Learn how to make the BEST Italian hot chocolate at home! This thick hot chocolate is ready in 10 minutes with just 5 ingredients!
Creamy and thick Italian hot chocolate is one of the best and easiest Italian desserts out there.
Cioccolata calda, as we call it in italy, is a creamy and luxuriously rich chocolate drink with pudding-like consistency.
Instead of water and cocoa powder, it's made with milk, good dark chocolate, sugar and a secret ingredient that helps make it super rich and thick.
This is the most incredible and comforting drink you can have on a cold winter day.
It has nothing to do with the watery hot chocolate, drinking chocolate or hot cocoa often served at bars and cafeterias around the world.
I'm a big hot choc aficionado, and I've tasted (and tested) in many countries, but not once have I had something as close as the decadent Italian version.
The best hot chocolate I've ever had is served at Caffè Rivoire - Master Chocolatiers, right in front of the famous Piazza Della Signoria in Florence, Italy.
If you can't fly to Florence, don’t worry! You can make this popular thick hot chocolate recipe at home in just 10 minutes.
ITALIAN HOT CHOCOLATE INGREDIENTS
All you need to make Italian-style hot chocolate is 5 simple and easy ingredients:
- Fresh milk: feel free to use whole or semi-skimmed milk.
- Cocoa powder: You can use unsweetened Dutch-process or natural cocoa, both work, I like to use Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Dark chocolate: high-quality chocolate will give you the best result, you can use 55%, 60% or 70% dark chocolate.
- Sugar: my go-to is classic granulated sugar for this recipe.
- Corn starch: I know it sounds weird, but you need cornflour (or corn starch) to make deliciously thick hot chocolate.
The SECRET Ingredient
You read it right, cornflour is the secret ingredient that makes this Italian-style cioccolata calda so thick and creamy.
Don't worry about the flavour, corn starch goes completely undetectable over your palate, but it will give you that amazing thick texture.
Also, cornflour is naturally gluten-free, but if you have any dietary restrictions, please make sure you buy cornflour that is labelled gluten-free.
HOW TO MAKE THICK HOT CHOCOLATE
This Italian hot chocolate recipe couldn't be easier and requires basic kitchen tools.
I promise, once you have all the ingredients ready, it literally takes 10 minutes to have an AMAZING cup of thick hot chocolate in your hands.
Scroll down until the end of the post for the full printable recipe.
STEP 1. Mix dry ingredients.
Start by whisking cornflour, cocoa and sugar in a small saucepan.
STEP 2. Add milk.
Pour the warm milk into the saucepan.
STEP 3. Add chocolate.
Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking often to avoid lumps, then add in the chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips).
STEP 4. Whisk until thickened.
Whisk the drinking chocolate until it reaches a creamy and dense texture.
Divide your prepared drinking chocolate between two cups, top with freshly whipped double cream and serve.
Once you have mastered the basic version, feel free to give it a nice little twist and and add one of the followings:
- a pinch of salt ( sea salt flakes are even better!)
- few drops of pure vanilla extract
- a tiny bit of homemade Nutella
- few drops of favourite liquor (Baileys, Rum and Grand Marnier all work well).
- a pinch of cinnamon
WHAT TO TOP IT WITH?
Some favourite toppings include:
- whipped cream
- extra cocoa powder
- mini marshmallows
- a drizzle of salted caramel sauce or dulce de leche
- crushed toasted hazelnuts
If you wonder if it's possible to make creamy, rich and dairy-free hot cocoa, yes, it's totally possible!
To make a vegan version, replace the warm milk with hot water and follow the same recipe.
Skip the whipped double cream, or replace it with whipped coconut cream for a super indulgent treat.
To bring out the amazing chocolate aroma use the best dark chocolate bar or chocolate chips you can find.
There are lots of good brands out there, just remember that good chocolate should be made only with cocoa mass, cocoa butter and sugar (some add vanilla too).
You can also use milk chocolate if you like (again, go for high-quality chocolate), but note that it will give you a sweeter result.
