This recipe for Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate is the BEST hot chocolate you will ever taste! It's rich, creamy, and can be modified to be dairy-free, dark chocolate, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate in flavor!
About the recipe
If you're in search of a knock-your-socks off hot chocolate recipe that can be made ahead and customized with all your favorite toppings and mix-ins, look no further than this easy slow cooker hot chocolate!
Making hot chocolate in a slow cooker could not be easier, as the gentle heat melts the chocolate into the other ingredients perfectly. It results in a velvety-smooth, extra-luxurious cup of chocolate that is indulgent and absolutely heavenly.
When it comes to the ultimate hot chocolate drinking experience, I am a purist at heart. I like a semi-sweet, European-like sipping chocolate with NO toppings or mix-ins. Just give me the chocolate, straight up!
However, if you're serving hot chocolate to multiple people, it's fun to set up a hot chocolate bar with your slow cooker, several toppings, and even flavor mix-ins so everyone can customize their own cup to their liking. Read on for the simple steps towards making the best hot chocolate you have ever tasted!
You can keep the ingredients for this slow cooker hot chocolate as simple or as decadent as you like. I've got a base list for the regular recipe below, as well as a dairy-free version:
- Milk - I typically use 1 or 2% for this recipe.
- Heavy whipping cream
- Chocolate - a semi-sweet chocolate is my favorite. You can use chips OR chopped chocolate, and also choose between milk and dark chocolate.
- Sweetened condensed milk - this blends so much more evenly into the liquid and lends a slight note of caramel flavor.
- Vanilla extract
Dairy-free slow cooker hot chocolate version:
- Dairy-free milk; I recommend unsweetened Silk Protein Nut Milk or oat milk for the best flavor
- Coconut cream
- Sweetened condensed coconut milk
- Dairy-free chocolate chips, such as Enjoy Life brand
- Vanilla extract
Making this hot chocolate could not be more simple. All you need to do is grab your Crock-Pot or slow cooker, add all the ingredients, whisk them together, and then heat on low for 2 hours until everything is melted and the chocolate is hot. You'll want to whisk or stir the liquid occasionally as it is heating, scraping down any chocolate from the sides of the cooker.
Below are some of my best tips for making these hot chocolate, as well as some answers to commonly asked questions!
Can I make this hot chocolate ahead of time?
Yes, once you've heated all the ingredients on LOW for 2 hours, place your slow cooker on "keep warm" to hold the hot chocolate until you are ready to serve it. I recommend stirring it every 30 minutes-1 hour to keep the chocolate incorporated.
Will the milk curdle in the slow cooker?
As long as you keep your slow cooker on Low, the milk should never come to a boil. The milk would only curdle if it was cooked by boiling or rapidly simmering it.
What can I add to this hot chocolate to change the flavor?
You can make this hot chocolate as dark or as sweet as you like by using a higher percentage of cacao in the chocolate you choose for a dark hot chocolate. Or use milk chocolate for sweeter flavor. I prefer Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips or the Trader Joe's Pound Plus Dark Chocolate bar for this recipe.
What mix-ins and toppings go well with hot chocolate?
- Salted caramel
- Shots of espresso
- Peppermint extract
- Peppermint Schnapps
- Coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua
- Irish creme, such as Bailey's
- Raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord
- Creme de menthe
- Whipped cream
- Chocolate syrup or caramel
- Sprinkle of cocoa powder
- Crush peppermint
- Candy canes
- Cinnamon sprinkle
- Mini chocolate chips
- Toffee pieces
- Mini or jumbo marshmallows
What should I do with leftover hot chocolate?
Leftover hot chocolate can be stored in the refrigerator in a pitcher for up to one week (depending on your milk expiration date). Just give the liquid a good stir, then gently reheat however much you'd like to serve in a saucepan on low heat till hot throughout - do not let it boil!
This hot chocolate is perfect on its own because it is so rich! It would be really fun at a brunch with my Make-Ahead Holiday Waffle Bar recipes, or you could serve it as the dessert option for a Holiday Hors D'oeuvre Party.
Are you ready to make some Homemade Hot Chocolate? I’m so excited for you to try this recipe. Once you get the chance to make it, please let me know how it turns out for you!
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Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate
- 12 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped, or a 12-ounce package of chocolate chips
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- One (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 6 cups 1-2% milk
- One (12 ounce) package dairy-free chocolate chips, such as Enjoy Life brand
- One (14.5 ounce) can coconut cream (NOT coconut milk)
- One (7.4 ounce) can of coconut sweetened condensed milk **
- 6 cups dairy-free milk (almond, cashew, or oat milk will taste best)
- Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Heat on low heat for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Serve once all ingredients are thoroughly combined and heated through.Place the cooker on the "keep warm" setting while serving.
- Serving suggestions: serve with crushed peppermint, a candy cane, mini marshmallows, a sprinkle of cinnamon or espresso powder, a shot of espresso, a shot of peppermint, orange, irish cream, or coffee liqueur, or over a scoop of ice cream!