This homemade hot chocolate float is a dreamy and indulgent dessert perfect for chilly evenings.
I have a TON of hot chocolate recipes on this site because I fully believe that there’s a hot chocolate for every occasion.
Need an everyday walking around sort of hot chocolate? Go make my quick and easy classic hot chocolate.
Serving a crowd and need something hands-off? That’s a job for my favorite crockpot hot chocolate.
Need something totally indulgent and perfectly ridiculous? You should absolutely make a hot chocolate float.
Do you need to put a scoop of ice cream in your hot chocolate? Of course not. But wouldn’t your day be just a little better if you did?
I adapted this hot chocolate recipe from my rich and thick hot chocolate recipe so it’s intensely chocolatey, but not too sweet, and ideal for topping with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
As the ice cream melts into the hot chocolate, it makes the drink extra creamy, beyond delicious, and totally irresistible.
- Milk or milk and cream: I recommend using whole milk in this recipe because the higher fat the milk, the richer your hot chocolate will be, but any milk (including plant-based) will work just fine. For an extra rich and creamy drink, replace ⅓ cup of the milk with heavy cream or half and half.
- Cocoa powder: Stick with unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe. You can use either natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder, but Dutch-process cocoa powder is considered the gold standard for hot chocolate.
- Chocolate: This recipe uses an ounce of real chocolate to really boost the chocolate flavor. Freshly chopped chocolate from a high-quality baking bar will melt the nicest, but good-quality chocolate chips work just fine.
- Espresso powder: Espresso powder is optional and will not make your float taste like coffee, just enhance the chocolate flavor. If you don’t have any, you can skip it. Or grab some from the coffee aisle the next time you’re at the store. It’s a good ingredient to keep on hand, especially if you make a lot of chocolate desserts.
How to Make a Hot Chocolate Float
1. In a small pot, combine sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, salt, and water. Whisk over medium heat until smooth. Add chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
2. Whisk in milk and heat until steaming. You want it quite hot but make sure not to let the milk come to a boil.
3. Transfer the hot chocolate to an 8-ounce mug, leaving about an inch of space at the top of the glass so your cup doesn’t overflow when you add the ice cream.
4. Add a generous scoop of ice cream. Serve with a spoon and enjoy!
- Boozy: To make a spiked chocolate float, once you remove your hot chocolate from the heat, before you pour it into a mug, add 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup of your choice of alcohol to the pot. Irish cream, Kahlua, and peppermint schnapps would all be good options.
- Ice cream flavor: Try switching up the ice cream flavor. Peppermint ice cream would be amazing as would caramel or dulce de leche ice cream…
- Big batch: This recipe scales up with no preparation changes, and would be ideal for a Christmas cookie decorating party or just a cozy night in. To change the recipe yield, hover over the serving size in the recipe card below or click if you’re on mobile, and slide the slider.
Isn’t putting ice cream in hot chocolate a little excessive?
You betcha. You should do it anyway. <3
Can I make this recipe in the microwave?
You sure can. To make this in the microwave, combine cocoa powder, sugar, espresso powder, and water in a mug. Stir until well-mixed and microwave for 15 seconds. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until it has mostly melted (microwave for another 10 to 20 seconds if necessary) before adding the milk. Microwave 1 to 1 ½ minutes, until milk is steaming. Stir, add ice cream, and enjoy!
Can I make this without the chocolate?
Yes. If you don’t have a chocolate bar or chocolate chips handy, you can omit the chocolate and instead use a slightly rounded tablespoon of cocoa powder (instead of a level one) and either 1½ or double the sugar.
More Hot Chocolate Recipes
- Classic Hot Chocolate
- White Hot Chocolate
- Baileys Hot Chocolate
- Snickerdoodle Hot Chocolate
- Peppermint Hot Chocolate
- This recipe makes 1 cup of hot chocolate, enough to fill an 8-ounce mug. To fill an oversized mug, 1½ or double the recipe.
- To line your glass like I did, make a batch of fudge sauce and allow it to cool slightly until it thickens (or use store-bought), pour it into a bowl with a bottom slightly larger than the rim of your mug. Dip the mug in the sauce and swirl it around to pick up as much sauce as possible.
Dreamy Hot Chocolate Float
- 1 tablespoon (12g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (5g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon espresso powder optional
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 ounce semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chopped (high-quality chips are fine)*
- 1 cup milk any percentage*
- 1 scoop good-quality vanilla ice cream
- In a small pot, combine sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, salt, and water. Whisk over medium heat until smooth. Add chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
- Whisk in milk and heat until steaming.
- Transfer to an 8-ounce mug, leaving about an inch of space at the top of the glass.
- Add a generous scoop of ice cream. Serve with a spoon and enjoy!
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