How to Make Homemade Hot Chocolate (Easy Stove-Top Recipe)

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Last week we talked about homemade marshmallows and, more importantly, making the time to slow down and enjoy moments in the kitchen with our family. I know, it’s hard to slow down this time of year. I get it, but it’s so incredibly important for our children.

A simple stove-top hot chocolate, sweetened with maple syrup.

As we talked about last week, a real food lifestyle is about more than just nourishment. Although nourishing our bodies with real ingredients is so important. A real food lifestyle, which involves the act of making food in our own kitchen with simple ingredients, requires us to slow down, connect with our family, and practice the basic skill of caring for ourselves. These “things”–slowing down, connecting with loved ones, and caring for ourselves–enrich our lives in the very best way.

A simple stove-top hot chocolate, sweetened with maple syrup.

I’ve been challenged this holiday season to slow down and prioritize spending time with my family in the kitchen and outside the kitchen. I realize that slowing down isn’t just going to happen without some intentionality on my part. I’m not going to wake up one day and my calendar is full of blank space. In order to slow down, I have to make this happen. I have to intentionally slow down and make family time a priority.

A simple stove-top hot chocolate, sweetened with maple syrup.

To do this, I created an advent calendar for our family over the weekend. We’ve never celebrated advent before (meaning, to prepare for Christmas). Our calendar isn’t anything fancy–it’s made from a string of cards with numbers on one side and an act of kindness or activity of togetherness on the other side.

The advent calendar is my way (my family’s way, I should say) of intentionally slowing down as a family. Some of the activities involve spending time in the kitchen and making homemade treats (like marshmallows and hot chocolate), and others involve non-food related activities (like dancing to our favorite Christmas songs and seeing Christmas lights).

Here’s what I came up with for each day leading up to Christmas…

1: see Christmas lights

2: make a Christmas card for your teacher

3: watch a Christmas movie

4: dance to our favorite Christmas songs

5: make marshmallows

6: make hot chocolate + enjoy it with marshmallows

7: take a bubble bath

8: family game night with popcorn

9: make a favorite Christmas cookie

10: make a card for someone you care about

11: read a Christmas book

12: make beeswax taper candles

13: read The Gingerbread Man Story

14: make gingerbread men

15: donate a toy and book to children in need

16: make a favorite Christmas cookie

17: make a cookie box for your teacher with the cookies we’ve been making (in freezer)

18: pick out an ornament for 2017–at the store

19: give a compliment to each family member

20: make hot chocolate + enjoy it with marshmallows (in the freezer)

21: read the Christmas story

22: family game night with popcorn

23: s’mores outside with a backyard campfire

24: open stockings

A simple stove-top hot chocolate, sweetened with maple syrup.

Making homemade hot chocolate is a repeat activity on this calendar, along with enjoying homemade marshmallows (which is a bit more time intensive).

Piper, my oldest, is particularly partial to making hot chocolate. While he loves a warm mug of hot cocoa, I think it’s the act of making this special drink that’s won his heart. He looks forward to the process–pouring the ingredients into the Dutch oven, whisking the cacao powder until it’s dissolved in the milk, and waiting for the hot chocolate to reach an ideal drinking temperature.

A simple stove-top hot chocolate, sweetened with maple syrup.


When he’s grown and on his own, I hope he looks back at this time and remembers the sweet memories we made while making something as simple as homemade hot chocolate. I hope the sweet memories also serve as a reminder to him about how important it is to slow down and create memories with the people you love.

A simple stove-top hot chocolate, sweetened with maple syrup.

How to Make Homemade Hot Chocolate
5 from 1 vote

How to Make Homemade Hot Chocolate (Stove-Top Recipe)

A simple stove-top hot chocolate, sweetened with maple syrup. 

Course Dessert, Drinks, How To
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 cups
Author Kristin Marr


Special Equipment:


  1. Pour the milk into a Dutch oven, followed by the remaining ingredients: maple syrup, cacao powder, vanilla, and salt. Whisk the ingredients together. The cacao powder won't fully dissolve in the milk just yet; it's okay. 

  2. Warm the mixture over medium heat on the stove-top, whisking every couple of minutes to fully dissolve the cacao powder in the milk. Once fully dissolved and warm (or to your desired temperature), turn off the heat. 

  3. Ladle the hot chocolate into mugs. Enjoy warm. 

Recipe Notes

*It's really easy to tweak this recipe to your desired sweetness. I've found that a minimal amount of maple syrup is perfect for our family since we usually add sweet marshmallows or whipped cream to our hot chocolate. If you'd like a sweeter hot chocolate, simply increase the maple syrup (tasting as you go). The amount of sweetener needed may depend on the milk. Another option is to stir in a few tablespoons of chocolate chips (which most likely are sweetened) to increase the rich chocolate flavor and sweetness. If you'd like to add a different twist to this drink, try adding a couple pinches of cinnamon. There are lots of possibilities for customizing this hot chocolate to your liking. 

This recipe may also be reduced, if needed. 

A simple stove-top hot chocolate, sweetened with maple syrup.

Share This Recipe

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #LIVESIMPLYBLOG. I'd love to see what you make!


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  • I loved loved the un-artificial taste to this! Most hot chocolates (even from prestigious coffee shops) leave me with a bitter taste at the end or are waaaay to sweet. This was perfect! I found that if you put the whisk handle in between your palms and shift it quickly (imitating the motion of a hand mixer), it will dissolve the cocoa powder much faster! Thanks Kristin!

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