Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate (with video!)

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This easy slow cooker hot chocolate recipe makes a mega batch of rich, creamy hot chocolate right in your Crock-Pot–perfect for feeding a crowd! It tastes amazing, is simple to make, and uses ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. You’ll never use powdered cocoa mix again!

Hand dunking a cookie into Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate in a glass mug

☕️ The Best Hot Chocolate Recipe for a Crowd

Here are SugarHero, we are obsessed with hot chocolate recipes. There’s something so cozy and comforting about curling up with a mug of chocolate (topped with lots of whipped cream, of course!) and savoring this little dessert dressed up as a drink. Plain, flavored, made with chocolate or cocoa powder…it’s always hot chocolate season ’round here.

The only thing better than a mug of rich and creamy homemade hot chocolate is a giant POT of rich and creamy homemade hot chocolate, and that’s exactly what we’re going to make with this super-easy Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate recipe.

By using a slow cooker, you can easily make a BIG batch of decadent hot chocolate without breaking a sweat.

It’s perfect for feeding a crowd, and you can get it going in the background while you do other things. Oh, and the best part? It tastes like a melted chocolate bar, it’s THAT creamy and rich.

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top

My family asks me to make this recipe at least twice a month all winter long, and we love it–not just because it tastes great, but because it’s so convenient! The genius of using a slow cooker is that everything can be prepared in advance, and then the hot chocolate cooks while you do other things.

Most often, I will get everything started before we go out sledding, or snowball fighting, (or shoveling snow, siiiiiigh), and it’s always so nice to walk back into the house to find our piping hot chocolate ready and waiting for us.

If you love the sound of this hot chocolate, don’t miss other reader favorites like Nutella Hot Chocolate, Orange Hot Chocolate, and Peppermint Hot Chocolate!

🧾 What You’ll Need

Overhead shot of ingredients needed to make Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate.

🍫 Ingredients

One of the BEST things about this slow cooker hot chocolate is that the ingredient list is short and sweet! Here are a few tips and substitution suggestions: (Links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)

  • Chocolate: Since most of the flavor comes from the chocolate, using a delicious, high-quality chocolate will give you the best results. Any semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate with 55-70% cacao is perfect. You can chop up your favorite chocolate bars, or pick up some dark chocolate chips — I love using Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips in this recipe. Just avoid low-quality, waxy chocolate chips without much flavor–if they’re not delicious to eat, they won’t be delicious in a drink. In my opinion, milk chocolate is too sweet for this recipe, but if you are a real milk chocolate lover, you might try doing half milk and half dark chocolate.
  • Cocoa powder: Dutch-processed (alkalized) cocoa powder is my recommendation, but you can use natural cocoa powder if that’s what you have. Just as with chocolate, using the best quality ingredients will give you the best outcome.
  • Sweetened condensed milk: Make sure you’re using condensed milk, not evaporated milk. Sweetened condensed milk gives this recipe an irresistible caramel undertone. If you don’t have it, you can add 1/3 cup granulated sugar to the ingredients in the beginning instead. At the end of cooking, taste the hot chocolate and add more sugar if desired.
  • Milk: I’ve made this with 1% and 2% milk, and couldn’t tell the difference–both worked beautifully. I would say skim is probably a little skimpy (hah) for a truly rich cup of chocolate. Whole milk would be delicious and make the drink extra-rich.
  • Cream: Heavy cream or whipping cream are both fine. You could substitute half-and-half, but because milk fat is the thing that makes this drink so dang creamy, using half-and-half will yield a thinner drink.
Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate with a slow cooker in the background

🥄 Equipment

It’s probably not a surprise that you will need a slow cooker to make slow cooker hot chocolate! For a regular batch, a 4-6 quart slow cooker is the perfect size.

This recipe also doubles well, and if you double it, you’ll want to use a 7-8 quart slow cooker so your hot chocolate has plenty of room. Here’s a great 8 quart slow cooker to try.

