Warm up a winter evening with a mug of homemade peppermint hot chocolate. Topped with homemade whipped cream, this easy minty hot cocoa drink is made on the stove with real chocolate.
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Peppermint Hot Chocolate recipe
Since there is a seemingly endless supply of holiday cookies this time of year, I have to have a cozy hot drink to go with them. And I think my favorite warming beverage has become hot chocolate with peppermint and boozy whipped cream.
With every mugful of this easy recipe, you’ll get a thick, creamy chocolate drink with a hint of peppermint. Honestly, it’s very reminiscent of Starbucks peppermint hot chocolate — if you’ve ever had that you know it has that holiday magic!
This peppermint hot chocolate is the real deal and you’re going to love it. Skip the store-bought hot chocolate mix and make this special treat instead.
Sipping on it on Christmas Eve or drink up a big mug any time you are craving a little mint chocolate and warmth!
Why you’ll love this recipe
You’ll love this Christmas hot chocolate recipe, for a few reasons:
- If you love Starbucks, but hate how much money you spend on it, then this will be your new favorite. This easy recipe is budget friendly and even more delicious!
- On a dairy-free diet? Making your own hot chocolate is the easiest way to ensure that the end product is truly dairy free and still tastes good.
- Easily double or triple this recipe to make plenty of peppermint hot chocolate for parties and gatherings.
Tools & glassware
To make this delicious drink that will warm you on cold winter days, you’ll need a few simple supplies.
A medium saucepan and nice whisk are all you need to mix the chocolate and milk together. Then once it’s complete, you’ll need a good ladle to pour each mugful of cozy drink.
For the homemade whipped cream, you’ll need a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a handheld electric mixer.
This recipe makes enough for four servings, so grab four evenly-sized mugs and a ladle to divvy out the sweet beverage once it’s complete!
Before you run to the grocery store, make sure you add all of these simple ingredients to your list!
Peppermint hot cocoa ingredients
This hot chocolate starts with real chocolate (technically that makes it hot chocolate, not hot cocoa, which is made with cocoa powder). Here’s what you’ll need:
- chopped bittersweet chocolate
- whole milk
- vanilla extract
- pure peppermint extract
- crushed candy canes or peppermint candies, for topping
- whole candy canes, for stirring and garnish
Peppermint whipped cream ingredients
This is topped with a sweet, peppermint whipped cream. Here’s what you’ll need:
- heavy whipping cream
- peppermint oil or peppermint extract
Substitutions & variations
I made this recipe on the stove with real chocolate — it’s the best part of this hot cocoa.
Use any milk: You can use any milk! I have tried both with almond and whole milk, which are equally delicious. Feel free to try oat milk, soy milk, coconut milk or any of your other favorite dairy-free milk options. Keep in mind that some chocolate contains dairy.
Make it boozy: You can spike this peppermint hot cocoa with my homemade peppermint vodka. It is made by infusing vodka with peppermints and it is just amazing. However, it does take about a day or so to infuse. So if you don’t have time to put that together, you can absolutely use peppermint vodka or schnapps from the store.
Adjust how minty it is: I topped this hot chocolate with a peppermint whipped cream. To make it, I whipped cream in my stand mixer with a couple drops of peppermint essential oil or peppermint extract. Feel free to use plain whipped cream if you prefer less peppermint flavor.
Make it fast: Need an easy way to prepare peppermint hot cocoa quickly? Then, make some peppermint hot cocoa bombs to keep on hand. You can also add a couple of drops of peppermint oil or extract to regular hot chocolate too.
How to Make Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Here’s how to make this classic holiday recipe:
In a medium saucepan, heat chocolate and milk over medium heat until fully melted.
Then for 20 more minutes, whisk frequently and quickly to prevent burning the chocolate sauce mixture and make it more creamy. This also introduces lots of air into the mixture to make it fluffy!
Reduce to a low heat and stir in the vanilla and peppermint extract.
While that simmers a bit, you can make the whipped cream. Combine whipping cream and sugar in a the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer. Mix until soft peaks form.
Add the peppermint oil/extract and them mix again until stiff peaks form.
Ladle the minty hot cocoa into four separate mugs and top with fresh homemade whipped cream. Garnish with crushed candy canes and one full candy cane, and enjoy!
Tips & tricks
Here are some tips and tricks for making this recipe:
- Refrigerate the mixing bowl that you plan to make whipped cream in. This will help keep the cream cold as you mix it together and will result in a lighter and fluffier favorite topping!
- Use a really sharp knife to chop the chocolate and make sure the pieces are really small. This will help it melt easily and mix well with the warm milk.
- Don’t skip the peppermint garnishes! Yes, the peppermint extract makes this drink very minty, but the garnishes are the best finishing touch.
What to serve with Peppermint Hot Chocolate
We have made a million different kinds of cookies to pair with hot chocolate. Some of our favorites have been:
- no-bake avalanche cookies
- Mexican chocolate chip cookies
- bourbon chocolate chip cookies
- cranberry white chocolate oatmeal cookies
If you’re looking for something another than a cookie, this Christmas charcuterie board is perfect to pair with all hot beverages.
Hot chocolate bar
But let’s talk about the cocoa. I set up a hot cocoa party with hot chocolate in the slow cooker to keep it warm, and then I tricked out our kitchen table with tons of toppings.
- whipped cream
- peanut butter
- ground cinnamon
- ground nutmeg
- candy canes
- chocolate syrup
- bourbon marshmallows
Overall it was a huge hit, and everyone could create their own boozy hot chocolate with whatever flavors they wanted.
How to store leftover hot chocolate
Place leftover hot chocolate into an airtight container and allow it to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, pour into a microwave-safe mug and heat in the microwave, or place it into a saucepan and warm to desired temperature.
You can also freeze homemade hot cocoa! Pour into ice cubes molds, popsicles molds, or airtight containers and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw and drink warm or throw them into a blender with milk for the easiest frozen hot chocolate.
Sure! Chopped chocolate is best, but chocolate chips will work great too. However, keep in mind that chocolate chips have stabilizers in them to help keep them in chip shape, so sometimes they can separate when melted. Use a kitchen scale to weigh your chocolate, whether you use chips or the real thing.
These two common ingredients may smell quite similar but are very different. Peppermint oil is extracted directly from peppermint leaf. The flavor is also quite strong. Peppermint extract is the oil mixed with alcohol. However, the two can often be swapped in many different recipes.
More Hot Chocolate Recipes
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Peppermint Hot Chocolate
For the hot chocolate
- 6 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate chopped
- 4 cups whole milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- 5 candy canes divided
For the whipped cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 drops peppermint essential oil or ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the chopped chocolate and milk until melted, about 10 minutes.
- For 20 minutes more, whisk frequently and vigorously to prevent burning and to let air into the mixture to make it creamy.
- Reduce heat to low. Before serving, stir in the vanilla and peppermint extract.
- Meanwhile, make the whipped cream. Combine whipping cream and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment) or in a large bowl with a hand-mixer. Mix on low speed until thickened.
- Add the essential oil and continue whipping until stiff. Peaks should form when you lift the beater(s) from the whipped cream.
- Place one of the candy canes in a ziptop bag. Seal. Hammer it with the back of a spoon to crush it.
- Ladle the hot chocolate into four mugs. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of candy canes. Garnish with the remaining candy canes.
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