June 20, 2024

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Simply The Best Food

Italian Hot Chocolate – Crunchy Creamy Sweet

5 min read
Italian Hot Chocolate - Crunchy Creamy Sweet

This Italian Hot Chocolate is thick, rich, and absolutely delicious. Learn how to make it with 5 simple ingredients in under 15 minutes!

Hot chocolate in a mug on a saucer on a gray background.
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Italians know pasta but they also know hot chocolate! Also known as cioccolata calda, this hot chocolate is thick, rich and so creamy. Once you make it, it will be as if you ordered it in a gourmet coffee shop in Italy, as close to authentic as you can get making it in your own kitchen. It’s the best!

It’s also very easy to make. You may never go back to making hot cocoa from powder but instead, go back to this recipe over and over. I know, because that’s what I do! This Italian-style hot chocolate is the best treat after playing in the snow on a cold winter day or simply when you crave something sweet, quick, and easy!

Ingredients:

Chocolate, cocoa powder, sugar, cornstarch and milk in glass bowls on a gray background.
  • dark chocolate: very good quality, the best you can find;
  • milk: the fattier, the richer the taste of the hot chocolate; I used whole milk;
  • cocoa powder: unsweetened, good quality;
  • sugar: adds sweetness since we are using dark chocolate;
  • cornstarch: the secret ingredient that makes the chocolate thick.

How to make Italian hot chocolate?

  • Start by chopping chocolate.
  • Place it in a 2-quart saucepan, add a splash of milk and cook until melted, stirring often.
Chopped chocolate in a saucepan and melted chocolate in a pot.
  • Add cocoa powder and sugar to the chocolate mixture.
  • Cook and stir until completely combined and smooth.
Cocoa powder on top of melted chocolate in a saucepan and the whole mixture stirred smooth in a pot.
  • Mix cornstarch with a splash of milk and add to chocolate.
  • Stir in until smooth.
Pouring milk into chocolate in a saucepan and the whole mixture stirred smooth.
  • Add the remaining milk, slowly pouring in, and stir the chocolate until smooth and thick.
  • Simmer, then remove from heat. Make whipped cream.
  • Serve garnished with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.
Overhead photo of hot chocolate in two mugs on saucers set on a gray board.

What is the difference between American and Italian hot chocolate?

Italian hot chocolate is thicker and richer than American or even French hot chocolate. The use of cornstarch makes it thick, it’s the secret ingredient. American hot chocolate is more like chocolate milk.

How to serve Italian hot chocolate?

Let me just say, forget about topping it with marshmallows. This is not hot cocoa from a powder mix. This is a rich and decadent chocolate drink! Make whipped cream, shave or grate some chocolate and you will be able to garnish your hot chocolate beautifully! In Italy, they say “con panna” which means “with whipped cream” and that’s the best way to serve it, in my opinion.

Helpful Tips!

  • Gather all of the ingredients and measure them before starting the recipe.
  • Chop the chocolate so it melts evenly and quickly.
  • Keep the heat on a low setting so the mixture doesn’t burn.
  • If your chocolate clumps up, remove it from the heat and whisk until it’s smooth again.
  • To add spice, use cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger, etc.

Recipe FAQs:

Can I make it without cornstarch?

If you need to skip the cornstarch, reduce the milk to 1 and 1/2 cups and add 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Simmer the mixture just until hot. Do not use flour instead of cornstarch.

What chocolate is best for this recipe?

This recipe calls for dark chocolate, but don’t use 60% or more cocoa because the chocolate will be too bitter. I used 45% cocoa chocolate.

Can I make it ahead of time?

Hot chocolate is best served right after preparation. The texture won’t be the same if you chill it and then reheat it.

How to store leftovers?

If you end up having leftovers, store this hot chocolate in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Can I use a sweetener instead of granulated sugar?

If you want to substitute sugar, try monkfruit. I do not like the flavor of stevia but use what you are familiar with.

What can I use instead of whole milk?

If you want to substitute the milk with a dairy-free option, try almond milk. Coconut milk may add coconut flavor so remember that.

Close up photo of the whipped cream on hot chocolate in a white mug.

More drink recipes:

If you like this recipe and make it, let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to rate it if you enjoyed it!

Hot chocolate in a mug on a saucer on a gray background.

Italian Hot Chocolate

This Italian Hot Chocolate is thick, rich and absolutely delicious! Learn how to make it with 5 simple ingredients in under 15 minutes!

Prep Time 5 mins

Cook Time 15 mins

Course Drinks

Cuisine Italian

Servings 4 servings

Calories 283 kcal

Ingredients 

 

Instructions 

  • Chop chocolate and place in a 2 qt saucepan.

  • In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and a splash of milk and set aside.

  • Add a splash of milk and cook over low heat until melted, stirring often.

  • Add sugar to the chocolate mixture. Sift the cocoa powder over the mixture. This will prevent clumps. Stir in.

  • Cook and stir until completely combined and smooth.

  • Add cornstarch slurry to chocolate mixture and stir in well.

  • Add the remaining milk, slowly pouring in, and stir the chocolate until smooth and thick.

  • Simmer, then remove from heat.

  • Make whipped cream. Serve hot chocolate garnished with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

Notes

  • Gather all of the ingredients and measure them before starting the recipe.
  • Keep the heat on a low setting so the mixture doesn’t burn.
  • If your chocolate clumps up, remove it from the heat and whisk until it’s smooth again.
  • I used 45% cocoa chocolate.
  • I used whole milk.
  • If you want to substitute the milk with a dairy-free option, try almond milk.
    Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use calorie counter you are familiar with.

Nutrition

Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 53mg | Potassium: 424mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 209IU | Calcium: 174mg | Iron: 4mg

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