What's better than sipping a cup of hot chocolate to relax after a long day? Its decadent, heart-warming flavor is the ultimate treat. And with a hot chocolate mix, you can make this drink in an instant by just adding hot milk or water. If you want a little extra flavor, there are hot chocolate mixes with cinnamon or vanilla as well.
However, it can be challenging to find a mix that you love. Whether you want something decadent, vegan, or organic, we've got you covered! After searching the Internet, our favorite is Equal Exchange's Organic Dark Hot Chocolate due to its strong chocolate flavor and fair-trade cocoa. Check out the rest of our picks, and be sure to read through the buying guide for all the information you need to make a decision.
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A hot chocolate mix is a convenient way to enjoy a tasty drink instantly. To find the best option for you, consider factors like the quality of the ingredients and flavor.
Hot chocolate might be a simple beverage, but there are several flavors available. If you are into an intense and bitter chocolate flavor, a dark chocolate mix is a great option. Adults may prefer dark chocolate as well since it's less sweet.
Milk chocolate is the most popular choice since it has a rich, sweet taste without bitterness. You can also go with a white chocolate mix for something sweet and creamy. Since it's extra sweet, it's an especially good choice for kids!
If you're enjoying your hot chocolate with other sweets, we recommend milk or dark hot chocolate. White chocolate might be too sweet when paired with other desserts.
If you are in the mood for something different, look for a hot chocolate mix with additional flavorings or toppings. Some have marshmallow bits that rehydrate in the drink, adding a fun touch. Others may have additional flavors, like mint, vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut. Choose a hot chocolate based on the flavors and toppings you love!
If you can't find exactly what you want, you can always add extracts, syrups, spices, or even extra chocolate. You can even use a little flavored coffee creamer! For extra visual impact and flavor, consider topping it with whipped cream, caramel, a cinnamon stick, or a candy cane.
Packaging affects factors such as storage, ease of preparation, and even the quality of the powder. There are two main types of packaging for hot chocolate mixes: canisters and packets.
Canisters allow you to control how much powder you use, like using more powder for a stronger flavor. Canisters are also environmentally-friendly since you can reuse them to store something else. However, be sure to avoid getting moisture inside the canister to prevent spoilage.
On the other hand, packets are great for single use. They are easy to store and bring with you since they don't take up a lot of space. However, you might find it difficult at first to balance the right amount of hot water or milk to mix ratio.
A chocolate mix might use ingredients that can trigger allergies, such as soy or milk. Nevertheless, there are many products without common allergens! These products are also great for those who follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan diet.
Some products are dairy-free as long as you make them with water instead of dairy milk. Some dairy-free or vegan mixes use alternatives like dried coconut milk or cream, while others leave out any dairy alternatives altogether. This may lead to a less creamy texture, but hot chocolate doesn't require dairy or non-dairy milk to be tasty.
Make sure to look for official certifications, such as certified gluten-free, on the mix's packaging. Some products might be manufactured in a facility that also processes products that use common food allergens. Make sure the hot chocolate is produced in a dedicated facility to avoid cross-contamination.
If you want to know exactly what's in your mix, check the ingredient list. To create a smooth and rich hot chocolate, brands may add artificial flavors, sweeteners, anti-caking agents, or emulsifiers to their mixes. Some products, especially those containing nonfat milk, may contain preservatives to ensure freshness.
While the presence of artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, and anti-caking agents likely won't harm you, they may affect the taste and texture of the hot chocolate. If you're concerned about an ingredient, like artificial vanilla flavor, read the customer reviews to see if it tastes real or off-putting.
Additionally, many products are made from cocoa beans that have been treated with alkali, an agent that helps neutralize the acidity in the beans and make the powder dissolve more easily. Alkalized, or Dutch process, cocoa has a mellow, smoother flavor.
On the other hand, natural cocoa has not been alkalized and has a more acidic and fruity flavor. However, it can be challenging to find hot chocolate mixes that use natural cocoa. If you prefer this, it may be easier to make your hot chocolate from scratch.
While hot chocolate has a reputation for being a decadent treat, there are healthier versions available. The two main concerns when it comes to hot chocolate are sugar and fat.
Look at the grams of sugar per serving and source of sweetness. Some are sweetened naturally, offering a classic flavor. Some products are made with artificial sweeteners like sucralose or refined sugars like high-fructose corn syrup, while others have unrefined sugars like coconut palm sugar.