MORE ITALIAN DESSERT RECIPES TO TRY
- Italian Ricotta Cookies
- The EASIEST Vegan Chocolate Muffins
- 2-Ingredient Nutella Cake
- Magic Italian Water Cake
- Classic Tiramisu Without Eggs - Authentic Italian Recipe
- Italian Apple Cake - Torta di Mele
- Lemon Ricotta Cake
- Crostata - Italian Jam Tart
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook!
Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*!
Best Italian Hot Chocolate - Thick and Creamy
- 5 teaspoon high-quality organic cocoa powder, (20 g)
- 4 teaspoon cornstarch, (20 g)
- 4 teaspoon sugar, (25 g)
- 500 ml fresh whole milk, warmed, (17.5 fl oz)
- 120 g 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped, (4 oz)
- 2 tablespoon fresh whipped cream, (optional)
- Whisk the cornstarch, cocoa and sugar in a small saucepan.
- Pour the warm milk into the pot.
- Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking often to avoid lumps.
- Bring the hot chocolate mixture almost to a light boil, then reduce the heat to low and fold in the chopped dark chocolate.
- Whisk the hot chocolate until thick and creamy, adding more sugar if you like it sweeter.
- Divide the Italian hot chocolate among two cups, top with whipped cream and serve.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Lisa Rao says
This is similar to my grandmother's hot chocolate that we make every Christmas Eve as a special treat. However you do NOT need cornstarch as the recipe states, we never do. Just up the powdered chocolate and trust me, it will be fine. The longer you cook it, the thicker it gets. We also add a little anisette which we love, but that's up to you! Enjoy!!!
Mia Sangster says
patiently following the directions of this recipe will assure you of the best cup of hot chocolate you can possibly get. Made well, this Hot chocolate is beyond luxurious,beyond a treat...it is simply an experience....a very impressive one.As ive written, its well worth mastering the instructions & starting off small before making larger quantities. we have found it worth every calorie bc of that experience that it is. Drinking this does make it impossible to ever really enjoy simple "pre mixed" drinking chocolate ever again though....& thats our ONLY warning:) God bless you for this recipe - ty
Lam Smith says
Being a chocoholic, I must try this recipe in this weekend.
Healthy Kitchen says
hmmm, did it for me and my bf and it was amazing, we both liked it a lot!! Definitely become my fav for these chilly days! - Natalie
I make this recipe for my nieces every weekend, they love it!
Jessica Formicola says
The perfect comforting drink for cold weather!
Marlynn | Urban Bliss Life says
My daughter LOVES hot chocolate and this looks like one she -and I- would really enjoy!
Kelly Anthony says
This looks crazy delicious! I am a chocolate LOVER!
That looks like the perfect hot chocolate. I can't wait for the cold weather to enjoy it!
Cornstarch is a clever way to thicken this up! I bet it makes it even more indulgent!
This looks incredible!
Morganna Sousa Rocha says
that is it! I am gonna have to make!
I don't mean to be bossy, but you definitely must give this a try 🙂
Lauren @ Lauren Caris Cooks says
This looks almost TOO good! I was just in Ticino in the South of Switzerland and had one of these. It is to die for. I will definitely be trying out your homemade version!
Little Italian says
OMG! I could never resist an Italian hot chocolate. I grew up with it and whenever I go to Italy I must have it, at least during the winter months (usually it is replaced by ice cream during the summer).
You recipe and photos are fantastic!
If you make it dry, in a jar, for a gift. What is the milk to powder ratio?!
It really depends on the milk powder you're using, as some give a more dense result than others.I believe there's should be a conversion chart on the package, but in general, you can use this helpful conversion chart: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/6685099419540053/
Andrea @ Made With Pink says
I've never had Italian Hot Chocolate before. This looks so delicious! I'd like to make it for our Christmas party, spiked with some Baileys. Gorgeous photos as well.
AH!Baileys! Haven't thought of it before, I'll make sure to add some of my homemade baileys next time, thanks for the GREAT idea *_*! And you NEED to try this chocolate, it's absolutely irresistible!