9 Ways to Spice Up Your Hot Chocolate

Easy extras take the sweet treat up a notch.

When I saw a hot chocolate bar with plenty of fixings at a baby shower, my eyes probably popped out of my head cartoon character style. These days I am taking some inspiration from that incredible party set up and putting my own stamp on hot chocolate at home. I have been conducting some very serious hot chocolate research with batches of nostalgia-inducing Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix as my base. I am excited to share nine ways you can spice up your hot cocoa too.


Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on top. I always forget how potent this flavor can be so I suggest adding just a bit, stirring and tasting. This was my fave of our hot chocolate concoctions, because it added such a unique taste that reminded me of Mexican chocolate.


If you have a spicy food lover at your place, why not add a pinch of cayenne? My restraint advice from the cinnamon is even more important for cayenne. Add just a sprinkle, give it a swirl and taste before going wild with it. The sweet heat of this beverage was my husband’s top choice.


This is more of a coffee drink than a hot chocolate, but it was simply too yummy to leave out. I added two teaspoons of hot cocoa mix to my regular cup of morning java. The chocolate flavor blended so well with the milk and sugar. I felt like I had an instant mocha at a fraction of café prices.


Speaking of cafes, a little birdie told me that it is vanilla flavor that makes Starbucks hot chocolate so tasty. While we don’t keep vanilla syrup on hand at our place, vanilla extract can do the trick. Again, restraint is the key as this ingredient can come on strong. We simply added a couple of drops to a steamy mug and were please with the subtle hints of vanilla flavor.


Drop in some Bailey’s Original Irish Cream. Enough said.

Candy canes

Pop in a candy cane. The mini variety is a good fit for mugs. This will add minty flavor that will be tasty this fall and a big hit for the holidays, too.

Peanut butter

Sprinkle peanut butter chips on top. They meld perfectly with this rich beverage. Who needs peanut butter and jelly when you can have peanut butter and chocolate, right?

Gourmet marshmallows

Stop by this Rogers Park sweet shop and pick up some creative marshmallows to pop on top.

Homemade whipped cream

Make homemade whipped cream. It’s crazy easy and would be the perfect finishing touch for any of these sweet cups.

The chilly Chicago weather is already here, but a steaming pot of hot cocoa on the stove should make the transition from fall to Chi-beria a little less painful. Playing around with different flavors as a family could even make it joyful. Happy sipping!

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