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Best Homemade Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows

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Warm up on a cold day with the best homemade hot chocolate recipe around. This version is extra decadent, with plenty of rich cocoa powder, melted chocolate and gooey marshmallows. So much better than the store-bought version!

best homemade hot chocolate with marshmallows

There’s something about a cup of hot chocolate that just feels so comforting, especially during the winter months.

And while instant packets can do the trick in a pinch, making it from scratch is so much better.

Especially when you combine cocoa powder and real chocolate with toasted marshmallows. It truly is the best hot cocoa recipe I’ve ever tried!

Of course, you can always customize it however you like with all sorts of fun toppings.

Either way, if you’re looking for a delicious and decadent hot beverage, you’ll want to try this recipe for homemade hot chocolate with marshmallows.


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hot chocolate ingredients - milk, cocoa powder, chocolate, vanilla, sugar and mini marshmallows

This recipe makes about 4 cups of hot chocolate.

Here is your shopping list:

  • dairy – 4 cups whole milk. Whole milk makes a creamier hot chocolate than using lighter milk will.
  • sugar – ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • chocolate – ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 4 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli with 60% cacao). Using both cocoa powder and chocolate creates the most delicious, chocolate flavor.
  • flavoring – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Don’t leave this out. It’s amazing how much better vanilla makes hot chocolate taste.
  • marshmallows – 1½ cups of mini marshmallows. The small-sized ones fit much better in a cup and will melt faster.


  • For fewer calories, you can use 2% milk, skim milk, or even water. But the hot cocoa will be more watery.
  • If you don’t have chocolate on hand, you can make this recipe with just cocoa powder. To do this, increase the granulated sugar to ½ cup and the cocoa powder to ½ cup.

How to make hot chocolate

A cup of hot cocoa with toasted mini marshmallows

Prep work

If you are using chocolate squares, chop them into small pieces.

Make the hot cocoa

Milk being poured into a sauce pan

Add milk, sugar, and cocoa powder to a saucepan.

Cocoa powder and milk in a saucepan with a whisk

Cook over low/medium heat, whisking frequently until warm (approximately 5 minutes). Don’t let it come to a boil or the milk will burn.

Chopped chocolate being poured into a pot of hot cocoa

Add chopped chocolate and whisk continuously until the chocolate melts.

Take the hot chocolate off the heat.

Vanilla being added to hot chocolate in a pot

Then whisk in the vanilla extract. Adding it at the end like this will prevent the vanilla flavor for evaporating.

Toast the mini marshmallows

Top view of toasted marshmallows on a cup of hot chocolate

While toasting marshmallows isn’t absolutely necessary, it softens them up which makes them melt more into the hot chocolate.

A butane kitchen torch (like this one* from Amazon) is the fastest and easiest way to toast marshmallows. Just run the flame over the top of them and they’re done.

However, if you don’t have one, you can also toast them in the broiler.

Spread the marshmallows on a baking sheet and set under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes until golden brown on top.  Keep a close eye on them because they will toast quickly and burn easily if not taken out in time.


Side view of a glass of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and marshmallows

To serve, pour the hot cocoa into mugs.

Then top with toasted mini marshmallows and whatever other toppings you prefer.

I like to put a little whipped cream on top of the hot chocolate before piling on the marshmallows.


hot cocoa board with toppings on it

Here are some other ideas of what toppings to serve with your hot chocolate:

  • mini marshmallows
  • whipped cream
  • peppermint sticks or candy canes
  • sprinkles
  • chocolate chips – milk chocolate and white chocolate
  • caramel bits
  • chocolate spoons or sticks
  • wafer cookies
  • cinnamon sticks

Putting the toppings on a hot chocolate charcuterie board is a fun way to serve them.

What to eat with hot chocolate

  • Salty pretzels and nuts – Anything salty is a good combination with the sweet chocolate.
  • Cheese and cracker board – There’s a reason why chocolate and cheese are often served side by side on cheese boards. They go really well together.
  • Fruit charcuterie board – Fruit is another great selection for pairing with hot cocoa.
  • Tamari almonds – Another tasty salty option.
  • White almond bark – The white chocolate adds even more creaminess.

Have comments or questions about our homemade hot chocolate recipe with marshmallows? Tell us in the section below.

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