11 Unusual Things to Add to Hot Chocolate (& How Much!)

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Do you want your hot chocolate to be on the sweet side? Salty? Savory? All of the above have been provided to me by some of the most skilled chocolatiers in the world, and now I want to help you produce the same sensation in the comfort of your own home. This page discusses all of the many items that may be added to hot chocolate, ranging from the most frequent and straightforward additions to the choices that are the healthiest overall. However, you must also remember to take into account the function that sugar plays in your mug of cocoa.

If you want to create your own hot chocolate and sweeten it at home, you have the option of using natural sweeteners such as agave nectar, maple syrup, coconut sugar, or even cinnamon. This gives you more flexibility in terms of what you use.

You’ll be able to enjoy your cocoa with all of the deliciousness and a lot less of the guilt if you use the right sweeteners for your hot chocolate.

Because there are many different things that may be added to hot chocolate, some of which may or may not be widespread in your area, we have compiled a list of hot cocoa flavorings that you might want to try the next time you have a craving for it.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Hacks

There is certainly a lot of interest in taking chocolate to the next level, as seen by the fact that whole restaurant concepts have been formed out of a love of chocolate (see: Max Brenner, Awfully Chocolate, and so on). But seasoning and stirring in mix-ins to hot chocolate is only the beginning of the process. No matter what ingredients you have on hand, the following is a quick list of some suggestions that will help you make the greatest possible hot chocolate at home.

  • Try Ballin’ Out. These days, using a hot chocolate ball is one of the simplest methods to prepare traditional hot chocolate at home. The more classic combination of shaved chocolate and hot milk is still my favorite, although everyone has their own preferences.
  • KISS – Keep It Simple, Silly. If you make a lot of hot chocolate, for example during the winter holidays, it is a good idea to create a large quantity of this simple chocolate sauce and store it in the refrigerator; it will remain edible for up to two weeks if you do this. To make it into hot chocolate, all you need to do is heat up some milk or water, add the required quantity of sauce, and stir it up until the chocolate reaches the desired intensity. You can even build sauces out of each kind of chocolate, giving children the option to pick how intense of a cocoa taste they would want their sauce to have.
  • The Darker the Better. When you use chocolate of a good grade, the taste of the beverage you make with it will reflect the amount of cacao that was included in the bar. If you want your hot chocolate to have a creamier texture, use half-and-half rather than cream, and look for a chocolate that has a cacao level of at least 70%.
  • Decorate Your Mug. You may embellish the rim of your cup of hot chocolate in the same way that you do the rims of your favorite alcoholic drinks, and doing so will also impart additional taste. You may either run the lip of the cup through melted chocolate or cover it with chocolate syrup, and after that, you can coat it with whatever flavors you choose.

What to Add to Hot Chocolate

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Chocolate and almonds are one of the rare taste combinations that work together well. In instance, the pairing of chocolate and hazelnuts dates back more than a century to Italy in the 1800s. At that time, there were not enough cocoa beans available to satisfy the demand for chocolate in the region. Gianduja, an Italian delicacy, was formed when shop owners diluted their products with hazelnuts produced nearby, which led to the discovery of Nutella many decades later. Gianduja was the precursor of Nutella.

In a pinch, you can get by with any chocolate hazelnut spread; simply start by stirring in one spoonful at a time. Although I would suggest selecting for a chocolate hazelnut spread that includes cacao as one of the initial components, any chocolate hazelnut spread will do in a need.

Cookie Butter

If you can’t eat nuts but like the concept of a simple spread, try stirring one spoonful of cookie butter into your cup of hot chocolate. This is a great option for those who have nut allergies. Although it may seem more like something you’d find in a chocolate fountain, I can assure you that adding some cookie butter to your hot chocolate will give it a richer taste and make it feel more substantial. For people who are wheat-sensitive, there are even cookie butters available that do not include gluten.

Sea Salt

You may recall the episode of Modern Family in which Manny’s girlfriend improved the flavor of chocolate milk by tenfold by adding salt to it. The same rule holds true for chocolate, even when it’s prepared as a beverage like hot cocoa. The addition of salt to hot chocolate brings out the sweetness of the sugar already present in the beverage and helps to tone down the harshness of chocolates with a greater proportion of cocoa. On get started, I would suggest adding just a pinch to the top of the dish.

Chai Tea

Try preparing your hot chocolate using chai tea as the foundation, rather than milk or oat milk, for a different flavor profile. It is a wonderful alternative for vegan cocoa when mixed with a vegan chocolate, and there are several wonderful vegan milk chocolates that you may turn to. Don’t forget to serve the dessert with whipped cream!

Pumpkin Pie Spices

Did you realize that the so-called “pumpkin spice” found in pumpkin spice lattes doesn’t really include any pumpkin? If you want to create your own chocolate pumpkin spice latte at home, all you need to do is mix one eighth of a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice blend into your next cup of hot cocoa. Enhance the flavor by including a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin puree and a little bit of salt into the mix.

