We handpicked the products and tools linked in this post. If you buy from one of these affiliate links, we may earn a small commission. Thanks for supporting Savor the Flavour!
French hot chocolate is the dark chocolate lover’s dream. This thick, velvety smooth hot chocolate allows you to experience all the wonderful flavor notes of dark chocolate in every sip. You just need a few minutes and a couple ingredients to make this authentic chocolat chaud!
What is French hot chocolate?
French hot chocolate is a rich chocolate beverage made simply of melted dark chocolate and whole milk. It is typically garnished with Chantilly cream (sweetened whipped cream with vanilla extract) or a pinch of coarse sea salt. A small cup of French hot chocolate is quite expensive if you buy it at a Parisian café, as this drink uses the best-quality chocolate available.
The History of French Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate originated in Mexico with the Mayas about 2,500 years ago, but was originally served cold. The Spanish conquistadors sweetened the drink and brought it back to Europe in the 1528, where it slowly grew in popularity. By the 1600s, this bitter chocolate drink was immensely popular with the French royalty.
Throughout the years with changes in technology, the drink eventually became the French hot chocolate we know today. Hot chocolate has spread throughout the world, with many variations depending upon the location it is served.
What ingredients are in French hot chocolate?
In its most basic form, French hot chocolate is composed simply of the highest quality dark chocolate and whole milk. Americans usually prefer to add a little brown sugar to sweeten the drink, as it is bitter otherwise. The French garnish the drink with a spoonful of Chantilly cream (sweetened whipped cream with vanilla) or a sprinkle of fleur de sel (an expensive kind of sea salt from France).
How to Pronounce “Chocolat Chaud”
The French call their hot chocolate chocolat chaud. Want to know how to pronounce this name? You’d say it SHOW-coo-lah SHEW. Listen to the pronunciation.
Can I make French hot chocolate in advance?
Yes, you can make French hot chocolate ahead of time. Allow the hot chocolate to cool to room temperature, then seal it inside of a clean mason jar and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat the hot chocolate in the microwave or on the stovetop until warm.
What can I serve with French hot chocolate?
In Parisian cafés, French hot chocolate is typically served on its own, but if you want to be different, serve it with one of the following.
- Sweet: mint, coffee, or caramel flavored desserts
- Salty: pretzels, bread, or popcorn
- Tangy: fruits such as orange, lemon, grapefruit, kiwi, or pineapple
How to Make French Hot Chocolate
Gather the ingredients. You’ll need the best quality dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher), whole milk, brown sugar, and a couple pinches of coarse sea salt.
Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium heat until gently steaming, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, chop up the dark chocolate.
Once the milk is steaming, remove it from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Whisk for a couple minutes until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is well combined.
Return the pan to medium heat and bring the hot chocolate to a boil. Be sure to keep whisking frequently to prevent the hot chocolate from burning.
Boil gently for 3-5 minutes, whisking occasionally, until the hot chocolate has thickened. Taste and whisk in the brown sugar, if desired, then remove from the heat.
Gather the ingredients for the Chantilly cream. (This is the French version of whipped cream as we know it in North America.) To make this, you’ll need heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract.
Pour all the ingredients into a bowl and beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until stiff. You know that the cream is done when it passes this test: the whipped cream shouldn’t fall out of the bowl if it’s turned upside down.
Pour the French hot chocolate into small cups.
Garnish each cup of French hot chocolate with a dollop of Chantilly cream and a sprinkle of grated dark chocolate. Enjoy immediately!
Pro Tips for Making French Hot Chocolate
- Use top-quality, dark chocolate in bar form. Use a minimum of 70% cacao chocolate made by a reputable brand such as Lindt, Ghirardelli, or Godiva.
- Never use chocolate chips, as they contain stabilizers which will affect the texture of the hot chocolate.
- Use whole milk, not cream. The creaminess of this hot chocolate comes from the high-quality chocolate, not cream.
- Keep the heat around medium. Don’t turn the heat to high when making the hot chocolate, or it may burn.
- Want a thinner hot chocolate? Reduce the chocolate to 5 ounces (141g) and don’t boil the hot chocolate.
- Want a thicker hot chocolate? Increase the chocolate to 7 ounces (198g) and gently boil the hot chocolate for 3-5 minutes to thicken it.
- Make the hot chocolate in advance. It tastes great a few hours or even up to 3 days later.
- Reheat the hot chocolate in the microwave or on the stovetop. Remember to use medium heat, not high heat.
Our Go-To Kitchen Tools for French Hot Chocolate
- Emeril Lagasse 2-Quart Saucepan: this heavy-bottomed pan doesn’t burn food easily.
- Set of 3 Whisks: we have loved using these sturdy stainless steel whisks for years!
- Bamboo Cutting Board: this spacious cutting board is great for cutting up ingredients.
- Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate: the flavor of this good-quality chocolate really shines in this recipe.
Craving more delicious chocolate drinks? You’ll want to check out these ones.
- Peppermint Mocha: hints of chocolate and peppermint along with coffee make this drink festive.
- Non Alcoholic Chocolate Martini: this rich and velvety chocolate drink is definitely a dessert in a glass!
- Salted Caramel Mocha: chocolate milk, coffee, and salted caramel make this drink a delicious treat.
The pleasure of a 5-star review for this French hot chocolate would be greatly appreciated.Print
You don’t need to go to Paris to enjoy rich, creamy French hot chocolate! Make this easy recipe on the stovetop with dark chocolate, then garnish with Chantilly cream. You’ll love every sip of this homemade hot chocolate!
For the Hot Chocolate
- 2 cups whole milk (475 ml)
- 6 ounces good-quality 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped (170g)
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, optional (24g)
- pinch of coarse sea salt, for garnish
For the Chantilly Cream
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream (80 ml)
- 1/4 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
Making the Hot Chocolate (20 min)
- Pour the milk into a 2-quart, heavy-based saucepan and set over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Heat the milk until it is gently steaming, but not simmering.
- Meanwhile, finely chop the dark chocolate with a sharp knife.
- Once the milk is gently steaming, remove the pan from the heat and dump in the chopped chocolate. Whisk continuously until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Be patient; this will take a couple minutes.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and whisk in the brown sugar if desired.
- Serve hot, in small cups, garnished with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt and a dollop of Chantilly cream. Alternatively, let it cool completely to room temperature and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop over gentle heat.
Making the Chantilly Cream (5 min)
- Pour the chilled whipping cream into a bowl and add the sugar and vanilla extract. Whip with a handheld electric mixer on medium speed until the cream is stiff. It shouldn’t fall out of the bowl if it is turned upside down.
- Place a dollop of the Chantilly cream in each cup of hot chocolate. Chantilly cream is best when enjoyed right away, but you can store leftovers covered tightly in the fridge for a day or two.
- Make this recipe perfectly the first time. Check out the step-by-step photos before the recipe card.
- The pleasure of a 5-star review for this French hot chocolate recipe would be greatly appreciated.
- 👩🏻🍳 Want to see our latest recipes? Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: French
Keywords: hot chocolate recipe, chocolat chaud, french hot chocolate