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Gemma’s Best Ever Hot Chocolate

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Hi Bold Bakers!

My Best-Ever Hot Chocolate is made on pure chocolate–not cocoa powder and dried milk but rich bittersweet chocolate and creamy milk. You know when you drink a thick, rich hot chocolate and wonder how they make it? This is that recipe. The secret is REAL dark chocolate. This Hot Chocolate has so much depth and richness from lovely dark chocolate. For best results always use good quality chocolate with around 72% cocoa solids.

I cannot go through the holiday season without drinking my fair share of Hot Chocolate. I usually make a pit stop at Starbucks for a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate when I’m out and about shopping but there is nothing like making your own at home, hence my Best-Ever Hot Chocolate recipe.

The beauty of Hot Chocolate is that it welcomes additions; they just make it better. Marshmallows are a given, of course, but get creative and top it with my Frozen Whipped Cream. What is that? It is exactly what it says it is, sweet whipped cream that has been frozen. Cut it out into festive shapes and you have the perfect accompaniment to your thick Hot Chocolate. It slowly melts to create a fluffy, creamy layer on top.

Place my Peppermint Candy Spoons on the side of your mug and use it as a stirrer and you get a lovely hint of mint as it melts, which is a perfect combination with the chocolate.

Get more Holiday Cookies and baking tips and tricks at my Holiday Baking Headquarters page.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Best Ever Hot Chocolate
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 5 mugs
  • 1⅓ cup (8 oz/240g) bittersweet chocolate (72% cocoa solids)
  • 3½ cups (28floz/840ml) milk
  • 1 cup (8floz/240ml) pouring cream
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, optional
  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan bring the cream, milk and chocolate to a simmer. As it starts to bubble whisk it and watch it thicken.
  2. pull it off the heat. If you would like to add in vanilla extract you can do that now.
  3. Taste. If you would like t a little sweeter add in some white sugar, or your choice of alternative.
  4. Serve hot with frozen whipped cream or marshmallows.
Add more milk to your hot chocolate if you want it a little thinner



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Katherine Cowgill by Teren Oddo Oct. 2015

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

Have you made a recipe? Share photos on my website or across social media with the hashtag #boldbaker.

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  1. Moumita Biswas on January 8, 2018 at 11:13 am

    I was wondering if I can use whipping cream instead of pouring cream in the hot chocolate. My whipping cream is dairy free whipping cream with 16.65% fat content. Would that be ok or would it go wrong?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 8, 2018 at 5:35 pm


      Yes you sure can use whipping cream. That will work perfectly.

      I hope you enjoy this recipe.

  2. Nandini sistla on December 30, 2017 at 12:16 am

    hi gemma!!
    im so happy i found your website…this lookk sooo yummyy
    can youu plss make somthing special for new years eve since my family will be over
    thank youuuu,
    lots of love and a virtual hug,

  3. Neelam Sohail on December 25, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    Hi gemma! Can you plz make burger buns

    • Gemma Stafford on December 26, 2017 at 3:21 am

      Hi there,
      I have added this to my list,
      Gemma 😉

  4. Jennipher on December 23, 2017 at 12:56 am

    This looks AMAZING and I can’t wait to try it! I did have a couple of thoughts right away after reading it I wanted to ask about. Could you add something like Bailey’s to this? If so what kind of ratio/ amount can I add without changing the consistency to much and when during the process should I add it? My other thought was could this hot chocolate be frozen for dessert pops for the kids?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 24, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      Hi Jennipher,

      yes you can add baileys when you take it off the heat. just stir it in just before you serve it.
      I would say to this whole recipe maybe add 1/2 cup of baileys (like 3 or 4 shots)

      And yes it can be frozen but it might be very very rich so maybe thin it out with a little milk then freeze. 🙂

  5. Neha Agnihotri on December 22, 2017 at 12:25 am

    Hi Gemma,

    I have hit chocotale powder and cocoa power. Can I use these to make this hot chicolate? If yes what proportions?

