The Best Hot Chocolate Mix Recipe for Gifting | Wholefully (2024)

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Food gifts really are the best for the gifter and the giftee! For the giver, food gifts are easy to make, affordable, and everyone loves something tasty. For the receiver, they are delicious, thoughtful, and—maybe best of all—consumable! No extra bits or baubles that are going to the donation pile in January.

This homemade hot chocolate mix is my new favorite food gift this holiday season! It is stupendously easy to make—you can make dozens of gift jars in just a few minutes—and who doesn’t love a cozy mug of hot cocoa on a winter’s day?

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What makes this the best homemade hot chocolate mix recipe out there?

You can feel good about gifting this hot cocoa mix, because it’s been tested on dozens of very discerning teachers! Last year, we created a hot chocolate bar using a big batch of this mix at my daughter’s school during teacher appreciation week, and it got rave reviews, with lots of folks asking for my just-add-hot-water hot chocolate mix recipe!

If this mix satisfied over 60 busy teachers, you know it’ll satisfy all the folks on your Christmas gift list! Even better: we took this recipe back into the test kitchen and tweaked it to make it even richer and creamier!

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What is hot chocolate mix made of?

All the ingredients for this hot chocolate mix are easy to find at any supermarket. You’ll need:

  • Powdered Sugar (AKA: Confectioner’s Sugar)—Don’t try to sub other kinds of sugar—powdered sugar is fine enough to dissolve well while mixing up your cocoa.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder—We prefer Dutch-processed because it has a darker color and less acidity, but any kind of cocoa powder works.
  • Dried Milk Powder—Yes, most grocery stores carry this (typically in the baking aisle). Grab whole milk powder if you can!
  • Fine Sea Salt—A little bit of salt is a must-add to help balance the sweetness. Trust us!
  • Mini Chocolate Chips—The secret ingredient that makes this the best hot cocoa mix ever! The chocolate chips melt and make your cocoa super decadent and rich.

Protip: Get the mini chips

Make sure to grab mini chocolate chips—the standard-size ones don’t typically melt fast enough to combine into the hot chocolate mix.

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How do you make this homemade hot cocoa mix recipe at home?

If you can mix things together in a bowl, you can make hot chocolate mix! Here’s the method:

  1. Measure all the ingredients into a large bowl.
  2. Stir well to combine.
  3. Spoon the mixture into your gifting or storage jars. The end!

Protip: Change up the flavor!

Feel free to experiment with your mixture of chocolate chips in your mix. Peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, and peppermint baking chips are all delicious additions!

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Can you make a dairy-free or vegan hot chocolate mix?

Sure can! To make this vegan, swap out the dried milk for dried coconut milk, and make sure to grab chocolate chips that are dairy-free. We used dried coconut milk in our Golden Milk Mix with great results!

What’s the best way to package homemade hot chocolate mix for gifting?

You can put your hot chocolate mix into any kind of covered container. Some folks like to use candy bags, but we love the simplicity of packing the mix into Ball® Regular Mouth Pint Jars. These pint jars are 16 ounces, and you’ll get three jars out of the recipe down below. Each jar makes four servings of hot chocolate.

To make it easy for you, we made free printable tags that you can download and tie to your jars with a simple red ribbon!
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How do you make a mug of hot cocoa from this mix?

Easy peasy! To make a mug of hot chocolate: combine 1/2 cup mix with 3/4 cup hot water or milk in a mug, and stir until frothy and well-combined.

Protip: Use a mug!

We recommend making your hot cocoa in a mug and not a mason jar. Pouring hot liquid into cold jars could result in thermal shock breakage. Use your favorite mug instead!

Is hot chocolate mix better made with milk or water?

Milk (and in particular, whole milk) is always going to give you the creamiest result. However, since we use dried milk powder in our mix, our hot chocolate is creamy and rich even when you make it with just water.
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How much hot chocolate mix do I need for one cup of hot cocoa?

We recommend using the ratio of 1/2 cup mix to 3/4 cup of water or milk, but you are free to experiment with the ratio that gives the right amount of flavor for your taste buds!

Want some hot cocoa with a kick? Try using 1/2 cup of our hot cocoa mix instead of the hot chocolate packet in this spicy hot cocoa recipe!

How long does hot chocolate mix last in the pantry?

Since all the ingredients are shelf-stable, in a tightly sealed container your hot cocoa mix will last indefinitely. Keep some on hand for easy gifting!

Protip: On shelf life

While the recipe will last indefinitely in the pantry, it is not a canning-safe recipe—do not try to process this hot chocolate mix in your water bath or pressure canner.

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Can I mix hot chocolate with coffee to make a mocha?

Not only can you, but we highly recommend it! It’s a delicious way to make a shortcut mocha.

Looking for even more easy homemade food gifts?

We’ve got a list of over 50 options for you to choose from! Browse the list of all of the food gifts, or check out a few fan favorites:

The Best Hot Chocolate Mix Recipe for Gifting | Wholefully (8)

Hot Chocolate Mix Recipe

Yield: 6 cups (enough to fill 3 pint jars and make 12 servings of hot chocolate)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Skip the store-bought packets and instead make up a batch of better-tasting hot chocolate mix at home! This is the BEST hot cocoa mix out there, so good you'll want to give it as a gift!


