delicious chocolate flavor, smooth texture, and simple ingredients. In just a few minutes, you can have delicious hot chocolate ready to go!
Here’s what you need to make our homemade gluten-free hot chocolate…
Our Easy Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe, At A Glance:
Is Hot Chocolate Gluten-Free?
Most hot chocolate is naturally gluten-free and made without wheat ingredients or gluten ingredients, including store-bought hot cocoa mixes from the grocery store, like Swiss Miss or Ghirardelli hot chocolate brands. BUT (there’s always a but when it comes to a gluten-free diet!), you still want to check the ingredients list on any package labels to make sure there are no gluten-containing ingredients, such as malt syrup, barley malt, or malt powder.
Also keep any eye out for a “may contain” statement on the allergen label, outlining any potential gluten cross-contamination in the manufacturing process that can affect those with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. (i.e. “may contain wheat” or “processed in a facility that also handles wheat”)
Simple Ingredients For Gluten-Free Hot Chocolate
Our classic hot chocolate recipe is made with simple pantry staples + some milk. It’s so easy! Let’s take a look at the ingredient list:
- Whole Milk. When it makes sense, I recommend whole milk for this hot chocolate. You can absolutely use lowfat milk or nonfat milk instead, just keep in mind the texture will be thinner. Or, you can use some half-and-half or even heavy cream for an ultra rich hot chocolate.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. Our homemade hot chocolate is made with cocoa powder (pure cocoa powder NOT hot cocoa mix/hot cocoa powder) for intensity, and a little chocolate for richness. I love this combination for the best flavor and texture. I usually reach for natural cocoa powder (like Hershey’s cocoa powder), but you can use Dutch-processed cocoa powder for a darker color.
- Sugar. Next, you’ll need to add some sweetener. I’m using granulated sugar, but you can absolutely play with the amount of sweetener or the type. Feel free to start with less sugar, swap for pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, or even a keto sweetener depending on your tastes & dietary needs.
- A Tiny Pinch of Salt. Don’t skip it! This tiny addition makes a big difference to me. It makes the chocolate taste more chocolatey.
- Chopped Chocolate or Chocolate Chips. Then, for even more chocolate flavor, a deeper color, and a touch of richness, you’ll need some chopped semisweet or dark chocolate or high-quality chocolate chips. Ideally, you want chocolate without added stabilizers, so it melts well. (Guittard, Lindt, and Enjoy Life are some brands I love!)
- Vanilla Extract. Lastly, a splash of vanilla adds a beautiful aroma and a final layer of flavor.
How To Make Homemade Hot Chocolate, Step By Step
- Combine Milk, Cocoa, Sugar & Salt in a medium saucepan.
- Heat Until Steaming. Whisk this mixture over medium heat to combine. Heat until mixture is steaming, but not boiling. (At first, it will seem like the cocoa isn’t going to blend in, but as it heats and the cocoa “blooms,” it will blend it smoothly.)
- Stir In Chocolate & Vanilla, stirring over low heat until the chocolate is fully dissolved in the hot milk mixture. (Again, at first, it will seem like the chocolate gets grainy. Don’t panic! Just keep stirring.
- Serve with your favorite toppings–whipped cream, marshmallows, and more!
Did You Know?
Cocoa powder is hydrophobic aka water fearing! This means it doesn’t always blend easily at first when you’re combining it with liquids. Don’t give up or panic–as it heats up, the fat in the cocoa powder will help it distribute more evenly into the hot cocoa. Even if the cocoa powder starts out lumpy, it’ll get nice and smooth as you stir and heat it.
Yummy Toppings To Try On Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate is such a fun, delicious treat to entertain with, especially when you add some fun toppings! (Seriously. Try our Hot Chocolate Board for your next holiday party–so many fun ideas!) I love that you can make things as simple or as fancy as you like. A few ideas to try:
- Whipped Cream
- Mini Marshmallows (Or Large Marshmallows!) – Check out our favorite gluten-free marshmallows here
- Chocolate Syrup – We love our homemade chocolate syrup!
- Chopped Chocolate or Chocolate Chunks
- Chocolate Curls
- Toffee Bits
- Crushed Candy Canes or Peppermint Candy
- Caramel Sauce
- Marshmallow Fluff
- Homemade Marshmallows
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The BEst Homemade Hot Chocolate
Spice It Up! I love the flavor of this homemade hot chocolate, but when you’re ready to change things up from our original recipe, try one of these different flavors:
- Almond Extract – I love chocolate + amaretto flavors together, so a drop or two of almond extract is one of my favorite flavor twists!
- Peppermint Extract – ALWAYS a classic, especially for the holidays. A few drops go a long way!
- Orange Zest = a little orange zest added with the sugar and cocoa powder infuses lovely citrus flavor.
- Cinnamon – A pinch of cinnamon (+maybe a pinch of cayenne pepper!) gives this a Mexican hot chocolate vibe. Yum!
Follow Your Tastebuds. The amounts I’ve given below are a great starting point to use when crafting your perfect cup of cocoa, but feel free to listen to your taste buds. Add more cocoa powder, try reducing the sugar, add more vanilla, etc. You’ve got this!
Add Some Protein. This homemade hot chocolate recipe wasn’t made to be a health drink, but you *can* stir some unflavored collagen into this hot chocolate for a little protein boost.
Can I Make This Dairy-Free? You can ABSOLUTELY make this as gluten-free, dairy-free hot chocolate by swapping the whole milk out for your favorite dairy-free alternative and using dairy-free chocolate chips. Almond milk, cashew milk, and oat milk will all work! Or, you can add some coconut milk and some almond milk for a blend of richness & flavor.
🌟 Leave a star review below when you try our gluten-free Hot Chocolate recipe! We can’t wait to hear what you think!Print