Crockpot Hot Chocolate is a perfectly rich, creamy, and sweet homemade recipe everyone will enjoy! It’s easy to mix up and serve from the slow cooker making it great for parties, holidays and other winter gatherings. Take it over the top with creamer!

White cups of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.

In cold weather months, crockpot hot chocolate is a must and this homemade recipe never disappoints. It’s creamy, chocolatey, and everything hot cocoa should be. Did I mention how easy it is to make? You only need 5 minutes of prep time, which is really not much more time than you’d spend making a cup of instant cocoa!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Incredibly delicious. This slow cooker hot chocolate is decadent, slightly indulgent, and one of the best parts of the holidays and winter season! It definitely puts those little packets of powder and even Starbucks to shame!
  • Great for serving a crowd. This treat is perfect to make for a house full of guests on Christmas morning or for holiday get-togethers! One batch makes 15 cups that are kept warm in the slow cooker, simply ladle it into mugs when you’re ready to enjoy.
  • So easy. This is a very hands-off recipe! Just 5 minutes for prep and your slow cooker will do the rest! 
Hot cocoa topped with marshmallows and cocoa powder in a white mug.

Ingredients needed

Crock pot hot chocolate is a simple recipe that uses everyday ingredients, yet tastes amazing with wonderful chocolate flavor! You’ll never want to go back to packet hot cocoa. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sweetened condensed milk. Adds richness and sweetens the drink.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder. We recommend a high-quality cocoa powder or cacao powder. In our opinion, we think Ghirardelli’s 100% cocoa has the best flavor.
  • Vanilla extract. To balance out the cocoa flavor.
  • Whole milk. You could totally make this lower in fat by using 1 or 2% milk and no half & half, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
  • Half-and-half. To make this even creamier and more flavorful. Can sub with heavy cream.
  • Coffee creamer. The secret ingredient that makes this hot chocolate so irresistible. You won’t know what to do with yourself after one sip. Have fun trying different flavors!
  • Salt. Balances all the sweetness and brings out the cocoa flavor.
  • Mini marshmallows. Optional for serving. More topping ideas, below.
Milk, cocoa powder and other ingredients for making crockpot hot chocolate divided into bowls.

How to make this recipe

For the full, printable recipe, see the recipe card.

  • At the bottom of a cold crockpot, whisk the sweetened condensed milk with cocoa powder and vanilla until smooth.
  • Whisk in milk, half & half and creamer, being sure to get to the edges. Sprinkle in the salt. Cover and warm on high for 2 hours or low for 4. You’re not trying to cook this, just warm it through! Once it’s to the desired temperature, switch crockpot to ‘warm’ or LOW heat setting.
  • When you’re ready to serve, add in mini marshmallows and more coffee creamer if you so desire, which you totally should! Enjoy!

Expert tips

  • Dairy products. This recipe uses a ton of dairy products so beware if you are lactose intolerant. The three main ingredients are half & half, coffee creamer and whole milk. The combination of these three make this delectable and creamy, but not overly creamy. You can absolutely make this a low-fat hot cocoa by subbing out the half & half for more milk, but it won’t be as rich and creamy.
  • Crockpot temperature. Once heated to desired temperature, keep the slow cooker on LOW. This recipe doesn’t involve cooking, just warming everything. We definitely don’t want to curdle any dairy products.
  • Scrape the sides. As you add in your dairy, make sure to mix well. Scrape the sides to ensure that all the chocolate base is incorporated.
  • Halve the recipe. This recipe makes about 15 cups. If that is too much for your family or gathering, cut this recipe in half and make it in a smaller crockpot. The heating time might take a little less when halved.

Frequently asked questions

How do you keep hot chocolate warm for a party?

Crockpot hot chocolate is the perfect beverage for a winter party! Simply keep the slow cooker on the low heat setting and let it keep the drink warm all day long!

What milk is best for hot chocolate?

We’re using whole milk and half-and-half to make this hot cocoa lusciously thick, rich and deliciously creamy. To make this dairy free, use oat milk, almond milk or cashew milk and a plant based half-and-half or omit completely and use more milk. The dairy-free hot chocolate will not be as rich and creamy.

What is the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa?

Many times the names are used interchangeably, but hot cocoa contains cocoa powder. It is typically sweeter, thinner and a milder flavored drink. Hot chocolate on the other hand is made with real chocolate, usually chopped or shaved and added to either cream, milk, or water, resulting in a fuller-bodied beverage that’s less sweet and also goes by the name “drinking chocolate”, a term often used with European counterparts. So, this recipe is technically hot cocoa.

Topping ideas

Hosting a party? Crockpot hot cocoa served with a toppings bar is always a hit, especially for holiday gatherings and parties. Here’s some options:

  • Whipped cream
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Crushed peppermint
  • White chocolate
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Caramel syrup
  • Sprinkles
  • Peppermint sticks
  • Chocolate shavings
White mugs filled with hot cocoa and marshmallows.

Flavor variations

We love this hot chocolate recipe as-is, but feel free to change it up and customize the taste depending on your mood. Here’s some delicious ideas:

  • Creamers. Experiment with different creamers. We especially love using the holiday creamers, like gingerbread and egg nog! The peppermint mocha is incredible too!
  • Peppermint. Add one drop of peppermint extract into each cup and serve with candy canes.
  • Boozy. Pour in a bit of bourbon or brandy for an extra fun, cozy night.
  • Salted caramel. Dollop whipped cream and drizzle salted caramel sauce over it.
  • Mexican hot chocolate. Stir in cinnamon and serve with a cinnamon stick.
  • Classic. Top it off with marshmallows and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.

Serving suggestions

You’ll definitely want a little something sweet to pair with your hot beverage! Here’s some ideas:

Storing & reheating

  • Storing leftover hot chocolate. Cool completely, place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Reheating

  • Stovetop. Reheat in a saucepan over low heat until warm, stirring frequently.
  • Slow cooker. When serving at a party, we love to keep hot cocoa warm in a slow cooker on the low heat setting.
  • Microwave. In a microwave-safe mug, place in the microwave and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until nice and hot.
Hot chocolate served in white mugs with marshmallows.

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

White cups of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.
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Crockpot Hot Chocolate

Crockpot Hot Chocolate is a perfectly rich, creamy, and sweet homemade recipe everyone will enjoy! It's easy to mix up and serve from the slow cooker making it great for parties, holidays and other winter gatherings. Take it over the top with creamer!
Author: Kim

Ingredients

  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 12 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 cup coffee creamer, any favorite flavor works
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows, optional for serving

Instructions 

  • In the bottom of a cold crockpot, whisk sweetened condensed milk with cocoa powder and vanilla until smooth.
  • Whisk in milk, half & half and creamer, being sure to scrape the edges. Stir in the salt. Cover and warm on high for 2 hours or low for 4. You're not cooking this, just warming it through! Once it's to the desired temperature, switch crockpot to 'warm' or LOW heat setting.
    Adding milk to cocoa in a slow cooker.
  • When you’re ready to serve, add in mini marshmallows and more coffee creamer, if desired. Enjoy!
    Whisking hot chocolate in a slow cooker.

Notes

  • Storing leftovers. Cool completely, place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  •  
  • Reheating
  • Stovetop. Reheat in a saucepan over low heat until warm, stirring frequently.
  • Slow cooker. When serving at a party, we love to keep hot cocoa warm in a slow cooker on the low heat setting.
  • Microwave. In a microwave-safe mug, place in the microwave and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until nice and hot.
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 344kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 47mg, Sodium: 310mg, Potassium: 599mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 42g, Vitamin A: 514IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 415mg, Iron: 1mg

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