This slow cooker hot chocolate recipe is the absolute BEST! It’s the perfect consistency, right between thin and thick. It’s smooth, rich, and drinks like velvet.
The rich semi-sweet dark chocolate paired with heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk is unlike anything those boxed hot cocoa mixes have to offer!
Crock Pot Hot Chocolate
Have you ever tried to make hot cocoa from scratch? It’s surprisingly easy and not as time-consuming as you might think, and with the use of your crockpot, it’s a simple as dump, stir and go!
This slow cooker hot cocoa recipe is the BEST! It does not use any hot cocoa powder mix or packets but instead relies on heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, semi-sweet dark chocolate, and cocoa powder for its full-on chocolate in a liquid form flavor.
The result is a rich, creamy drink that will please your taste buds. The ingredients are combined in a crock pot on low for 3 hours or high for 1 hour.
You know I’m a fan of making things for scratch, like how I encourage you to use my “better than box mix” brownies? This is one of those cases.
So grab some ingredients and get ready to make this cozy winter treat for you and your family!
Why you’ll love this slow cooker hot chocolate
- It’s easy! With only six ingredients and the help of the slow cooker, it’ll be done in no time.
- You don’t need any special mixes. If you get a hankering for some hot chocolate but don’t have a mix, there’s a good chance you’ll have these ingredients on hand.
- It’s delicious! Set up a hot chocolate bar at your next gathering with various toppings to warm up a crowd.
Equipment You’ll Need
You only really need two things (okay, maybe three!) to make this crock pot hot chocolate recipe.
- Whisk – to really incorporate all the ingredients.
- Slow Cooker or Instant Pot With Slow Cooker Settings – that is the slow cooker I use & love. I have that IP too, but have never used the slow cooker function.
- Serving ladle – to serve up all that chocolatey goodness.
Ingredients For Your From-Scratch Slow Cooker Hot Cocoa
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.
- Heavy Cream – Sometimes called heavy whipping cream, heavy cream has a higher fat content that regular milk which makes it extra rich and creamy.
- Cocoa Powder – Unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Whole Milk – Again, whole milk has higher fat than say 2%, which adds to the creaminess. If you like thinner hot chocolate, you can use 2% or low-fat.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk – Sweetened condensed milk is milk in which the water has been removed and sugar has been added. It is thick and rich and comes in a can in the baking aisle.
- Chocolate Bar – Use your favorite chocolate baking bar(s) to chop up. You can use chocolate chips, if that is what you have, but I highly recommend using a high quality chocolate. Ghirardelli makes a great baking bar. Semi-sweet, unsweetened, or 70% work well.
- Vanilla Extract – I know it is pricey, but whenever possible, please use real vanilla extract instead of imitation. You can make it yourself to save some money.
How To Make The Perfect Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate With Sweetened Condensed Milk
STEP ONE: First, whisk the cocoa powder into half of the heavy cream in the basin of the slow cooker. This step ensures that the cocoa powder is evenly distributed.
STEP TWO: Next, add the remaining cream, milk, sweetened condensed milk, chopped chocolate, and vanilla, and stir to combine.
STEP THREE: Finally, cover and heat on LOW for 3 hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so. You’ll want the chocolate fully melted and smooth.
Serve and enjoy!
Tips & Notes
- Step 1 may seem unnecessary, but just hear me out. If you add everything into the slow cooker at once, it will take a very long time to mix the cocoa powder in. You want the cocoa powder mixed in, not just sitting on the surface.
- Make sure you are whisking/stirring every 20 minutes or so to ensure that the chocolate will not burn on the sides.
- This makes a very thick and creamy hot chocolate, thinner than drinking chocolate but thicker than a classic “swiss miss”. If you want it thinner like a normal hot chocolate, use 2 cups of heavy cream instead of 4, and add 2 cups of milk in its place. You can also use 2% or whatever milk you prefer to thin it out. I personally love it as is, it’s so luscious and decadent, a true treat!!
- You can use semi-sweet chocolate chips in place of the baking bar. I suggest using higher quality chocolate so it melts nicely.
How to serve it
Serve directly from the slow cooker set on WARM for up to 3 hours after the initial cook time. If the hot chocolate gets too thick while it sits, you can stir in more milk to your desired thickness.
Can I use white or milk chocolate in place of the semi-sweet in this hot cocoa recipe?
Yes! If you use white chocolate, you’ll most like want to nix the sweetened condensed milk and replace it with more heavy cream, as white chocolate tends to be very sweet.
Something to keep in mind about white chocolate is that it is very temperamental when it comes to melting. You can also use a combination of both semi-sweet and white chocolate if desired!
If you decide to go with milk chocolate, reduce the sweetened condensed milk by half and replace the other half with heavy whipping cream.
Even though this recipe calls for dark chocolate, it does not have that bitter aftertaste due to the sweetened condensed milk. It tastes like a rich milk chocolate hot cocoa.
How long is this slow cooker hot chocolate good for?
On the off chance that you have any leftovers, you can store the hot chocolate in the fridge for up to 5 days and reheat a cup when the mood strikes.
Do I need crock pot liners?
I personally don’t find them necessary, for any slow cooker recipe, but it’s your kitchen, do you, Boo!
They’ll keep your slow cooker/crock pot clean and free from any burnt-on chocolate in case you forget to stir it, but I highly recommend Dawn Powerwash if that happens.
Can I use evaporated milk instead of sweetened condensed milk?
No, evaporated milk will not work in this recipe. They’re not the same and evaporated milk doesn’t have the same sugar content as sweetened condensed milk.
You can replace the sweetened condensed milk with heavy cream if need be, but you will end up with a more true dark chocolate hot cocoa because of the loss of sugar.
Do I have to add vanilla extract, or can I leave it out?
The addition of vanilla is purely optional but highly recommended! The flavor really rounds out the chocolate flavor in this slow cooker hot cocoa recipe.
Can I add red wine to this hot chocolate recipe?
Yes, you sure can! If you’re having an adult-only holiday party, you can add about one cup of red wine to this recipe for a fun twist.
What can I put on top of hot chocolate?
Marshmallows are the obvious choice (mini size are great) but also try mini chocolate chips, crushed candy canes, whipped cream, dark chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, or even flaky sea salt (it’s a great contrast to the sweet),.
Need more chocolate recipes? Try these:
Cosmic Brownie Hot Cocoa Bombs
Hot Chocolate Poke Cake
Sour Cream Chocolate Bundt Cake
Easy Chocolate Brownies
Coconut Oil Brownies
Need more festive drink recipes? Try these:
Cranberry Orange Cider
Medicine Ball Tea
Cranberry Prosecco Spritzer
Slow Cooker Apple Cider
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix (great for gifts!)
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Once made, can the adults add some peppermint vodka in the cups individually or will it change the texture too much? Or Would it need to be heated in the crock pot and infused instead?
Melissa Williams says
I haven’t tested that but I think it will be fine texture-wise to add it once made (I guess depending on how much you’re adding – a shot should be fine).