Homemade Spiced Hot Cocoa | Gourmet Chocolate Recipe

How to make spiced hot cocoa

There are a lot of flavor combinations out there that you wouldn’t think go so well together, but actually, they really compliment one another!

Some that come to mind include cucumber and mint, strawberry and basil, and prosciutto and melon! If you haven’t tried that last one, please try it. It's divine!!!

Some say that opposites attract, I like to say that opposites bring out the best in one another. This is exactly the case when it comes to chocolate and chili. My dad, for example, has been making his favorite chili recipe for years.

Decades now I guess! But if you want to know his secret, he adds in unsweetened, dark chocolate to enhance the chili flavor. And he is not wrong!

People are always asking what he makes his chili with, and he never tells!! (Sorry Dad!) But just as chocolate compliments (actual) chili, chili and cayenne can complement chocolate and leave you with warm notes of spice and heat on your lips. Caliente!!!

How to make spiced hot cocoa

I remember watching Martha Stewart when I was in University making a Mexican Hot Chocolate. I was in awe! And I can’t find the recipe I saw her create, I just remember that it was on her daytime show. I was inspired though. I would make hot cocoa, and actually strain it through a tea strainer with about 10-15 chili flakes in it. I can’t remember if this is what Martha actually did or if I went off feeling enthused and wanted to try my own take on it, but it did make some good hot cocoa.

How to make spiced hot cocoa


Since my first years playing with hot cocoa recipes, I have perfected the spicy one and instead of straining the cocoa through a strainer of actual chili flakes, I now use a blend of chili powder and cayenne and add it right in! Here is my homemade hot cocoa recipe below.


*This makes about 5 cups

  • 4 Cups of milk (I use 2%, but you can really use whatever you like here. The higher percentage the milk, the creamier the cocoa! Can also replace with almond milk or the milk of your choice!!) *NOTE: If you are using a skim or 0% milk but still want the thickness of an old-fashioned hot cocoa, you can add a few tbsp of cornstarch to your dry ingredients to help you out!
  • ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. I have always used Fry’s for my hot cocoa and any other recipe that calls for unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • ¼ cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. chili powder mixed with a pinch of cayenne. You can start here, and can always add more to achieve your perfect level of heat! This amount tends to be the crowd pleaser though.


  1. Mix your cocoa powder with all the dry ingredients in a bowl (stir with a spoon to combine).
  2. Add your milk and vanilla to a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Here you will want to scald the milk, which means, heat it on high and keep an eye on it! Once you start to see steam and small bubbles form around the edge, take it off the heat. You don’t want your milk to boil or burn on the bottom.
  3. Add a few tbsp of the milk to your powdered mixture. Add as much as you need to make it a paste. This will just help so clumps don’t form!
  4. Mix the cocoa paste to your milk and stir. I like to use my automatic whisk at this point! It mixes everything together beautifully and also foams the milk up a bit as well!
  5. Taste the hot cocoa to see if there is the right amount of spice for you. If you are looking for more of a kick, just add a pinch at a time and taste as you go.
  6. Top with your favorite toppings and serve!
  7. Watch the smiles on everyone’s faces as they taste. Drink it in 😉

How to make spicy hot cocoa

Spiced Hot Cocoa Toppings:

  • Whipped cream. I always recommend making from scratch using 2 cups of 35% whipping cream with 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tbsp (or to taste) granulated sugar. (One item that I wish I had [hint hint hubby, Christmas is coming!!] is a professional whipped cream dispenser, like this one. These little tools are so fun and are totally versatile! Plus, you can use them for chocolate mousse and coconut whipped cream!).
  • Sprinkle some cinnamon on top of the whipped cream and put an actual cinnamon stick in, if you are going for the presentation! You could also shave some chocolate curls on top as well with a chocolate shaver.
  • I use a professional stainless steel chocolate shaver, as it will give you those big, dreamy curls of chocolate. Check prices on Amazon here
  • You can also opt to make your own homemade marshmallows from scratch to add in! What a treat!! They are not difficult to make at all, just follow our recipe.


Recipe Gifts

Browse all personalized, handmade items you can find on Etsy HERE

FUN IDEA: Something we love to do here at DIY Craft Club is “paint” on cups and mugs with our Sharpie Paint Pens. We thought a cute idea for spiced hot chocolate would be to write something cute on your mugs, like “Spicy!” or “Caliente!” and draw a little red chili pepper! These water-based markers wash off and are also great for identifying whose drinks belong to whom when you write names on them! Check out our own unboxing and product review of them here. And you can check the prices on Amazon here!

If you loved this recipe as much as we do, be sure to pin it!! We would appreciate that!

How to make spiced hot cocoa spicy

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