Making microwave hot chocolate with chocolate chips is the ultimate hot beverage hack! With just 3 simple ingredients you likely have on hand already, you can have a truly decadent cup of hot cocoa. Add a few marshmallows and a sprinkle of cinnamon and you have a simple hot chocolate that rivals Starbucks!
Whether dairy-free, vegan, or gluten-free, this recipe is easily adapted to almost any dietary need. In my opinion, the best hot chocolate is the one in hand, and this one takes only a few minutes and no fuss to make!
This simple hot chocolate is best enjoyed on a cool Fall or Winter day. It's a great pairing with Christmas cookie making because it's easy enough to whip together with almost no extra effort!
If you're looking for a cozy winter treat to pair this microwave hot chocolate with, our Gluten-Free Gingerbread Loaf Cake is one of my favorites!
This rich and indulgent character of this simple hot chocolate recipe was inspired by our Thick Italian Hot Chocolate recipe on this site. It's a must-make for special occasions like New Year's or a date night treat!
Why this recipe works
Because chocolate chips are typically made of dark or semi-sweet chocolate and already contain sugar and cocoa, you can really make a hot chocolate with two ingredients!
Plus a little vanilla for a smooth taste and a pinch of salt to bring out the velvety chocolate is a recipe you're sure to repeat.
3 Simple Ingredients
There is no need to complicate! You really need only 3 ingredients plus a pinch of table salt to make a hot chocolate that's just as good as your favorite coffee shop.
- Milk - What's your hot chocolate style? This recipe will work with super rich whole milk, middle-of-the-road 2%, skinny skim, or any plant-based milk like almond milk. If you use regular dairy milk, be careful not to overheat so you avoid a skin on the top, but if you do it's easily removed and the hot chocolate is salvaged!
- Chocolate Chips - I recommend mini chocolate chips since they dissolve much faster than the full-sized ones, but use whatever you have! This recipe is all about convenience. I find dark chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate makes the best hot cocoa.
- Vanilla Extract - Just a micro splash of vanilla adds all that delicious smoothness that "professional" hot chocolates boast.
- Salt - A pinch of salt isn't necessary, but you'll find it brings out the richness of the chocolate for a super luxurious drink.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Ready for a 4-step recipe that is completely done in under 3 minutes? Me too. Let's go!
Pour your milk into a microwaveable mug. A standard mug is 10 ounces and a cup (what you need) is 8 ounces. So if you simply fill a standard coffee mug to near the top with just a bit of room for marshmallows at the end, you're good to go!
Add the Chocolate Chips. That's it - just plunk them in!
Microwave on high until your beverage is nice and toasty. For most microwaves, this is somewhere between 1 - 2 ½ minutes. It's better to microwave a little less at the start and increase the time rather than have it boil and spill over or burn. The beverage setting or 1 minute is usually a good place to start.
Add the vanilla and salt and whisk the ingredients together until the chocolate is melted and well incorporated. You can stir vigorously with a spoon but a small whisk makes this whole process much easier. Top with marshmallows or whipped cream if you like and enjoy!
Hint: Using a small whisk to mix the chocolate chips into the milk really simplifies the process. But if you don't have a small whisk, simply stir as vigorously as you can without spilling using a spoon (or even a fork).
We've tried and loved all of these substitutions to make a hot chocolate that's friendly for everyone!
- Vegan and Dairy-Free - Use a plant-based milk like almond milk, oat milk, or lite coconut milk and vegan chocolate chips. I usually make this recipe with almond milk and Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips.
- Gluten-Free - Use regular dairy milk or a plant-based milk that is gluten-free plus gluten-free Chocolate Chips like the Guittard or Enjoy Life brands.
- Allergen-Free - Try hemp milk or rice milk with allergen-friendly top 8 free chocolate chips like the Enjoy Life brand.
This simple hot chocolate recipe is almost too easy to customize! Try one of these awesome variations:
- Mocha - Use a little less milk and make the hot chocolate as directed. Then, add a shot of espresso and stir in before serving!
- Spiked - Use a little less milk and make the hot chocolate as directed. Then add your boozy addition of choice - amaretto, Bailey's Irish Cream, and vodka are popular!
- Peanut Butter - Add creamy peanut butter one rounded teaspoon at a time to taste and stir in until melted and well incorporated. Or add peanut butter baking chips!
- White Chocolate - Use white chocolate chips in place of regular dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips.
- Peppermint - Skip the vanilla extract and add a few drops of peppermint extract to taste. Or make the hot chocolate according to the recipe and use a candy cane to stir!
Try one of our other delicious variations on the stove top like this Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate with cocoa powder.
The best thing about this recipe is that anyone can make it and it requires very little ingredients and equipment that you probably already have in your kitchen! Here's what you need:
- 1 standard mug (10 ounce size or larger)
How to make this recipe without exact measuring
If your mug is a standard 10 ounce coffee mug, you can estimate 8 ounces (leave just enough room for marshmallows) and avoid dirtying a standard measuring cup.
Simply add a micro splash of vanilla extract and a few shakes of salt.
The one ingredient I do recommend measuring is the 3 tablespoons of chocolate chips.
This hot chocolate is pretty stellar as is, but if you want to make it even better, here are some great suggestions:
- Marshmallows - Add mini marshmallows (obviously), but did you know that you can buy those super itty bitty tiny hot chocolate marshmallows that you used to get in packets when you were a kid?!
- Whipped Cream - Either traditional or our Essential Dairy-Free Whipped Cream tastes amazing in this recipe.
- Caramel Sauce - You can mix it straight into the hot chocolate or drizzle it over marshmallows or whipped cream.
- Candy Cane - Plop a candy cane right into your hot chocolate and stir it like you would with a spoon!
Storage & To Go
While best enjoyed as soon as you make it, you can wait for any leftover hot chocolate to cool and store it covered in the refrigerator for two days. Reheat in the microwave and then mix it again with a whisk when you're ready to enjoy it!
To make this recipe to-go, I recommend microwaving in a regular microwavable ceramic mug first before transferring it to a travel mug. Most travel mugs are not microwave-safe.
- Use a small whisk to mix everything together effortlessly. If you don't have one already, it's a simple and affordable investment you'll surely use again!
- Use mini chocolate chips for the easiest and fastest mixing. Regular sized chocolate chips work too but you may need to heat the hot chocolate more or stir more vigorously to mix it all together.
- For a super quick hot chocolate, it's ok to estimate measurements. I recommend measuring the chocolate chips with a tablespoon, but the milk and other ingredients can be estimated (see the "equipment" section above for more details).
Frequently Asked Questions
The hot milk will melt the chocolate chips, so there is no need to melt them before placing the whole hot chocolate mixture in the microwave.
I do not recommend using water in this recipe. Since it is just two main ingredients with flavorings, removing one of them would not create the nice creamy hot chocolate we know and love!
You can absolutely make this on the stove. Warm the milk first in a small saucepan on medium heat, stirring on occasion, then add the other ingredients and whisk together until smooth.