I have a go-to hot chocolate recipe for my family, so making homemade hot chocolate for a crowd is easy. It’s a modified version of one from the Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes book and it is always a hit on snow days and special occasions. So for our Christmas Bonfire & Carol Sing I knew I had to figure out how to make it for a crowd of 40-45 people. I made 2 gallons (32 cups) and had a little less than a 1/2 gallon left over. I would rather have too much than too little, so I’m pretty happy with my calculations.

How to make Hot Chocolate for a crowd


  • 2 gallons whole milk, divided
  • 2 cups cocoa powder
  • 2 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp vanilla


Combine the cocoa power, sugar, and about 4 cups of the milk in a large pot. Use an immersion blender (or just a hand mixer if you don’t have one) until you get a rich chocolatey syrup. It won’t be as thick as the commercial brands, but it will taste about the same. I use the same pot I plan to cook in, then tilt it a bit to get the blender fully immersed. Actually, I forgot that the immersion was a key step in using an immersion blender and ended up with chocolate syrup all over.

Pour in the rest of the milk and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Cook on the lowest heat you can for 6 hours, stirring every half hour or so. I was making Michigan Rock Cookies at the time, so I just stirred after each tray came out of the oven. The lower the heat the more time you can let pass between stirs.

Serve piping hot in a 3-liter Airpot! Refill the Airpot as needed.

Makes Enough Hot Chocolate For Any Holiday Occasion

This is such an easy way to provide something special for our guests and I love the fact that it’s real food, not some processed powder in a giant plastic tub.

I recommend having lots of mix-ins available, too. We had mini-marshmallows, candy cane pieces, caramel syrup, hazelnut syrup, Bailey’s and Kahlua. Give it a stir every so often if you think of it so the chocolate doesn’t settle to the bottom.

I’ll also bring a carafe full of this hot cocoa to teachers at our school as a thank you. It’s always a big hit and there’s never any left.

how chocolate for a group