This quick and easy hot chocolate mix in a jar makes a great Christmas gift!  You can mix up just one serving of this creamy hot chocolate in minutes, and enjoy it with marshmallows and a candy cane.  Now you can satisfy your hot cocoa craving anytime this winter!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
two jars of hot cocoa mix with candy canes and gift tags
Beverages, Christmas, Comfort Food

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

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With all of these cold winter days, it’s nice to be able to mix up a cup of hot chocolate in a jiffy!  With this easy homemade hot chocolate mix, you can definitely do that.  It also makes a fantastic last minute Christmas gift idea for your neighbors, the mailman, and UPS delivery people.

person holding a jar of hot chocolate mix

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What’s in hot chocolate mix?

Hot chocolate mix at its most basic level is just unsweetened cocoa powder and sugar mixed together.  Adding salt gives more flavor, and cornstarch helps thicken the hot chocolate a little.

Is cocoa powder and hot chocolate mix the same?

No, cocoa powder and hot chocolate mix aren’t the same.  Cocoa powder is powdered cocoa beans, while hot chocolate mix is cocoa powder mixed with sugar and other ingredients.  You can’t substitute them for each other in baking because they taste quite different.

How much hot chocolate mix do you need for 1 cup of water?

To make hot chocolate with this mix, stir 2 tablespoons of hot chocolate mix with 1 cup of boiling water.  For a creamier texture, you can use 1/2 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup of boiling water.

jars of hot chocolate mix with ribbons tied around the jar

Does hot chocolate mix expire?

The mix is made from dry ingredients, so it shouldn’t spoil, but it will get stale eventually.  It should keep for months, as long as it is sealed in an airtight container and kept in a cool, dry place.  It’s a good idea to label and date your hot chocolate mix.  If the hot chocolate mix looks, smells, or tastes bad, just throw it out.

Do you need powdered milk to make hot chocolate mix?

Technically, you don’t need powdered milk to make hot chocolate mix.  If you want to just mix your hot chocolate mix with water and not milk, I’d recommend using the powdered milk to increase the creaminess and improve the flavor.  However, if you don’t have powdered milk, this hot chocolate mix will still work.

How do you make the best instant hot chocolate?

Instant hot chocolate or hot chocolate mix is very simple and doesn’t take that many ingredients, so it’s important to use the best quality ingredients you can find.  For the best hot cocoa mix, use top-quality cocoa powder like Ghirardelli and whole milk powder.

three jars of hot chocolate mix with candy canes

How to Make Hot Chocolate Mix Taste Better

There’s lots of ways you can doctor up a basic hot chocolate mix to make it taste amazing.  Here’s some delicious ideas!

  • Marshmallows. Mini ones are best.  Try the flavored ones for a twist!
  • Candy canes. Use full size or mini candy canes.  If you add them to the chocolate while it’s hot, the candy cane will dissolve and add a wonderful peppermint flavor to your hot chocolate.
  • Syrups.  Stir in a little chocolate or caramel syrup for a yummy flavor.
  • Double chocolate.  Stir a tablespoon of chocolate chips into your hot chocolate until melted and smooth for extra chocolate flavor.
  • Espresso.  Add 1 tablespoon of espresso powder to the whole batch of dry mix to add a hint of coffee, or stir some into your individual mug.
  • Mocha.  Mix 2 tablespoons of hot chocolate mix with 1 cup of coffee and a splash of milk to get a delicious mocha drink.
  • Mexican.  Add a pinch of cinnamon and a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper to your hot chocolate for an Aztec flair.

Ideas for a Hot Chocolate Bar

Serving hot chocolate for a crowd?  Let each guest mix up their own hot chocolate and customize it how they like.

  • Have a crock pot of hot chocolate with a ladle.
  • Have mugs and spoons ready for stirring.
  • Have a pitcher of whole milk.
  • Put garnishes in bowls or jars.  Some ideas are mini marshmallows, candy canes, whipped cream, chocolate shavings, or caramel sauce.
  • Have the assembly instructions printed on a piece of paper so guests know how to make their own cocoa.

