French vanilla hot chocolate mix

With homemade hot cocoa mix and a simply decorated jar, you’re all set with an easy and delicious gift for friends and family! And, if you’re tempted to skip the jar-decorating and skip the giving (and, let’s be honest, your goal is to just make and drink as much liquid chocolate as you can), then you should check out our How To Make Hot Chocolate From Scratch article—it has delectable recipes better-suited for enjoying at home than for gift-giving.

For giftable cocoa mixes, you’ll want to have a few items on hand:

  • Mason jars or tins. These are the gift containers. They can be fancy or plain, and you can dress them up with some ribbon or a gift tag, if you’d like.
  • Food processor or blender. For some of the recipes, machine-chopping up something like a bar of chocolate is required and, for others, you may find it nice to give the end product a few pulses in a food processor to make the mix smooth and uniform.
  • Cornstarch. Only one of the below recipes calls for cornstarch, but adding a teaspoon or two will help prevent clumping in your mix.
  • Mini marshmallows. Add these to any of your jarred mixes if, like us, you believe that a mug of hot cocoa isn’t complete without foamy, melting marshmallows.

Make any of these below recipes, put ‘em in a jar, and you’re ready to give friends and family the gift of cozy, chocolatey sipping.

Christmas Tartan Mug, $7.96 on Sur La Table

Always have the perfect mug on hand for a cup of hot cocoa!
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Basic Recipe

homemade hot chocolate or hot cocoa mix

Living a Sunshine Life

This recipe for The Best DIY Creamy Hot Chocolate Mix uses only powdered sugar, cocoa powder, dry milk, salt, and (optional) chocolate chips. If you include the chocolate chips, a food processor will help you chop them finely enough to dissolve quickly when hot milk or hot water is added to the mix. Get the recipe.

French Vanilla Hot Cocoa

French vanilla hot chocolate mix

Shaken Together Life

With this recipe for French Vanilla Hot Cocoa Mix, French vanilla coffee creamer does all the heavy lifting to transform the flavor of your hot cocoa. This recipe also includes tips for using baker’s twine, bells, and gift tags to dress up a mason jar as a more festive gift vessel. Get the recipe.

Peppermint Hot Cocoa

homemade peppermint hot chocolate mix

A Mom’s Take

The simple addition of crushed candy canes converts regular hot cocoa mix into this Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix. Smash up the candy canes in a sealed plastic bag and layer with your mix, as the recipe directs, or blend up all the ingredients with your food processor for a smoother mix. Get the recipe.

Mexican Hot Cocoa

homemade Mexican hot chocolate mix

A Southern Fairytale

For a spiced-but-not-too-spicy flavor, try this recipe for Mexican Hot Cocoa. Cinnamon and cayenne pepper make this mix extra-warming, and this is the recipe that explicitly directs you to use cornstarch (and a food processor) for a super smooth, easy-dissolving mix. The recipe also uses semi-sweet- and white-chocolate chips, as well as brown sugar. Get the recipe.

Ancho Chile Hot Cocoa

ancho chile hot chocolate mix

The Young Austinian

If your giftee might enjoy more spice and heat, you can put in a little extra effort with this recipe for Ancho Chile Hot Cocoa Mix. The recipe recommends infusing the sugar with ancho chile flavor by storing a dried, crushed pepper in a container with the sugar for a week, shaking occasionally. Afterward, you blend all the ingredients except the chile, and add the chile pepper back into the mix to slowly release any residual flavor. Get the recipe.

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

homemade salted caramel hot chocolate mix

Cooking a la Mel

This recipe for Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix uses regular sugar and vanilla extract for the caramel-making portion, and coconut sugar (or brown sugar) for the final mixing of ingredients. The homemade caramel gets pulverized with the help of a food processor, and then processed once more with all the remaining ingredients. Get the recipe.

White Hot Cocoa

homemade white hot chocolate mix

A Mother’s Shadow

While this recipe for Instant White Cocoa Mix still contains dark cocoa powder, it achieves its white chocolate color and flavor through the incorporation of white chocolate chips, pieces of a white chocolate bar, vanilla creamer, and white chocolate or vanilla pudding mix. Blend everything together, stick it in a jar, and hand to it a loved one! Get the recipe.

So easy, so tasty, so festive! Keep a few of these gift jars on hand and be prepared for those “Ooooooh, thank you so much for this gift! I…definitely…also…got you something…” moments.

For more tips, hacks, and recipes, check out our Ultimate Guide to Christmas and Holiday Entertaining Headquarters.

Related Video: 5-in-3 Hot Cocoa Mixes

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Emily, a Chicago native (okay, okay, born and raised in the 'burbs), loves being able to bike to and from her job at a tech company. After hours, you can find her walking her rescue pup (he's a good boy), taking French classes (voulez-vous un macaron?), and thoroughly enjoying her city's excellent restaurants and bars. She lives for the Chopped-style thrill of creating the perfect meal from limited and oddball ingredients.
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