Italian hot chocolate is the ultimate delicious hot chocolate and it is so easy to make. This thick and creamy version of hot chocolate is made with simple ingredients and is perfect for any skill level. It is the perfect warm drink for those cooler months.
If you are not familiar with Italian hot chocolate (also called cioccolato caldo), it is a thicker version of American hot chocolate and it is made with just a few ingredients- milk, semi-sweet chocolate, and a little sugar. I like to add a touch of vanilla to my version as well.
Italian hot chocolate gets its thick and rich texture from using more chocolate and less milk and then lightly simmering it for about 1 minute to thicken it up.
It is really easy to make and you can adjust it to your own taste by adding more or less sugar depending on what you like. This hot chocolate is the perfect warming drink when it is cold outside and you can even make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you are ready to reheat it.
Ingredients for this thick hot chocolate
You only need a few ingredients for this hot chocolate. Here is what they are (full recipe below):
- Semi-sweet chocolate. This is the traditional style of chocolate that Italians like to use but you can use milk chocolate if you prefer. Try to use the best quality chocolate.
- Whole milk. Try to use full-fat milk since it helps with the creaminess of the hot chocolate.
- Sugar. You only need 1-2 tablespoons.
- Vanilla extract. I like adding a little vanilla at the end to balance the chocolate notes. If you prefer, you can leave this out.
That is it. So simple. You will never want to buy hot chocolate once you see how easy this is and how delicious it tastes. No thickeners are needed for this thick hot chocolate.
How to make thick hot chocolate Italian-style
This one is so easy! It takes just minutes to make this hot chocolate. Here are what the steps look like:
- Add ingredients to a medium saucepan. This is the chocolate, milk, and sugar.
- Bring it to a simmer. Bring the milk with the chocolate in it to a light simmer stirring constantly until the chocolate melts.
- Simmer for one minute: Once the chocolate is melted, simmer the mixture for one minute to thicken it up. This is how you thicken up the hot chocolate. I like the consistency of the hot chocolate with the one-minute simmer. If you want it even thicker, just simmer for a little longer.
- Add vanilla (if using). I like to add the vanilla after the simmer to keep the flavors intact.
Additions and Variations
Now this is my favorite way to make this Italian hot chocolate but make this the way you prefer. I like just a little sugar added but you can certainly add more if you prefer.
The same with the vanilla extract. I love it but maybe you prefer a pure hot chocolate drink.
I also love adding whipped cream to the top of my hot chocolate because I love whipped cream. If I am entertaining I add a few crushed hazelnuts on top as well.
These are just a few ways you can change it up.
Like our Italian panna cotta recipe, you can make this creamy hot chocolate ahead of time and it is so easy. I like to make a batch of this for my daughter, then pour it into a mason jar until cool.
Once it is cooled, just place a lid on top and place the hot chocolate in the fridge. It lasts for one week. To reheat just pour it into a cup and microwave until warm or you can reheat it in a small saucepan on the stovetop.
More Italian Sweets
If you love this Italian hot chocolate, you may also like these recipes:
Creamy Italian Hot Chocolate
- 1 small saucepan
- 2 cups whole milk
- 7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract optional
- Add chocolate, milk and sugar to a small saucepan.2 cups whole milk, 7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Bring to a light simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly.
- Once the chocolate is fully melted continue to simmer over medium heat for one minute to allow the hot chocolate to thicken.
- Remove from the heat then add vanilla and mix well.½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Taste for any additional sugar if needed.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy.