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This hot chocolate isn’t for the faint of heart. It is rich, thick, and full of real chocolate. This is the kind of hot chocolate you make when you want to truly indulge! 

Italian Hot Chocolate

Did anyone else grow up watching Willy Wonka, coveting a swim in his chocolate river? Fret over Augustus getting stuck in the pipe and being turned into fudge? Well friends, imagine yourselves gliding through that river of chocolate, taking large gulps along the way, with no fear of being sent to the fudge room. This here is your personal chocolate river. 

This hot chocolate is the most decadent you could possibly imagine. It is thick, but not overly so, making it glide down and coat your throat with chocolate. Amazingly enough this is also great cold. It might even be better, if that is possible. Be prepared to feel torn on whether to drink your whole glass while it is hot, or to save some to have cold the next morning. Get ready to swim luxuriously through this river of hot or cold chocolate!

  • Tips for Heating Milk:

    When it comes to heating milk, gentle and slow is the way to go. If milk gets too much heat, or heats to quickly it can scorch. Yes, you can burn milk and it is pretty gross. Stirring constantly helps prevent scorching because it keeps the liquid flowing so that none of it should be touching the sides of the pan long enough for scorching to occur.

  • Milk, semi-sweet, dark, or white chocolate?

    Feel free to alter the kind of chocolate chips you use. Some prefer all milk chocolate, while others prefer it to be quite dark. Mix and match for your perfect taste. You can even use white chocolate chips for a fun twist!

  • Storage and reheating Instructions:

    Refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days. Serve cold or hot. If desired, reheat on the stove in a saucepan over medium-low heat until warmed through.

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious beverage recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Italian Hot Chocolate
This hot chocolate isn't for the faint of heart. It is rich, thick, and full of real chocolate. This is the kind of hot chocolate you make when you want to truly indulge!
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.
  • Whisk in cornstarch until combined and melty. If you want the hot chocolate thicker, use the maximum amount of cornstarch.
  • Add in milk and sugar. Increase the heat gradually to medium-high. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Mixture will start to thicken.
  • Once the mixture begins to thicken, turn the heat down to low and add in the chocolate chips. Stir constantly until well melted.
  • Serve hot. Keep the leftovers because it is also amazing, if not better cold!
For this recipe, you can adjust the darkness of the chocolate by what kind of chocolate you put in. I like to do a mixture of semi-sweet and milk chocolate, but you can go lighter with all milk chocolate, or darker with a combination of semi-sweet and bittersweet.


Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 161mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 46g | Vitamin A: 475IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 190mg | Iron: 0.6mg
Course: Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian Hot Chocolate
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deb preston
January 8, 2019 3:49 pm

4 stars
This is really good, and easy. However if using chocolate chips, which already have sugar in them, in my opinion 4 T sugar is too much. I used 3 T and still thought it was too sweet.

July 6, 2019 9:00 pm
Reply to  deb preston

Helpful, thank you Deb.

Sue O’sullivan
November 25, 2018 7:39 pm

5 stars
All I can say is Amazingly Awesome!! Super thick and rich!

Yvonne Smith
September 7, 2020 9:28 am

To make it Mexican hot chocolate ad cinnamon. Yummy!Y

November 17, 2020 4:19 am

I was craving something that was easy and had chocolate in it when I woke up at 5 this morning. This hit the spot. The butter makes this drink so decadent and rich, absolutely beautiful taste. I also only used 2 tbsp of sugar and I still found it sweet but, to each his own. Would highly recommend. Thank you, stay at home chef.

Last edited 6 days ago by Justyna
March 14, 2020 2:11 am

5 stars
finally! this hot chocolate is just as amazing as it was in rome! thanks for sharing ?

Marlene Wall
December 20, 2019 5:32 pm

5 stars
A dream come true! It’s going to be really hard not to make this too often. I LOVE it!! Thank you, Rachel, for this and all of your recipes. I collect cookbooks and have over 120 of them. They now include notebooks, labeled “Rachel Farnsworth Recipes.” They are my go-to recipe sources!

March 11, 2019 7:17 pm

5 stars
Omg. This is some good stuff. This is exactly how I would imagine Willy Wonka’s Chocolate River would taste.
My six-year-old also went crazy and my younger sister… and my other sister, and her partner lol.

February 26, 2019 2:53 am

5 stars
This might sound crazy but If you add one or two shots of vodka it’s fantastic! I had a chocolate vodka martini somewhere and it was wonderful and I’ve been trying to recreate it since. Your recipe works perfectly

December 2, 2018 7:48 pm

5 stars
This is the most wonderful liquid chocolate EVER! I’ll make it a thousand times!
Warm, rich, decadent. I even added a little espresso when boiling.
Thank you for sharing this amazingly delicious recipe!

July 6, 2019 9:03 pm
Reply to  Cyndra

This espresso idea sounds lovely, thanks Cyndra.?

Henrianna Pearce
November 9, 2018 5:35 pm

5 stars
Can’t wait to make this. I love chocolate!!

Lyn Hillman
August 17, 2018 10:18 pm

Would it be ok to use a crock pot on low or warm?

May 15, 2018 3:58 pm

Would it be terrible if I used heavy cream instead of milk?

[…] Italian hot chocolate is thick and delicious. Everyone should try it at least […]

February 6, 2018 8:30 pm

I made this last week and turned out to be super delicious!!!!!! It just tastes like Max Brenner Italian Thick 🙂

February 4, 2018 2:30 pm

I made this on a few occasions but it gets lumps in it, clear in color and I don’t know why. Any idea?

Ruby MacLeod
May 18, 2020 5:40 pm
Reply to  Daniel

i know im 2 years late bu i just found this comment and have had the same problem before, it is the cornstarch, you have to make sure to thoroughly incorporate the corn starch and also make sure you dont add the milk all at once so it mixes properly

Ashley Hensley
January 12, 2018 5:30 pm

I found this recipe about a week ago and I have made it three times. It is so good. I have made it with milk chocolate mixed with semi chocolate. I have also made it with just semi chocolate. Both were great but I like the semi chocolate the best

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