How To Choose Your Hot Chocolate Toppings

There’s nothing better than curling up on a cold day with a warm mug of hot chocolate. However, you probably don’t realize that warm, delicious beverage has a lot of history behind it. 

It’s believed that the Mayans may have invented the first hot chocolate recipe over 2,000 years ago, and the drink eventually found its way up to the United States from Mexico. Until the 1800s, doctors would even prescribe hot chocolate as a medical treatment for some diseases. 

While there’s no evidence that hot chocolate can cure any diseases, there’s no doubt that it’s a delicious drink. Read this guide to learn how to choose hot chocolate toppings and more. 

Related: Why Does Chocolate Make Me Happy?

What can I put on top of hot chocolate?

woman drinking hot chocolate with marshmellows

So, what should you put on top of your hot chocolate? Here are some classic ideas:


Marshmallows and hot chocolate are a classic pairing. Most basic hot chocolate packets come with mini marshmallows that you can sprinkle on top. You can also throw some fruit-flavored marshmallows on top or use one giant marshmallow instead of a bunch of mini ones. 

Chocolate Chips 

Chocolate chips are another great pairing for hot chocolate. The chips melt into the hot chocolate as you drink it, giving you an extra chocolatey beverage. You can also use mint chocolate chips, caramel chips, white chocolate chips, or butterscotch chips. 

Candy Canes 

Adding candy canes to your hot chocolate is perfect for the holiday season. You can either add a single stick to your cup or crush some candy canes on top. 

Are you wondering what candy suits your personality? Click here to find out!

Whipped Cream 

Whipped cream is another classic pairing for hot chocolate. We recommend going with canned whipped cream to easily squeeze it on top of your beverage. 

Peanut Butter 

Sweetsmith peanut brittle chocolat fleur de sel

Chocolate and peanut butter are a dynamic duo, yet many people don’t think to add peanut butter to their hot chocolate drinks. The best way to add peanut butter is to melt it down first to easily drizzle it on top of your hot chocolate drink. 

You can also pair it with some peanut brittle for extra peanut flavor! 

Related: What Even is Peanut Brittle? 

Chocolate or Fudge Sauce 

If you want your hot chocolate as chocolatey as possible, consider drizzling some chocolate or fudge sauce on top. You can also add whipped cream and sprinkles, so it feels like you’re enjoying a sundae!


If you love cookies and cream-flavored desserts, try crushing some Oreos on top of your hot chocolate. Or, you can dip the Oreos in your beverage for an extra chocolatey treat. 


If you enjoy toffee in your chocolate bars, you’ll probably also enjoy it in your hot chocolate. Consider sprinkling some crushed toffee bits onto your hot chocolate. 

Frequently Asked Hot Chocolate Questions

hot chocoalate covered in cocoa powder

What do they sprinkle on top of hot chocolate?

Many people sprinkle cocoa powder on top of their hot chocolate. If you’re using straight cocoa powder, only use a little bit, as the flavor is very strong. You may also want to sprinkle some sea salt on your hot chocolate if you enjoy that combination. 

What mixes well with hot chocolate?

If you’re looking for a boozy hot chocolate beverage, we recommend mixing in some Bailey’s Irish Cream. Bailey’s is milky with flavors of chocolate and vanilla, plus hints of whiskey. 

Many people also like to pair their hot chocolate with horchata and rum for a boozy beverage. Kahlua and red wine can also be great additions to your hot chocolate beverage! If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic option, coffee is a great choice, too! 

How can I spice up hot chocolate?

There are many great ways to spice up your hot chocolate. You can make some Mexican hot chocolate by adding a pinch of cinnamon and chili pepper. 

What goes with hot chocolate for breakfast?

Hot chocolate is the perfect beverage for breakfast, as it can warm you up and motivate you for your day ahead. Tangy fruits can help play off the sweetness of the hot chocolate while also cleansing your palate. Sour citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, tangerines, and kumquats are all great options. 

The sweetness of chocolate also pairs well with salty foods, so you can enjoy it with some eggs and avocado toast! 

How do you make hot chocolate?

If you buy hot chocolate from the store, you can just follow the directions on the package. You can also make it homemade. Here’s a great recipe:

  • 4 cups of milk (ideally whole or 2%)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract 

Place the sugar, milk, and cocoa powder in a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add chocolate chips and constantly whisk until they’re melted. Finally, whisk in the vanilla extract and serve immediately!

Is it good to drink hot chocolate?

While hot chocolate may not be the healthiest beverage, it’s delicious! Drinking hot chocolate in moderation is perfectly fine. Plus, chocolate does offer some health benefits. For example, dark chocolate is a powerful source of antioxidants. 

You can also make a healthier version of hot chocolate using almond milk (or any type of vegan milk), dark chocolate, maple syrup, and unsweetened cocoa powder. 

Related: The Health Benefits of Chocolate 

What is the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa?

While many people use the terms hot chocolate and hot cocoa interchangeably, they are slightly different. Hot cocoa has a thinner consistency, and it tends to be sweeter and creamier due to the additives. 

Real hot chocolate, on the other hand, is much denser and richer. 

Is hot chocolate better with milk or water?

While it ultimately comes down to personal preference, most people find that hot chocolate is better with milk! This is because milk adds creaminess and richness to the beverage. However, if you’re watching your calories or don’t want something quite as rich, hot chocolate with water will do just fine. 

If you’re avoiding dairy products, you can also use oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, or any other non-dairy milk variety. 

Final Factors to Consider

There are many great ways to elevate your hot chocolate! With the tips above, you can enjoy your hot chocolate in a variety of ways. 

If you’re looking for some delicious additions to your hot chocolate, check out our sweets selection! 

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