10 unique things to add to your hot chocolate

Roxy BodyslamJ/ShutterstockYou can add new flavours or liquor to your hot chocolate.
  • Hot chocolate is the perfect way to warm up and celebrate the holidays.
  • Flavorful add-ins can transform simple hot cocoa into something special.
  • Sweet add-ins include marshmallows, whipped cream, caramel, flavored spreads, and maple syrup.
  • To transform cocoa into a cocktail, add flavored liqueurs or traditional spirits.
  • Other unique ways to liven up hot chocolate include adding coffee, spices, and extracts.

There’s no denying that a steaming cup of hot chocolate is classic, especially during the holidays.

Whether you choose to whip up homemade hot chocolate with fresh milk and chopped chocolate pieces or prefer to stick with instant packets, there are so many delicious additions that can help jazz up any cup of cocoa.


Marshmallows and whipped cream are classic hot chocolate add-ins for a reason.

gpointstudio/ iStockYou can’t go wrong with marshmallows.

When it comes to hot chocolate add-ins, nothing beats traditional marshmallows or whipped cream. The lightness and creaminess created by melting marshmallows or whipped cream into hot cocoa to balance the thickness and richness of the chocolate perfectly.

Not to mention, everyone loves using hot chocolate as an excuse to eat marshmallows straight out of the bag or whipped cream right from the can.


Alcohol of all kinds can be added to hot cocoa to create a festive cocktail.

FlickrThere are lots of ways to spike hot chocolate.

Whether at a holiday party or just home with friends and family, hot chocolate cocktails are a wonderful way to get into the spirit and add a unique flavour to traditional cocoa.

For traditionalists, bourbon, rum, Irish cream, and brandy are excellent additions. For alcohol that adds an extra burst of flavour, pour in flavored liqueurs such as peppermint, coffee, hazelnut, orange, cherry, and more.

Surprisingly, red wine is another great way to spike hot chocolate. The flavours of wine and chocolate really compliment one another and the wine adds a unique depth to the drink.


For hot chocolate that will offer an energy boost, add in some coffee or espresso.

Bogdanhoda/iStockMake it extra caffeinated.

You can easily amp up a hot chocolate by adding in coffee or espresso. Adding in a packet of hot chocolate can be an easy way to make a homemade mocha.


Nothing is more seasonal than some refreshing peppermint.

bhofack2/iStockAdding peppermint makes it the perfect holiday drink.

The cool, bright flavour of peppermint pairs perfectly with the thick, rich flavour of chocolate. So, it’s no wonder why peppermint has always been a popular hot chocolate add-in.

You can add peppermint flavour to your cocoa in a variety of ways. A dash of peppermint extract, a dollop of peppermint cream, or a sprinkling of crushed candy canes on top can all add that bright, minty quality that’s synonymous with the holidays.

And, of course, you can always use a peppermint stick to garnish and stir your hot chocolate.


Adding spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon to a cup of cocoa gives the drink a deliciously different taste.

SEASTOCK/ iStockSeasonal spices will make your hot chocolate more festive.

Capture the quintessential holiday flavours of spiced cookies, pumpkin pie, and eggnog by adding seasonal spices to your hot chocolate.

Whether mixed into the drink itself or sprinkled on top, spices such as cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and anise can completely transform an ordinary cup of cocoa into something unique and festive.


To make Mexican hot chocolate, add chilli powder.

5PH/iStockMexican hot chocolate has chilli powder and cinnamon.

Typically made with bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, and a touch of chilli powder, Mexican hot chocolate is known and loved for its rich flavour and spiciness.

Those who want their cocoa extra spicy can add a pinch of cayenne pepper as well.


For extra sweetness, add a touch of caramel to your hot chocolate.

siims/ iStockAdd the perfect amount of caramel.

There’s something about thick, sweet caramel that is undeniably delicious in desserts and coffee. Adding caramel sauce to hot chocolate can add a unique depth of flavour and a bit of extra sweetness.

For variations on caramel hot cocoa, try salted caramel or dulce de leche.


Flavored extracts aren’t just for baking — they make great additions to hot cocoa.

Flickr/macinateYou can add basically any flavour to your hot chocolate.

Adding unique flavours to hot chocolate is as easy as adding a half teaspoon or so of flavored extracts to the drink.

From traditional flavours like vanilla, amaretto, almond, and cinnamon to more exciting flavours like butterscotch, coconut, cherry, raspberry, and orange, flavored extracts are a quick and easy way to liven up hot chocolate.


Flavored spreads add a ton of flavour without adding extra effort.

jirkaejc / iStockMelt in some spreads.

Another no-fuss way to add flavour to your hot cocoa is by melting in a spoonful of your favourite flavored spread.

Peanut butter, cookie butter, and Nutella are all good to add-in since their flavours pair well with chocolate. These spreads can even be mixed in with whipped cream to create a uniquely flavored whipped cream topping.


Maple syrup adds sweetness and unique flavour.

Flickr / Mårten PerssonMaple syrup adds some sweetness.

Instead of adding sugar to sweeten up your hot chocolate, try maple syrup. It not only adds the right amount of sweetness but also gives the cocoa a unique maple flavour.

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