Slow-Cooker Gingerbread Hot Chocolate


What’s better than a cup of steaming spiced hot cocoa? One that’s ready and waiting for you after a long afternoon of sledding or skiing. We slow-cooked a batch of subtly sweet cocoa sweetened with both powdered sugar (because it melts evenly) and molasses (for a rich base note). Traditional gingerbread spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cloves make it smell like you’ve been baking all day when you’ve actually been out playing in the snow. If you have cheesecloth, bundle the spices inside of a square and secure it with kitchen twine. That way you won’t have to strain. Here’s an idea: use any leftover hot cocoa as a milk substitute in your morning coffee.

Slow-Cooker Gingerbread Hot Chocolate
Photo: Greg DuPree
Hands On Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 40 mins
8 serves


  • 3 (4-in.) cinnamon sticks

  • 1 (2-in.) piece peeled fresh ginger, lightly crushed

  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves

  • cup unsweetened cocoa

  • 4 cups whole milk, divided

  • 4 cups half-and-half

  • 1 ½ cups (about 6 oz.) powdered sugar

  • 2 tablespoons molasses

  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • teaspoon fine salt

  • Mini marshmallows, whipped cream and/or ground cinnamon for serving


  1. Place cinnamon sticks, ginger, and cloves in a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker.

  2. Whisk together cocoa and ½ cup of the milk in a small bowl until smooth. In the slow cooker, whisk together cocoa mixture, half-and-half, powdered sugar, molasses, nutmeg, vanilla, salt, and remaining 3&frac 1/2 cups milk. Cover and cook on LOW 2½ to 3 hours; strain. Serve hot chocolate with marshmallows, whipped cream, and cinnamon.

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