French Hot Chocolate

French hot chocolate is fantastically luxurious, smooth, creamy, and decadent! Made with fresh cream and flavorful chocolate, this Le Chocolat Chaud will transport you to the romantic streets of France with each sip! 

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A close up of a mug of Parisian hot chocolate with a vanilla marshmallow on top and chocolate shavings

French Hot Chocolate is a true revelation. It’s not made from cocoa powder, like traditional American varieties, but instead it uses a mixture of heavy cream, milk, and real chocolate. The difference in ingredients makes for an intense, rich flavor and an incredibly thick consistency. 

This is not a hot chocolate recipe for the faint of heart! Le Chocolat Chaud is very indulgent and meant for slow sipping on cold Winter nights. I’ve been lucky enough to have a few mugs full of this romantic drink at cafes in Paris. Each experience was better than the last and each sip only made me crave more!

I have nothing against a good ‘ole cup of Swiss Miss but if you’ve got the time, and a bit of spare change to spend on good chocolate, I’d encourage you to give this recipe a try. You might just never go back to those packets again! 

Perks and Highlights for the Best French Hot Chocolate

Cuisine Inspiration: French Decadence Oh là là, the French truly know indulgence! This isn’t just hot chocolate; it’s an homage to the art of French dessert, in liquid form.

Primary Cooking Method: Simmer and Whisk Achieve velvety perfection by gently simmering and continually whisking, infusing every molecule of milk and cream with rich, chocolatey goodness.

Dietary Info: Gluten-Free Indulgence Worried about gluten? Pas de problème! Indulge without a second thought, as this comforting cup is naturally gluten-free.

Key Flavor: Rich, Dark Chocolate Elegance The star? Superior quality dark chocolate. It transforms a humble beverage into an opulent experience, captivating your taste buds with its rich, complex character.

Skill Level: Easy but Ritzy Fear not, this recipe is simple enough for novices, yet the outcome? Pure sophistication. It’s like wearing a diamond necklace with your favorite comfy pajamas.

Special Perks:

  • Quality Matters: This recipe’s elegance comes from premium dark chocolate; choose quality, and the flavor will sing luxurious notes!
  • Creaminess Overload: The combination of whole milk and heavy cream isn’t just for richness; it creates a velvety river that flows smoothly with every sip.
  • Adaptable Intensity: Love your chocolate dark and intense or prefer it a bit milder? You’re the maestro here; adjust the chocolate to suit your symphony of taste.
  • Sociable Sweetness: A dash of sugar balances the chocolate’s natural bitterness, but feel free to tweak it! Whether you like it sweeter or more robust, it’s your cup of joy.
  • Fancy Toppings Welcome: Go wild with toppings! Whipped cream, chocolate shavings, a cinnamon stick, or even a splash of liqueur. This is your canvas; make it a masterpiece.

Dive into a cup of this French Hot Chocolate, and you’re not just sipping a drink; you’re embracing an experience, a French tradition that celebrates the sheer joy of chocolate in its most luxurious form.

A decadent chocolate along with cream and ingredients to make french hot cocoa


  • Unsweetened Chocolate- use high-quality chocolate whenever possible. I used Guittard, but any good quality brand such as Lindt, Godiva, or Ghirardelli will work great too. I prefer unsweetened or dark chocolate for a deeper, more intense flavor, but honestly the choice is up to you! 
  • Water- Adding water to the chocolate just helps the melting process go a little smoother. Use room temperature, filtered water for the best result. 
  • Granulated Sugar- Everyone has a preferred level of sweetness when it comes to hot chocolate. Personally, I like it to be sweet without the sugar coating my mouth. I’d recommend you add the sugar a ¼ cup at a time, tasting the mixture and adding more to fit your own taste. 
  • Salt- A pinch of salt enhances flavor. I love to use sea salt here. 
  • Heavy Whipping Cream- Fresh whipped cream is combined with chocolate to create a decadent base for this drink. Once the hot milk is poured over the top, the cream melts and mingles to make the best cup of hot chocolate ever! 
  • Whole Milk- Using whole milk makes for a thick, smooth, and creamy texture. I wouldn’t recommend swapping it out for a variety lower in fat. 
Thickened chocolate ganache with some scooped out to serve in mugs

How to Make French Hot Chocolate

  • Start by roughly chopping the chocolate into chunks. Don’t worry about the pieces being uniform in size, they’re going to melt anyway. 
  • Add the chopped chocolate and water to a small pot. Whisking continuously, melt the chocolate into the water over low heat.  
  • Stir in the sugar and salt (tasting as you add the sugar), then continue to heat until the mixture is pretty thick, about 5 minutes. 
  • Let the chocolate cool while you whip up the cream. 
  • Carefully fold the chocolate into the whipped cream, then transfer to the fridge to set. 
  • When you’re ready, add 2 (very big) tablespoons of chocolate cream to a couple of mugs and pour a cup of hot milk over the top. Stir and sip! 
Cream being poured into a glass mug to serve

Flavoring Hot Chocolate

A little touch of warm spice makes quite the difference in French Hot Chocolate. I love to add a personal touch by incorporating a pinch of cinnamon or scraped vanilla bean seeds to my cup. On a super cold Winter night, I’ll add some cracked black pepper, cayenne pepper, or some cloves to make the chocolate a bit spicy. Of course, this step is optional. 

A close up of Le Chocolat Chaud with a marshmallow on top in a glass mug

How to Store Le Chocolat Chaud

Store the leftover French hot chocolate in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, use a microwave or a saucepan on low heat. 

Favorite Drink Recipes

A close up of a mug of Parisian hot chocolate with a vanilla marshmallow on top and chocolate shavings

French Hot Chocolate

French hot chocolate is fantastically luxurious, smooth, creamy, and decadent!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course: Drink
Servings: 6 servings


  • 6 oz unsweetened chocolate chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream whipped to stiff peaks
  • 6 cups whole milk hot


  • Add chocolate and water to a small pot on low heat and stir until chocolate melts and is completely smooth.
  • Stir in sugar and salt over low heat. Continue to heat and stir for about 4 minutes or until it is pretty thick then remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Fold the chocolate into whipped cream and set in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, add two heaping tablespoons of chocolate cream mixture to a mug then fill with hot milk.


Store the leftover French hot chocolate in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, use a microwave or a saucepan on low heat.


Calories: 452kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 106mg | Potassium: 621mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 687IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 343mg | Iron: 5mg
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Filed Under:  Drinks, Seasonal Recipes, Stovetop, Winter Recipes


  1. Your presentation is beautiful and tempting! One idea I have is to use seasonal Peeps for a little fun. Peeps now come in ghost, candy cane, and pumpkin shapes!

5 from 3 votes

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