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5 Ways to Make Any Hot Chocolate Recipe Even Better

Ditch the mini marshmallows and try these upgraded hot cocoa ideas, instead!
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Fuzzy socks? Check. A copy of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child? You better believe it. A mug of creatively flavored hot cocoa? We've got you covered! Yes, that's right, to help you get into the spirit of the season, we've come up with some mouth-watering ways to upgrade your hot chocolate—way beyond topping your mug with mini marshmallows. Because let's be honest: Your palate is far for evolved than that.

Whether you're mixing in the premade stuff or making your cup of cocoa from scratch, these yummy additions are sure to keep you warm and cozy when the weather outside is frightful. And if you're going with the packaged variety, don't miss our special report The Best Hot Cocoas—Ranked!, to find out which options are not only the tastiest but the best bets for your belly, too.

Spice Things Up

Sugar covered cinnamon sticks in cocoa

Traditional Mexican chocolate (the stuff that's melted and whisked with milk to create Mexican hot chocolate) is made by combining cacao nibs with warm cinnamon and sugar. But even if you don't have a Mexican chocolate bar on hand, you can still make a divine version of the rich drink at home. We've totally fallen for this recipe from A Beautiful Mess, which combines dark chocolate, cinnamon, and cayenne, for a bit of kick!

Get Coconutty

Assorted coconut items

Whether you're tossing in coconut flakes, coconut milk, or some extract, you really can't go wrong by upgrading your mug with this tropical fruit. After all, it contains a potent punch of medium-chain fatty acids that help improve cardiovascular health and aid weight loss. What better way to reap these benefits than by whipping up a cup of this creamy creation the blog, How Sweet It Is. The best part? This one's made in a crockpot so it's super easy! For even more ways to utilize your favorite piece of kitchen equipment, don't miss these 35 Healthy Crock Pot Recipes.

Steap Some Orange Peel

Orange zest hot cocoa

Got an extra orange lying around? Add it to your hot cocoa! After you've thoroughly washed the fruit, cut off some of the rinds, and let them steep in your hot cocoa for five to ten minutes. Not only will the citrus zest lend your cocoa some bright flavor notes, the peel is packed with the powerful antioxidant d-limonene—which helps you detox and flush fat from your system. Now that's a total twofer we love.

Stir in Nut Butter

Peanut butter

Peanut butter and chocolate in liquid form? We'll definitely take a mug of that! To make this dreamy, Reese's-inspired drink, stir in a teaspoon of one of these 36 Top Peanut Butters (pick a creamy kind—not a chunky one!) into your mug until it's fully dissolved. Then, kick it back and enjoy!

Make it a Stiff One

Chocolate Martini

Last, but definitely not least, consider boosting your hot cocoa with booze. It's the perfect way to indulge all of your vices simultaneously. Opt for a shot of almondy amaretto, a cream-based liqueur like Bailey's, or even a splash of peppermint schnapps for that ultra-festive feel. Adding a hint of classic Kahlua is another tasty addition we love, and nearly everyone has a bottle of the stuff hiding out somewhere in their kitchen.


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April Benshosan, MS
April is a born-and-raised Brooklynite who has a passion for all things health, wellness, and tastebud-related. Read more about April