A creamy and cosy cup of Starbucks Pepper Hot Chocolate is the perfect copycat recipe for cold winter days. The velvety chocolate is the perfect Christmas morning drink!
⭐ Why This Recipe is a Star
- Warming and delicious: This delicious hot cocoa is the perfect warm-me-up drink for the winter months!
- Budget-friendly: This Starbucks Peppermint Hot Chocolate Copycat Recipe tastes just as good as the original but is so much better for your wallet!
- Easy: you only need a few ingredients and it's done in minutes! If you can turn on the stove to steam milk, you can make this winter warmer drink perfectly!
You will only need a few simple ingredients:
- unsweetened Dutched cocoa powder: I use pure cocoa powder as it's unsweetened and thus easier to adjust the sweetness specifically to your taste, especially if you don't have a very sweet tooth. (Also no risk of the chocolate seizing up this way.) However note that the Starbucks original uses real chocolate, so you can substitute the cocoa powder with a good quality, high cocoa content chocolate bar (chopped up) or chocolate fevres. (I don't recommend chocolate chips as they contain stabilisers which affect the quality.)
- full cream milk: Starbucks uses 2%. You can also substitute with a mixture that is half heavy cream and half water. I have not tested this recipe with plant-based alternatives such as soy milk or almond milk. Alternatively, for a creamier drink, substitute with half whole milk, half whipping cream.
- Peppermint extract: you can substitute this (and the white sugar) with peppemint simple syrup. (You can buy the actual one that Starbucks uses on Amazon!)
- White sugar: you can substitute with honey, maple syrup or another of these sugar substitutes.
📖 Variations & Substitutes
- Peppermint Chocolate Mocha: Chocolate and coffee go together really well. If not making this as a nightcap- the caffeine makes it hard to sleep- add in 1-2oz of espresso. In fact, even if just making a regular peppermint cocoa drink, I recommend adding ½ teaspoon of coffee powder to enhance the chocolate flavor.
- Peppermint Chocolate Latte: After the drink has been assembled (sans toppings), whisk the warm milk till frothy.
- White hot chocolate recipe with peppermint: use white chocolate bars- not white chocolate chips- instead of cocoa powder if you prefer a lighter drink.
- Add a pinch of salt: salt is a terrific flavor enhancer. If you love salted desserts such as salted caramel, you'll love a sprinkle of salt in your hot drink!
- Happy Hour: add in some Kahlua or Baileys!
What's your favorite topping?
The fun part! Some optional but recommended toppings are:
- Whipped cream: highly recommended
- Dark Chocolate curls
- Crushed up Peppermint candy canes
- Vanilla ice cream!
- A drizzle of chocolate syrup
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
- Pour milk into a small saucepan and heat gently over medium-low heat.
Note: You only want it to steam, not boil so that it doesn't curdle!
2. Whilst the milk is gently heating, whisk in the cocoa powder till well-combined.
Note: if using solid chocolate, wait till the milk is steaming, switch off the fire then stir in the chocolate.
3. Add in the peppermint flavor to the hot milk and stir well.
4. Sweeten the milk mixture to taste. If using, add in the pinch of salt now.
Optional but recommended: top this hot chocolate starbucks recipe with whipped cream, marshmallows, crushed peppermints and a candy cane!
🥡 How to Store
Leftovers of this copycat starbucks peppermint drink can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days but will need to be reheated over a low fire and whisked before drinking.
For food safety, do not leave at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Don't add the whipped cream and other toppings till just before you want to drink the hot chocolate, if not the whipped cream will sort of sink into the drink and look quite unappetising, really.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
Tip #1: If you use too much, the Starbucks' peppermint hot cocoa drink will taste a bit bitter. You will need to add more sugar to try to salvage it! A great way to increase the minty flavor is to add a sprinkle of crushed up peppermint candies as a topping (instead of using a ton of peppermint syrup.)
Tip #2: If you make this mint chocolate drink a lot, considering "meal prepping" and making a big batch of chocolate syrup! (Mix sugar, cocoa powder and water then store in the fridge.)
🍵 Starbucks Copycat Recipes
Enjoyed this easy Homemade Peppermint Chocolate Recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below! If it brought a lot of cheer to your holiday season, please consider supporting my work by buying me a coffee! 🙂 (No obligation though!) Thank you and have a great day!
Starbucks Peppermint Hot Chocolate
- Small pot or saucepan
- Heat proof whisk
- 1½ Cups whole milk Substitute: ¾ Cup heavy cream and ¾ water or ¾ Cup whole milk and ¾ whipping cream for a creamier drink.
- 1½ Tablespoons unsweetened, Dutched cocoa powder You can use more if you want a more intense chocolate flavor Substitute: dark chocolate bar (chopped up) or chocolate fevres. Don't use chocolate chips.
- 1 teaspoon peppermint flavor Substitute: peppermint syrup
- 1½ Tablespoon white sugar, or to taste Substitute: honey, maple syrup or peppermint simple syrup
- ½ teaspoon instant coffee powder Optional, to enhance the cocoa powder. Not recommended if drinking at night.
- Pinch of Salt Optional for those who like salted desserts. It enhances the flavor.
- Candy Cane
- Crushed up Peppermints
- Chocolate Shavings
- Dusting of cocoa powder
- Heat the milk gently over low or medium low fire till steaming but not boiling.
- Whilst the milk is heating up, whisk the cocoa powder in till no lumps remain. If using, stir in the coffee powder now.If substituting with solid chocolate, wait till the milk is steaming, switch off the fire, then stir in the chocolate till melted.
- Add the peppermint flavor then add the sugar. (Sweeten after adding the mint, as the amount of mint affects the amount of sweetener you will need!)
- If using, add a pinch of salt. Pour into a mug and garnish with the appropriate toppings.
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