Condensed milk hot chocolate is the sweetest and creamiest way to warm up this winter! Made with 5 ingredients, this recipe is a twist on traditional hot cocoa, perfect to cozy up during the holidays and colder months.
Hot chocolate with condensed milk
When the cold weather rolls around, a few things are better than a steaming cup of hot cocoa to warm up. And my condensed milk hot chocolate will delight your senses and warm your tummy.
The easy hot cocoa recipe is made with 2 types of milk: regular milk and sweetened condensed milk for richness and unbelievable creaminess.
Cocoa powder and a splash of vanilla create an aromatic, rich chocolate flavor. And I’ll also show how to make the recipe with chocolate chips at the end of the post.
Why you’ll love sweetened condensed milk hot chocolate
- Amazing flavor: Thanks to condensed milk and cocoa powder, this drink has a rich chocolate flavor and thick, dreamy texture.
- Short ingredient list: You’ll only need 5 easy-to-find ingredients for this recipe, some of which are optional!
- Quick: It literally takes all of 5-10 minutes to stir up a batch of homemade condensed milk chocolate.
- Scalable: A single batch is perfect for 6 to 8 good-size mugs, but it’s easy to do just a half batch for 2 to 3 folks. Or do double or triple batches for a crowd.
All you need are these simple pantry staples combined to make condensed milk hot chocolate. See the printable recipe card below for specific ingredient measurements.
- Condensed milk is the secret ingredient and takes this easy hot chocolate recipe to another level. It imparts sweetness and creates a rich, smooth texture with a hint of toffee aroma.
- Cocoa powder: Cocoa powder comes in 2 varieties: natural unsweetened and Dutch-processed. Natural cocoa powder is slightly acidic, while Dutch-processed has been treated to remove some of the acidity. Both will work, however, I prefer the richer taste of Dutch-processed cocoa.
- Milk is needed to dilute the condensed milk. Although skim and non-fat are perfectly acceptable, use whole milk for maximum creaminess and richness.
- Vanilla extract (optional) adds a glorious vanilla flavor and deepens the aroma of the other ingredients.
- Salt (optional) offsets the sweetness and brings out the best in this recipe.
- Measuring cups + spoons or a kitchen scale for measuring
- Small saucepan to cook the hot chocolate
- Wooden spoon or silicone spatula for stirring
How to make condensed milk hot chocolate
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, it only takes 10 minutes to cook up this dreamy winter drink. This has been my go-to hot cocoa recipe because of how easy it is to make. Plus, I love condensed milk. Check out the step-by-step instructions!
#1: Combine condensed milk and cocoa powder
- Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a small saucepan and add the cocoa powder.
- Whisk until well combined, and you no longer see lumps of dry cocoa powder. You may need to scrape down the sides of the pot to incorporate the cocoa powder fully.
- Gently whisk in the milk, vanilla, and salt.
- Continue to cook over medium heat until warmed through. Be careful not to boil the mixture.
- At this point, you can make adjustments to your hot chocolate. For example, add more milk for a thinner consistency or a sweetener for a sweeter taste.
- When it’s time to serve, pour the chocolate into mugs.
- Garnish with mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, or a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!
Tips for success
How chocolate lovers will love this indulgent drink! Here are a few tips to keep in mind to make this the very best condensed milk hot chocolate.
- Use quality ingredients. Since the ingredient list is so short, this is not the time to skip on ingredients. Using good quality cocoa powder, milk, and vanilla extract is essential.
- Heat the hot chocolate gently. Stir constantly and be careful that the hot chocolate doesn’t boil. If the mixture becomes too hot, the condensed milk can burn, resulting in a grainy texture.
- Adjust the amount of cocoa to your liking. My recipe calls for 1/2 cup cocoa powder for a full-bodied aroma. Feel free to reduce that amount to 1/4 cup cocoa powder for a lighter chocolate flavor.
- Lighten the recipe by replacing all or part of the milk with water. You can use any ratio of milk-water. Just be sure to maintain 5 cups of liquid overall (e.g., 3 cups milk + 2 cups water OR 1 cup milk + 4 cups water, etc.)
Instead of just stopping at one recipe, I’m giving you 9 hot chocolate variations. Each variation includes 1 or 2 extra ingredients that you simply add to the base recipe.
- Mexican hot chocolate: Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon with the other hot chocolate ingredients.
- Peppermint hot chocolate: Try adding 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract for a minty flavor. Alternatively, dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 finely crushed peppermint candy cane in your hot chocolate.
- Pumpkin spice hot chocolate: Prepare the hot chocolate as described and add 3 tablespoons canned pumpkin and 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice to the mixture.
- Chai hot chocolate: Steep 4 bags of chai tea into your hot chocolate to infuse additional spice and flavor.
- Mocha hot chocolate: Add 1 to 2 oz freshly brewed espresso to the hot chocolate base.
- Peanut butter hot chocolate. Prepare your hot chocolate with 2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter.
- Almond joy hot chocolate: Substitute the water or milk with coconut milk and stir in 1/2 teaspoon almond extract with the vanilla extract.
- Biscoff hot chocolate: Whisk 6 tablespoons creamy biscoff spread into the finished hot chocolate until smooth.
- Snowball fight: Serve the hot drink with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Hot chocolate toppings
Take your hot cocoa to the next level with delicious and decadent hot chocolate toppings! Sure, you could just serve your drink with mini marshmallows. But if you want to have some fun, try some of these ideas:
- Chocolate Chips
- Chocolate shavings
- Dusting of cocoa powder
- Whipped cream
- Hot fudge sauce
- Caramel sauce
- Crushed cookies (Gingersnaps, Oreos, graham crackers, etc.)