How to Make Hot Chocolate Mix

Gather the ingredients for the hot chocolate mix.  You’ll need powdered milk, cocoa power, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and a touch of salt.

ingredients for hot chocolate mix

Sift all the ingredients into a mixing bowl to remove any lumps.  You might need to use a spoon to push the last bits of powdered milk through the strainer.

sifting the hot chocolate mix into a bowl

Here’s what the ingredients look like after you sift the ingredients.

sifted hot chocolate mix in a mixing bowl

Whisk the hot chocolate mix until all the ingredients are well mixed.  This step is crucial; you don’t want pockets of unmixed ingredients.

whisking the hot chocolate mix

If you’re packaging this mix for gifts, put 1 cup of mix into glass mason jars.

adding hot chocolate mix to mason jars

Top with mini marshmallows.

putting marshmallows in jars of hot chocolate mix

Screw on the jar lid and tie a ribbon around it.  If you want, you can punch a hole in the wrapper of a mini candy cane and tie it on the ribbon.  Be sure to include our free printable gift tags that have the instructions for mixing up the hot chocolate.

jars of hot chocolate mix with gift tags and bows

There’s two ways that you can make hot chocolate from this mix: low fat version and creamy version.

For the low fat version, mix 1/4 cup mix with 2 cups boiling water.  For the creamy version, mix 1/4 cup mix with 1 cup boiling water and 1 cup whole milk.  Be sure to stir the cocoa until the mix is dissolved.

Don’t forget to add the mini marshmallows on top and the mini candy cane!  Enjoy.

a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows and a candy cane

Pro Tips

  • Sift the hot chocolate mix to remove any pesky lumps.
  • Add a teaspoon of espresso powder to add a hint of coffee.
  • Want extra creaminess?  Use whole milk powder instead of nonfat milk powder.
  • Layer the ingredients in jars to make a pretty and tasty gift to family and friends.
  • Use my free printable gift tags for your gift jars of hot chocolate mix.
  • Store the mix in jars or airtight containers for up to 6 months.

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools

Chocolate lovers, check out these delicious drinks and desserts!

two glasses of non alcoholic chocolate mocha martini two cups of French hot chocolate people holding spoons above two glasses of chocolate pudding

The pleasure of a 5-star review for this hot chocolate mix would be greatly appreciated.

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two jars of hot cocoa mix with candy canes and gift tags

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 7 cups 1x

Description

This quick and easy hot chocolate mix in a jar makes a great Christmas gift!  You can mix up just one serving of this creamy hot chocolate in minutes, and enjoy it with marshmallows and a candy cane.  Now you can satisfy your hot cocoa craving anytime this winter!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 cups powdered whole milk or nonfat milk (285g)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (600g)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (86g)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (16g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Making the Mix

  1. Sift all the ingredients into a large bowl.  You might need to push the last bits of the powdered milk through the sieve with a spoon.
  2. Whisk until blended, making sure that there are no streaks of unmixed ingredients.
  3. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct light for up to 6 months.

Making the Hot Chocolate

  1. Low-Fat Version: Mix 1/4 cup of hot chocolate mix with 2 cups of boiling water.  Stir until dissolved, then add a splash of milk, a candy cane, and 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows.  Enjoy while hot.
  2. Creamy Version: Mix 1/4 cup of hot chocolate mix with 1 cup of boiling water and 1 cup of whole milk.  Stir until dissolved, then add a candy cane and 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows.  Enjoy while hot.
  3. Crock Pot Version: Mix 1 1/2 cups of mix with 6 cups of boiling water and 6 cups of milk.  Pour into a crockpot and turn to the low setting.  Once the hot chocolate is hot enough for your liking, turn the heat to warm.  Stir well before serving.

Giving the Mix as Gifts

  1. To make into gift jars, pour 1 cup of hot cocoa mix into a 12-ounce jar.  Add a thin layer of dark chocolate chips, then fill the rest of the jar with marshmallows.
  2. Screw on a lid.  Punch a hole in the wrapper of a mini candy cane and thread it on a ribbon, then tie it in a bow around the jar.  Include a gift tag on the jar with directions on how to use the mix.  Here’s my free printable tags.

Notes

  • Make this recipe perfectly the first time.  Check out the step-by-step photos and pro tips before the recipe card.
  • The pleasure of a 5-star review for this hot chocolate mix 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: Drinks
  • Method: Mixed
  • Cuisine: American
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