• 10 Best Hot Chocolate Mixes in 2022 (Ghirardelli, Nestle, and More) 1
  • 10 Best Hot Chocolate Mixes in 2022 (Ghirardelli, Nestle, and More) 2
  • 10 Best Hot Chocolate Mixes in 2022 (Ghirardelli, Nestle, and More) 3
  • 10 Best Hot Chocolate Mixes in 2022 (Ghirardelli, Nestle, and More) 4
  • 10 Best Hot Chocolate Mixes in 2022 (Ghirardelli, Nestle, and More) 5

10 Best Hot Chocolate Mixes in 2022 (Ghirardelli, Nestle, and More)

What's better than sipping a cup of hot chocolate to relax after a long day? Its decadent, heart-warming flavor is the ultimate treat. And with a hot chocolate mix, you can make this drink in an instant by just adding hot milk or water. If you want a little extra flavor, there are hot chocolate mixes with cinnamon or vanilla as well. 


However, it can be challenging to find a mix that you love. Whether you want something decadent, vegan, or organic, we've got you covered! After searching the Internet, our favorite is Equal Exchange's Organic Dark Hot Chocolate due to its strong chocolate flavor and fair-trade cocoa. Check out the rest of our picks, and be sure to read through the buying guide for all the information you need to make a decision. 

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mybest US Editors
  • Last updated: 09-05-2022
Table of Contents

How to Choose a Hot Chocolate Mix - Buying Guide

A hot chocolate mix is a convenient way to enjoy a tasty drink instantly. To find the best option for you, consider factors like the quality of the ingredients and flavor. 

Milk Chocolate is Balanced, Dark is Bitter and Rich, and White is Intensely Sweet

Milk Chocolate is Balanced, Dark is Bitter and Rich, and White is Intensely Sweet

Hot chocolate might be a simple beverage, but there are several flavors available. If you are into an intense and bitter chocolate flavor, a dark chocolate mix is a great option. Adults may prefer dark chocolate as well since it's less sweet. 


Milk chocolate is the most popular choice since it has a rich, sweet taste without bitterness. You can also go with a white chocolate mix for something sweet and creamy. Since it's extra sweet, it's an especially good choice for kids


If you're enjoying your hot chocolate with other sweets, we recommend milk or dark hot chocolate. White chocolate might be too sweet when paired with other desserts.

Extra Flavors and Toppings Can Add Whimsy to Your Drink

Extra Flavors and Toppings Can Add Whimsy to Your Drink

If you are in the mood for something different, look for a hot chocolate mix with additional flavorings or toppings. Some have marshmallow bits that rehydrate in the drink, adding a fun touch. Others may have additional flavors, like mint, vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut. Choose a hot chocolate based on the flavors and toppings you love!


If you can't find exactly what you want, you can always add extracts, syrups, spices, or even extra chocolate. You can even use a little flavored coffee creamer! For extra visual impact and flavor, consider topping it with whipped cream, caramel, a cinnamon stick, or a candy cane.

Canisters Are Eco-Friendly, Packets Are Portable

Canisters Are Eco-Friendly, Packets Are Portable

Packaging affects factors such as storage, ease of preparation, and even the quality of the powder. There are two main types of packaging for hot chocolate mixes: canisters and packets.


Canisters allow you to control how much powder you use, like using more powder for a stronger flavor. Canisters are also environmentally-friendly since you can reuse them to store something else. However, be sure to avoid getting moisture inside the canister to prevent spoilage. 


On the other hand, packets are great for single use. They are easy to store and bring with you since they don't take up a lot of space. However, you might find it difficult at first to balance the right amount of hot water or milk to mix ratio. 

Check the Labels if You Have Food Restrictions

Check the Labels if You Have Food Restrictions

A chocolate mix might use ingredients that can trigger allergies, such as soy or milk. Nevertheless, there are many products without common allergens! These products are also great for those who follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan diet. 


Some products are dairy-free as long as you make them with water instead of dairy milk. Some dairy-free or vegan mixes use alternatives like dried coconut milk or cream, while others leave out any dairy alternatives altogether. This may lead to a less creamy texture, but hot chocolate doesn't require dairy or non-dairy milk to be tasty. 


