Made with cocoa powder and salted caramel sauce, this four-ingredient salted caramel hot chocolate is indulgent without being overly rich and sure to warm you right up.
I use a homemade salted caramel sauce along with 2% milk, heavy cream, and cocoa powder for a hot chocolate that doesn’t require anything special—especially not melting chocolate in advance!
How to Bloom Cocoa Powder for Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
I love stirring. It’s one of my favorite tasks in the kitchen (see my homepage). But I dislike stirring cocoa powder into any cold liquid, because it often doesn’t look like I’m doing anything. The cocoa powder sits on the top of the liquid in a thin layer and sometimes gets dusted onto my counters or my clothes, resulting in a minor mess.
When you bloom the cocoa in advance with hot water, the cocoa powder essentially melts, which will remove most, if not all, of the clumps. Additionally, heat will enhance the flavor of the fats in the cocoa powder. Sign me up for stirring that gets you somewhere (woo hoo!) and a much smoother and more flavorful end result.
In short, blooming the cocoa powder will give you the best hot chocolate you can make at home!
Quick Tips for Prepping Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
I use homemade salted caramel sauce for the best flavor. Most homemade salted caramel sauces will get you the same flavor, so you don’t need to use my recipe if you already have a favorite. However, I have not tested this recipe with store-bought salted caramel sauces, which are typically sweeter and less creamy.
When heating the hot chocolate on the stove, stir it frequently if not continually. The low heat should prevent the milk from scalding, but if you don’t stir the hot chocolate often enough, it may leave a skin on the bottom of the pot.
This recipe was made with 2% milk, but it will work with any type of dairy milk—whole, skim, or fat-free.
I typically don’t include substitutions with my recipes, but as a lactose intolerant woman, some days I really can’t handle the lactose. You may use a lactose-free milk or substitute a nondairy milk, like oat milk. Those have the closest creaminess to regular milk without strong additional flavors (looking at you, coconut milk). There are also nondairy heavy cream substitutes at most grocery stores that you can experiment with to find your favorite combination.
Dish Cleanup: Piece of Cake
I rate my recipe cleanups on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 is only a handful of dishes, and 5 is everything including the kitchen sink.
My salted caramel hot chocolate recipe is a 1. There’s a saucepan, a whisk, and a handful of measuring cups. That’s it! You can even get away with blooming the cocoa in one of the mugs you’ll be drinking out of later to cut down on one more dish in the sink.
- 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (16g)
- ½ cup hot water (120ml)
- 1 cup 2% milk (235ml)
- ⅓ cup plus 1 Tablespoon heavy cream (95ml)
- 3 Tablespoons salted caramel sauce
- Bloom the cocoa by whisking together the hot water and cocoa powder in a mug or measuring cup. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, add the milk, cream, salted caramel, and bloomed cocoa. Stir occasionally until steamy.
- Pour evenly into two mugs. Top with marshmallows and a drizzle of salted caramel for extra flavor.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 285Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 142mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 7g
The nutrition facts are estimated and may vary based on specific ingredients used.
Thanks for trying out my salted caramel hot chocolate recipe! I’d love to see how it turns out: Take a photo and tag me on Instagram @floralapronblog to share with me, or use the hashtag #floralapronbakes.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
My caramel chai muffins would go perfectly with this hot chocolate. The recipe is a 4 for cleanup, but after hardly any cleanup for this recipe, it’s worth it.
Looking for an easy yet indulgent dessert to serve with this salted caramel hot chocolate? My rosy Earl Grey truffles are an easy, make-ahead dessert that are allergy-friendly (gluten-free and vegan if you’d like!) and universally loved.
If you want something to dip into this hot chocolate, try my ladyfingers recipe. These are bite-sized, dippable sponge cakes that go well with pretty much everything.