- Chopped nuts (like pecans, peanuts)
- Candy canes (crushed or whole)
- Peanut butter cups
- Fresh mint leaves
Hot cocoa toppings board
If you’re making this creamy hot chocolate recipe for a party, set up a hot cocoa topping board so your guests can help themselves and customize their drink with complimentary toppings.
Take a large serving platter or board and arrange it with all the toppings, from marshmallows to caramel sauce and crushed cookies. Be sure to provide plenty of spoons in a mason jar.
What to serve with hot chocolate
Hot cocoa condensed milk is a delicious treat that only gets better when you pair it with other goodies. Many food pairings go well with hot chocolate, and here are a few ideas to try:
- Sweet: Churros, chocolate chip cookies, a slice of cake, and dried fruit are fabulous to snack on alongside your hot chocolate.
- Salty: Salted snacks such as mini pretzels, salty popcorn, crisps, and roasted nuts make tasty companions for hot chocolate. We also adore hot chocolate with fries.
- Tangy: Citrus fruits and berries play off the sweetness of hot chocolate. Try oranges, mandarins, kumquats, strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries. Apples and pears contrast nicely, too.
How to store condensed milk hot chocolate
Keep leftover sweetened condensed milk hot chocolate in a glass jar or pitcher with a lid or in an airtight food storage container. Store in the refrigerator and consume within 3 days.
Can you freeze hot chocolate?
Yes, you can also freeze hot chocolate by filling the hot chocolate into a freezer-safe container and freezing it for 2 to 3 months. Hot chocolate expands as it freezes, so leave an inch at the top of the container.
When you’re ready to serve, put your frozen hot cocoa in the fridge and let it defrost overnight. You should never thaw homemade hot chocolate at room temperature.
How to reheat condensed milk hot chocolate
To reheat, transfer the sweetened condensed milk cocoa into a small saucepan and warm until just hot. Be sure to reheat slowly over medium heat.
- 1 can (14-oz / 400 g) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup / 50 g / 1.8 oz Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 5 cups / 1200 ml / 40 fl oz milk (I used whole milk, but any type is fine. Use water or a combination of milk and water for a lighter hot chocolate.)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Combine condensed milk and cocoa powder. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a small saucepan and add the cocoa powder. Whisk until well combined, and you no longer see lumps of dry cocoa powder. You may need to scrape down the sides of the pot to incorporate the cocoa powder fully.
- Heat. Gently whisk in the milk, vanilla, and salt. Continue to cook over medium heat until warmed through. Be careful not to boil the mixture.
- Taste. At this point, you can make adjustments to your hot chocolate. For example, add more milk for a thinner consistency or a sweetener for a sweeter taste.
- Serve. When it's time to serve, pour the chocolate into mugs. Garnish with mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, or a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 161Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 150mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 14gProtein: 9g
Hot chocolate with chocolate chips and condensed milk
Now that you know how to make hot chocolate with cocoa powder and condensed milk, I also want to show you how you can prepare this recipe with chocolate chips. Because you can never have too many options to make hot chocolate, right?
- 1 cup / 170 g / 6 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 x 14-oz can / 400 g sweetened condensed milk
- 5 cups / 1200 ml / 40 fl oz milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Melt the chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Once melted, stir in the sweetened condensed milk until smooth.
- Gradually whisk in the milk.
- Stir in the vanilla and salt. Serve warm.
What about milk chocolate and white chocolate?
You can certainly use milk chocolate and white chocolate, too. Since condensed milk is pretty sweet already, adding milk/white chocolate will lead to very sweet hot chocolate. Almost too sweet, in my opinion. If you’re someone who likes their hot cocoa less sweet, proceed with caution.
- Milk hot chocolate: Prepare the hot chocolate with 1 cup chopped milk chocolate.
- White hot chocolate: Make the recipe with 1/2 cup white chocolate chips.
What is the best cocoa for hot chocolate?
When I recipe tested this homemade hot chocolate, I tried different types of chocolate and cocoa powder. While any good quality cocoa powder will do, ultimately, my favorite batch was made with a mix of Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder with regular unsweetened cocoa powder.
It creates the best overall chocolate flavor and tastes so much more rich and with a more complex cocoa flavor than just regular cocoa powder alone.
What is the best chocolate for hot cocoa?
For the best flavor, use real chocolate, not just candy melts. Ghirardelli, Guittard, and Nestle Artisan Collection produce excellent chocolate chips.
You can also chop up a good-quality chocolate bar. And if you want to splurge, buy Valrhona feves, a flat, bean-shaped chocolate disc.
I would avoid cheap chocolate chips in this recipe. They contain all sorts of additives and don’t melt evenly, which will result in a grainy texture.
Can I make this with evaporated milk?
No, evaporated milk can’t be substituted for condensed milk. They are 2 different products. Evaporated milk is thinner and doesn’t have a sweetener, which is necessary for this hot chocolate recipe. If you have evaporated milk, try our evaporated milk hot chocolate recipe!
How do you keep hot chocolate warm for a long time?
A crockpot works well to keep hot chocolate warm for extended periods of time. Pour the hot chocolate into your crockpot and set it to warm for 20 minutes if it gets too cool. Cover with a lid between servings. Hot cocoa should be out for a maximum of 3 hours before being refrigerated.
More winter and holiday drinks
These other holiday drinks are festive and ready to please! From creamy to fruity, here are a few more recipes you’ll love having in your Christmas lineup. Cheers!