Crockpot Hot Chocolate

Crockpot Hot Chocolate is the easiest way to make a big batch of rich, decadent hot cocoa for a crowd, right in the slow cooker...and four flavor variations make it extra yummy!

Crockpot Hot Chocolate with text overlay.


 

Winter weather is here! So add a yule log to the hearth, throw on some footie fleece PJs for toasty toes, and whip up a big ol' slow cooker of hot chocolate for warm and happy tummies!

Whether holiday festivities are a consideration or not, this Crockpot Hot Chocolate would be perfect for any large group or winter gathering. You can make a regular batch in a small slow cooker or a jumbo batch in a large slow cooker. At any rate, it's simple to assemble and out-of-this-world delicious!

Whisking chocolate into Crockpot Hot Chocolate recipe.

Ingredients

Like any good homemade hot cocoa, this Crockpot Hot Chocolate recipe starts with real (simple!) ingredients!

Aerial view of ingredients to make Crockpot Hot Chocolate recipe.
  • Real chocolate. I like a combo of milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate for just the right balance, but you can adjust the ratio to your liking. And since this is a not-everyday indulgence around here, I prefer chopping up a few bars of good-quality chocolate for the best flavor and smoothest, creamiest Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate.
  • Cocoa powder. For even deeper chocolate flavor. You may use either regular or Dutch-processed cocoa powder in this recipe. I'm partial to Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa...it's amazing.
  • Whole milk + half-and-half. This combo results in a texture that's both thick and silky.
  • Sugar. Regular ol' granulated white sugar works just dandy.
  • Pure vanilla extract. Just a splash adds a delicious undertone that puts this warm beverage over the top!

How to Make Crockpot Hot Chocolate

  1. Combine sugar, cocoa powder, milk, half-and-half, and vanilla in a slow cooker. Whisk until all of the cocoa powder is dissolved and fully incorporated.
Adding cocoa powder to milk in slow cooker.
Cocoa powder whisked into milk for slow cooker hot chocolate.
  1. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
Adding chopped chocolate to crockpot.
  1. Cover and cook on LOW, whisking every 45 minutes. It will probably take 2 to 3 hours to ensure that all of the ingredients are melted and well-combined and the drink is hot. Reduce the heat to WARM while serving and garnish with marshmallows or whipped cream.
Crockpot Hot Chocolate with marshmallows on top.

Substitutions

  • Chocolate chips would totally work in place of chopped chocolate. However, because there are stabilizers added to the chips to help them hold their form, your Crockpot Hot Chocolate recipe may not turn out quite as smooth as if you make it with pure chocolate.
  • Half-and-half is really just half milk and half heavy cream...so if you don't have half-and-half on hand, you may make this recipe with 5 cups whole milk + 1 cup heavy cream instead (for an equivalent ratio).
  • You can actually make this recipe as light or as decadent as you prefer by adjusting the amount of milk and half-and-half (or heavy cream), or even using an alternative milk (2% or almond milk or whatever you like). And if you find your Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate to be too rich or sweet once it's all finished, you can always stir in a bit of extra milk.
Crockpot Hot Chocolate in glass mug.

Crockpot Size

This recipe, as written, will fit in a 3-quart slow cooker.

You may double the recipe for a large (6- to 7-quart) slow cooker.

Ladle of Crockpot Hot Chocolate recipe.

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate Flavor Ideas

What's even more fun about this Crockpot Hot Chocolate recipe is that you can add a few extra ingredients to turn decadent-yet-ordinary hot cocoa into a true gourmet treat. I've got a few ideas for y'all below, but the possibilities are truly endless!

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Caramel Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate.

Make a batch of Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate as directed, and then stir in ½ cup caramel sauce (this 5-Minute, 5-Ingredient Homemade Caramel Sauce is my favorite!) and ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt until dissolved and fully incorporated (feel free to add more caramel and/or salt, to taste).

Garnish with fresh whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, and flakes of sea salt.

Or if you prefer plain ol' caramel hot chocolate, just leave out the salt. 😉

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Peppermint Crockpot Hot Chocolate.

Add your ingredients to the slow cooker along with ½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract.

After the Crockpot Hot Chocolate recipe is finished slow cooking, taste and add extra peppermint extract if desired, ¼ teaspoon at a time. Be careful and add gradually, tasting in between, as peppermint extract is very strong and can go from the perfect amount to way too much very quickly!

