Creamy and cozy with just the right balance of salty sweetness, this salted caramel hot chocolate is the perfect way to warm up on a blustery day.

Two clear mugs of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream being drizzled with caramel sauce

Salted caramel hot chocolate is one of those luxurious drinks that’s really fun to order at a coffee shop. It’s rich and decadent and a treat all by itself. 

On days when you’re craving something special but don’t feel like making the trek to see your favorite barista (or, let’s be honest, when you’re trying to save a few bucks), this salted caramel hot chocolate recipe checks all the boxes. 

It’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s smooth, it’s delicious, and you can make it at home, meaning you don’t have to change out of your pajamas.

Overhead view of a mug of cocoa topped with whipped cream, caramel, and chocolate shavings.

About this salted caramel hot chocolate recipe

Ever wonder how Starbucks gets their cocoa drinks so sweet and creamy? The answer is in the sauce. 

Rather than use the powdered packets that you can buy at a grocery store, most coffee shops will mix heated milk with flavored sauces.

This homemade recipe skips the powder so you can enjoy the real deal right at home without the Starbucks lines or prices. By melting real chocolate and caramels into your milk you create a smooth and rich hot chocolate that tastes just like it came from a specialty shop.

Overhead view of two mugs of cocoa topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce.

Sweet.

Delicious.

Decadent. 

This is one drink that’s sure to warm you up without ever letting you down!

Try it alongside crème brûlée french toast for a truly unforgettable brunch!

A mug of salted caramel hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream and dripping with caramel.

What’s in this salted caramel hot cocoa

  • milk
  • chocolate
  • unwrapped caramels
  • sea salt

How to make hot chocolate with salted caramel

Add milk, chocolate, caramels, and see salt to a medium saucepan over low heat.

Milk being poured into a saucepan with caramel and chocolate.

Simmer while whisking constantly to melt caramel and chocolate.

Hot chocolate in a saucepan, being stirred with a wooden spoon.

Remove from heat and serve in mugs!

Hot chocolate being poured from a saucepan into a clear glass mug.

How to make this recipe your own

  • This salted caramel hot chocolate LOVES toppings. Whipped cream, caramel sauce, raspberry sauce, shaved chocolate, sprinkles…you name it…hot chocolate loves it.
  • You can use any milk in this recipe. For extra thick and creamy hot chocolate, use at least a 2% dairy milk, preferably whole milk. If you like non-dairy milk, you can use sweetened or unsweetened almond milk, vanilla almond milk, coconut milk, or any other variety that you like. 
  • To make a “skinny” version of this drink, use a nonfat milk, dark or bittersweet chocolate, and reduce the caramels by half or use sugar-free caramels
  • You can add a little espresso powder to your drink if you’re looking for a caffeine boost (or decaf espresso if you like the coffee flavor without the caffeine).
Caramel being drizzled on whipped cream topped hot chocolate.

Make Ahead, Storage, and Reheating Ideas

This hot chocolate is best when it’s fresh, but you can store it in the fridge for a day or two and reheat it carefully and slowly in the microwave or a saucepan.

Garnishes being added to salted caramel hot chocolate.
Overhead view of salted caramel hot chocolate in a clear mug, another mug partially visible.

Get the Recipe: Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Creamy and cozy with just the right balance of salty sweetness, this salted caramel hot chocolate is the perfect way to warm up on a blustery day.
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

  • 3 cups milk
  • 6 oz bittersweet or milk chocolate cut or broken into chunks
  • 1/4 cup caramels unwrapped
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Optional garnishes: whipped cream, caramel sauce, chocolate shavings

Instructions

  • Add milk, chocolate, caramels, and sea salt to a medium saucepan over low heat.
    Milk being poured into a saucepan with caramel and chocolate.
  • Bring to a simmer (do not boil!) while whisking constantly until all the chocolate and caramel has melted.
    Hot chocolate in a saucepan, being stirred with a wooden spoon.
  • Remove from heat and pour into mugs.
    Hot chocolate being poured from a saucepan into a clear glass mug.
  • Serve immediately topped with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and chocolate shavings.
    Garnishes being added to salted caramel hot chocolate.

Notes

  • You can use any milk in this recipe. For extra thick and creamy hot chocolate, use at least a 2% dairy milk. If you like non-dairy milk, you can use sweetened or unsweetened almond milk, vanilla almond milk, coconut milk, or any other variety that you like.
  • To make a “skinny” version of this drink, use a nonfat milk, dark or bittersweet chocolate, and reduce the caramels by half or use sugar-free caramels.
  • Add a 1-3 teaspoons instant espresso powder to your drink if you’re looking for a caffeine boost (or decaf espresso if you like the coffee flavor without the caffeine).
  • This hot chocolate is best when it’s fresh, but you can store it in the fridge for a day or two and reheat it carefully in the microwave or a saucepan.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 414kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 22mg, Sodium: 265mg, Potassium: 514mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 35g, Vitamin A: 318IU, Calcium: 254mg, Iron: 3mg