Make sure to look for official certifications, such as certified gluten-free, on the mix's packaging. Some products might be manufactured in a facility that also processes products that use common food allergens. Make sure the hot chocolate is produced in a dedicated facility to avoid cross-contamination. 

If You're Concerned About the Taste, Check the Label for Artificial Flavors and Emulsifiers

If You're Concerned About the Taste, Check the Label for Artificial Flavors and Emulsifiers

If you want to know exactly what's in your mix, check the ingredient list. To create a smooth and rich hot chocolate, brands may add artificial flavors, sweeteners, anti-caking agents, or emulsifiers to their mixes. Some products, especially those containing nonfat milk, may contain preservatives to ensure freshness. 


While the presence of artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, and anti-caking agents likely won't harm you, they may affect the taste and texture of the hot chocolate. If you're concerned about an ingredient, like artificial vanilla flavor, read the customer reviews to see if it tastes real or off-putting.

If You're Concerned About the Taste, Check the Label for Artificial Flavors and Emulsifiers

Additionally, many products are made from cocoa beans that have been treated with alkali, an agent that helps neutralize the acidity in the beans and make the powder dissolve more easily. Alkalized, or Dutch process, cocoa has a mellow, smoother flavor.


On the other hand, natural cocoa has not been alkalized and has a more acidic and fruity flavor. However, it can be challenging to find hot chocolate mixes that use natural cocoa. If you prefer this, it may be easier to make your hot chocolate from scratch.

For the Health-Conscious, Consider Low-Fat or Low-Sugar Options

For the Health-Conscious, Consider Low-Fat or Low-Sugar Options

While hot chocolate has a reputation for being a decadent treat, there are healthier versions available. The two main concerns when it comes to hot chocolate are sugar and fat. 


Look at the grams of sugar per serving and source of sweetness. Some are sweetened naturally, offering a classic flavor. Some products are made with artificial sweeteners like sucralose or refined sugars like high-fructose corn syrup, while others have unrefined sugars like coconut palm sugar. 

For the Health-Conscious, Consider Low-Fat or Low-Sugar Options

Artificial sweeteners can have an aftertaste, but they often have no carbs or calories. The choice is up to you, but artificial sweeteners may have adverse health effects if consumed in large amounts. We recommend natural low-calorie sweeteners, like stevia, since they don't have the potential health risks of artificial sweeteners.


Some mixes, especially sweet milk or white chocolate options, may be less healthy. However, dark chocolate mixes may be lower in fat and sugar. If the mix gives you the option of using milk or water, water obviously won't add additional sugar, calories, or fat. However, milk will make the texture creamier! 

Check Out Fair Trade Cocoa to Ensure Fair Labor Practices

Check Out Fair Trade Cocoa to Ensure Fair Labor Practices

Hot chocolate is one of the world's favorite drinks, but cocoa is tough to grow. Additionally, cocoa farmers are exposed to dangerous working environments. 


For example, they often have to handle pesticides without any protective equipment or work long hours without resting. Since their pay is typically very low, child labor is often used to save costs and make prices competitive.

Check Out Fair Trade Cocoa to Ensure Fair Labor Practices

However, fair trade brands (sometimes known as "equal exchange" brands) are dedicated to buying cocoa beans at a reasonable price to help increase the income of cocoa farmers. Furthermore, they are committed to using non-exploitative farming and processing practices. 


There are many fair trade organizations that provide certification. To quickly see if a hot chocolate mix is produced ethically, look for a certification on the packaging, product information, or brand website.


The cocoa beans from fair trade brands are also sourced carefully and often contain no artificial fillers or preservatives. In general, we recommend looking for brands that are transparent about how they source their cocoa and any other labor-intensive ingredients, like spices or vanilla. 

10 Best Hot Chocolate Mixes

We combed through reviewer comments, ingredient lists, and brand information to find the 10 best hot chocolate mixes available. We selected the options below based on the points in our buying guide.

