How to Make Italian Hot Chocolate

Learn how to easily make rich, decadent Italian Hot Chocolate at home.

How to Make Italian Hot Chocolate

I am revisiting a post I did way back when I was still knee deep learning about this crazy thing we call blogging . I’m calling a mulligan on this one. It’s perhaps my FAVORITE cold weather drink – Ciccolata Calda. Otherwise known as Italian hot chocolate, in my opinion it’s the best hot chocolate in the world. I think once you’ve tasted it, it will be your favorite too.

If you’ve been making something from a packet, and it’s okay if you have, you just didn’t know any better, we’re here to help. Ditch the packet and make this instead. You’ll never look back.

How to Make Italian Hot ChocolateHow To Make Italian Hot Chocolate

Italian hot chocolate is rick, thick and decadent. It has an almost pudding like consistency and big bold chocolate flavor. It’s made with just 4 simple ingredients and takes less than 5 minutes to mix up on your stove. It will warm you from head to toe and make you smile wider with every sip.

To get that rich flavor be sure to use the highest quality chocolate you can find. It does make a difference. I used Scharffen Berger 70% Cacao Bittersweet Fine Artisan Dark Chocolate.

How to Make Italian Hot ChocolateHow to Make Whipped Cream Hearts?

If you want to make it extra special add a few whipped cream hearts, pictured top of post.

It’s super simple. Just spread whipped cream into a baking pan, freeze and when solid, use a cookie cutter to cut into the desired shape. I like hearts so hearts it was. It would be cute to use seasonal cookie cutters as well.

Hot Chocolate Collage
Next time the weather dip and you need to be warmed up I hope you’ll try a cup of Italian Hot Chocolate. Or just because you’re craving something rich and decadent and don’t want to eat cake.


How to Make Italian Hot Chocolate

Rich and decadent Italian Hot Chocolate


  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate 70% or higher
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch


  1. Into a saucepan over LOW heat add chocolate and a smidge of milk. Stir with a wooden spoon until melted.
  2. SLOWLY add remaining milk until it’s well combined. Add sugar. Mix to combine. Whisk in corn starch.
  3. Continue cooking over LOW heat until it becomes thick, creamy and coats the back of the wooden spoon.


  1. 1

    My daughter adores hot chocolate. Unfortunately, she has recently begun dealing with a few lactose issues and has had to cut waaay back on milk, and in her mind there just is NO substitute for a nice steamy cup of hot chocolate. Hence… the lactose enzyme pills get a work out and she still has a cup now and then. I will print this for her, and I’m certain the whipped cream hearts will be a part of it too! Nicely done!

    • 1.1
      Karen /

      I’m lactose intolerant too. Just get lactose free milk. I actually like the Food Lion or Walmart brand better than name brand Lactaid. Breyers also make a lactose free vanilla ice cream that tastes no different than regular. That way I don’t have to worry about the pills, which I do use when I eat out.

    • 1.2
      Victoria /

      I’d also recommend a good quality soy milk such as bonsoy… I think the creaminess and nutiness actually makes for a better hot chocolate than regular milk!

    • 1.3

      My son is allergic to milk- here is what we do- combine whatever milk substitiute you like ( Almond, Soy….) with some canned coconut milk- ( not the box kind found in refrig section of Whole Foods)
      Coconut milk fat has the same mouth feel as dairy fat- plus the slight coconut flavor in the milk adds to the chocolate
      Yum!- We use a couple of TABLESPoONS of the full fat kind- freeze the leftovers- But the light version would work as well- If you like that-Home made Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream is to die for as well!

      • Chickie Kat /

        Coconut milk is fantastic for this (especially for those with dairy and soy allergies)! I simply use the canned kind; it just requires a quick stir and it is great every time 🙂

  2. 2

    This looks so good! Can you send over a cup, pretty please?!?!?!

  3. 3

    I’m glad I saw this – I’m thinking this is the way my favorite cafe in Santa Cruz called Chocolate makes their hot chocolate. I’m going to try this over the weekend for sure.

    • 3.1
      Janine /

      The folks in Santa Cruz use tapioca flour to thicken it, I believe, since I asked years ago and someone told me! That is what I use, and serve it in beautiful little demitasse cups with dessert after a fabulous Italian meal. It is so rich, the smaller quantity seems to work well…meaning I get the left overs!

  4. 4

    Oh, gosh, Paula, your hot chocolate looks AMAZING! Gorgeous photos~

  5. 5

    Yes, yes YES. Yes, yes.

  6. 6

    mmm…yes, please! beautiful!

  7. 7

    the only way to make hot chocolate! 🙂

  8. 8

    this looks so good!!! i love hot chocolate

  9. 9
    Christina /

    Is that a heart marshmallow on top? Did
    You make that too?

  10. 10

    Love this, Paula!!

  11. 11
    AngelinaRose /

    I love it I never tried Italian Hot Chocolate before I tried Mexican Hot Chocolate and I love it but now I will try this one, thank you 🙂

  12. 12

    I wish you could see me right now. My jaw literally dropped!

  13. 13

    Oh my. I NEED! I love the addition of corn starch to thicken it up. It looks positively sinful!

  14. 14

    I’m coming right over. You *do* know I have a hot chocolate addiction, right? And I agree, Ciccolata Calda is the absolutely best. Hands down.

