Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Anne-Marie
Learn how to make hot chocolate for a crowd. It’s easy to make this delicious hot chocolate recipe in your crock-pot.
Why this recipe works
Sure, you can make hot chocolate in the microwave with hot water and a powdered mix on a cold day.
But this special treat is just the thing for a holiday season party, special occasions, or a family movie night.
This is the best hot chocolate to make in your slow cooker. Keep on the warm setting to serve this wonderful recipe to your family and guests.
(That’s a lot harder to do on your stove top!)
I also like crockpot hot chocolate because you can set up a super fun Serve Yourself DIY Hot Chocolate Bar at your Christmas party or other holiday gathering.
This way, everyone can customize their mugs of hot chocolate with whipped cream, a mini marshmallow or two, or crushed peppermint sticks.
- whole milk
- half and half (or heavy whipping cream)
- vanilla extract
- your favorite hot chocolate mix or hot cocoa recipe (Use my Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix recipe to make your own!)
- milk chocolate bars
How to make the best crock-pot hot chocolate
Everyone loves this easy hot chocolate slow cooker recipe! Serve this easy crockpot recipe on a cold night, Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning.
1. In a 6-quart or larger crockpot, combine whatever milk you’re using*, cream, and vanilla extract.
*See below about making a vegan, dairy-free slow cooker hot chocolate.
2. Add the hot cocoa mix to the crock pot.
3. Whisk all the ingredients until everything is well combined and there are no lumps.
4. Break chocolate bars into small pieces. Add the broken chocolate pieces to the slow cooker.
5. Cover and set the crockpot on low for 2 hours. Occasionally stir to make sure the melted chocolate is incorporated into the crockpot hot chocolate.
6. Pour the warm chocolate into mugs and top with your favorite toppings.
Can you make a dairy-free, vegan version?
Yes, you can have a dairy-free slow cooker hot chocolate that’s also vegan!
Milk: Try a chocolate coconut milk like So Delicious Chocolate Milk. But you can also use soy milk, almond milk, or oat milk though those aren’t as creamy and thick.
Heavy Cream: Then add a cup of coconut cream to it. If you can’t find coconut cream, use full-fat coconut milk instead to make this a creamy hot chocolate recipe.
Hot chocolate mix: You can use a dairy-free chocolate mix like Swiss Miss Non-Dairy or Ghirardelli Chocolate Double Chocolate Premium Hot Cocoa Mix.
However, while the ingredient lists on these products are dairy-free and vegan, neither or certified as vegan.
You can try Coconut Cloud: Dairy-Free Instant Hot Cocoa Mix if that is of concern. It is certified to be dairy-free and vegan.
I haven’t tried this product, but it has good reviews on Amazon.
You can also make your own Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix that’s dairy-free and sugar-free. (Give as a gift in a Mason jar!)
Chocolate: For the chocolate bars, substitute 3 ounces of Enjoy Life Baking Chocolate Semi-Sweet Mini Chips. Don’t worry about them being semi-sweet since the sweetness of the chocolate milk will offset it.
Enjoy Life Chips are also gluten-free and vegan.
Toppings: If you’re looking for dairy-free whipped topping, Reddi-wip now makes two non-dairy toppings: almond milk and coconut.
Can you add alcohol to your chocolate?
Don’t add liquor directly to the slow cooker if you’re serving a large crowd. Instead, guests can add booze to their mugs and make their drinks whatever they prefer.
Plus, there is plenty of good hot chocolate to go around for the kids.
Add these to make a decadent drink:
- Coffee liqueurs like Kahlua or Mr. Black
- Peppermint schnapps
- Marshmallow vodka (a favorite of mine used in my black cocktail recipe)
- Rum Chata
- Hazelnut liqueur
- Red wine (seriously! check out this recipe)
If you like this chocolate drink, check out my S’mores Martini, a cold chocolate boozy drink.
Variations on slow cooker hot chocolate
Try these drink add-ins:
Peppermint: Add a little peppermint extract or some crushed candy cane for a peppermint hot chocolate.
(Be careful not to add too much peppermint extract as it is powerful.)
Espresso: Try adding a spoonful of instant espresso powder for a coffee-caffeinated boost. Oh my!
Dulce de leche: Drizzle on some dulce de leche syrup over the whipped cream or add a spoonful to your drink!
Caramel: Stir in a spoonful of caramel sauce or drizzle it on the whipped cream. If you love salted caramel flavor, add a pinch of salt.
No dulce de leche or caramel in the house? You could also add a teaspoon of sweetened condensed milk for a burst of creamy sweetness!
Cinnamon: Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the crockpot.
Other syrup: Try maple syrup or a squirt of chocolate syrup.
Spice it up: Next time, add some chili peppers to the batch for a unique flavor variation.
Serving ideas for holiday parties
Make a Serve Yourself DIY Hot Chocolate Bar for your holiday season gathering. It’s simple, just leave your crockpot on the warm setting.
Provide plenty of festive ceramic or glass mugs for your guests to serve themselves. (Don’t forget a ladle!)
Have bowls full of optional toppings like:
- whipped cream
- mini marshmallows
- candy canes – either crushed or some minis
- chocolate flakes, chocolate shavings, or chopped chocolate bars
- mini milk chocolate chips
- dark chocolate chips
- crushed chocolate chip cookies
Adding booze? Put out those flavored liqueurs and bottles of bourbon, Rum Chata, flavored vodka, etc.
Put out that small shaker of cinnamon, just like at the coffee shop. And plenty of napkins, too!
One last tip: Blitz with an immersion blender if a film forms on the surface of the warm chocolate drink. Or just give it a good stir.
What do you like to add to your hot chocolate?
- 6 cups whole milk
- 1 cup half and half (or heavy whipping cream)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup hot chocolate mix
- 2 (1.5 ounce) milk chocolate bars
Hot Chocolate Toppings
- Mini marshmallows
- Whipped cream
- Chocolate syrup
- Caramel syrup
- Mini candy canes
- Mini chocolate chips
- Chocolate shavings
- Crushed chocolate chip cookies
- Ground cinnamon
- In a large 6-quart crockpot, combine milk, heavy cream, and vanilla.
- Add hot chocolate mix.
- Whisk all the hot chocolate ingredients until well combined.
- Break chocolate bars into pieces and add to the slow cooker.
- Cover and set the crock pot on low for 2 hours or until the hot chocolate is warm. Stir occasionally.
- Serve warm with your favorite toppings.
- Leftovers may be cooled, refrigerated for up to a week, and reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave.
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Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 680Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 562mgCarbohydrates: 110gFiber: 5gSugar: 89gProtein: 14g
Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.