Other than a slow cooker, the only other thing you’ll need is a whisk. Well that, and a serious craving for hot chocolate!

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate in a glass mug with whipped cream on top

📋 How to Make Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

Can you dump a bunch of ingredients into a bowl? Then you can make this hot chocolate! Grab the full printable recipe down in the recipe card, and check out how easily this comes together:

Two photo collage showing how to combine ingredients for Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate.
  • Add your chopped chocolate or chocolate chips to your slow cooker.
  • Pour in the milk and cream.
Two photo collage showing how to cook Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate.
  • Add the remaining ingredients (sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, vanilla, and salt), and whisk briefly.
  • Cover the Crock-Pot, and turn the temperature to low.
  • Go about your day! Read, clean, try a new dance move…live your best life.
Two photo collage showing whisking hot chocolate in the slow cooker.
  • If you’re around, you can whisk the hot chocolate about every 45 minutes, to help it melt and heat evenly, but it’s not absolutely necessary. If you cook it on low, you can safely ignore it throughout the process.
  • After about 2 hours, the chocolate will be completely melted and it will be hot and ready to drink. Bottoms up!

💭 Toppings & Variations

  • This cocoa is great on its own, but it is DIVINE when topped with softly whipped cream and chocolate shavings. The way the cream melts into the chocolate… drool
  • Alternately, forgo the whipped cream and opt for a pile of marshmallows and a drizzle of chocolate syrup instead.
  • Peppermint version: Add 1 tsp peppermint extract to the ingredients. Once cooked, taste and add more if desired. (Peppermint extracts vary a lot in strength, so you’ll need to rely on your taste buds to guide you.) Top with whipped cream and crushed peppermint candies.
  • Salted Caramel version: Add 1/2 cup of salted caramels to the ingredients and cook as normal. At the end, top with a thick drizzle of salted caramel sauce.
  • Orange version: Start with an organic orange, and use a vegetable peeler to remove the thin outer layer of orange rind. (Avoid the inner white layer, called the “pith” — this is very bitter.) Add the rind to the slow cooker at the beginning of the cooking process, and let it cook with the hot chocolate to infuse it with a vibrant orange flavor. Strain out the pieces of rind before serving.
Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate in a glass mug with mini marshmallows and a chocolate drizzle

💡 Tips and FAQs  

Make-Ahead Instructions

If you have a slow cooker with a timed cooking function, you can assemble all ingredients in the slow cooker in advance, and just set it to start cooking when you’re ready! Because of all the dairy, I would not recommend having the ingredients sit out for more than 1-2 hours at cool room temperature before cooking begins.

Storage Instructions

I know from personal experience that this recipe keeps VERY well! I made quite a lot of it when I was testing recipes, and quickly found myself with way too much hot chocolate for my family to drink at once.

You can store leftover hot chocolate in a container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You will want to whisk well before dishing it out and heating it up, because the chocolate has a tendency to settle on the bottom.

If you want to keep it longer than that, I’ve also had success freezing it! Transfer it to freezer containers or freezer gallon-size zip-top bags. If you’re using the bags, make sure to freeze them on a baking sheet so they freeze flat.

Let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then whisk well and dish up as usual.

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate with mini marshmallows on top

❤️ More Hot Chocolate Recipe You’ll Love

After you make slow cooker hot chocolate, try one of these other delicious drink recipes!

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
Make your own salted caramel hot chocolate at home! Salted caramel is the base for this thick homemade hot chocolate. It’s incredibly rich and indulgent!
Get the recipe!
Lavender Latte
Bring the coffeehouse to your house with this homemade lavender latte recipe! You’ll be surprised and delighted at how easy it is to make your own delicious lavender coffee at home.
Get the recipe!
Lavender Latte in glass with sprig of fresh lavender on top.

Don’t miss the step-by-step tutorial showing how to make Slow Cooker Hot Chocolatecheck out the web story here!