Artificial sweeteners can have an aftertaste, but they often have no carbs or calories. The choice is up to you, but artificial sweeteners may have adverse health effects if consumed in large amounts. We recommend natural low-calorie sweeteners, like stevia, since they don't have the potential health risks of artificial sweeteners.
Some mixes, especially sweet milk or white chocolate options, may be less healthy. However, dark chocolate mixes may be lower in fat and sugar. If the mix gives you the option of using milk or water, water obviously won't add additional sugar, calories, or fat. However, milk will make the texture creamier!
Hot chocolate is one of the world's favorite drinks, but cocoa is tough to grow. Additionally, cocoa farmers are exposed to dangerous working environments.
For example, they often have to handle pesticides without any protective equipment or work long hours without resting. Since their pay is typically very low, child labor is often used to save costs and make prices competitive.
However, fair trade brands (sometimes known as "equal exchange" brands) are dedicated to buying cocoa beans at a reasonable price to help increase the income of cocoa farmers. Furthermore, they are committed to using non-exploitative farming and processing practices.
There are many fair trade organizations that provide certification. To quickly see if a hot chocolate mix is produced ethically, look for a certification on the packaging, product information, or brand website.
The cocoa beans from fair trade brands are also sourced carefully and often contain no artificial fillers or preservatives. In general, we recommend looking for brands that are transparent about how they source their cocoa and any other labor-intensive ingredients, like spices or vanilla.
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Premium Indulgence Hot Cocoa Mix
Best Classic Hot Chocolate With a Smooth, Rich Taste
Organic Dark Hot Chocolate
Best Vegan Dark Chocolate Mix That's Ethically Sourced
Double Dutch Dark Chocolate
Best Allergy-Friendly Hot Chocolate
White Chocolate Flavored Sweet Ground Powder
Best White Chocolate Mix for a Sweet Treat
Hot Cocoa Mix with Mini Marshmallows
Best Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows for Kids
Gourmet Hot Cocoa Candycane
Best Peppermint Hot Chocolate for the Holiday Season
Organic Drinking Chocolate
Best Hot Chocolate Mix With Minimal Ingredients
Land O' Lakes
Cocoa Classics Hot Cocoa Mix
Best for Families That Like to Mix It Up
Hot Cocoa Mix Milk Chocolate Flavor With Reduced Calorie
Best for Decadent Hot Chocolate With Reduced Sugar
Lake Champlain Chocolates
Spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate
Best Unique Mix With a Kick of Spice
Made from Dutch cocoa and milk powder, this mix is a great choice for classic creamy and rich hot chocolate. Since it includes dried milk and creamer, it will still taste rich if you prepare it with water. This box includes 15 single-serving packets, so it's easy to make a cup without measuring.
Some reviewers note that it is on the sweeter side. On the other hand, many reviewers compliment the rich and smooth chocolatey taste. There are also reports that the mix dissolves well and doesn't leave clumps, unlike other brands.
Equal Exchange's hot chocolate mix is made with fair trade and organic ingredients. The cocoa is sourced from small farms in the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Paraguay. The ingredient list is simple, and they use actual dark chocolate. Plus, it's dairy-free and vegan. If you want something with a kick, try their spicy flavor!
This mix is praised for being rich and not overly sweet. Since the flavor is dark chocolate, which is a bit bitter, it may not be a hit with kids. However, many reviewers add that this hot chocolate mix tastes great with dairy-free alternatives like almond or oat milk.
Castle Kitchen's hot chocolate mix suits a number of dietary needs, including those allergic to dairy, soy, nuts, and gluten. Plus, it doesn't contain any artificial flavors or preservatives. If you're looking for more flavor, they also have caramel and mint options!
There are some reports that it takes several scoops to get a strong chocolate flavor. However, many reviewers appreciate having an allergy-friendly option that tastes like classic hot chocolate! Some recommend adding dairy-free alternatives, such as coconut milk, for more flavor.
This mix from Ghirardelli has a unique and subtle white chocolate flavor, making it perfect for kids or those looking for maximum sweetness. Plus, it comes in this huge 50-ounce container, making it large enough for a family to share.
It should be noted that the flavor is on the mild side. Nevertheless, many reviewers like that it makes sweet and unique hot cocoa! They also like the large container, saying it's great for making many cafe-style white chocolate drinks or mochas at home.
