Homemade hot cocoa requires few ingredients, as cocoa, sugar, salt, milk and vanilla combine over heat to form the beverage. Some recipes also include water, cornstarch or cayenne pepper. The Hershey's, Epicurious and Food Network websites all offer quick and easy homemade hot cocoa recipes.
When making homemade hot cocoa, cooks can substitute the milk with almond, soy or rice milk to best meet their needs, and they can also switch out the type of sweetener they use. Honey, agave nectar or maple syrup all work well in place of granulated sugar in hot cocoa recipes.
The Hershey's website uses Hershey's cocoa, sugar, salt, hot water, milk and vanilla extract to prepare a large batch of hot cocoa. The website also offers recipe variations for different flavors, including the addition of mint extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, instant coffee or orange extract, among others.
The Epicurious website offers a quick recipe for a single-serving of hot cocoa, and the ingredients are warmed over medium heat, without boiling, until the cocoa and sugar are fully dissolved. The recipe also recommends using a blender to create a frothy hot cocoa.
A hot cocoa recipe listed on the Food Network website calls for the addition of cornstarch and cayenne pepper, and the dry ingredients can be combined and stored in an airtight container for use at a later date.