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Cioccolata calda - thick Italian hot chocolate - featured image
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5 from 9 votes

Cioccolata Calda (Italian Hot Chocolate)

Cioccolata calda (aka Italian hot chocolate) is pure heaven for chocoholics. It is rich and thick, but still liquid enough to class as a drink not a dessert. And sweet joy, it takes just 10 minutes to make.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Drink - non-alcoholic
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2
Calories: 283kcal


  • 250 ml/ 1 cup Whole milk full-fat
  • 2 teaspoon Cornflour cornstarch
  • 50 g/ Dark chocolate at least 70%
  • 15 g/ ½ oz Cocoa powder
  • 15 g/ ½ oz White sugar

Optional extras

  • teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon Instant coffee granules


  • Begin by chopping the chocolate finely and measuring the cornflour, cocoa and sugar into a saucepan. Add the salt and coffee granules if using
  • Add 3 tablespoons of the milk to the pan and whisk until smooth
  • Pour in the rest of the milk and the vanilla extract (if using) and heat, stirring constantly until hot. Constant stirring is vital as the recipe include cornflour which will turn lumpy if not kept continuously on the move whilst it is cooking.
  • Slide the chopped chocolate into the pan, return to a low-medium heat and keep on stirring until the chocolate has melted and the drink has thickened
  • Pour into 2 small cups and serve straight away with a spoon and biscuits for dunking


  1. The precise taste of this drink is entirely dependent on your choice of chocolate. The higher the percentage of cocoa solids, the darker, less sweet and more intense the drink will be. Use quality chocolate, but do ensure that the level of cocoa solids present is one that you are happy with 
  2. Dark chocolate is the best option for this drink, but if you are set on using milk chocolate, you can omit the sugar – it really won’t be necessary
  3. Cioccolata Calda is an incredibly rich and luxurious drink designed to be served in small quantities, so pull out some suitably small yet elegant serving cups for this beautiful creation
  4. I urge you to try out the base recipe first and then try it with my optional extras – small quantities of salt, vanilla and coffee. These extras are by no means traditional but they do pull the flavours around in a rather lovely fashion
  5. Similarly, if you want to inject a little flavour into your cioccolata calda the most natural way to do this is by using flavoured chocolate. It’s easy to pick up mint and orange variations of dark chocolate for instance
  6. Remember that adding liquids (such as alcohol or syrups) to the drink will alter the thickness and sweetness of the final drink. If doing so consider increasing the amount of cornflour slightly and reducing the amount of sugar
  7. The whole milk can be replaced with a non-dairy alternative. My top choice would be almond milk. If using coconut milk, you may need to reduce the quantity of cornflour used (try 1 tsp) as coconut milk is typically thicker than regular milk
  8. This drink can be reheated. You may find it is thicker after being heated up again, so an extra splash of milk might just be required to return it to premium consistency. And don’t forget to keep on stirring as the drink heats through to avoid those nasty lumps forming


Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 206mg | Potassium: 458mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 203IU | Calcium: 169mg | Iron: 4mg