  6. Jeff on December 20, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I can’t find pouring cream. What can I use to substitute. Thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on December 21, 2017 at 11:05 am

      Hi Jeff,
      This may be called ‘single cream’ where you live. If not use 1/2 and 1/2. Single cream is about 18 – 23% fat content.
      check the cartons in your store,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Jeff on December 26, 2017 at 6:19 pm

        Thanks! I actually used table cream and turned out really good!

        • Gemma Stafford on December 27, 2017 at 3:36 am

          Hi Jeff,
          Good, I am happy when you are happy!
          Gemma 🙂

  7. Sasu on December 15, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Hi Gemma!

    I absolutely LOVE this!! I didn’t try making frozen whipped cream, though, got fresh whipped cream on top with some salted caramel sauce instead. But still, I love your hot chocolate, as well as many other bold baking recipes! Thank you so much for sharing them with the community 😀


    • Gemma Stafford on December 16, 2017 at 7:03 am

      Hi there,
      That is the idea, good job, make these recipes to suit your own taste. Thank you for telling us here on BBB, it will inspire others,
      Gemma 🙂

  8. Christine on December 15, 2017 at 1:36 am

    Hello Gemma!

    I would looove to try this. But I am currently in Japan. For the pouring cream, I’m honestly not sure what it is or if I can find one. May I use half n half or heavy cream instead?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 15, 2017 at 3:53 am

      Hi Christine,
      How lovely for you to be in Japan, on my wish list!
      A pouring cream is a bit richer than a 1/2 and 1/2. Check the labels in the store, above 35% fat content is double, whipping cream. You can make 1/2 and 1/2 by diluting this with milk, to your taste really. A pouring cream will be about 25% fat content.
      I hope this is of help to you,
      Gemma 🙂

  9. Sara on December 13, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    I just tried this recipe. I like the taste and consistency. Thank you <3

    • Gemma Stafford on December 13, 2017 at 5:52 pm

      Thanks for your comment,Sara. Delighted you liked it 🙂

  10. P.S. on December 13, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Hi Gemma, I did this and it tastes really really good, even better than what I thought, but I had to use a little bit of cornstarch because my chocolate never got thick… I know it has to do with the chocolate I used (it was about 50% cocoa only), but I wanted to know if maybe the milk was at fault too, I used semi-skimmed milk and only 200ml of that had lactose (since I can’t really have it in big quantities)… do you think that’s a problem or if I use proper chocolate next time it will fix it?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 14, 2017 at 7:14 am

      Hi there,
      When you change an ingredient you change the results.
      1⅓ cup (8 oz/240g) bittersweet chocolate (72% cocoa solids)
      3½ cups (28floz/840ml) milk
      1 cup (8floz/240ml) pouring cream
      1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, optional
      The cream is what thickens this recipe, cream does that when it is boiled. In the absence of this you will need a thickener, such as cornstarch/cornflour/arrowroot etc.
      The chocolate is less of a problem here, that is where the flavor is, and the lower the cocoa solids, the higher the sugar etc.
      I hope this is of help to you,
      Gemma 🙂

      • P.S. on December 16, 2017 at 12:02 pm

        Hi Gemma, thank you for the help, just one more question… I wanted to make more so whenever I wanted to I could just heat up a mug on the microwave. Is that a good idea? If so, how long does it last in the fridge?

        • Gemma Stafford on December 17, 2017 at 3:44 am

          Hi there,
          Yes, this will hold well in the fridge for a few days.
          I tend not to leave things hanging around too long, fresh is always best, and this is a quick thing to whip up.
          Enjoy this recipe though, it can indeed be prepared ahead,
          Gemma 🙂

  11. Moopsee on December 13, 2017 at 6:11 am

    Pouring cream. What percentage fat is that? There are several versions of cream in the stores.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 13, 2017 at 5:32 pm


      Pouring cream is around 35%. It is lower then whipping cream. Sometimes it’s call single cream, or pouring cream. Or even just plain cream. 🙂

