Make your own just-add-water hot cocoa mix in minutes with this easy recipe. With all real ingredients, you'll feel good about serving this to kids and adults.
It's perfect for camping, after sledding, or for sipping around an outdoor fire.
This is another updated Pantry Basic recipe - recipes of foods we typically think of as only store bought, but that are actually better tasting, and of course better for you when you make them yourself.
I'm pretty sure most of us have some hot cocoa mix in a corner of our pantries.
Even if we don't drink it ourselves much, it's nice to have on hand for fun winter moments (how can you not have hot chocolate after playing in the snow?) or when camping. We also have a number of family and friends who enjoy hot chocolate instead of coffee or tea.
Of course this is something I used to buy at the store until I started reading ingredient labels. Have you ever looked to see what's in hot chocolate mixes? I was shocked at the length of the list, which drove me to find a recipe for homemade cocoa mix.
For reference, here's the ingredients from the Swiss Miss brand just-add-water hot cocoa:
sugar, modified whey, cocoa (processed with alkali), hydrogenated coconut oil, nonfat milk, calcium carbonate, less than 2% of: salt, dipotassium phosphate, mono- and diglyderides, artificial flavor, carrageenan.
Hmmm, doesn't sound too yummy, does it?
(By the way, calcium carbonate is ground up shells added for calcium, dipotassium phosphate is water soluble salt "generally recognized as safe" by the FDA, and the others are all emulsifiers and thickeners we can do without.)
Our favorite recipe came from Brian's Kansas grandmother's old Farm Journal cookbook that's so well-used the binding is coming apart in places. It was first published in 1959 and we inherited the revised edition from 1972. It's become a treasure trove for me of good recipes for cooking from scratch that I can adapt.
The recipe contained just four simple ingredients most of us have in our cupboards. I slightly adapted it for our tastes (decreasing the sugar and upping the cocoa a bit) and it's a hit.
What type of cocoa mix is this recipe?
There are actually two types of hot cocoa mixes you can make:
- One that includes powdered milk, so that you only have to add boiling water to it.
- The other consists of just the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt and you'd add this to warmed milk.
The most popular seems to be the mix that includes the milk, so that you can take it anywhere and make it with just water. This was the type of mix I wanted so that it would be convenient for camping and super easy to make for anyone wanting hot chocolate.
If you don't need the convenience of a mix, you can always make hot chocolate by adding another favorite pantry basic, homemade chocolate syrup, to hot milk and stirring it together.
But when you need a mix for hot chocolate on the go, this easy hot cocoa mix recipe makes a great cup of cocoa.
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
I love picturing the ingredients for super easy recipes like this - it makes it so clear how simple even convenience food can be, right? You'll need:
- Dried Milk Powder
- Cocoa Powder
- Sugar (regular or both powdered work)
So the next time you are at the store and are tempted by those cocoa mixes on the shelf, remember the FOUR ingredients in this picture. That's all you need - so buy them instead if you don't have them already and make yourself a stash of cocoa mix!
1. Dump the four ingredients in a blender.
Using a blender is the key to getting a smooth mix like the commercial mixes.
Technically you can just mix it all together with a spoon, but we've found that the dried milk won't fully mix in with the water when you're making it. It's weird because the milk is supposed to just dissolve in water, but if you blend the mixture as fine as possible, it dissolves better.
2. Whir it up until the consistency is as fine as possible.
With some blenders you may have to shake it a bit and use a spatula (with the machine off, of course!) to push the ingredients to the center to get it fully blended. You'll want to see all the ingredients blended into a new single mix like pictured above.
You can also watch the quick video I made showing how to make it.
3. Store in a glass jar with a scoop.
This mix will last indefinitely on the shelf, but I suggest using within a year for the best results.
How do you make hot chocolate with this mix?
1/4 cup = 1 packet of commercial mix
In a regular size mug, add 1/4 cup cocoa mix and pour boiling water over. Stir for a few minutes before drinking. Add marshmallows or whipped cream to make it even better!
