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The Best Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipes (Plus Cocoa Bombs!)

Hot chocolate is one of the most popular winter beverages, so today we’re delving into the best hot chocolate recipes and also exploring a bit of history. Learn more about the origins of this classic beverage, then share the interesting tidbits you’ve learned while sipping hot chocolate with your loved ones in front of a crackling fire!

One of the Oldest Drinks in the World

Did you know that the chocolate drink we all love today has roots stretching back nearly 3,000 years? It is one of the oldest drinks in the world.

Aztec drawing of ritually drinking hot chocolate
Ritual drinking of cacao: Codex Borgia, pl. 3 (Source)

The Mayans believed that chocolate was the food of the gods and called it “xocoltal.” They thought everyone should have access to chocolate as part of their spiritual journey (a wise point of view if you ask me) and would drink it cold by mixing ground cocoa seeds, cornmeal, and chili peppers with water. Instead of using a utensil, they mixed their beverage by pouring it back and forth between a cup and a pot, forming a thick foam in the process. However, this was not the sweet sip we think of today. “Xocoltal” means “bitter water” in Mayan, which tells us something about how this drink tasted.

When the Aztecs became the dominant culture in Mesoamerica things changed. Under their rule, xocoltal became a drink only priests and the wealthy could afford. In fact, they thought it was bad luck if a common person drank chocolate. Prominent Aztecs used golden goblets to sip their chocolate, then melted down the containers after one use. Chocolate drinks also gained a reputation as aphrodisiacs and the Aztec emperor Montezuma would drink some before visiting his harem.

When the Spanish arrived in Mesoamerica they learned of xocoltal, but thought the drink was too bitter. One Jesuit missionary described it as a “loathsome” drink. But Hernan Cortes still brought cocoa beans back to Europe, and by the 17th century, it had transformed into a sweet, hot drink enjoyed mostly by the upper class. This is the origin of modern hot chocolate! Early recipes were infused with things like jasmine, cinnamon, amber, and vanilla to make them even fancier. Eventually, cocoa became so popular that when the Spanish Princess Maria Theresa was betrothed to Louis XIV of France, chocolate was part of her dowry.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipes

When you think about the origins of hot chocolate it’s incredible that this once elite beverage has become a cozy and comforting beverage millions of people can enjoy at home. Why not make one of these easy hot cocoa recipes at home and treat yourself like the royalty you are?

Hot Chocolate Mug

Thick and Creamy Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

Let your slow cooker do all the work for you with this decadent hot chocolate recipe inspired by Katerina’s travels in Italy. Just add all the ingredients to your crockpot, then come back and enjoy some creamy hot chocolate two hours later.

Three Red Velvet Hot Chocolates with marshmallow whipped cream and chocolate hearts on top.

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate with Marshmallow Whipped Cream

Whole milk + half and half give this red velvet hot chocolate recipe ultra creaminess! If you’ve ever dreamed of drinking your cake, this easy recipe has all the flavors of red velvet plus a marshmallow whipped cream topping.

Homemade Hot Chocolate & Maple Marshmallows

Fluffy maple marshmallows? Sign me up! This easy hot chocolate recipe is creamy, sweet and topped with homemade maple marshmallows.

Mug of hot cocoa on round marble slab with spoon and cinnamon sticks

Vegan Hot Chocolate/Hot Cocoa (Simple & Creamy)

If you’re looking for the best vegan hot chocolate recipe, your search is over! Jessica’s creamy vegan hot cocoa is made with coconut and almond milk, then sweetened with maple syrup.

Unicorn Hot Chocolate! It's a creamy hot white chocolate, colored pink, topped with sprinkles, whipped cream, marshmallows, and a blue frosting drizzle!

Unicorn Hot Chocolate

Ok is this hot chocolate mind blowing or what? It’s almost too pretty to eat! Smooth white hot chocolate is colored pink, topped with creme chantilly, then decorated with sprinkles, colored marshmallows and icing.

White Hot Chocolate is an easy homemade hot chocolate recipe with RumChata

Spiked White Hot Chocolate

Want to add a kick to your hot chocolate? This boozy recipe includes a splash of RumChata and only takes a few minutes to make from scratch. Top with whipped cream and crushed peppermint candies.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix


This traditional hot cocoa mix comes together in minutes. Make some for yourself, then make some extra to give to loved ones as homemade Christmas gifts.

Hot Cocoa Bombs

Last year hot chocolate bombs became all the rage on TikTok, so we just had to include some ways to make them in this roundup. As far as hot chocolate history goes, we think the Mayans, Aztecs and Europeans all would have thought these hot cocoa bombs were simply divine!

Close up of a Unicorn hot chocolate bomb to show the details of the decorations

Unicorn Hot Chocolate Bombs


Take an already fun food concept, then make it even more unique by turning it into mini unicorns. That’s what Julianne did with these adorable unicorn hot chocolate bombs filled with hot cocoa mix and mini marshmallows!

Snowman Hot Chocolate Bombs

Snowman Hot Chocolate Bombs

Hot chocolate doesn’t get more festive than these snowman hot cocoa bombs! Each smiling snowman is filled with cocoa and mini marshmallows. Just add them to a mug, pour warm milk over them and watch them melt into a cozy sip.

Three peppermint hot chocolate bombs on a plate with one half bomb showing the inside filled with hot cocoa mix, marshmallows, and peppermint chunks.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Bombs

These hot chocolate bombs are stuffed with hot cocoa mix, crushed peppermint candies and mini marshmallows. They pretty much capture all the holiday flavors in one easy recipe!

Funfetti Cocoa Bombs


These’s a lot to be said for the simple joy that comes with colorful sprinkles, marshmallows and chocolate all melting into warm milk. These cocoa bombs are pretty enough for gifting – maybe with a baggie of traditional cocoa mix (see above) so that your gift recipient can choose their own hot chocolate adventure!

We hope you enjoyed these hot chocolate and hot cocoa bomb recipes! If you are looking for even more festive drink ideas, be sure to check out our recipe finder.

Sources: History Daily, What’s Cooking America, Wikipedia.

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