Recipe for Chocolate Caliente: Spanish Hot Chocolate

Cropped Hand Holding Churro Over Hot Chocolate
Yin Jiang / EyeEm Getty Images
  • 20 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 2 servings or 2 cups
Ratings (43)

The Spanish are known to have been locos for chocolate ever since they “discovered” it in the New World about 500 years ago. As in centuries past, today the Spanish drink rich hot chocolate for breakfast, and it's so thick that you can stand a churro in it.

If the only hot cocoa you’ve ever had is the kind made using envelopes of powdered mix and hot water, you won’t recognize this incredibly rich and flavorful drink. In fact, once you try the Spanish way of making hot chocolate, you might be hooked and never go back to the quick variety ever again. There are two slightly different versions here; one uses milk chocolate and the other substitutes baking chocolate and sugar for the milk chocolate. Try both to decide which you prefer. Whether you choose sweet or baking chocolate, the process is almost the same. 

Be sure to use a clean spoon every time you taste the hot chocolate. Enzymes from your mouth can cause a thickened cornstarch mixture to become thin.

What You'll Need

  • For the sweet chocolate version:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate
  • For the baking chocolate version:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 ounces baking chocolate
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar

How to Make It

  1. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and add the cornstarch.
  2. Whisk to dissolve the cornstarch.
  3. Once the cornstarch is dissolved, heat the milk over medium heat just until it boils, then remove it from the heat.
  4. Add the chocolate squares (either milk chocolate or baking chocolate) immediately and begin stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. If the milk cools off too fast, place the pan back on the stove over low heat to melt the chocolate.
  1. If you are using baking chocolate, which is unsweetened, pour the sugar into the chocolate milk mixture and stir until it is thoroughly dissolved. Do this off of the heat.
  2. Place the pan back on the stove over medium-low/medium heat, stirring slowly but constantly. (Do not cook the mixture over high heat because it can cause it to become lumpy.)
  3. Taste the chocolate for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary. The mixture should thicken quickly. As soon as you see it thicken, remove the pan from the heat so the cornstarch will not thin.
  4. Ladle the hot chocolate immediately into cups and serve piping hot.