Trek Southwest - Hiking and Camping the Desert Southwest

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

in Campfire Drink Recipes

Drinking hot cocoa while camping is one of my oldest and fondest memories. I remember waking up in our tent and being SO DARN COLD. After struggling to get my clothes on while still in my sleeping bag, I would shiver my way out of the tent towards the fire.

There was nothing quite like clutching that blissfully hot mug of cocoa in my hands when I first got up and standing before the fire trying to figure out how to keep both my front and back warm at the same time. The cocoa was always the best part of the morning.

Hot Cocoa Mix

Now that I live in the desert Southwest – you’d think that being cold isn’t quite as much of a problem. Unfortunately – you’d be wrong. The desert can get darn cold!

I still enjoy a delicious warm cup of hot cocoa regularly. And while it’s a little bit easier to just buy the packets of hot cocoa mix – I really prefer the taste of this homemade hot cocoa mix. It’s budget conscious, you control the ingredients, and it takes just 5 minutes to assemble.

Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

This recipe makes 5 cups of dry powder which roughly translates to 10-12 mugs of hot cocoa. In other words – this makes a lot. Feel free to half or quarter the recipe if it makes too much.

And because these are all dry goods – as long as you keep it in an airtight container – it has a very long shelf life.

  • 1 Cup unsweetened Hershey’s Cocoa (or find you a premium brand if you want to get fancy)
  • 2 Cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 2 Cups powdered milk (non-fat, full fat, it’s up to you)

Suggested Toppings

  • marshmallows
  • whipped cream
  • chocolate shavings

Optional Add-Ins

I’ve made this recipe with chocolate chunks or chips, and it is a much richer cup of cocoa. However, it’s totally up to you to decide how rich or spicy you want your cocoa to be. If you like rich – add more chocolate chips. If you like heat – add more cayenne or cinnamon.

  • pinch of salt
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • dash of cinnamon
  • chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
  • booze (we’ll talk about that more further down)

What Else You’ll Need

  • 1 Cup measuring cup
  • mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • container for storage (I like the screw-on plastic ones for camping purposes)

Before You Leave Home

Step 1 – Add Cocoa

Measure 1 Cup of cocoa and add it to the mixing bowl.

Hot Cocoa Mix

Step 2 – Add Powdered Milk

Next, measure out 2 Cups of powdered milk and add them both to the mixing bowl.

Hot Cocoa Mix

Step 3 – Add Powdered Sugar

Last, measure out 2 Cups of powdered sugar and add them both to the mixing bowl.

Hot Cocoa Mix

Step 4 – Whisk Ingredients Together

Take the whisk and thoroughly mix the three ingredients together. The hot cocoa mix will be a lovely chocolately brown color.

I’ve seen hot cocoa recipes that require you to sift the three ingredients in order to avoid clumps. But unless you’re trying to use up some old stuff from your pantry – the clumping won’t be a problem once your hot cocoa mix is dissolved in hot water if you stir it vigorously.

Hot Cocoa Mix


Hot Cocoa Mix


Step 5 – Store Mix in Container

Place your homemade hot cocoa mix in an airtight container. It’s ready for you whenever you’re ready for cocoa!

Hot Cocoa Mix

At the Campsite

When you’re ready to drink your cocoa – simply mix about 2 heaping tablespoons of the hot cocoa mix with hot water. You can use a splash of milk to cool it off – or my favorite – whipped cream. Feel free to top with marshmallows if you like (and I do!)

Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot Cocoa Mix

Optional Add-ins

Now let’s talk a bit more about those optional add-ins I mentioned in the recipe above. For a bit of southwestern spice – cayenne pepper is wonderful. You can add a little or a lot – depending on how spicy you like it. A bit of cinnamon is also a nice touch and definitely modifies the flavor. I’m addicted to cinnamon bears so that’s a good thing to me.

Enough spices! Where’s the booze?

My two very favorite adult beverages to add to my hot cocoa (whether I’m camping or at home) are vanilla vodka or peppermint schnapps. The vanilla is a more traditional flavor and you’ll notice it less than the peppermint. I love them both!

Hot Cocoa Mix

RobinGuest Post by Robin Laulainen. Robin writes about camping and other outdoorsy stuff at Trek Southwest, pets every dog she meets, and drinks more coffee than she should. She blogs about her other passion - creating - at Make It Yourself Girl.


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