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Is hot chocolate made from chocolate bars?

Hot chocolate, also known as hot cocoa, is a sweet warm beverage made by mixing cocoa powder with heated milk or water. While it can be made with chocolate bars, hot chocolate is more commonly made using unsweetened cocoa powder. So is hot chocolate actually made from chocolate bars? Let’s take a closer look.

What’s in Hot Chocolate

The main ingredients in basic hot chocolate are:

  • Cocoa powder – This provides the chocolate flavor. Cocoa powder is made by pressing cocoa solids to remove most of the cocoa butter.
  • Sugar – This sweetens the drink. Granulated white sugar is most commonly used.
  • Milk or water – The hot liquid that the cocoa powder and sugar are mixed into.

Additional ingredients like vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and peppermint are sometimes added to enhance the flavor. The cocoa powder and sugar are blended together first before the hot milk or water is added.

Is Cocoa Powder Made from Chocolate Bars?

No, cocoa powder is not made directly from chocolate bars. Here is the process for how cocoa powder is made:

  1. Cocoa beans are harvested from the cacao tree and fermented.
  2. The fermented beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted.
  3. The outer shell of the beans is removed leaving just the inner nib.
  4. The nibs are ground into a liquid called chocolate liquor.
  5. The chocolate liquor is pressed to separate the cocoa solids from the cocoa butter.
  6. The pressed cocoa solids are ground into a fine unsweetened cocoa powder.

As you can see, cocoa powder comes directly from processing the cocoa bean, not from processed chocolate bars. Chocolate bars go through a different manufacturing process.

Can You Make Hot Chocolate with Chocolate Bars?

While hot chocolate powder is more common, you can make hot chocolate using chocolate bars or chocolate chips. Here’s how:

  1. Finely chop or grate the chocolate bar into small pieces.
  2. Add the chopped chocolate to heated milk or cream and stir constantly as it melts.
  3. Once fully melted and incorporated, add sugar or other sweeteners as desired.
  4. You may need to add a little cocoa powder if the chocolate doesn’t make the drink chocolaty enough.

Many recipes call for adding a little unsweetened cocoa powder when making hot chocolate from bars or chips. This guarantees a rich chocolate flavor. The added cocoa powder contains cocoa solids, which provide more intense chocolate taste than chocolate alone.

Pros and Cons of Using Chocolate Bars

Here are some pros and cons of using chocolate bars instead of cocoa powder to make hot chocolate:


  • Adds rich chocolate flavor from chocolate liqueur
  • Creates a thick, luxurious texture
  • Allows you to use milk or dark chocolate


  • Can create a greasy or oily texture
  • Provides less intense chocolate flavor than cocoa powder
  • Requires constant stirring as the chocolate melts
  • More expensive than using cocoa powder

Nutrition Comparison

Here is a nutrition comparison between hot chocolate made with cocoa powder vs chocolate bars. Based on 1 cup prepared with 2% milk.

Nutrient Cocoa Powder Chocolate Bars
Calories 130 230
Total Fat 2g 12g
Saturated Fat 1g 7g
Protein 5g 4g
Carbs 23g 28g
Sugar 20g 24g

As you can see, the cocoa powder version is lower in calories, fat, and carbs. It’s also higher in protein. So cocoa powder makes a more nutritious hot chocolate.

Cost Comparison

Cocoa powder is also generally more cost effective than using chocolate bars. Here’s a typical cost comparison:

  • 8 oz bag unsweetened cocoa powder – $4
  • 8 oz milk chocolate bars – $8

Since you need more chocolate bars to achieve the same chocolate flavor, using bars costs significantly more. Cocoa powder provides the best value.


While it’s possible to make hot chocolate with chocolate bars, it is more common and affordable to use unsweetened cocoa powder. Cocoa powder provides an intense chocolate flavor without the high fat and sugar content of chocolate bars. It also requires less product to make hot chocolate, making it more economical. So authentic hot chocolate is made from cocoa powder, not directly from chocolate bar ingredients.