Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot Cocoa Mix

Instant cocoa is a fine concept, but most commercial mixes aren’t exactly packed with quality ingredients or flavor. My signature instant cocoa blend will fortify you through winter’s worst. My homemade marshmallows go pretty good with this mix too. Just sayin’.

Hot Cocoa Mix

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)
  • 2 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine-grain salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pinch or more to taste ground cayenne pepper*, optional
  • Hot milk or water to serve
  1. Combine the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, milk powder, salt, cornstarch and cayenne in a large airtight container. Secure the lid and shake vigorously to combine, and remember to shake prior to every extraction.
  2. To serve: Place 2 tablespoons of the mix in a mug and add about 2 fluid ounces hot water or milk. Stir to combine. Fill the mug with more hot water or milk and enjoy.

* The Aztecs always added chiles to their chocolate. Even a pinch ups the flavor ante quite a bit, and as called for here certainly won’t be sensed as “heat.”
No matter — this is fast, easy and will keep for a year if kept in an airtight container in a cool place.



Add yours
  1. 1

    I sifted all my ingredients together and that seemed to help. No gritty residue at all. I also added a teaspoon more salt, three tablespoons more cocoa powder, and I plan to package the mix with chocolate. I like my hot cocoa rich though so if you don’t, go a little lighter on the cocoa powder.

  2. 2
    Donald Morton

    add 3 Tablespoons cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg and then mix in pot with 3 heaping tablespoons of mix with milk only and it’s very important to mix with a hand blender for awesomeness.

  3. 3
    Darrin Anderson

    Tried it with 1/4 cup powder like episode says, way too gritty and sludgy at the bottom. Tried it with 2 tbsp powder like it says here, tasted like flavored water. 3 tbsp and an additional tsp sugar, made with milk and a shot of white chocolate liqueur is pretty good but I’ve still had better. My opinion is this recipe needs some tweaking.

  4. 4
    Darrin Anderson

    SJ, following the instructions, mine turned out gritty too, especially at the end. There is at least a teaspoon of powder that doesn’t dissolve and near the end of the cup it gets kind of tough to swallow. I’m a big fan of AB, but even toasting the milk powder doesn’t save this for me. Hoping for a simple fix, but will probably go back to my kitchen drawing board.

  5. 5

    I made this following the recipe exactly, minus the cayenne pepper, mixing it with milk. It turned out worse than an instant cocoa packet made with water.

  6. 7

    I made the reloaded version (toasted the powdered milk), but when I make the hot cocoa the liquid seems to turn out gritty. Does anyone else have this issue? I pulsed the mixed powder in my food processor as well as tried running it through a sieve.

  7. 8
    Lisa Hillard

    Cindy, I use the splenda baking blend, the one that’s 1 to 1 for sugar. Just take it for a pulse or two in the blender or food processor to make it more powdery. My diabetic nephew enjoys it.

  8. 9
    Jacob Kuska

    I’ve made this a couple of times before and it’s a pretty good mix. Haven’t tried the “reload” version. As for the Cayenne Pepper, I actually leave it out and sprinkle a bit into my mug before making it. Easy to do and, even with a light dusting; adds so much flavor!

  9. 11
    Lisa Hillard

    Just made a batch with the “new method” of toasting the powdered milk. In case you missed the Reload episode, put it on parchment, roast at 300F for about 20 minutes, til it gets golden. It’s delicious! So worth the extra time (no extra effort though). Now I’ve got to try it with powdered whole milk.

  10. 12
    Dan Hines

    I noticed an interesting product placement in the reload episode aired on December 17. There were several boxes of Tri-x Reversal film in the refrigerator. A nice nod to both filmmaking and to Kodak.

  11. 13

    Ken, you can find it! I saw it the day I found Alton Brown’s. I decided to go with this one first because the ingredients are all natural. I might just try that other one, too, though! Let us know what YOU decide!

  12. 14

    I was expecting THE BEST. I immediately found the flavor to be odd. I added a speck more sugar, and that helped. I have never put salt in my cocoa mix before, and I’m wondering if that is what threw it off for me. I only made a 1/4 recipe to try it out, so now I will make another 1/4 recipe without salt and see what happens.

  13. 15
    Davdi Ghobril

    Kevin Says to use full fat powdered milk. It makes it yummy, just beware that full fat’s shelf life is much shorter than skim because the fat will go rancid so store it frozen.

  14. 16

    Lots of people asking how much this makes. Looking at the ingredients, it seems to make about 5.5 cups of mix. With a cup being 16 tablespoons, that’d be about 88 tablespoons total. Given a serving is two tablespoons, this should produce enough mix for 44 servings.

  15. 17
    Tammy Greene

    Merry Christmas Alton,
    Exactly how many servings does this recipe make? I wanted to make it and give away as presents. I missed the “Good Eats Reload”, will have to find it on YouTube. Enjoy the holiday

  16. 18

    It sounds wonderful. When adding more hot water, after mixing with 2 ounces, how much more is safe to add? Our mugs are bigger than some and hold more than 6-8 ounces. Thank you.

  17. 20
    Kevin McKnight

    Pro tip: use the internet and buy some full-on fat dried milk. It makes a world of difference. This is hot cocoa we’re talking about here, not a protein shake.

  18. 23

    I made a batch of Hot Cocoa mix back in high school that was the best around. Unfortunately, I no longer have the recipe. I remember it used powdered milk and non-dairy creamer along with the chocolate and sugar. I will make a batch based on the recipe above and if it is better than the recipe above I will share my recipe.

  19. 25
    Bob Pierce

    Katie….You did not finish reading instruction #2. It says”Stir to combine. Fill the mug with more hot water or milk and enjoy.” Now it’s not a paste.

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