4 Ingredient Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe
- 3 cups dry milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa tip: make it heaping for more chocolate flavor
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until mixed thoroughly with no visible milk powder left.
- Store in a container with a 1/4 cup scoop for up to a year.
To Make Cocoa:
- Put 1/4 cup in an 8-ounce mug, pour in boiling water, stir well and enjoy!
More Pantry Basic Recipes You May Like:
- Homemade Mayo in 5 Minutes using one of two easy methods.
- Make Chicken Broth From Bones + bone broth 101
- Baked Chewy Granola Bars
- Fast & Healthy Homemade Salad Dressings
Or see all the Pantry Basic Recipes here!
This recipe has been updated - it was originally published in February 2009.
Rosalie A Dieteman says
If you make it with whey powder and artificial sweetener, it's very low carb!
Thanks for that tip, Rosalie!
What type of cocoa do you use?
Regular cocoa - usually an organic brand.
I add French vanilla creamer to mine, extra yumminess!
Does it need zero fat powder or full fat will do?
i think ive tried this recipe before and it turned out great. Some marshmallows or chocolate chips can also be added to add some flavor.
Either powder will work for this recipe. Yes, add-ins are good. 🙂
I am thankful to have found your recipe! It’s a treat for me after dinner. I’m trying not to eat dessert and this is low in sugar so it works and tastes great to me. I add a couple of dashes of cayenne seasoning and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon before I blend it all together. Yummy recipe!
What a great idea, Tina! Thanks so much for the review.
I love this! This looks like the recipe that my mother used, and it was the creamiest cocoa I've ever tasted. Thank you for posting. I need to make this again!
I'm so glad you liked it and that it brought back memories for you, Jessica!
Charla Zei says
If I am making this without the powdered milk how much do I put in a mug of milk?
Hmmm, I don't know. I use our chocolate sauce to make hot cocoa with milk, so I've only used this for adding to water. You'll have to experiment!
My family don’t like a lot of salt. Will it be ok without the salt?
It's just a bit for depth of flavor (there's no salt flavor) - but you can leave it out.
It’s takes 1/2 cup of mix to taste chocolaty. It’s a good recipe.
Thanks for that tip, Bobbye!
Michelle Lowden says
Could this be put together with water in a crock pot?
I would think so, you'd just have to work out the amounts needed!
Thank You so Much For Sharing Your Recipe of The Hot Cocoa. Will a sugar free like Stevia work instead of sugar?
You'll have to try it - I haven't experimented with that!
Ada M Polyak-ganz says
Was looking for a cost savings recipe for hot cocoa as I was talking with my mom. We use to make all kinds of mixs in the 60s and 70s and we were trying to get back to that. Glad to find this.
Glad you found it, too, Ada! Hope you enjoy it.
Thanks for sharing! Is that a good dry milk brand that you like?
Dry milk is actually hard to find here now, so I get whatever I can find, lol. I do like Carnation when I can find that.
This looks so good! What a fun, and affordable gift idea!
Really clever idea but unfortunately not very chocolatey or sweet. Added a bit more chocolate and still very bland.
Barbara Holmes says
This was delicious
Just what I needed o. A cold day
Thanks for the recipe.
Wonderful - glad to hear it, Barbara!
Does it matter what type of dry milk powder you use?
I don't think so, but there's usually only one choice in my area.
Heather Taylor says
I just found this recipe on your site and would really love to try it out, but cannot see the amounts of each ingredient to use?
Did you click one of the green arrows for the full printable recipe card? There's one at the top and at the bottom. 🙂
The problem w powdered sugar is that it has raw cornstarch in it. If not cooked this has an off staste. It's why a lot of people don't care for American frosting. It is almost impossible to find powdered sugar without it as it is an anti caking ingredient.
You can throw regular sugar in the blender to make it more dissolvable.
You use powdered soy milk if you are lactose intolerant.
Thanks for the tips, Jauquetta!
I would love to have a copy of this cookbook. Anyway I can get you to send a copy of the pages to my e-mail? [email protected]
That sounds easy enough. Now you have to do a recipe for home made marshmallows.