Cioccolata Calda Recipe: Authentic Italian Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate Recipe
Hot Chocolate Cup in Italy

Cioccolata Calda Recipe: Authentic Italian Hot Chocolate

The quintessential winter treat, cioccolata calda (hot chocolate) is beloved by Italians for its rich flavor derived from the use of milk and melted chocolate. A delicious staple of Italy’s characteristic Christmas markets, cioccolata calda is also perfect for a quiet evening at home.

  • Prep Time5 min
  • Cook Time15 min
  • Total Time20 min
  • Yield2 Servings


For Cioccolata calda (Hot Chocolate):

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 ½ tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp corn starch
  • 4 ¼ oz dark chocolate 60% to 69% cacao

For Optional whipped cream:

  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream



For the optional whipped cream:  Pour cold heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract into a mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to whip the cream. Continue to whip until peaks begin to form and stop periodically to test the peaks (medium to stiff peaks are best for this recipe). When the whipped cream is ready, place in the refrigerator and start preparing the hot chocolate.


For the hot chocolate: Roughly chop the dark chocolate. Set a medium bowl over a saucepan or pot of simmering water (the bowl must not touch the water) and put the chocolate in the bowl. With a whisk or spatula, stir continuously until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Put the melted chocolate aside.


Pour the milk into a medium saucepan followed by the corn starch. Stir the mixture then add the cocoa powder and stir once more.


Turn on the heat to medium-low and let the mixture heat up while whisking continuously. Add the sugar, then continue to whisk. Ensure that the mixture does not boil.


Add the melted chocolate to the saucepan with the milk and cocoa powder mixture. Continue to stir until thickened to your desired consistency. Pour into a mug and top with homemade whipped cream.

Note: If the chocolate ends up being too dense, dilute with a bit of milk or more whipped cream.

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