Image
Ghirardelli Premium Indulgence Hot Cocoa Mix 1

Ghirardelli

Equal Exchange  Organic Dark Hot Chocolate 1

Equal Exchange

Castle Kitchen Double Dutch Dark Chocolate 1

Castle Kitchen

Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Powder White Chocolate Flavor 1

Ghirardelli

Nestle Mini Marshmallows Hot Cocoa Mix 1

Nestle

Stephen's Candycane Cocoa 1

Stephen's

NibMor Organic Drinking Chocolate 1

NibMor

Land O' Lakes Cocoa Classics  1

Land O' Lakes

Swiss Miss  Milk Chocolate Flavor Reduced Calorie 1

Swiss Miss

Lake Champlain Chocolates  Spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate 1

Lake Champlain Chocolates

Name

Premium Indulgence Hot Cocoa Mix

Organic Dark Hot Chocolate

Double Dutch Dark Chocolate

Sweet Ground Powder White Chocolate Flavor

Mini Marshmallows Hot Cocoa Mix

Candycane Cocoa

Organic Drinking Chocolate

Cocoa Classics

Milk Chocolate Flavor Reduced Calorie

Spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate

Features

Best Classic Hot Chocolate With a Smooth, Rich Taste

Best Vegan Dark Chocolate Mix That's Ethically Sourced

Best Allergy-Friendly Hot Chocolate

Best White Chocolate Mix for a Sweet Treat

Best Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows for Kids

Best Peppermint Hot Chocolate for the Holiday Season

Best Hot Chocolate Mix With Minimal Ingredients

Best for Families That Like to Mix It Up

Best for Decadent Hot Chocolate With Reduced Sugar

Best Unique Mix With a Kick of Spice

Price$22.95$6.99$13.99$22.93$29.95$11.06$13.50$26.06$3.28$15.56
Amount15 packets12 oz.14 oz.50 oz.50 packets16 oz.6 packets1.25 oz./packet8 packets16 oz.
Flavor or toppingsChocolate Dark chocolateDouble Dutch dark chocolate White chocolateChocolate, mini marshmallowsMilk chocolate, peppermintChocolateChocolate supreme, French vanilla, salted caramel, mintMilk chocolateSpicy chocolate
Calories per serving 160120 110 1508017012014035100
Dietary concerns-VeganGluten-free, vegan---Vegan, gluten-free-Zero fat, low-calorie, low-sugarLow-fat, vegan
Main ingredientsSugar, cocoa processed with alkali, creamer, nonfat dry milkOrganic evaporated sugar cane juice, organic cocoa powder processed with alkali, organic dark chocolateCane sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, natural flavor, sea saltSugar, creamer, natural flavorSugar, corn syrup, dairy solids, mini marshmallows, cocoa processed with alkali Sugar, candy cane pieces, dairy solids, coconut oil, corn syrup, cocoa processed with alkali Organic sugar (a blend of organic coconut palm sugar and organic cane sugar), organic cocoa powder, sea saltSugar, nonfat dry milk, corn syrup, Dutch-processed cocoa, coconut oilNonfat milk, cocoa processed with alkali, cocoa powderSugar, cocoa processed with alkali, ancho chili, chipotle pepper, cinnamon
Fair tradeNoYesNoNoNoNoYesNoNoYes
Link

GhirardelliPremium Indulgence Hot Cocoa Mix

$22.95

Amount15 packets
Flavor or toppingsChocolate
Calories per serving 160
Dietary concerns-
Main ingredientsSugar, cocoa processed with alkali, creamer, nonfat dry milk
Fair tradeNo

Equal Exchange Organic Dark Hot Chocolate

$6.99

Amount12 oz.
Flavor or toppingsDark chocolate
Calories per serving 120
Dietary concernsVegan
Main ingredientsOrganic evaporated sugar cane juice, organic cocoa powder processed with alkali, organic dark chocolate
Fair tradeYes

Castle KitchenDouble Dutch Dark Chocolate

$13.99

Amount14 oz.
Flavor or toppingsDouble Dutch dark chocolate
Calories per serving 110
Dietary concernsGluten-free, vegan
Main ingredientsCane sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, natural flavor, sea salt
Fair tradeNo

