Slow cooker peppermint hot chocolate is the perfect winter weather treat. Rich and creamy, with a hint of cooling peppermint. Perfect for the holidays and cold winter evenings at home!
You'll never go back to store bought after making homemade peppermint hot chocolate. This recipe is rich, creamy, and made with just a handful of simple ingredients. Perfect for all ages!
Using a slow cooker is perfect for making peppermint hot cocoa. Toss in your ingredients and stir occasionally until hot and creamy. No need to stand over a hot stove during your next holiday party.
Serve peppermint hot chocolate during those cold winter months. It's perfect for Christmas, holiday movie night, or for warming up after a day of sledding in the snow.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Milk - I recommend whole milk for best flavor and creaminess. However, any milk will work in this recipe, like 2%, skim, cashew milk, or almond milk. Keep in mind that a thinner/lower fat milk will produce a thinner hot chocolate.
- Heavy cream - Thickens your hot chocolate slightly, making it creamy and rich. Heavy cream can be substituted with more milk if you don't have heavy cream on hand (your hot chocolate will turn out thinner when substituting with milk).
- Vanilla extract - Adds another layer of flavor to your hot chocolate.
- Peppermint extract - Adds peppermint flavor to your hot chocolate. Can be omitted to make a regular slow cooker hot chocolate.
- Salt - Enhances the flavor of your hot chocolate. You're not adding enough to make your hot chocolate 'salty', just enough to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Semi-sweet baking chocolate - I recommend using baking chocolate, or baking bars, because they're made for melting into a recipe. Semi-sweet adds just enough sweetness without making your hot chocolate too sweet. You can find baking chocolate in the baking aisle right next to the chocolate chips.
- Granulated sugar - Just enough sugar to sweeten your hot chocolate. If you're using milk chocolate instead of semi-sweet chocolate, I recommend reducing your sugar by half.
Can I use chocolate chips?
Technically, yes, chocolate chips will work in this recipe. I've made hot chocolate using baking chocolate and chocolate chips, and I prefer the smooth, consistent melting of baking chocolate.
Chocolate chips are manufactured so that they hold their shape when melted, making them more difficult to melt smoothly.
However, sometimes chocolate chips are just easier to find at your local grocer. If chocolate chips are what you can find, that's okay! Your recipe will turn out fine.
I recommend buying a good quality chocolate chip, like Ghirardelli, if possible. They have a higher quality flavor than generic brands.
What size slow cooker to use
This recipe fits into a 3 quart slow cooker with room for stirring. If doubling this recipe, I recommend a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker.
Slow cookers work best when they're about ½ to ¾ full. Keep this in mind when choosing a slow cooker for your hot chocolate.
Here's a newer version of my slow cooker shown in the photos (with a 'low' setting that's perfect for keeping hot chocolate warm!):
The perfect garnish for your slow cooker peppermint hot chocolate is of course - a candy cane! Here are a few cute ideas to add a festive finishing touch to your hot cocoa mugs:
- Mini candy canes (as shown in photos): Mini Candy Canes (50) Individually Wrapped
- Full size candy canes: Greenbrier (1) Box Candy Canes - Natural Peppermint Flavor Red & White Stripes
- Peppermint sticks: King Leo Peppermint Soft Sticks
- Candy cane spoons: Candy Cane Peppermint Spoons – 1 doz
- Peppermint mini marshmallows: Jet-Puffed Peppermint Mini Marshmallows, 10 oz Bag
Slow Cooker Peppermint Hot Chocolate
- 7 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 8 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, more to taste
- In a 3 quart slow cooker, add all of your ingredients. Give them a whisk to combine, then cover securely with a lid.
- Cook on low for 2 hours, or until your chocolate is completely melted and warmed to your desired temperature (ideally between 135 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit). Whisk every 20 to 30 minutes to incorporate melting chocolate and prevent burning on the bottom.
- Serve warm, giving your hot chocolate a quick stir before serving (chocolate will settle slightly).
- Semi-sweet baking chocolate, or baking bars, can be substituted with an equal weight of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
- Substitute 1 cup of milk with an additional cup of heavy cream for an extra-rich and indulgent hot chocolate.
- Leftover hot chocolate will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop.
- Stovetop directions: Add your ingredients to a stock pot and warm over medium heat for 20-30 minutes, or until chocolate is melted and hot chocolate has reached your desired temperature. Whisk frequently to incorporate melting chocolate and prevent scorching on the bottom.