Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate is a rich and sweet hot beverage that's perfect for winter weather. Homemade caramel sauce is blended with chocolate chips and milk, then topped with homemade whipped cream.
You're going to love this recipe for salted caramel hot chocolate because it's made entirely from scratch with a handful of easy-to-find ingredients. You may even have what you need in your pantry already!
First, you'll make your own homemade caramel sauce on the stove top, which takes only a few minutes. Next, you'll add your remaining hot chocolate ingredients and warm until ready to serve.
I've also included an easy whipped cream recipe if you're inclined to make your own - it's decadent, rich, and totally worth it! A nice alternative to marshmallows, if you're looking to mix things up.
Ingredients and substitutions
Semi-sweet chocolate chips add a rich, chocolate flavor to the hot chocolate. I do not recommend using milk chocolate chips, because your hot chocolate will turn out very sweet.
Whole milk, or any fat % of milk (or a milk substitute) can be used in this recipe. Keep in mind that the lower the fat % (like skim milk), the thinner the hot chocolate will be.
I've included my recipe for homemade whipped cream, but this can be omitted or substituted with a store bought whipped topping.
First, you'll make a caramel sauce. Then, you'll add your milk and chocolate chips and whisk until your hot chocolate is heated through and ingredients are evenly incorporated.
The entire recipe comes together in a single saucepan, making cleanup a breeze!
Hot chocolate toppings
I've included my recipe for homemade whipped cream in the recipe card below, which makes a rich and indulgent hot chocolate topping.
You can also top your hot chocolate with a handful of mini marshmallows, chocolate shavings, or chocolate syrup.
What to serve with hot chocolate
Make a snack to go with your hot chocolate - here are a few salty and sweet ideas:
- Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Snickerdoodle Puppy Chow Snack Mix
- Sweet Holiday Chex Mix
- Puff Pastry Cinnamon Twists
- Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookie Dippers
- Rosemary Roasted Mixed Nuts
- Spicy Garlic Chex Mix
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 ¾ cups milk divided
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Whipped Cream (optional)
- ½ cup heavy cream cold
- 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add brown sugar, butter, salt, and ¼ cup of milk. Stir until ingredients have melted and incorporated. Bring to a simmer and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until caramel has thickened slightly.
- Optionally, reserve 2 tablespoons of caramel sauce to use as a topping.
- Add remaining milk and chocolate chips to the saucepan of caramel. Whisk to incorporate, and continue stirring until chocolate has melted. Tiny bits of chocolate will be visible in your hot chocolate.
- Warm for another 1-2 minutes, or until hot chocolate is heated to your liking. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Whipped Cream (optional)
- In a bowl, add cold heavy cream and confectioner's sugar. Whip for 1-2 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Add a dollop on top of each mug of hot chocolate just before serving.
- Optionally, top your hot chocolate with chocolate shavings, sea salt, and reserved caramel.
- This recipe will make four large servings (think big coffee mugs), or six smaller servings.
- If omitting whipped cream topping, subtract 114 calories from each serving of hot chocolate.
- Using chocolate chips in hot chocolate will leave beautiful flecks of chocolate throughout your drink. Some will rise to the top as it sits, giving an ombre effect to your drink.