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Thick and creamy Italian hot chocolate with whipped cream

Thick Italian Hot Chocolate (Cioccolata Calda)

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5 from 3 reviews

Dense, decadent, and creamy, nothing says winter in Italy like a rich cup of cioccolata calda – hot chocolate. Grab a cup and cozy up by the fire on a cold winter day! 

  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Units Scale
  • 2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) dark chocolate, 50-75% cacao
  • 2 tablespoons (15 g) cornstarch or potato starch
  • 3 tablespoons (25 g) confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


  1. Chop the dark chocolate into very small pieces.
  2.  In a bowl mix together cornstarch (or potato starch) and powdered sugar. Set aside. 
  3. Place the milk on low heat. When the milk is hot, but well before it starts to boil (about 3 minutes), add the corn starch and sugar mixture and start stirring, always in the same direction, avoiding the formation of lumps.
  4. Once bubbles start to form on the surface (about 4 minutes), add the chocolate and vanilla and mix until thick and creamy, about 1 minute). The starch will cause it to thicken even when removed from heat, so it’s a good idea to remove the chocolate from the heat before it thickens completely (otherwise you run the risk of turning it into a spoon cake!). 
  5. Pour it into two mugs and serve it warm. For a dash of decadence, add a dollop of whipped cream on top!
  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Sweet
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian