How long to microwave milk for hot chocolate: Hot chocolate recipe

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It takes two minutes to heat milk for hot chocolate if you are using an 800-watt microwave oven. However, heating times may vary depending on the model, wattage of your microwave, and how hot you like your milk.

The microwave is such a great tool if you love hot chocolate. Those of a certain age will recall heating milk on the hob when we wanted a ‘proper’ cup of hot chocolate or cocoa. But that was such a chore. Constantly stirring the milk on a high heat trying to make sure it didn’t burn and then guessing when the milk was at the desired temperature. Though who knew what that was.

In short, heating milk on the hob is a bit of a pain. The easiest way to heat milk for hot chocolate is to use the microwave. It’s simple to use, clean, and convenient. Forget standing over a hot pan (or occasionally spilling it with possibly disastrous results) – pop your milk into the microwave, press the button, and let Chef Mike do his thing.

What could be easier? Just remember to use a microwave-safe bowl or jar or it could all end in tears.

Don’t do this

Making hot milk in the microwave

Although the microwave is the quickest way to heat milk there will be a little trial and error involved at first. I use an 800-watt model and find 120 seconds on high power is spot on when I microwave milk for hot chocolate. The milk is heated to 70 degrees which I find just right.

But if you’re using a 700-watt microwave oven for example, you will need to heat the milk for longer. Even ovens with the same wattage may vary in how long they take to heat your milk. And some will prefer their milk to be hotter than others.

So, it’s a good idea to do a little bit of testing. The easy way to find the perfect time is to first heat the milk for sixty seconds. Then blast it with short bursts at 15-second intervals, until you reach the perfect temperature for you. Then use the same setting and time whenever you’re making a mug of hot chocolate.

Remember excessive heat will burn the milk which is why you should also test it at 15-second intervals until you discover the right temperature and how long your microwave oven takes to reach that temperature.

Aim for the red zone

Best way to microwave milk

I always use a microwave proof glass measuring jug when heating milk. It’s sturdy, easy to make sure you use the right amount of milk, and you can whisk your hot chocolate mix in it.

Whatever microwave-safe mug, jug, or container you use, don’t let the milk boil. You’ll know if you’ve heated the milk too much as there will be an unpleasant protein film on the top of the milk. If you see this film, you need to heat the milk to a lower temperature so reduce the microwaving time.

You want to be looking at around 65-70 degrees. By the way, if you haven’t got one a milk frother thermometer is only a few pounds or dollars and very useful to keep in the kitchen.

Best hot chocolate recipe with microwave method

There are two ways to make hot chocolate using microwaved milk. You can use chocolate or cocoa powder or, for a richer drink use chocolate flakes or shavings. We’ll look at using chocolate powder shortly but for me the best hot chocolate recipe is to use real chocolate.

You can buy chocolate flakes or curls, or you can make your own. You can use whichever your favourite chocolate bars are or you can even use cooking chocolate.

My favourite microwave hot chocolate recipe

This is so easy to do, uses very few ingredients, and is tasty.


30 grams chocolate flakes / shavings.
250ml of whole milk.
15ml syrup (optional).
Whipped cream.
Pinch of ground cinnamon.

Method to make the perfect cup of hot chocolate

1 – Pour the cold milk into a glass jug or microwave-safe container.
2 – Add the chocolate flakes.
3 – Give the mixture a quick stir with a long-handled spoon.
4 – Put the jug into the microwave and heat on full power for 120 seconds.
5 – Remove the heated milk from the microwave and give the mixture a quick stir.
6 – Insert the whisk head of the milk frother, power on, and whisk for 30 seconds.
7 – Add flavoured syrup (if required) to your favourite cup.
8 – Pour the hot chocolate mixture into your mug, one final quick stir, and add a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon.
9 – Enjoy your cup of delicious, velvety hot chocolate.

An alternative is to use cooking chocolate with a little sugar – you can see this in the video below.

Why you need a milk frother for perfect hot chocolate

A handheld milk frother is perfect for making hot chocolate. It’s a simple device but as you can see from the video above it adds an extra dimension to your cup of hot chocolate.

Yes, you can stir with a spoon but a milk frother will deliver a creamy drink with a nice layer of chocolate foam on the top.

Milk frothers are so affordable it makes sense to always have one in your kitchen drawer.

Best hot chocolate flakes

You can make your own flakes easily from any bar of milk chocolate. Or dark chocolate for that matter. You can also buy large bags of flaked or shaved chocolate curls from sweet shops and online retailers.

If you’re in the UK, I’d recommend you try the flakes produced by Hotel Chocolat for use with their Velvetiser. You can use them exactly as I’ve described in my recipe above and your hot chocolate will be divine. You don’t need a Velvetiser to enjoy Hot Chocolat hot chocolate.

Types of milk

In the recipe above I used whole milk, but you can use so many different types of milk to make your hot chocolate. Plant based and nonfat milk can be used; soy milk and oat milk are favourites but try something more exotic.

Experiment with milk

Try matching the flavor of milk with the chocolate you’re using. If you like coconut milk use that with a raw coconut chocolate bar – it tastes superb. An almond chocolate bar combined with almond milk is so sweet and moreish I can drink it by the gallon. No need to add sweetener or syrup to either of those recipes.

By the way, always use fresh milk straight from the fridge. You may have read advice about using room temperature milk. Don’t do this. Why would you? The microwave will heat the milk fine whether it’s straight from the fridge or not. And by using cold milk you know it’s as fresh as can be.

Other ways of warming milk

Of course, you don’t have to use the microwave to heat milk for your cup of hot chocolate. There are other ways.

You can go full on retro and use a saucepan on the hob. You could even melt your chocolate in a glass bowl over the gas flame. While all that may bring back memories of grandma’s kitchen it’s all such a hassle and certainly not the safest way and you’ll likely find uneven heating of the milk. Don’t do it. But if you do – always heat milk over a medium heat with frequent stirring to avoid burning.

An electric milk frother is an easy way to heat milk. It acts very much like a small kettle, just pour milk into the jug, select your setting, press the button, and sit back. An electric frother can also foam your milk at the same time.

Finally, you could also use a double boiler.

Double-boiler method

Actually, you can’t. At least not to heat the milk. But what you can do is to use your double boiler to gently melt your chocolate chips which is wonderful for mixing with warm, frothed milk. Using a double boiler will ensure your chocolate doesn’t burn.

Once you’ve melted the chocolate in your double-boiler it will be a smooth paste. Warm a cup of milk in the microwave using the method we outlined above, then spoon the melted chocolate into the milk and stir vigorously.

Within moments you’ll have a delicious cup of hot chocolate perfect for the holiday season. Or if you’re like me and drink hot chocolate every day – enjoy it whenever you want.

What about hot chocolate bombs?

Chocolate bombs are ideal for using with hot microwaved milk to make a decadent hot chocolate. And they are so simple to use.

Heat up the milk in the microwave as we’ve discussed. Then all you do is add your chocolate bomb to your cozy mug of warm milk and stir it into the mixture. Within 30 seconds the bomb will have fully melted into the milk to leave with a thick hot chocolate drink to enjoy.

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