This homemade hot chocolate is laced with peppermint flavor and can be made both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. This recipe is made for 2 but it’s easily doubled or tripled to serve your holiday crowd!

Hot chocolate with peppermint candy cane, marshmallows, green background.

Homemade hot chocolate is so easy to whip up that you’ll never have a reason to hit up Starbucks or Dunkin’s again! Make a big batch and enjoy it for a special breakfast or brunch alongside a stack of Christmas pancakes or this beautiful Christmas brunch board with all your favorites.

Serve your guests a cozy after-dinner drink with gingerbread donuts for dessert. Top with whipped cream, marshmallows, and some chocolate chips or a drizzle of chocolate syrup, and this drink officially becomes the dessert! For something really fun, try topping this cocoa with marshmallow snowmen!

About this recipe

There’s something so Christmas-y about peppermint hot cocoa, don’t you think? The combination of sweet creamy chocolate and frosty mint strikes a delicious balance that is just perfect for the holidays.

Elevated hot chocolate like gingerbread hot chocolate, pumpkin spice hot chocolate or this salted caramel hot chocolate is so much easier to make from scratch than one might think! It’s also more economical to DIY and you also have more control over what’s in it. Besides, Starbucks doesn’t spike theirs with peppermint Schnapps for the ultimate sip, do they? That’s reason enough to make it yourself.

Both adults and kids adore this drink (with some modifications for the kids, of course!) not only because of the chocolate and peppermint flavor but because it is so comforting and satisfying. The best hot chocolate recipe isn’t made with a mix but instead with real melted chocolate and heavy cream. Powdered sugar sweetens it up for a smooth velvety finish.

If you are looking for a different kind of spiked drink for Christmas, try this warm Christmas punch with rum. Your guests will love it. Of course you can’t go wrong with a classic mimosa or mimosa bar.

As always, drink responsibly!

Hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps in the background.

What you need

  • Whole Milk & Heavy Cream – Heavy cream is slightly thicker and richer than whole milk. Together, they result in the perfect creamy consistency. Without one or the other, we find the balance not quite right but use whatever you prefer. If you do prefer a lower calorie drink, try it with all milk, or even 2% milk. This can also be made with non-dairy milk.
  • Peppermint Schnapps – An added treat for adults. Delicious peppermint-flavored liqueur elevates this drink; however, if you prefer a non-alcoholic beverage, omit it and add a bit more milk instead.
  • Powdered Sugar – Since this recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate, the added sugar sweetens it up. You can replace it with granulated sugar but you may notice it doesn’t dissolve as easily or as well.
  • Peppermint Extract – A little goes a long way. Start with a lesser amount, try it, and increase the amount if you want your hot chocolate more pepperminty.
  • Bittersweet Chocolate – Finely chopped chocolate is melted until smooth. Use whatever kind you have. You can also use chocolate chips if you have them.
  • Toppings Whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate chips and candy cane sticks for presentation.
Ingredients needed, against white background.

How to make it

Combine milk, heavy cream, peppermint schnapps, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a light simmer over medium heat.

Milk in saucepan.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring between each one, just until melted.

Melted chocolate in glass bowl.

Whisk the melted chocolate into the milk mixture in the saucepan off the heat. 

Hot chocolate in saucepan.

Serve with whipped cream or marshmallows or both!

MAKE HOT CHOCOLATE IN THE SLOW COOKER!
Whisk all the ingredients into a slow cooker. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or until heated through.

FAQs

Is peppermint hot chocolate seasonal?

Generally, hot chocolate is served in the cooler months. The beauty of knowing how to make homemade hot chocolate is you don’t have to follow these unwritten rules. You can make it anytime you want although sippin’ peppermint hot chocolate poolside might feel kinda weird. That’s a much better time for a refreshing mango coconut smoothie.

Do you make hot chocolate with milk or water?

When using a powdered mix or even cocoa powder, there is more of an option to use either. When making hot chocolate from scratch using pure melted chocolate, it’s recommended to use milk to get it to that delicious creamy rich consistency. You can use water as well, it will just be thinner and less creamy.

What is the difference between hot chocolate or hot cocoa?

The terms are used interchangeably but if you think about it, the answer makes sense! Hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder (or some type of powdered mix with a bunch of additives) and hot chocolate is made with pure melted chocolate. They can taste quite similar in the end but hot cocoa is usually sweeter and thinner, and hot chocolate is thicker and not always as sweet.

Clear glass mug of hot chocolate with candy cane and marshmallows.

How to make this hot chocolate your own

  • Swap the bittersweet chocolate with melted white chocolate for a white peppermint hot chocolate. You can reduce the amount of powdered sugar (or omit it completely) since white chocolate is already sweet.
  • Other topping ideas include crushed candy cane or peppermint candy, mint chocolate bark, or festive sprinkles.
  • Spiking the drink for adults with peppermint Schnapps makes sense with the theme but you can opt to use any liqueur you prefer. Try rum or Kahlúa.
  • Serve the hot chocolate in your favorite Christmas mugs along with a candy cane stir stick.
  • Set up a hot chocolate bar and lay out an epic array of delicious toppings. Keep the hot chocolate warm in a slow cooker and have everyone ladle out their drinks and top it how they like it.

Storage Suggestions

There is dairy in this hot chocolate, so it’s important to keep it stored in the fridge. Keep leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Reheating Tips

Pour hot chocolate back into a small pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through. If you’re only reheating a single mug, you can also use the microwave. Stir well before drinking!

More holiday recipes

Peppermint hot chocolate garnished with marshmallows and a candy cane.

Get the Recipe: Peppermint Hot Chocolate

This homemade hot chocolate is laced with peppermint flavor and can be made both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. This recipe is made for 2, but it’s easily doubled or tripled to serve your holiday crowd!
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup peppermint schnapps (or more milk for non-alcoholic)
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract (see note)
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • whipped cream, for topping
  • Marshmallows, for topping

Instructions

  • Combine milk, heavy cream, peppermint schnapps, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a light simmer. Do not boil.
  • Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave on 30-second intervals, stirring between each one, until just melted.
  • Whisk the melted chocolate into the milk mixture in the saucepan off the heat.
  • Serve with whipped cream, marshmallows, or with a candy cane.

Notes

  • If using peppermint schnapps, reduce peppermint extract to 1 teaspoon or omit completely, depending on how pepperminty you like it.
  • Nutrition information does not include toppings.
  • Storage: Keep leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: Pour hot chocolate back into a small pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through. If you’re only reheating a single mug, you can also use the microwave. Make sure to stir well before drinking.
Calories: 1072kcal, Carbohydrates: 71g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 70g, Saturated Fat: 42g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 20g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 179mg, Sodium: 104mg, Potassium: 578mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 58g, Vitamin A: 1975IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 251mg, Iron: 4mg