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups dried milk (whole is preferred, but nonfat works)
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-processed preferred)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to an airtight container and store for up to 6 months.
  2. To make a mug of hot chocolate: combine 1/2 cup mix with 3/4 cup of hot water or milk in a mug, stir well until frothy and well-combined.


  • To package for gifting, pour the mix into Ball® Canning’s 16 ounce Jar. Print out our gifting tags, and tie onto the jar with ribbon, string, or raffia. This recipe makes enough for 3 pint-size jars.
  • Water works fine for this, but to make an even creamier mug of hot cocoa, use hot milk.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 12Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 216Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 109mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 3gSugar: 32gProtein: 6g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

This post is brought to you by Wholefully partner Ball® Canning.

The Best Hot Chocolate Mix Recipe for Gifting | Wholefully (2024)


How to make a hot chocolate bar gift? ›

For our hot cocoa bar, we decided to cut up some of our favorite chocolates and offer them as toppings. Extra-small chunks Almond Butter Crunch were the most popular toppings of choice. Chocolate chips, finely chopped nuts, crushed graham crackers, and candy cane pieces, also make great options!

How to make hot chocolate mix better? ›

The 15 Best Things To Add To Hot Chocolate
  1. Add an extract. A quick and easy way to add flavor to your hot chocolate is by adding a splash of your favorite extract. ...
  2. Sprinkle in warm spices. ...
  3. Mix in Nutella. ...
  4. Swirl in caramel. ...
  5. Spike it. ...
  6. Infuse it with orange. ...
  7. Swap regular sugar for maple syrup. ...
  8. Add a shot (of coffee)
Dec 4, 2023

What is the number one hot chocolate? ›

Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix

Still, the Milk Chocolate hot cocoa reigns supreme. Made with cocoa powder, powdered nonfat milk, and coconut oil, Swiss Miss has a surprisingly creamy mouthfeel and balanced sweetness.

Which hot chocolate do Americans love the best? ›

The Best Hot Chocolate Mix, at a Glance
  • Best Traditional Hot Chocolate. Starbucks Classic Hot Cocoa. ...
  • Best Milk Chocolate Flavor. Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix. ...
  • Best Mini Marshmallows. Swiss Miss Marshmallow Lovers. ...
  • Best for Kids. Swiss Miss With Lucky Charms Marshmallows. ...
  • Best Mocha Flavor.
Nov 20, 2023

How do you make hot chocolate gifts for Christmas? ›

For a bulk hot cocoa mix gift, fill the jars ⅔ of the way up, layering with mini chocolate chips to create a multi-layered effect. Fill the last ⅓ with marshmallows. Decorate hot cocoa jars with a recipe tag, festive stickers and ribbon; tie a mini bottle of booze and a co*cktail recipe tag for grownups.

What goes in a hot chocolate gift basket? ›

You can put whatever you'd like into your gift basket, but here are a few suggestions:
  • Homemade hot chocolate mix.
  • Homemade marshmallows.
  • Cookies.
  • Candy canes.
  • One or two other holiday-themed items like a set of mugs or a spatula (more options below)
Dec 9, 2019

Is hot chocolate a good gift? ›

Hot chocolate is such a treat, in fact, that it's a worthy gift for virtually anyone. Think coworkers, kids, significant others, parents, etc.

How to serve hot chocolate to a large group? ›

how to set up a hot chocolate bar. Find a serving vessel: You might ladle directly from a Dutch oven on the stove, keep a batch warm in a slow-cooker or Instant Pot, or perhaps decant to a large tea kettle, insulated thermal carafe, or a plug in coffee urn. Work with what you have.

How to keep hot chocolate warm for a party? ›

Cocoa - If your cocoa is pre-made, serve it in either an insulated carafe or a thermos with a spout. This will keep the hot chocolate warm and make it easy for guests to pour.

Is hot chocolate better with water or milk? ›

Although hot chocolate doesn't necessarily need an even more creamy, decadent taste, using milk certainly enriches the experience. We suspect that milk adds a creamier taste than water alone, and when combined with the notes of chocolate, the smooth undertones of the milk simply add a delicious backdrop.

Can I use milk instead of water for hot chocolate mix? ›

Which to Use—Milk, Soy, or Water? Whole milk lends to the creaminess and sweetness of hot chocolate, but feel free to use low-fat or nonfat milk if you prefer. For a thicker, richer hot chocolate, switch out 1/4 cup of milk for cream. Soy milk or another non-dairy milk is an alternative if you are lactose intolerant.

What's the difference between instant hot chocolate and hot chocolate? ›

The source of the chocolate flavour is different. Hot Chocolate is made using solid chocolate melted in warm milk or cream. Hot Cocoa, however, is made from a powdered base of cocoa with added sugar and dissolved in hot water or hot milk.

What is the difference between cocoa powder and hot chocolate mix? ›

Cocoa Powder: Hot chocolate starts with cocoa powder, which provides a chocolatey flavour. However, hot chocolate mix is distinct from plain cocoa powder, as it often contains added sugar, powdered milk, and sometimes additional flavourings like vanilla or spices.

Which cocoa powder is best for hot chocolate? ›

Unsweetened cocoa powder: a high-quality cocoa powder or cacao powder is essential. I highly recommend using Ghirardelli's 100% cocoa. I think it has the best flavor for hot chocolate (and trust me, I've tried quite a few!)


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