GhirardelliSweet Ground Powder White Chocolate Flavor

$22.93

Amount50 oz.
Flavor or toppingsWhite chocolate
Calories per serving 150
Dietary concerns-
Main ingredientsSugar, creamer, natural flavor
Fair tradeNo

NestleMini Marshmallows Hot Cocoa Mix

$29.95

Amount50 packets
Flavor or toppingsChocolate, mini marshmallows
Calories per serving 80
Dietary concerns-
Main ingredientsSugar, corn syrup, dairy solids, mini marshmallows, cocoa processed with alkali
Fair tradeNo
Amount16 oz.
Flavor or toppingsMilk chocolate, peppermint
Calories per serving 170
Dietary concerns-
Main ingredientsSugar, candy cane pieces, dairy solids, coconut oil, corn syrup, cocoa processed with alkali
Fair tradeNo

NibMorOrganic Drinking Chocolate

$13.50

Amount6 packets
Flavor or toppingsChocolate
Calories per serving 120
Dietary concernsVegan, gluten-free
Main ingredientsOrganic sugar (a blend of organic coconut palm sugar and organic cane sugar), organic cocoa powder, sea salt
Fair tradeYes

Land O' LakesCocoa Classics

$26.06

Amount1.25 oz./packet
Flavor or toppingsChocolate supreme, French vanilla, salted caramel, mint
Calories per serving 140
Dietary concerns-
Main ingredientsSugar, nonfat dry milk, corn syrup, Dutch-processed cocoa, coconut oil
Fair tradeNo

Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate Flavor Reduced Calorie

$3.28

Amount8 packets
Flavor or toppingsMilk chocolate
Calories per serving 35
Dietary concernsZero fat, low-calorie, low-sugar
Main ingredientsNonfat milk, cocoa processed with alkali, cocoa powder
Fair tradeNo

Lake Champlain Chocolates Spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate

$15.56

Amount16 oz.
Flavor or toppingsSpicy chocolate
Calories per serving 100
Dietary concernsLow-fat, vegan
Main ingredientsSugar, cocoa processed with alkali, ancho chili, chipotle pepper, cinnamon
Fair tradeYes

Easy Hot Chocolate Mix Mug Brownie

If you're looking for uses for leftover hot chocolate mix, how about adding it to cakes or brownies? Here's a simple recipe by SweetHailey to make a quick mug brownie to get you started!


Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp of hot chocolate mix
  • 4 tbsp of cake flour
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp of milk
  • 3 tbsp of cooking oil
  • A sprinkle of chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a mug, combine all of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips. Mix it well until you don't see any lumps.
  2. Sprinkle the top of the mixture with chocolate chips.
  3. Microwave it for 1 minute and 40 seconds to 2 minutes.
  4. Top it with ice cream and enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

Ever wondered about how long your hot chocolate mix will stay good or the difference between cocoa and chocolate? Check out our frequently asked questions!

Does hot chocolate powder expire?

Yes, hot chocolate powder does expire. The mix should have the best by date on the packaging, which can range from a few months to a few years. Mixes with milk powder are more likely to have a shorter shelf life. If you want a longer shelf life, look for options with preservatives.


It's extra important to keep canisters sealed while in storage to prevent moisture or pests from getting into the powder. When you prepare your hot chocolate, don't drink it if it looks or smells off. 

What's the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa?

While both of these terms are used interchangeably, there is a technical difference. Hot chocolate is made from melted chocolate, while hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder. However, these terms mean the same thing when it comes to most hot chocolate mixes!


However, if you want a rich treat, try making real hot chocolate! It's also known as drinking chocolate, and it's easy to prepare. Simply melt pieces of chocolate into a saucepan of milk and add any additional flavorings you want. 

Additional Toppings for Your Hot Chocolate

The most common pairing with hot chocolate is, of course, marshmallows, but did you know you can also add spices or even cookie pieces to add more flavor and texture? There are so many ways to customize your drink. Check out some potential toppings in the links below!

Amazon's Best Selling Hot Cocoa

Looking for even more hot chocolate options? Check out Amazon's best selling hot cocoa mixes!

Author: Thuy Nguyen

Updated by: Sara Chittenden, 11/12/2021


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