Hot chocolate is a cold-weather staple at Female Foodie. Nothing drowns out the February blues quite like a steaming cup of liquid chocolatey goodness, so we set out to find the best hot chocolate. We blind taste tested 16 different hot cocoa mixes, looking for a mix that produced a drink with rich chocolate flavor, a smooth, velvety texture, and the perfect amount of sweetness.

Each hot chocolate mix had vastly different preparation instructions– some call for water, others milk, and some list both as an option. To level the playing field, we made each mix with warm milk and otherwise followed the manufacturer’s instructions for recommended milk-to-mix ratios.

The Contenders

  • Trader Joe’s
  • Hershey’s
  • Private Selection
  • Cocoa Metro
  • Swiss Miss
  • Land O’Lakes
  • Kroger
  • Ghirardelli Double Chocolate
  • Trader Joe’s Sipping Chocolate
  • Stephen’s
  • Food Club
  • Starbucks Classic
  • Abuelita
  • Williams Sonoma Classic
  • Sillycow Farms
  • Nestle

The Results

Least Favorite Hot Chocolate

Sillycow Farms

Unfortunately, the adorable packaging of this hot cocoa mix might be the only thing it has going for it. The flavor was vastly off from the rich chocolate taste we were looking for, and the texture was on the watery side. Quite a disappointment for what appeared to be a premium product.

Private Selection

With a very bitter flavor and a strong, unpleasant aftertaste, Kroger’s Private Selection hot chocolate mix was another disappointment. Skip this one – you’d be better off to buy almost any other hot chocolate on the shelf.

Top 5 Best Hot Chocolate 

Land O’Lakes Chocolate Supreme

Available in individual serving packets, Land O’ Lakes hot chocolate is super convenient, has a velvety smooth texture, and is pleasantly sweet. This is a hot cocoa we could easily sip throughout a chilly day.

Trader Joe’s

We were a bit surprised by how much we enjoyed Trader Joe’s hot cocoa. Its decadent and richly chocolate flavor strikes a perfect balance between being too much or not quite enough. And even though the package says to make it with water, go with warm milk every time.

Ghirardelli Double Chocolate

If you’re looking for a classic, nicely chocolatey hot cocoa, Ghirardelli is a great pick. This mix includes both cocoa powder and real chocolate bits for a well-rounded chocolate flavor. Ghiradelli got the balance of dark chocolate and sweetness just right for this one.

Starbucks Classic

Starbucks knows their way around drinks, and their classic hot cocoa mix is no exception. If you’ve had Starbucks’s hot cocoa in store, this mix somehow manages to make a cup of cocoa that’s even better, with just the right amount of bitter dark chocolate flavor to balance the ultra-smooth and creamy texture. Make it with milk for an extra decadent hot chocolate.

Williams Sonoma Classic

Solely consisting of high-quality chocolate shavings, Williams Sonoma’s premium hot chocolate was a clear winner. And while the higher price tag is to be expected, this extremely rich and creamy hot chocolate makes for the perfect “treat yourself” option. Would be a great gift for any chocolate lover.