Crushed Candy Canes

Candy canes are one of the best things to use as a stirrer in a mug of hot chocolate, and they also make a delicious addition to the top of the beverage. The easiest way to use crushed candy canes is to sprinkle them on top of a cup of hot chocolate or use them to decorate the rim of the cup. However, they are equally delicious when eaten with a bar of hot chocolate. Imagine that you are adding salt to the rim of a margarita glass, except that you are doing it with hot chocolate and the rocky pieces are festively flavored with mint.

Hot Pepper

In striking contrast to candy canes, hot pepper is an age-old ingredient that has been added to hot chocolate for centuries. It balances the natural bitterness of cacao by adding a little of heat to the beverage. I would suggest that you begin by using only one pinch of ancho chili powder or something similar, and then gradually increase the amount that you use from there.

In contemporary renditions of this age-old drink, it is not uncommon to see citrus flavors matching the fiery heat of chili peppers. Citrus fruits, on the other hand, are indigenous to Asia and hence would not have been consumed in Mesoamerica thousands of years ago. Vanilla, honey, and allspice are just some of the indigenous flavors that would have traditionally been combined with the fiery heat of local chilies.

Orange Zest

It just takes about five or six swipes of an orange zest grater to create a flavor that is reminiscent of a special chocolate orange that is sold in abundance during the Christmas season at grocery shops. When you take a bite of the fruit, the aroma of its freshly grated zest fills your nose at the same moment. This gives the fruit double the impact while requiring just a fraction of the effort required to break open one of those annoying foil oranges.

Cream Liqueur

I won’t tell you whether to go for the Bailey’s or the Godiva Cream Liqueur, or even a generic version, but the end product will be as mouthwatering regardless of whatever cream liqueur you choose. If you make your hot chocolate with cream liqueur instead of milk, you may use a darker kind of chocolate that is better for you. This is just one of the many advantages of this substitution. Beginning with one shot per cup enables you to get a little of a buzz going while preventing the taste of a nice chocolate from being overpowered.

A Nip of Whiskey

A shot of whiskey added to a cup of hot chocolate makes the whole beverage more pleasurable and gives it a more traditional Irish (or American!) flavor. This is a great option for individuals who want to increase the effect of their drink. Although most people begin with a half shot, my mother and I like adding a whole shot of bourbon to our nightly cocoa over the winter holidays. Bourbon is one of my favorite chocolate additions, so we like to do this sneakily.

Vanilla Extract

Regarding the issue of alcoholic beverages, vanilla is a flavor that complements chocolate very well and is also one of the most well-known flavors. This well-known botanical substance may be extracted by pressing the liquid that is contained inside vanilla pods and then combining the extracted liquid with water and ethanol (alcohol). It has a strong perfume of vanilla, which, in reality, serves to improve both the sweetness and the bitterness of hot chocolate. This effect is due to the fact that vanilla helps to boost cocoa solids. Boosting the flavor of your cup of cocoa by adding an eighth of a teaspoon of vanilla extract is an easy way to make it taste more decadent and nearly sweet, and it also has some health advantages.


What can I add to hot chocolate to make it better?

Marshmallows, whipped cream, caramel, flavored spreads, and maple syrup are all examples of tasty add-ins that fall into the sweet category. To make a chocolate drink into a cocktail, just mix in some flavored liqueurs or standard spirits. The addition of coffee, spices, or extracts is yet another interesting method to perk up traditional hot chocolate.

What is traditionally added to hot chocolate?

Dark, semisweet, or bittersweet chocolate may be used to make hot chocolate. The chocolate should be grated or broken into tiny bits, and then it can be mixed into milk while sugar is added. In most contexts, “cocoa” refers to a beverage that is prepared by mixing cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and sugar according to personal preference (or not sweetened at all).

What is a good combination with hot chocolate?

Anything containing peppermint, such as mints, chocolates, candy canes, and the like, are excellent choices for a sweet food matching with hot chocolate. In general, the greatest sweet food pairings for hot chocolate are sweets with a distinct taste, such as mint. Try drizzling caramel sauce, crème de menthe liqueur, or limoncello over angel food cake and serving it with a drizzle.

How do you make a hot chocolate packet taste better?

2 single-serve packets of hot chocolate mix — you may use either milk chocolate or dark chocolate; either one is delicious. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract – You may add even more if you want to, but you need at least 1 teaspoon every 2 cups to get the additional flavor out of the vanilla extract. 1 milliliter of chocolate syrup A little bit of chocolate is nice, but more chocolate is much better.

Is hot chocolate better with milk or water?

It may surprise you to learn that you may use water for milk in this recipe. The chocolate is able to display its authentic tastes and distinctive qualities when water is added to it; nevertheless, the chocolate’s creamy texture and flavor are lost in this process.

What is difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate?

As a result of the additions, hot cocoa has a runnier texture, and its flavor is often richer, more velvety, and more sugary. True hot chocolate, on the other hand, is much more thick and rich; depending on the kind and proportion of pure cacao used as the basis, it may also include undertones of bittersweetness.