White hot chocolate is a Christmas favorite. Spiked or regular, this recipe features real white chocolate, cream, and a special sprinkling of winter spices. Warm and cozy, it will fill your winter mug with lots of cheer. Stir in your favorite spirits like Bailey's Irish Cream, vodka, and even more to make the must luxurious holiday cocktail that your guests will love!
White Hot Chocolate
Wow, can you believe how quickly December flew by? I posted my Christmas front porch tour the first week of December, and promised I would share the cocktail that I created for it and suddenly it's almost Christmas! I'm not sure where all that time went!
Last year's welcome drink was this fabulous Quick 5 Minute Cranberry Ginger Ale Punch that everyone has gone bonkers over! I love having a signature drink to offer to my guests, and the easier the better! A drink and a cookie tray full of Christmas shortbread, gingerbread reindeer cookies, and eggnog cookies or a cake stand with cinnamon rolls, are all a party really needs.
—In a hurry and want the recipe right now? I understand! Simply scroll straight to the bottom to find the printable recipe card!—
So why make hot chocolate with white chocolate instead of regular chocolate?
For me, it was mainly about the color. I wanted that dreamy snowy white color because I thought it coordinated with the holiday color more than brown would. I think that the creamy color of the drink had that affect, don't you?
I also have one kiddo who doesn't like chocolate but adores white chocolate. And this December I've been obsessed with cooking recipes with marshmallows and white chocolate chips. Which leads us to this....
Is white chocolate really chocolate?
Nope. Not at all. It contains no cocoa solids, which is what makes chocolate chocolate. BUT somehow this solid mixture of milk, butter and cocoa butter looks like chocolate in white version, so we just sort of accept it. You can find it in both solid form and cocoa form.
You can use either to make this cozy beverage, but honestly, I prefer solid. Lindt white chocolate bars that you buy at your grocery store in the candy aisle (NOT the baking aisle) are the best. If you don't have time to make homemade, and are in a pinch and want to use a pre-made cocoa mix, I would recommend Land of Lake's Arctic White or Ghiradelli sweet ground white chocolate.
How to make Homemade White Hot Chocolate From Scratch:
You only need a few ingredients to make this, and a little patience. It's perfect for kiddos to get a feel for stirring and seeing a recipe come together.
Let's start with the ingredients for white chocolate hot chocolate:
- solid white chocolate bar (Lindt is the favorite around here)
- heavy whipping cream or ½ and ½ to give it a thicker more luxurious feel
- pumpkin pie spice (I really wish they'd name this winter spice like British people do)
That's all it takes. You'll add the milk and cream to a saucepan, and whisk together. Once it's mixed, toss in just a sprinkle of the pumpkin pie spice. If you don't have any, a pinch of cinnamon will do just fine. I like to cook until it's hot. Don't boil it. That's not the goal here. Then remove from heat, and toss in the white chocolate pieces. You'll watch the chocolate melt down, and it will become a thicker liquid.
Transfer to a cup and top with lots of fluffy marshmallows and garnish with a cinnamon stick!
Since we have a house full of underage kiddos, and so do most of our friends, I love to make a drink that can be spiked or easily converted to being boozy for those who'd like a little more celebration in their cup. Enter the easy way to convert this drink to boozy hot chocolate.
How to Spike Hot Chocolate:
You could add the ingredients multiplied straight into the pan after cooking the hot chocolate, but I prefer to add the alcohol to a cup at a time so that not all of the drinks are spiked. For each individual glass the recipe is simple:
- 2 ounces Bailey's Irish Cream (again, more of that smooth creaminess)
- 1 ounce Vodka. For these I topped it up a notch with marshmallow vodka
- other options- Kahlua, peppermint schnapps, orange liquor, rum, whatever suits your fancy!
What is Marshmallow Vodka?
My mind was blown this past fall when another friend suggested adding it to a fall coffee beverage. I was all set to go to the liquor store to purchase a bottle of this concoction that sounded so divine. But my local stores were all out. Which tells me that secret is out!
