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Making the Best Hot Chocolate Involves the Fridge

Level up your hot chocolate game with make-ahead hot chocolate balls that use real chocolate.

Published Dec. 13, 2022.

Paper packets of hot cocoa mix are very convenient, but they don’t make the best hot chocolate. 

For make-ahead hot chocolate that’s creamy and superchocolaty, we turn to real chocolate instead of cocoa powder. 

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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.

We combine semisweet chocolate chips with heavy cream and a bit of salt, heat it in the microwave, and whisk it all together until it’s smooth. That mixture goes in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours and firm up before we shape individual chocolate balls.

After shaping, you can use the hot chocolate balls right away, or store them in the freezer for rich hot chocolate on a moment's notice. 


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To make a cup of hot chocolate, all you need to add is a cup of milk (and of course, your choice of mini marshmallows or whipped cream).

Best Hot Chocolate


  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • Milk
  • Mini marshmallows (optional)
  • Whipped cream (optional)

1. In large microwave-­safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, cream, and salt. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds. Use oven mitts to remove bowl from microwave, then use whisk to stir mixture. Repeat microwaving and whisking every 30 seconds until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth, about 1½ minutes.

2. Transfer bowl to refrigerator and let chill until firm, about 3 hours or overnight.

3. Lay small piece of plastic wrap on counter. Scoop 2 tablespoons of chocolate mixture into center of plastic wrap. Gather and pull edges of plastic wrap up around chocolate mixture and twist plastic wrap to form ball and seal tightly. Repeat with remaining chocolate mixture to form 12 balls. (Chocolate balls can be frozen for up to 2 months. When ready to use, proceed with step 4—no thawing needed.)

4. To make one serving of hot chocolate: Place 1 chocolate ball in large mug. Pour ¾ cup milk over top. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds. Use oven mitts to remove mug from microwave, then use small spoon to stir mixture. Repeat heating and stirring every 30 seconds until chocolate ball is completely melted and mixture is hot, about 2 minutes. Top with mini marshmallows and whipped cream (if using) and serve.

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