15 Delicious Hot Chocolate Recipes That Are Over-the-Top Decadent

Hot chocolate is the most compelling reason to endure winter’s sting and chill.

What's better than a steaming mug of thick, creamy hot chocolate on a chilly day? Not much—except maybe an upgraded hot chocolate recipe with chai spices, amaretto and sea salt, or red velvet. Can't decide? You don't have to: Throw together a hot chocolate bar and serve them all.

First things first: There's a difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa. The former (also known as drinking chocolate) is made from solid semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, sometimes with the addition of cocoa powder, milk, heavy cream, and perhaps a little sugar or vanilla extract. The latter is made from cocoa powder, sugar, and hot milk or water.

To put your signature spin on this iconic winter beverage, start with a basic recipe for hot chocolate or hot cocoa, and then add a few of our favorite indulgent upgrades. Because life is too short to settle for a lukewarm mug of microwaved pre-made cocoa mix.

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Broiled Marshmallow Hot Chocolate

For this version, fill an oven-safe mug with hot chocolate and a generous amount of marshmallows. Place the mug under your oven's broiler, but leave the door open to avoid burning the marshmallows. Watch as they toast and start to melt (This happens quickly!) and then, when they're a nice golden brown, remove the mug from the oven with oven mitts.

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Mocha Cinnamon Hot Chocolate

This is just what you need to get going on a cold Monday morning. Before serving your favorite mug of hot chocolate, add 2 ounces espresso plus an extra sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon.

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Pumpkin White Chocolate

For a mug rich with fall flavor, start with hot chocolate and add ½ cup pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and ¼ cup white chocolate chips. Stir, blend, or whisk until all ingredients have dissolved and the mixture is thick and evenly combined.

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Hot Chocolate Eggnog

For the ultimate hot holiday dessert beverage, mix one part hot chocolate with one part warmed eggnog. To serve a crowd, mix this up in a slow cooker and watch it disappear.

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Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

Craving the classic flavor of red velvet cake in a cup? Replace the semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips in the main recipe with white chocolate chips, and then stir in 2 ounces of cream cheese, a splash of heavy cream, and 4 drops of red food coloring.

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Chai Spiced Hot Chocolate

Adding a kick of Indian spices makes your hot chocolate even more warming and delicious, if that's possible. Start with your standard hot chocolate recipe, add 2 chai tea bags per mug, and seep for 10 minutes.

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Mint Chocolate Affogato

An affogato is an Italian coffee-based dessert in which a scoop of ice cream (or gelato) is topped or "drowned" with a shot of hot espresso. For this minty version, drop a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream in a small bowl, drown it with hot chocolate, and finish with whipped cream.

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Spicy Hot Chocolate

To give your mug of hot chocolate a Mexican twist, add ½ teaspoon ancho chile powder, 2 broken cinnamon sticks, 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Simmer gently 10 minutes and then discard the cinnamon sticks. To kick it up a notch, add an ounce of Reposado tequila to each serving.

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Peanut Butter Marshmallow Hot Chocolate

Ever had a fluffernutter sandwich? Transform this kid's lunch classic into a chocolatey hot beverage. Add a tablespoon of peanut butter to a mug of hot chocolate until dissolved, and then top with a scoop of marshmallow fluff or marshmallows.

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Salted Almond Hot Chocolate

This is reminiscent of an Almond Joy in hot liquid form, but better. Add an ounce of Amaretto liqueur and a pinch of sea salt to each mug of hot chocolate, stir, and serve.

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Hot Chocolate Float

Transform the iconic ice cream float into a warm and decadent beverage/dessert. Plunk a scoop of your favorite flavor of ice cream into a mug of hot chocolate, and finish with a drizzle of chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

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Nutella Hot Chocolate

Think you knew all the ways to use the popular chocolatey hazelnut spread? Try this one: Add a spoonful of Nutella to each mug of hot chocolate and stir until melted.

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Candy Cane Hot Chocolate

This hot chocolate hack will certainly put party guests in a festive holiday mood. Coat the inner and outer rim of an empty mug with marshmallow fluff, and then dip it into crushed candy canes. Next, fill with hot chocolate and finish with a candy cane garnish.

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Stout Hot Chocolate

Beer and chocolate? Why not? Warm a stout beer (such as Guinness) in a small saucepan, and then add 2 ounces to each mug of hot chocolate. Top with a splash of heavy cream.

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Frozen Hot Chocolate Milkshake

What if you're craving the taste of hot chocolate in July? We've got you. Pour cooled hot chocolate into an ice cube tray and then freeze it. Once solid, drop the cubes into a blender with a splash of milk (or ice cream) and chocolate. Whirl until creamy. Serve with a straw and top with chocolate sprinkles.

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