  15. 15

    This just makes me happy!!! The original post is what really made us friends, wouldn’t you say? Plus, I can vouch for how amazingly good this is. Swoon!!!

  16. 16

    Lovely! Perfect for winter 🙂

  17. 17

    Paula, it turned colder here overnight and this was a “heart-warming” sight to wake up to! (Thank you for the link to your whipped cream hearts, too.) I’m usually a coffee drinker in the a.m. but you’re causing me to seriously reconsider…

  18. 18

    My cup would look like that last one – empty! This is what I love about winter – hot chocolate!

  19. 19

    I am definitely going to have to try this soon! It look out of this world delicious!

  20. 21

    I have fallen head over heels in love with that whipped cream! How brilliant it is!

  21. 22

    I want a cup right now for dessert:)Will go check out the pretty whipped cream hearts…mi piace!!!xx

  22. 23

    I would need to make a double batch just for myself…no..a triple batch.

  23. 24

    As you know it’s bloody cold today! What’s up with that? Oh well, it gives me an excuse to make this 😀 MmmmMmmm

  24. 25

    Wow this looks amazing and love the whipped cream hearts. That is so sweet and complements very well.

  25. 26
    Jennifer /

    Oh my dear you have hit on something here. When we lived in La Maddalena, Sardegna we would go to the piazza in the town and went to a favorite coffee bar that served this type of beverage to the young ones. I fell in love with it. Thank you for providing this.

  26. 27

    oh em gee Paula! This looks so so yummy! your pictures are spectacular! Love this! pinning on pinterest now!!

  27. 28
    Jennifer /

    Instead of Milk you could possibly substitute with Almond milk or soy milk. My son is allergic to ALL dairy AND soy, so even the lactose free milk doesn’t work for us. I have done similar recipes with almond milk for my son and it worked perfectly.

  28. 29

    Pudding-like hot chocolate sounds absolutely fabulous; I can’t wait to try it!

  29. 30

    This is one of the things I miss most about Italy! I made it tonight & it’s delicious. I’d like it to be a touch thicker but I used skim milk & that’s probably why. A perfect treat for a cold night. Thanks for sharing!!

  30. 31
    Jatin /

    I tried the recipe, awesome. I used cadbury dark choclate. I didn’t used corn starch and I believe we don’t even need that. Just follow the recipe without corn starch and you will love that. From now own I will make my own italian hot choclate…bye bye…cafe…And thanks to paula…

  31. 32
    NanaYaa /

    Oh my goodnesss…
    This is the most insanely delectable hot chocolate I have tasted.
    2 thumbs up…

  32. 33

    Love this! I totally wish I had a cup right now! Love those hearts, too!

  33. 34

    Delicious! I can’t wait to try this 😀

  34. 35
    Jamie /

    I have just got home from a trip to Rome and stumbled upon Italian hot chocolate – I am not a massive fan of hot drinks but their hot chocolate is absolutely amazing (as well as their ice cream). I am definitely going to try this recipe, thank you for sharing.

  35. 36

    I traveled to Italy on three separate occasions and their hot chocolate rivals any! I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you for sharing!

  36. 37
    Tina /

    I just made this and it is EXACTLY how my local italian coffee house serves it! I used half the quantities and used cornflour [which I think is the UK version of corn starch?] and, although it took about 20 minutes to thicken, it was was well worth the effort.

    I’ll be making this for my nephew over Christmas! Thank you so much for posting the recipe.

  37. 38
    MikeG /

    I just made this using Nestle Le Chocolat, which is 98% chocolate. Delicious, I Haven’t had better even in Milan.

  38. 39

    This looks & sounds amazing. It’s pretty hot right now in Florida but I’m bookmarking this for winter!!

    Would love for you to check out today’s ‘Flat White: Espresso & Milk’ post over at Haiku House.

    Have a wonderful day!


  39. 40
    Marlafu /

    Actually that’s Spanish Hot Chocolate. In Spain chocolate is thick, to dip churros or buñuelos in it.

  40. 41
    Kali /

    It doesn’t thicken very well for me. I’ve whisked for ten minutes and still doesn’t thicken. Does 2% and whole milk differ that much for this recipe?

    • 41.1

      Hi Kali, I’ve not tried it with 2%, try increasing the heat and stirring until it thickens. Hope that helps.

  41. 42
    Christa /

    I’m lactose intolerant too. The best hot cocoa I’ve made is with goat milk, believe it or not. It was creamy and tangy. Give it a try.

  42. 43

    Awesomeness Italian Hot Chocolate recipe! I’ll definitely try it, but instead of 2 tablespoons sugar i’ll add honey! I found your post from Pinterest, Paula! Thanks for sharing!

  43. 44

    I’d love to make this Italian Hot Chocolate for my husband in morning! Thanks, Paula for sharing.

  44. 45
    Cara /

    The first time I had this confection (addiction) was in Firenze in 1995. It was love at first taste! Does this make one cup? Is there a way to make this for several? Thank you for posting!

    • 45.1

      Hi Cara – It makes two small cups and you can definitely double the recipe if needed. Enjoy.

  45. 46

    My husband LOVES this Italian hot chocolate. Even I enjoy it, and I am not a big fan of chocolate!


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