Looking for a nostalgic treat? This classic hot chocolate has mini marshmallows mixed into the powder for a fun twist. Its mild flavor and sweetness make it great for kids, too. Plus, this container contains enough packets for the whole family.
There are some reports that it doesn't have an intense chocolate taste. However, many report that it's a big hit with kids! They also like its sweet flavor and creamy texture. Plus, they love that it includes so many packets, saying one box lasts for a long time.
This mix is perfect for the winter holidays! It has a milk chocolate flavor with a hit of peppermint from real pieces of candy canes. It comes in a large one-pound container, making it a great choice for the whole family. Plus, the chocolate flavor is mild enough for kids.
Overall, this mix is praised for its creamy texture and sweet taste. While the chocolate flavor isn't intense, most like that it strikes the perfect balance between peppermint and chocolate. They also appreciate that they can see the pieces of candy cane in the powder!
This simple, vegan hot chocolate is made with only three ingredients to produce a genuine chocolate flavor. It is also certified organic and gluten-free. It's sweetened with organic coconut palm sugar and organic cane sugar, which have a fuller flavor than refined white sugar.
Since it doesn't use many ingredients, it's worth noting that this mix has a stronger flavor classic hot chocolate. In fact, many love its bold and rich chocolate taste! They report that it's creamy, too. Some also mention that it tastes great with all types of milk, including almond and coconut milk.
If you love to try out different flavors, then this variety pack might be an excellent option. This package has four flavors: chocolate, French vanilla, salted caramel, and mint. There are 34 packs total, making it ideal for families or couples with different flavor preferences.
This set is widely praised for its variety, with many reviewers saying that all of the flavors are delicious. Some note that kids enjoy this hot chocolate, too. Plus, reviewers report that it makes a great gift!
If you're looking for something a little healthier, we recommend this milk chocolate mix from Swiss Miss. It only has 35 calories per serving, which is less than half of other brands. Plus, it has zero grams of fat and four grams of sugar.
There are some reports that it doesn't dissolve very well. Otherwise, most like that it's a healthier version of a decadent treat! They say that it's surprisingly sweet and tasty for being so low in sugar and calories.
If you enjoy the combination of sweet and spicy flavors, this unique hot chocolate mix is for you! It's made from five natural ingredients, including ancho chili, chipotle peppers, and cinnamon. Plus, you can enjoy it if you're vegan or allergic to dairy.
Reviewers note that this is quite spicy! However, many still love the taste, saying it's flavorful and rich. Some even note that this is the only mix with enough heat for those that love spice. They also like that they can adjust the amount of mix to suit their spice preference.
If you're looking for uses for leftover hot chocolate mix, how about adding it to cakes or brownies? Here's a simple recipe by SweetHailey to make a quick mug brownie to get you started!
Ever wondered about how long your hot chocolate mix will stay good or the difference between cocoa and chocolate? Check out our frequently asked questions!
Yes, hot chocolate powder does expire. The mix should have the best by date on the packaging, which can range from a few months to a few years. Mixes with milk powder are more likely to have a shorter shelf life. If you want a longer shelf life, look for options with preservatives.
It's extra important to keep canisters sealed while in storage to prevent moisture or pests from getting into the powder. When you prepare your hot chocolate, don't drink it if it looks or smells off.
While both of these terms are used interchangeably, there is a technical difference. Hot chocolate is made from melted chocolate, while hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder. However, these terms mean the same thing when it comes to most hot chocolate mixes!
However, if you want a rich treat, try making real hot chocolate! It's also known as drinking chocolate, and it's easy to prepare. Simply melt pieces of chocolate into a saucepan of milk and add any additional flavorings you want.
The most common pairing with hot chocolate is, of course, marshmallows, but did you know you can also add spices or even cookie pieces to add more flavor and texture? There are so many ways to customize your drink. Check out some potential toppings in the links below!
Looking for even more hot chocolate options? Check out Amazon's best selling hot cocoa mixes!
No. 1: Ghirardelli｜Premium Indulgence Hot Cocoa Mix
No. 2: Equal Exchange ｜Organic Dark Hot Chocolate
No. 3: Castle Kitchen｜Double Dutch Dark Chocolate
No. 4: Ghirardelli｜White Chocolate Flavored Sweet Ground Powder
No. 5: Nestle｜Hot Cocoa Mix with Mini Marshmallows
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