  12. Keith Monson on December 12, 2017 at 9:04 am

    I don’t know which looks more delicious the hot chocolate or the Chromebook! (well the real answer is the hostess) 😀 But since I can’t have her I think I will get the Chromebook. Less calories 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on December 13, 2017 at 4:07 am

      Haha! Keith Monson, you always make me laugh.
      Gemma 🙂

  13. RuchiB on December 11, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Hi Gemma, I tried this recipe and it turned out to be super creamy😋…..truly decadent and really easy to make:)

    • Gemma Stafford on December 12, 2017 at 1:51 am

      Hi there,
      Good to hear, thank you for your kind review of this recipe,
      Gemma 🙂

  14. Lisa Young on September 28, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Hi Gemma, I was wondering if there was a dairy free version of this hot chocolate recipe. My daughter and I are both lactose intolerant, but love hot chocolate. I was wondering what to substitute for the cream.

    • Gemma Stafford on September 29, 2017 at 3:09 am

      Hi Lisa,
      I am told by other Bold Bakers that they can buy Lactose free dairy milk, and in the US certainly the larger supermarkets do this.
      cream on the other hand I am not so sure about. Coconut milk forms a cream, it does this in the can, organic ones are great, and I use this in my dairy free ice creams.
      I think there are lactose free evaporated milks available too, but it really is about where you live, and what you can find locally. Check out your local stores online, it is often easier to find in their product list, than on the floor of the store!
      I hope this is of help to you,
      Gemma 🙂

  15. Saadia Khan on September 11, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Gemma does the chocolate base need to be in a liquid state?Because in the fridge it will harden up.

    • Gemma Stafford on September 11, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      no it’s supposed to harden. It is exactly right. Now you scoop it and heat it in a pot with milk and cream.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  16. Huda Khan on January 2, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Your recipes honestly make me immensely happy and I’m sure that’s due to your positive attitude and kindness. You can literally feel it through the screen. Thank you so much for your efforts . They are greatly appreciated by many ?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 11, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks so much, Huda. I really appreciate it. Stay tuned for more this year! 🙂

  17. Kim on December 26, 2015 at 5:09 am

    I just stumbled upon your YouTube channel today, and I’ve been binge watching for hours! Love your channel, website, everything! Cheers to a bigger and bolder 2016! 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on December 29, 2015 at 6:07 pm

      Thanks so much, Kim. Really glad you found my website. Happy New Year to you 🙂

  18. Kari on December 24, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Thank you Gemma for sharing your wonderful recipes. They are not only tasty but easy to make. HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and your family!

    • Gemma Stafford on December 24, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      Happy Holidays to you also. Delighted you like my recipes.

  19. FrenchMacarons on December 17, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Can’t wait to make this! You are so awesome!Could you make different variations of this on a video,like white chocolate or even peppermint?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 17, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      I will add it to my list. Stay tuned 🙂

  20. elizabeth urmson on December 14, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    can you please make Wegmans Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting please I have tried it and it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO delicious I NEED THE RECIPE can you please do it in the next video you do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ( question do you have any kids)

    • Gemma Stafford on December 14, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      I will add it to my list, thank you so much for visiting my website 🙂

  21. elizabeth urmson on December 14, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    can you please get a link for this video on you tube PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    • Gemma Stafford on December 14, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Elizabeth, there is no video for this recipe. It is just a written recipe. I wanted to share it for the Holidays and don’t have time to make videos for all of my recipes 🙂

  22. Safa Fatima on December 14, 2015 at 5:39 am

    Aren’t ya goin to post any vids person?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 14, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      There isn’t a video for this recipe, it is just a written recipe 🙂

  23. Sydney on December 12, 2015 at 10:13 am

    That looks amazing! I’m definitely trying that recipe ??

    • Gemma Stafford on December 18, 2015 at 7:55 pm

      Thanks so much, Sydney. Let me know how yours turns out 🙂

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