This Brazilian Hot Cocoa, made with sweet condensed milk and pure cocoa powder, is the thickest, creamiest, and most irresistible hot cocoa ever! It’s an easy 4-ingredient recipe that results in a chocolate-sipping experience unlike any other.
Searching for more recipes for the chocolate lovers in your life? Be sure to try my Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies, Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups, and Dulche de Leche Chocolate Sandwich Cookies as well!
What makes Brazilian Hot Cocoa different from other hot chocolate recipes? It’s the sweet and creamy condensed milk! Making hot cocoa with condensed milk makes it taste like a rich and luxurious mug of pure melted milk chocolate.
Let me tell you, on cold winter days in Brazil, there was nothing more warm and comforting than sipping on heavenly hot cocoa. With 4 ingredients, less than 20 minutes of your time, and this handy guide, you can enjoy Brazilian hot chocolate wherever you are in the world!
This recipe makes a small batch of hot cocoa but it’s just as easy to make a party-size serving to share with friends and family for the holidays. The marshmallow snowmen are optional, but are sure to make your guests gush!
What makes Brazilian hot cocoa different?
If you’re craving a thick, velvety, and profoundly chocolatey hot cocoa, Brazilian hot cocoa is just that. However, it’s not just the condensed milk that makes it special. Brazilian chocolate is recognized as one of the best in the world!
Fun fact: There are nearly 50,000 cocoa farms in Brazil, half of which are in my home state, Bahia. It makes perfect sense that our hot cocoa and fudgy Brigadeiro are the best!
Ingredients and substitutions
These 4 simple ingredients always leave you with a sweet and divine cup of cocoa:
- Milk - Because no one likes watery hot chocolate! Both cow’s milk and dairy free milk can be used. Milk with a higher fat content, like whole milk or canned coconut milk, will result in a creamier, more luxurious cocoa.
- Condensed milk - This enhances hot cocoa with a delicately sweet, concentrated creaminess.
- Cocoa powder - Be sure to use 100% cocoa powder and not a hot chocolate mix. You can’t go wrong with Hershey’s or Ghirardelli 100% cocoa.
- Espresso - A shot of espresso brings a caffeine boost but also intensifies the chocolate flavor. You can use freshly brewed coffee instead or decaf espresso/coffee if you aren’t a fan of caffeine.
How to make hot chocolate with condensed milk
This recipe is easy to put together in one pot on the stove:
Step 1: Add the milk to a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat.
Step 2: Once warm, stir in the cocoa powder and condensed milk. Keep stirring until the cocoa powder is well incorporated.
Step 3: Finish by stirring in a shot of espresso. Cover the pot with a lid and let it simmer gently for a few minutes.
Step 4: Take the saucepan off of the heat before the hot chocolate starts to boil. Ladle it into mugs, top it with a marshmallow snowman, and enjoy!
How to make a marshmallow snowman
- Press a pretzel stick into the top center of one marshmallow, leaving half of the stick exposed. Press another marshmallow on top of the exposed pretzel, attaching it to the first.
- For the coal eyes, dot melted chocolate and insert an orange candy for the carrot nose. Feel free to dot a couple of coal buttons as well.
- Stick a pretzel into each side for the arms.
For the perfect post-trick-or-treating drink, top the hot chocolate with these Halloween-themed White Chocolate Marshmallow Ghosts instead.
Play with the flavors, toppings, and level of sweetness with any of these variation ideas:
- Customize the flavor with extracts and spices: Add a touch of vanilla, almond, orange, hazelnut, or peppermint extract. Add warming spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, or pumpkin pie spice.
- Adjust the sweetness: You may find the condensed milk makes the cocoa just sweet enough. However, if you like sweeter hot cocoa, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of cane sugar, lite brown sugar, maple syrup, or date syrup.
- Topping ideas: Whipped cream, crushed peppermint, a cinnamon stick (for stirring!), holiday sprinkles, chocolate peppermint cups, chocolate peanut butter cups, and more!
Frequently asked questions
Yes. You can either add chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips directly to the saucepan with the remaining ingredients.
Or, use real chocolate as a substitute for cocoa powder. For every ¼ cup of cocoa powder, use a heaping ¼ cup of chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips instead.
Amaretto, Frangelico, Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish Creme, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, or Grand Marnier taste great in a mug of spiked hot chocolate. 1 ounce per mug should be all you need (depending on how boozy you like it).
Brazilian hot cocoa is made with condensed milk and cocoa powder. Mexican hot chocolate is typically made with milk, chopped bittersweet chocolate, and warming spices, like cinnamon and chili powder.
Let the extra hot cocoa cool, then refrigerate in an airtight jar or container for 2 to 3 days.
To reheat, warm the cocoa in a saucepan over medium heat without letting it reach a full boil.
Looking for more cozy winter drinks?
Creamy Brazilian Hot Cocoa
- 3 cups milk (can be dairy-free)
- ¼ - ⅓ cup condensed milk more or less, depending of preference
- 4 tablespoon 100% cocoa powder (not hot chocolate mix)
- 1 shot espresso optional but a must try
- Heat the milk in saucepan over medium-low heat for about 5 mins.
- Once the milk is warm stir in cocoa powder and condensed milk. Stir until well incorporated.
- Finally stir in espresso shot, cover and lower heat to a simmer.
- Once hot cocoa is almost to a boil, remove from heat and serve immediately.
- Marshmallow Snowman (as seen in photos)
- Whipped cream and crushed peppermint
- Cinnamon stick for stirring while you drink
This looks delicious! I'm a hot cocoa fanatic during the winter, which I think has something to do with living in Alaska. It's the perfect way to stay warm in the chilly temps.
Silvia Ribas says
Oh wow, absolutely Hannah! this hot cocoa will definitely warm up your winter in Alaska 🙂 thanks!