One of the best things about vodka is that it takes on the flavor of things it is combined with (vanilla extract, anyone?). In the past, I've mixed rosemary with vodka for my cranberry rosemary moscow Mules, and cilantro shaken with it in my cilantro and lime Moscow mules. But marshmallows are much more subtle, and shaking won't impart that sweetness.
So the day before I was set to make these I simply poured out the general amount of vodka I'd use for these drinks, plus a little extra into a mason jar. I added a generous portion of mini marshmallows and sealed it tight. Every few hours when I'd walk by it, I'd give it a good shake.
When I was ready to use the vodka, I strained it out. If I wasn't using it right away, I would have strained the remaining marshmallows out around the 24 hr mark. You don't have to use marshmallow vodka, but i liked the sweetness it imparted.
Taking the time to make homemade hot chocolate with real chocolate is one of those special treats for this time of the year. If you have to, you can make it from a powder following the directions, but it only takes about 3 minutes to chop up the white chocolate bar, so why not splurge?
If your not a fan of white chocolate and are still looking for a fun spiked hot cocoa recipe, you might enjoy making my gingerbread hot cocoa and adding the boozy selections above. It would make a great gift in a basket with that fun marshmallow vodka and some Bailey's too!
FAQ's about White Hot Chocolate:
Is this boozy hot chocolate gluten free?
Great news! Both the white chocolate bar, the dairy products and the alcohol are all gluten free. They however are not vegan, so be sure to make note of that with your vegan friends. They are also not lactose free.
Can I make this in a Crock Pot, slow cooker, or pressure cooker?
I would not make this in a pressure cooker like an Instant Pot. Can you make this in a slow cooker? Absolutely! You can either make on the stove top and transfer to a slow cooker to keep warm, or you can start it a few hours in advance (minus the alcohol), and it will cook in about 2 hours on low power with you stirring it occasionally. Just toss everything in (minus the alcohol) and watch the magic happen!
Do I have to use cream or half and half?
Nope! You can make this entire thing with milk. Adding the cream adds a bit more of butterfat which makes it thicker and richer.
Do I have to serve in mugs?
Nope! As you can see, I served mine in old fashioned bourbon glasses. If using glass, rinse the glass with warm / hot water first to acclimate the glass. Don't add boiling drinks to glass.
I love peppermint! Can I use it?
Yes, you can add in a teaspoon of peppermint extract. If making spiked you could use seasonal peppermint mocha Kahlua or peppermint schnapps
Wait, I want to make this a mocha!
Simply sub out the milk for strong coffee.
How much does this recipe make?
This should makes 2 servings. If you want more, double or quadruple the recipe.
Can I use chocolate chips instead of a chocolate bar?
Absolutely! I'm a big fan of using what you have.
Can I use dark chocolate or milk chocolate instead of white chocolate?
YES! Again, use what you have. It will have the traditional hot chocolate flavor, and that's fine. White chocolate gives a different flavor profile and color, but if you aren't a fan, or are out, for sure, substitute as needed! I even like to mix the two, like I did for this white chocolate dark chocolate mocha!
Do I use the whole bar?
For a 4.4 oz Lindt bar, you will use all but 5 squares. They are perfect for snacking on or for using as a garnish.
I hope that you have enjoyed this post, and that the holiday season has been a wonderful time of year for you. I'm so thankful for all of you stopping by. I really appreciate you spending time on my blog and hope that I have been able to help you with recipes, ideas, and more over the last year!
Be sure to share this recipe with all your friends! Pin to your favorite holiday recipe or drinks board on Pinterest!
White Hot Chocolate
For the White Hot Chocolate:
- 1.5 cup milk
- ½ cup cream
- 1 pinch pumpkin pie spice
- ¾ cup white chocolate, chopped can use chocolate chips in a pinch
To make spiked:
- 2 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
- 1 oz vodka or rum
For the White Hot Chocolate:
- In a sauce pan, stir together the milk, cream and pumpkin pie spice with a whisk over medium heat.
- Allow to get hot, but not quite at a boil. Remove from heat and stir in white chocolate pieces until melted and throughly incorporated.
- Pour into mugs or glasses and enjoy!
To make boozy:
- Stir in the Bailey's and Vodka, or just one, or the liquor of your choice.