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Homemade Spiced Hot Chocolate

Discover the joy of homemade Spiced Hot Chocolate. Every sip of this easy recipe contains a blend of cocoa with cinnamon and nutmeg to make a comfortingly rich drink, perfect for chilly days.

When winter arrives, there’s something special about sipping a warm mug of Spiced Hot Chocolate. This isn’t your usual cocoa; this hot chocolate recipe is like a cozy hug in a cup. With a little cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg, my homemade hot cocoa is supremely comforting.

Three cups of hot chocolate with whipped cream and cinnamon on top.

You might wonder, “Why make it from scratch when you can buy hot cocoa mix at the store?” Well, here’s the #1 reason: homemade tastes better. And the best part? The recipe is simple. You probably have the ingredients in your kitchen already.

So, whether you’re cuddled up by the fire or just want a sweet after supper treat, this recipe will become a favorite in your home, ready to warm you up anytime you like.

❤️ What You’ll Love About This Recipe

  • Irresistible Flavors: The combination of cocoa, cinnamon, and nutmeg is always a winner!
  • Quick and Easy: Prep time is just 5 minutes, and cooking takes just 5 minutes more!
  • Customizable: Add a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon to make it even more indulgent. Or make one of the interesting variations included later in the post.


“This is absolutely my favorite thing to drink on a cold day. Love the spices you used.”
— Sophistimom

🛒 Ingredient Notes

All the ingredients needed to make the recipe.

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  • Cocoa Powder: Choose a good quality unsweetened cocoa powder for the best flavor. It’s the heart of this recipe. For a traditional flavor, choose regular cocoa powder; for a very intense chocolate flavor, choose a dark chocolate powder.
  • Sugar: Sweetens and balances the natural bitterness of cocoa.
  • Cinnamon and Nutmeg: Warm spices that create a fantastic flavor profile.
  • Salt: Believe it or not, a pinch of salt enhances the overall flavors of the recipe.
  • Milk: Whole milk works wonderfully, but you can use any milk of your choice.
  • Vanilla Extract: A touch of vanilla in any chocolate recipe helps to round out the flavors.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

⚠️ Troubleshooting Tips

Lumps in the Cocoa Mixture: To prevent lumps, consider sifting the cocoa powder and sugar before adding them to the saucepan. If you do find lumps in the cocoa mixture, use a whisk to get a smooth texture.
Bitterness: If the hot cocoa turns out too bitter, adjust the sweetness by adding a touch more sugar. Keep in mind that the bitterness of cocoa can vary depending on the brand and type you use, so taste and adjust as needed.
Burnt Flavor: Avoid overheating the cocoa mixture, as this can create a burnt taste. Stir constantly while cooking and remove from heat as soon as it’s hot enough to help prevent this.
Curdling Milk: Overheating the milk can cause it to curdle, which can affect the texture. To avoid this, heat the milk gently over medium-low heat, stirring continuously. 

🔀 Recipe Variations

  • Brown Sugar: Substitute the white granulated sugar with light or dark brown sugar for a caramel background flavor.
  • Minty Cocoa: Add a touch of peppermint extract or crushed candy canes for a minty twist. Top with whipped cream and crushed candy canes for a festive look.
  • Citrus Version: Grate some orange zest into the hot cocoa for a zesty, citrusy flavor. The combination of chocolate and orange is a match made in heaven.
  • Coconut Cream Chocolate: Replace some of the milk with coconut milk for a tropical twist. Garnish with toasted coconut flakes and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.
  • Spicy Mexican: Spice things up by adding a pinch of chili powder or a cinnamon stick while simmering. It’s a classic Mexican-inspired treat with a hint of heat.
  • Hazelnut Option: Stir in a bit of hazelnut spread or liqueur for a Nutella-inspired hot cocoa. Top with crushed hazelnuts and a dollop of whipped cream.
  • Espresso Infusion: For a caffeinated twist, add a shot of espresso or strongly brewed coffee to the hot chocolate. It’s a delightful mocha fusion that coffee lovers will like.
  • White Chocolate: Replace the cocoa powder with white chocolate chips for a creamy and decadent white hot cocoa. Top it with white chocolate shavings or a drizzle of caramel sauce.
  • Pumpkin Spice: Incorporate pumpkin puree and a pinch of pumpkin pie spice for a cozy fall-themed hot cocoa. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Gingerbread: Add a touch of ground ginger and a pinch of ground cloves to mimic the flavors of gingerbread. Garnish with a gingerbread cookie on the rim.
  • Nutty Cocoa: Blend in your favorite nut butter, such as almond or peanut butter, for a nutty and creamy drink. Top with whipped cream, chopped nuts, and a drizzle of honey.
  • Maple Syrup: Replace the sugar with pure maple syrup for a natural and slightly smoky sweetness. Finish it with a dusting of cinnamon and a cinnamon stick.
  • Raspberry Option: Add a raspberry puree or syrup for a fruity twist. The sweet-tart raspberries complement the rich cocoa flavor beautifully.
Three cups of hot chocolate on a white background.