Garnish with peppermint marshmallows or fresh whipped cream and crushed candy canes.

Pssst...for a boozy version, swap out the peppermint extract for peppermint schnapps...add ½ cup schnapps at a time until it tastes just right! You'll probably end up needing around 1 cup total.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mexican Crockpot Hot Chocolate recipe.

Add ingredients to the crockpot along with 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg.

If you have Mexican vanilla, use it in place of regular vanilla extract.

And for a little heat, add ⅛ teaspoon chipotle chile pepper powder at a time until you're happy with the level of smoky spice. You can even stir in a little Kahlua for an adults-only treat! Garnish with cinnamon sticks.

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate being whisked.

So who has other flavor ideas to share with the rest of us? Because I'm thinking my family is going to enjoy Crockpot Hot Chocolate at least a few more times before the winter is through... 😉

Wishing you all a warm weekend and a very Merry Christmas!

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate in glass mug.

More Warming Winter Beverages

Crockpot Hot Chocolate ingredients in a slow cooker.

Crockpot Hot Chocolate

Crockpot Hot Chocolate is the easiest way to make a big batch of rich, decadent slow cooker hot chocolate for a crowd...and four flavor variations make it extra yummy!
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 351kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • Marshmallows and/or fresh whipped cream, for serving

Instructions

  • In a 3-quart (or larger) slow cooker, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, milk, half-and-half, and vanilla. Whisk until all of the cocoa powder is dissolved and fully incorporated. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
  • Cover and cook on LOW, whisking every 45 minutes, for a total time of 2 to 3 hours (cook until all of the ingredients are melted and well-combined and the drink is hot). Reduce the heat to WARM while serving. Garnish with marshmallows or whipped cream.

Equipment Needed

Video

Notes

ADDITIONAL FLAVOR VARIATIONS
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate: Make a batch of Crockpot Hot Chocolate as directed. Stir in ½ cup caramel sauce + ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt until dissolved and fully incorporated (feel free to add more caramel and/or salt, to taste). Garnish with fresh whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, and flakes of sea salt. (Or if you prefer plain ol' caramel hot chocolate, just leave out the salt.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate: Add ingredients to the crockpot along with ½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract. After the Peppermint Hot Chocolate is finished cooking, taste and add extra peppermint extract if desired, ¼ teaspoon at a time. Be careful and add gradually, tasting in between, as peppermint extract is very strong and can go from the perfect amount to way too much very quickly! Garnish with peppermint marshmallows or fresh whipped cream and crushed candy canes. (For a boozy version, swap out the peppermint extract for peppermint schnapps…add ½ cup schnapps at a time until it tastes just right! You’ll probably end up needing around 1 cup total.)
Mexican Hot Chocolate: Add ingredients to the crock pot along with 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, + ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg. If you have Mexican vanilla, use it in place of regular vanilla extract. Garnish with cinnamon sticks. (For optional heat, add ⅛ teaspoon chipotle chile pepper powder at a time until you’re happy with the level of smoky spice. And for a boozy version, you can even stir in a little Kahlua.)

Nutrition

Calories: 351kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 81mg | Potassium: 388mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 412IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 215mg | Iron: 2mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Post originally published on December 23, 2017, and updated on November 28, 2020, and November 29, 2022.

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Recipe Rating




11 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have made this several times in the last couple of years, and it is always fantastic! i just made a double batch on Christmas for all of us to drink while opening presents. YUM! Samantha, you have wonderful recipes! Thank you!

    1. Hi Andrea! I usually like to use Guittard or Ghirardelli, depending on what my store has. But even Hershey's or Baker's brand will work! 🙂

  2. I’m excited to try this! I’m making this for a big crowd on Sunday. I plan on doubling it. My question is, can I make this the night before and reheat it in the crock pot for a few hours the next morning? How would you go about doing this? Thanks!!

    1. I think that should work fine, Nichole! Since it will be pretty cold coming straight from the refrigerator, however, it may take several hours to totally heat through in the slow cooker. To speed things up, you could also make it the night before, reheat it in a big pot on the stove (stirring frequently), and then transfer it to the slow cooker to keep warm and serve. Hope that helps! 🙂