6 Ways to Jazz Up Regular Ol' Hot Chocolate

Some of the best hot cocoa mix-ins are also the most surprising.

January 31, 2020
By: Katherine Lok

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On frigid winter days when you’re chilled to the bone, hot chocolate is a classic remedy that’s quick and easy to make. Chocolate, sugar, and a little bit of salt (trust us) combined with steaming milk are all it takes to keep you warm and cozy this season. If you’re looking to bump up the flavor on your next mug of hot chocolate, try any of these fun mix-ins.

Tahini (above)

Though it’s often used in savory preparations, tahini gives hot chocolate a unique nutty flavor and creamy finish. Molly Yeh’s Tahini Hot Chocolate can easily be prepared by heating all the ingredients together in a microwave or double boiler over the stove. Or skip the milk, and just spread the tahini and chocolate on some toast!



A Glass Mug Full of Frothy Cocoa Against a White Background

©Food Stylist: Brett Kurzweil

Food Stylist: Brett Kurzweil

Warming Spices

This recipe will coax the chilliness out of your in a flash. Food Network Kitchen’s Spiced Hot Cocoa with cardamom and black pepper (yes, you read that right!) round outs the sweetness of the drink with a bit of heat.


Raspberry and chocolate are one of those winning combinations that stand the test of time. This recipe for White Cocoa with Raspberry Swirl from The Kitchen calls for drizzling raspberry sauce into your mug, and for that extra flavor boost, some freeze-dried raspberries get added on top.

Geoffrey Zakarian's Peppermint Hot Cocoa is seen on the set of Food Network's The Kitchen, Season 8.

Photo by: Jason DeCrow ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Jason DeCrow, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved


Whether you make your own hot cocoa from scratch or use your favorite store-bought mix, you can easily boost the flavor by adding peppermint. Geoffrey Zakarian’s recipe calls for double the flavor by adding peppermint schnapps for a boozy kick and crushed peppermint candies sprinkled on top.



Chef Name: Food Network KitchenFull Recipe Name: White Hot Chocolate 2 WaysTalent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Networks Kitchen’s White Hot Chocolate 2 Ways, as seen on Foodnetwork.comProject: Foodnetwork.com, WINTER RECIPES/COCKTAILS/FNK VIDEOSShow Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network,Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: White Hot Chocolate 2 Ways Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Networks Kitchen’s White Hot Chocolate 2 Ways, as seen on Foodnetwork.com Project: Foodnetwork.com, WINTER RECIPES/COCKTAILS/FNK VIDEOS Show Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Orange Liqueur

White chocolate doesn’t have to be second-best to milk or dark chocolate. This recipe for White Hot Chocolate 2 Ways makes white chocolate shine even brighter with orange liqueur as a mix-in. What's the second way, you ask? Coffee liqueur! It will turn your white hot chocolate into a drink resembling a White Russian.


For a totally indulgent twist on the classic, try Sunny Anderson’s Hot Chocolate Hazelnut Mudslide. In addition to toasted hazelnuts and hazelnut-flavored creamer, this decadent drink has a bit of whiskey as well as crushed chocolate cookies and hot fudge.

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