Leave a review!

If you make this recipe, let us know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on the recipe below, and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram @elabau, or use #sugarhero on IG!

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate in a glass mug with mini marshmallows on top

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

5 from 7 votes
This easy Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate is the perfect hot chocolate recipe for a crowd! It’s super rich and creamy, comes together quickly in the Crock-Pot, and uses ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 5 mins
Yield 8 8-oz servings
Calories 475 kcal

Ingredients
 

CUSTOMIZE: 8 8-oz servings

Instructions
 

  • For this recipe, you’ll need a standard size slow cooker (4-6 qts). If you want to double it, use a 7-8 qt slow cooker.
  • Combine the milk, cream, condensed milk, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and salt in the slow cooker. Whisk everything together.
  • Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. You can whisk the hot chocolate about every 30-45 minutes to help it melt and heat evenly, but it's not absolutely necessary.
  • Check the hot chocolate after 2 hours and whisk until smooth. As long as everything is melted and the drink is hot, it's ready to be enjoyed. If you don't want to serve it right away, switch the slow cooker to the warm setting and keep it warm for an additional 2-3 hours.
  • Whisk well before serving, then ladle into eight mugs. Top with whipped cream, mini marshmallows, or whatever else you’d like!
  • Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Video

Recipe Notes

Toppings & Variations

  • This cocoa is great on its own, but it is DIVINE when topped with softly whipped cream and chocolate shavings. 
  • Forgo the whipped cream and opt for a pile of marshmallows and a drizzle of chocolate syrup instead!
  • Peppermint version: Add 1 tsp peppermint extract to the ingredients. Once cooked, taste and add more if desired. (Peppermint extracts vary a lot in strength, so you’ll need to rely on your taste buds to guide you.) Top with whipped cream and crushed peppermint candies.
  • Salted Caramel version: Add 1/2 cup of soft salted caramels to the ingredients and cook as normal. At the end, top with a thick drizzle of salted caramel sauce.
  • Orange version: Start with an organic orange, and use a vegetable peeler to remove the thin outer layer of orange rind. (Avoid the inner white layer, called the “pith” — it is very bitter.) Add the rind to the slow cooker at the beginning of the cooking process, and let it cook with the hot chocolate to infuse it with a vibrant orange flavor. Strain out the pieces of rind before serving.

Make-Ahead Instructions

If you have a slow cooker with a timed cooking function, you can assemble all ingredients in the slow cooker in advance, and just set it to start cooking when you’re ready! Because of all the dairy, I would not recommend having the ingredients sit out for more than 1-2 hours at cool room temperature before cooking begins.

Storage Instructions

This recipe keeps very well. You can store leftover hot chocolate in a container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You will want to whisk well before dishing it out and heating it up, because the chocolate has a tendency to settle on the bottom.
If you want to keep it longer than that, it can also be frozen. Transfer it to freezer containers or freezer gallon-size ziptop bags. If you’re using the bags, make sure to freeze them on a baking sheet so they freeze flat.
Let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then whisk well, heat, and dish up as usual.

MEASURING TIPS

Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.

Click here to learn more about baking measurements and conversion.

Nutrition

Calories: 475 kcal | Carbohydrates: 62 g | Protein: 14 g | Fat: 20 g | Saturated Fat: 16 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g | Cholesterol: 26 mg | Sodium: 251 mg | Potassium: 789 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 50 g | Vitamin A: 484 IU | Vitamin C: 2 mg | Calcium: 497 mg | Iron: 1 mg
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Photo of Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate with text overlay for Pinterest.

About Elizabeth LaBau

I’m Elizabeth, but you can call me SugarHero! I’m a former pastry chef turned blogger, cookbook author, and baking instructor, and I consider myself sugar’s #1 fan. Learn more from my About page, or connect with me on social media:

What You'll Need
Editor's Note

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which is an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  For more information, see my Disclaimer and Disclosure Policy.

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