What's the difference between Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa?

This blog post will teach you all about Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa — and point you in the direction of some delicious recipes!

What Is Hot Chocolate?

Hot Chocolate, also known as drinking chocolate, is a thick, hot drink made by melting solid chocolate (such as chocolate shavings or drops) in hot water or milk. Most Hot Chocolate recipes call for chunks or shavings of real chocolate, such as milk chocolate or semisweet chocolate, which are melted and blended with hot milk. Many countries have their own unique renditions of hot chocolate, like Spanish Hot Chocolate and Mexican Hot Chocolate.

What Is Hot Cocoa?

Hot Cocoa is a hot sweet drink made from cocoa powder, sugar, and milk. It usually has a thin, light consistency. 

Hot Chocolate vs Hot Cocoa: What’s the difference?

Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa are both sweet and creamy dessert drinks, but there are a few key differences between them.


The source of the chocolate flavour is different. Hot Chocolate is made using solid chocolate melted in warm milk or cream. Hot Cocoa, however, is made from a powdered base of cocoa with added sugar and dissolved in hot water or hot milk. Most commercial boxed hot chocolate mixes sold in grocery stores are technically hot cocoa rather than hot chocolate because they are made with cocoa powder, powdered milk, and sugar.


Hot Chocolate usually has a thicker consistency because it’s made using solid chocolate which is already rich, dense, and fatty with cocoa butter even before cream or milk is added. Hot Cocoa, however, is thinner than hot chocolate because it contains cocoa powder and added water or milk.

Added sugar

Hot Chocolate is sweetened by the melted chocolate itself. Hot Cocoa, on the other hand, requires added sugar or sweeteners to it to make it drinkable because cocoa powder itself is 100% cacao and is not sweetened. This means Hot Cocoa tends to be much sweeter than Hot Chocolate. On the plus side, If you are watching your sugar intake, homemade Hot Cocoa might be a better choice because you can control the type of sweeter and the amount according to your own taste and diet.


Depending on the style, a cup of Hot Chocolate can taste a lot like a cup of thick rich melted chocolate, while Hot Cocoa can taste more like milk and sugar than chocolate. Both can be satisfying and delicious!

Try our Hot Cocoa and Hot Chocolate recipes:

Hot Cocoa For One

Vegan Friendly Ginger Hot Cocoa For Two

Hot Chocolate the Cococo Way

Spanish Hot Chocolate