🍽️ How to Serve

Serve in cozy mugs along with freshly baked cookies (my Cranberry Pecan Cookies are fantastic with this!), or pair with a slice of your favorite cake (an Old Fashioned Southern Caramel Layer Cake is my choice) for a lovely winter dessert. It’s also perfect for a family movie night or a holiday gathering.

🍚 How to Store

If you happen to have any leftovers (though it’s doubtful), store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Gently reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

❓ Questions About Spiced Hot Chocolate

Can I use dark cocoa powder for a richer flavor?

Absolutely! But be aware that dark cocoa powder is typically more bitter and will add quite an intense chocolate flavor. You may need to adjust the sweetener as well.

Can I make this vegan?

Yes, substitute dairy milk with your favorite plant-based milk, and use a non-dairy whipped cream.

Can I prepare a larger batch for a crowd? 

Of course. Just double or triple the ingredients to make more servings. Adjust the cooking time if needed.

Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

📖 Recipe

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Three cups of hot chocolate with whipped cream and cinnamon on top.

Homemade Spiced Hot Chocolate

Every sip of my Homemade Spiced Hot Chocolate contains a blend of cocoa, cinnamon, and nutmeg to make a comforting drink for chilly days.
5 from 1 vote
Print It Rate It
Course: Beverages
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 199kcal
Author: Lana Stuart


  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ cups milk
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • In a saucepan, combine cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  • Blend in the hot water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the milk, stirring to mix, and heat thoroughly but do not boil.
  • Remove the saucepan from heat and add the vanilla extract.
  • Serve in cups topped with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon if desired.


  • To make the recipe for a larger crowd, simply double or triple the ingredients as needed. The cooking time may need to be increased slightly.
  • To make a vegan version, substitute dairy milk with plant-based milk, and use a non-dairy whipped cream.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Gently reheat over low heat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 199kcal | Carbohydrates 31g | Protein 8g | Fat 5g | Saturated Fat 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat 1g | Cholesterol 17mg | Sodium 183mg | Fiber 1g | Sugar 17g

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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🥄 How to Make Spiced Hot Chocolate Step-by-Step Photos

  1. In a saucepan, combine cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  2. Blend in the hot water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the milk, stirring to mix, and heat thoroughly, but do not boil.
  4. Remove the saucepan from heat and add the vanilla extract.
  5. Top with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon if desired.

— This post was originally published on November 6, 2012. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Carrena Boone says:

    This is so good! but I made some tweaks to it, I used all milk and just cinnamon and nutmeg and it came out delicious. I also added a little less sugar to make it taste more like dark chocolate =)

  2. Hot Chocolate says:

    Yum! Love the hot chocolate mugs in the picture. Very cute.

  3. This cocoa would have been a huge hit at our election get together last night… it looks wonderful.

  4. sophistimom says:

    This is absolutely my favorite thing to drink on a cold day. Love the spices you used . . . LOVE the tea cups.

    1. Thanks! I love those cups, too. I have my Fall/Thanksgiving table set with that china.

  5. Alison @ ingredients, Inc. says:

    this looks awesome Lana!

  6. Oooooh, Lana!!! This “chocoholic” is drooling!!! Looks fabulous!!!!!
    XO Rosie

    1. You would love this recipe, Rosie! Nice and chocolatey with nice spices. It’s yummy.

  7. Barbara | Creative Culinary says:

    You will chuckle at this. I thought it said Spiked Hot Cocoa. Says something about me huh? :)

    Spiced or Spiked or even Spicy Spiked…I’m in!

    1. You’re right, I did chuckle. You would think of spiked first, wouldn’t you?

  8. Carrian@ohsweetbasil says:

    This looks so yummy, can’t wait to try this! My husband loves hot cocoa, so he will be surprised to see this on the table!

    1. Hope your hubby like it, Carrian. I like hot cocoa any way it’s prepared but especially with the nutmeg and cinnamon. So good!