Crockpot Hot Chocolate is an easy twist on the classic mug of instant hot cocoa. Perfect on a cold, snowy day! Let the hot chocolate slow cook while out sleigh riding, holiday shopping, or shoveling snow.
This slow cooker hot cocoa is rich, creamy, and full of chocolate. It's an easy dump and go recipe that I know you'll love as much as my family does. It's a great addition to December holiday parties, Christmas celebrations, and Christmas morning.
This is a recipe for hot chocolate without condensed milk or heavy whipping cream. It's made with a combination of whole milk and oat milk, which gives it that creamy, rich texture but keeps it on the healthier side. I also use milk chocolate chips to give it added thickness and chocolate flavor.
Why I Love Crockpot Hot Chocolate:
- Instant packets are nothing compared to making it from scratch.
- Making hot cocoa in your slow cooker is completely hands off!
You can make hot chocolate in the crockpot while doing wintery things around the house, or while you're out running last minute holiday errands. It's also the perfect treat to make while taking the kids sledding. As soon as you walk in the door, that warm-me-up hot cocoa will be ready and waiting!
This recipe works in at least a 4 quart slow cooker. You can make larger batches by increases the ingredients proportionally.
To make this delicious crockpot hot chocolate you need:
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: do not use sweetened cocoa powder.
- Milk: you can use whole, reduced fat, low fat, or skim milk. The lower the fat content of the milk, the less creamy and rich the hot chocolate will turn out. However, the lower fat content does mean a slightly healthier recipe.
- Oat milk: any variation of unflavored oat milk works great.
- Milk chocolate chips: don't use semi sweet chocolate chips.
- Sugar: white sugar or organic unrefined white sugar work the best. I have no tried this recipe with a sugar substitute.
- Vanilla extract: elevates the flavor of the chocolate, and while you can leave it out if you don't have it, I highly recommend it!
The combination of cocoa powder, oat milk, and whole milk give crockpot hot chocolate a rich and creamy texture and taste. A bit of vanilla extract elevates the flavor even more.
- Always use the low setting, as high heat may burn the milk and chocolate. If it's burnt and stuck to the bottom of the pot, when you stir at the end all of those little bits of burnt milk will float into your hot chocolate.
- Stir halfway through if possible. The chocolate chips will be just about completely melted around the 1 hour mark. Stirring them into the hot cocoa before it's done will prevent them from becoming stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- You might find a thin milk layer floating on top. Remove it with a strainer. Don't mix it back into the milk. You'll get bits of hard milk floating around your hot chocolate if you do.
- Dairy-free version: use all oat milk and dairy free chocolate chips. Make sure your brand of cocoa powder does not contain milk products (most don't).
- Vegan version: use all oat milk, dairy free chocolate chips, and unrefined cane sugar.
- Make peppermint hot cocoa: instead of using vanilla extract, use peppermint extract.
- Dark hot cocoa: use dark chocolate chips or morsels instead.
- Spike with liquor: add a splash of rum, whiskey or bourbon to your cup to make adult hot chocolate!
It will last for up to 5 days refrigerated. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove. Always stir thoroughly before serving, as the chocolate will collect at the bottom.
Make it up to 5 days ahead of time. If serving at holiday parties, reheat in the slow cooker and use the crockpot as serving container to keep it warm throughout the party.
If you feel your hot cocoa came out too thin, use milk with a higher level of fat. If you used skim milk, try reduced fat or whole milk instead. Or use half oat milk and half milk. You can also use sweetened condensed milk or heavy whipping cream. However, this will significantly increase the calories, fat, and sugar. For reference, 1 cup of heavy cream has over 800 calories compared to oat milk and regular dairy milk which have about 100 calories per cup.
Hot chocolate made with water will be less creamy than that made with milk. But hot chocolate made with water also allows for more of the rich chocolate taste to shine through. The chocolate flavor in that made with milk is slightly subdued by the taste of the milk. But in my slow cooker hot cocoa, I use 3 ingredients to keep the chocolate flavor elevated and the creaminess at the perfect level: oat milk, chocolate chips, and vanilla extract.
It's made in 3 very easy steps.
STEP 1: Heat the water in the microwave for 90 seconds. Add the unsweetened cocoa powder and mix until it's dissolved.
STEP 2: Add water and cocoa powder mixture, milk, oat milk, sugar, salt, and chocolate chips to the crockpot. Set to low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. *If a thin layer of milk forms on the top, remove it with a strainer.
STEP 3: When done, add the vanilla extract and mix well.
Pour hot cocoa in cups.
Serve with your favorite toppings, such as marshmallows, whipped cream, candy canes, chocolate shavings, and peppermint sticks. A drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce on top is also fantastic and makes it extra sweet!
Crockpot Hot Chocolate
- Heat the water in the microwave for 90 seconds. Add the cocoa powder and mix until it's dissolved.
- Add water/cocoa powder mixture, milk, oat milk, sugar, salt, and chocolate chips to the crockpot. Set to low for 2 hours. Stir occasionally. If a thin layer of milk forms on the top, remove it with a strainer.
- When done, add the vanilla extract and mix well. Serve with your favorite toppings, such as marshmallows, candy canes, chocolate shavings, and peppermint sticks.