Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Recipe

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate on

I was introduced to this salted caramel hot chocolate recipe a few months ago when a few friends and I shared a cup at a local chocolate cafe. I remember feeling a little lightheaded when the hot, creamy drink nuzzled its way up to my taste buds; its velvety texture and sweetly salty seduction were almost more than I could take. After the head rush faded away, I’m pretty sure I exclaimed, “This hot cocoa is better than sex!”

Ok, maybe not really, but it was right up there. I’m a huge sucker for hot cocoa, even since I spent a few months running around Europe. I don’t drink coffee because I’m already a default spaz, so whenever I went to a cafe and wanted something warm to drink, I opted for the whatever hot chocolate they had on hand. Each country had its own special style of serving hot chocolate: Italy’s was super thick, almost like pudding, while France’s was thinner and made for sipping more quickly. The UK’s hot cocoa was pretty much like the packet stuff you find here in the states. As you can imagine, it wasn’t my favorite.

Based on that afternoon, Casey over at Good. Food. Stories. developed her own insanely decadent salted caramel hot chocolate recipe using a dry caramel method. Sadly, dry caramel is my mortal enemy, so my version combines the milk and sugar before cooking. You’ll find this recipe rich and thick despite the fact that I use cocoa powder for the hot chocolate – I made a batch with chopped chocolate and it my head nearly exploded, so I’m sticking with the powdered stuff.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Hot & Hearty Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Recipe
Recipe type: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
You’ll find this salted caramel hot chocolate recipe rich and thick. It's hot, creamy drink nuzzles its way up to your taste buds; its velvety texture and sweetly salty seduction make this the ultimate comforting hot cocoa.
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 cups 2% milk, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Whipped cream for topping
  • Shaved semisweet chocolate for topping
  1. In a heavy, high-sided saucepan, combine heavy cream, 1 cup of milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Set over medium heat and cook until caramel reaches 230°F (110°C), stirring constantly to keep it from bubbling over. Once the caramel has reached the right temperature, remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the remaining 3 cups of milk until it reaches 180°, or when it starts to steam and bubble around the edges. Do not scald or boil the milk, as this will change the flavor. Once the milk is at temperature, turn the heat to low. Slowly pour the cocoa powder into the milk, whipping enthusiastically with a wire whisk. Keep whisking until all cocoa is dissolved.
  3. While still whisking quickly, drizzle the caramel into the cocoa in a slow, steady stream. Continue beating until well mixed. Ladle into small mugs and serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of shaved chocolate.

If you like this salted caramel hot chocolate, check out these others:

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Comments from other ninjas:

  1. Casey@Good. Food. Stories. says

    After making umpteen batches of dry caramel for another project, I can say that repetition beats the fear right out of you. And yes, it’s much better with cocoa powder – I tried mine with real chocolate too, and it was almost unbearably rich!

  2. debbie koenig says

    Sheesh, TWO different options for making this? You and Casey are trying to kill me, clearly. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

  3. John says

    Stephanie -Great caramel hot chocolate recipe. I especially loved the idea of using semisweet chocolate shavings as a garnish. It is extremely cold where I’m at right now and I couldn’t have found this recipe at a better time. It looks pretty simple to make so I don’t think I should have any problems making it. Thanks.

  4. Wendy @ Celiacs in the House says

    Another hot chocolate recipe to tempt me. Your Peanut Butter Curry Hot Chocolate was such a success that I will need to try this one soon. Temperatures in the teens will provide the motivation. Wishing you Happy Holidays.

  5. aprilshowers says

    This looks awesome! Do you think the caramel could be made ahead of time? I’d love to make it for Christmas morning.

  6. says

    Have you tried making caramel the Mexican tres leches cake way by putting an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a pan, covering it with water and boiling? I’ve seen several mentions of it, and am thinking it would make an awesome base for hot chocolate. But I’ll let you be the one to experiment.


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