Recipe – How to Make Your Own Hot Cocoa Mix

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I fell in love with this Alton Brown recipe for homemade hot cocoa mix a long, long time ago and have been making it for years now.  Forget the store bought stuff, this recipe is da’ bomb!

Not only is this cocoa quick and easy to make, it’s delicious.


2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
Hot water


Sift all ingredients in a mixing bowl to incorporate evenly and store in an airtight container until ready to use.  Ready for some hot cocoa now?  Just fill up your favorite mug with warm water or milk, and 2 heaping tablespoons of cocoa mix, stir and drink up!

This recipe makes 5 1/2 cups of mix.

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  1. Has anyone tried a mix like this without the powdered milk? We have two in our house that don’t drink regular milk and I would like to know if it works to just add milk instead of water. Thanks!

    • I don’t make a dry mix, but instead just make it quickly on the stove. Mix 1/4 c cocoa powder, 1/4-1/2 cup sugar (to taste,) and 1/4 cup water. Mix in pan on stove at medium heat until light boil. Add 4 cups of your choice of milk. Heat until desired temp. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp vanilla. Serve!

      • I use the same method as Kari…but I also add a little pat of butter at the end! That’s how my mom always made it when we were kids…gives just a little extra taste

        • Buttered hot cocoa sounds amazing! I can’t believe I’ve never tried that. *walks to kitchen to make buttered cocoa*

    • My hubby is lactose intolerant so I use regular coffee mate.

  2. We love this recipe, too!

  3. I love Alton Brown and I am hoping that I like this recipe as I just made up a batch! My mom had a mix that as a little girl I just loved. Not sure if she could remember what she used anymore so I am hoping this does the trick!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Tupperware always used to hand out a recipe at home parties that used powdered non dairy creamer in place of the dry milk. Maybe that was her recipe.

  4. Instead of powdered milk try powerded soy milk same idea just a non dairy alternavtive.

  5. I would like to make a large batch for a youth activity. How much water would I use if I wanted to make all of it? Thanks!

  6. Kim Roman says:

    Do you know what is the purpose of the corn starch?

  7. I have made a similar hot chocolate mix for years. I could never get the “richness” right, the thickness that the kids liked. Until, I sub’ed out the powdered sugar for instant pudding mix. That did the trick. I use instant chocolate pudding, but sometimes vanilla is good, and believe it or not, the kids loved pistachio that I used one time. It just was a little “chunky” . For what it’s worth… :-)

    • Karla, did u add hot water or milk? Seeing that you sub’d with pudding mix in place of powered sugar. I was wondering if there was still richness with hot water added. Thanks

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