The first time I tried making microwave hot chocolate from scratch I stuck a piece of chocolate in a mug and microwaved it for 2 minutes. I ended up with burnt on chocolate mess. Not fun.
Microwave Hot Chocolate for One
Since then, I've learned how to make a single serving of creamy microwave hot chocolate without burning anything. You can make so many delicious variations with only a spoon and a microwaveable mug.
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- pinch of salt, optional
- Add cocoa powder and sugar to a mug. Add enough water (about 2 tablespoons) to cover the powders. Microwave for 20-30 seconds, and stir well to form a smooth paste.
- Add the milk to the mug. Microwave for an additional 40-60 seconds until hot.
- Add the vanilla extract and salt. Stir well.
- Milk: Required for hot chocolate. Any sort of cow's milk (skim, 1%, 2%, whole) would work, but higher fat percentages would be richer. Non-dairy milks (soy, almond, coconut) work for a vegan option. Water works if you have a packet of hot chocolate mix.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: Required for hot chocolate.
- Sugar: Sweetens hot chocolate. Use up to 2 tablespoons of sugar. I use 1 teaspoon because I dislike very sweet things. Use up to 1 tablespoon of liquid sweetener, such as honey or maple syrup.
- Vanilla extract: Adds flavor. Makes the hot chocolate taste more like ice cream. I use about a quarter capful.
- Salt: Enhances chocolate flavor. You only need a tiny bit, about 1/16 teaspoon.
- Lazy hot chocolate: Use a packet of hot chocolate mix instead of cocoa powder, sugar, and vanilla. This dissolves more easily than cocoa powder, so you can just pour it into hot liquid.
- Low calorie hot chocolate: Use unsweetened almond milk (30-40 calories per cup) and low calorie sweetener, such as Splenda or stevia. For 20 calorie hot chocolate, you can use water, unsweetened cocoa powder, and zero calorie sweetener, but the hot chocolate will not be creamy.
You can add additional ingredients when you make the chocolate paste. When adding spices to hot chocolate, you can add a two-fingered pinch, about 1/16-1/8 teaspoon. Be very careful about measuring. If you add too much, your hot chocolate will be gross.
- Nutella hot chocolate: Add up to 2 tablespoons of Nutella.
- Chocolate hot chocolate: Add up to 2 tablespoons of chocolate.
- Peanut butter hot chocolate: Add up to 1 tablespoon of peanut butter. If you have powdered peanut butter, add up to 1 tablespoon.
- Spiced hot chocolate: Add some subset of the spices in pumpkin pie spice: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and ginger.
- Pumpkin spice hot chocolate: Add up to 2 tablespoons of pumpkin to spiced hot chocolate.
- Mexican hot chocolate: Spicy hot chocolate. Add cayenne pepper or chili pepper.
- Coffee hot chocolate: Substitute a fraction of the milk for coffee. Can also add 1 teaspoon of instant coffee.
- Lazy coffee hot chocolate: When I run out of milk, I use 1 cup of water, 1 packet of hot chocolate mix, and 1 teaspoon of instant coffee.
- Peppermint hot chocolate: Add a few drops of mint extract. Can also dissolve a mint or stir hot chocolate with a candy cane.
- Citrus hot chocolate: Add 1/2 tablespoon of zest.
- Really rich hot chocolate: Substitute a fraction of the milk for heavy cream or half and half.
- Alcoholic hot chocolate: Add up to 2 ounces of alcohol.
- Marshmallows: Mini marshmallows would be the cutest. Homemade would be the fanciest.
- Syrup: Add chocolate syrup or caramel syrup.
- Whipped cream: If you make your own whip cream, you can freeze them in dollops. For a vegan option, make coconut whipped cream. For the easiest option, get a spray can.
If you prefer visuals, here is an infographic of some variations.
Step by Step Photos
You should use the stovetop only if you're making multiple servings because washing an extra pot is annoying. The method is the same: make the chocolate paste, then add liquid. Use low heat, and stir often.
You should be careful not to microwave the spoon. After stirring, you can set it down on a napkin for later use.
Add enough water to cover the powders, about 2 tablespoons. You can measure this with the spoon, or just turn on the faucet briefly.
Microwave for 20-30 seconds. You should heat up the mixture to help the cocoa powder dissolve. Thoroughly stir until you have a smooth chocolate paste with no cocoa lumps. If there are still lumps, microwave in short intervals and stir until they are gone.
Add vanilla extract. You should add the vanilla at the end because microwaving vanilla extract dulls the flavor. Stir thoroughly to mix in the chocolate paste, and serve immediately.
After you are done with the hot chocolate, you may notice some undissolved cocoa powder at the bottom. I've found that this happens even if I use the stovetop or if I stir a lot. If you really want to prevent this, you can try blending the hot chocolate.
Have any other hot chocolate variations? Let me know in the comments, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.