The Best Homemade Hot Cocoa – Cooking with Kids Recipe

The Best Homemade Hot Cocoa - by Little Spoons & Spice

After playing outside in the winter cold, nothing warms the body and soul quite like a cup of homemade hot cocoa.  We spend a lot of days playing outside in the winter, so we go through barrels of hot cocoa.  As a mom and dietitian, I struggled to find hot cocoa mixes that got me excited to serve to the kids. Then we came across this recipe.  It’s quick, simple, and I feel better knowing what’s going into those little tummies.

The first time we made this recipe, it was just Lily and I.  We each had a cup and cuddled up by the fire and watched the Polar Express.  And we’ve made hot cocoa this way ever since.

For those of you that have kiddos who could use the extra calories, or are under the age of 2, I suggest using whole milk.

For a leaner version, try unsweetened almond milk.  This also works well for anyone who has a milk allergy, is lactose intolerant, or is looking for a vegan option.

OK, let’s get started.  Here’s a list of supplies you’ll need:

  • Microwave-safe bowl or cup
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Whisk

The Best Homemade Hot Cocoa - by Little Spoons & Spice


Every child’s ability varies depending on maturity or cognitive and physical ability.  Parents need to use their own discretion when assigning tasks.  These are general guidelines for the Hot Cocoa.

Younger than 3 years old

  • Name and count ingredients with child
  • Help pour ingredients into cup/bowl

3 – 5 years old

  • All of the younger tasks
  • Measure and count ingredients
  • Help whisk ingredients into milk

6 – 7 years old

  • All of the younger tasks

8 – 9 years old

  • All of the younger tasks

10 – 12 years old

  • All of the younger tasks


  • Wash everyone’s hands!
  • Clean all work surfaces before starting.
  • It is okay for your kitchen to get a little messy.
  • Keep in mind that your child is learning, so patience is key!

The Best Homemade Hot Cocoa

Prep Time2 mins
Cook Time3 mins
Total Time5 mins
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 200kcal
Author: Stacey Weichelt, RDN, CD


  • 1 cup milk any kind
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon real maple syrup or you could use honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Add milk to microwave-safe bowl or cup and heat on high for 1 minute.
  • Add cocoa powder, maple syrup and vanilla extract and whisk together.
  • Heat for 1-2 minutes more. Whisk again to ensure evenly combined.


For stovetop instructions, gradually heat milk in a small pot on medium to medium low to prevent scolding. Add ingredients and continually stir until cocoa is hot.


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