This amaretto hot chocolate is a delicious twist on classic hot cocoa with a sweet almond-flavored shot of amaretto. Enjoy this easy and decadent hot chocolate on a cold night!
I'm a big fan of amaretto, an almond-flavored liqueur, so I developed this sweet, nutty, boozy drink recipe. I mean, look at that...warm amaretto spiked hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and salted caramel. So good!
Ever since I discovered amaretto's use in tiramisu, I've been hooked! It's my favorite liqueur, and for good reason; it's nutty and smooth, with a sweet flavor.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- The base of the recipe comes from my go-to hot chocolate recipe, which has a rich chocolate taste.
- A touch of amaretto and a pinch of salt elevates the flavors of the chocolate without tasting too alcoholic or sweet.
- Whipped cream, salted caramel, and optional toppings like slivered almonds and chocolate curls make this creamy hot chocolate one you'll be sure to remember! It's especially fantastic served on a special date night, Valentine's Day, or winter gathering alongside my overnight brioche cinnamon rolls, sticky toffee pudding traybake or coffee cake cookies.
Looking for a dairy-free alternative? Try my oat milk hot chocolate!
What is Amaretto?
- Amaretto is an Italian liqueur originating in Saronno, Italy that translates to "a little bitter.
- "The liqueur's classic almond flavor can come from a variety of sources, including the pits of apricots or peaches (yes, the pits also taste like almonds!), or almonds themselves.
- Amaretto is commonly found in drinks and desserts, like amaretto sour, espresso martinis, tiramisus, cakes, and cookies.
- Milk: I typically use 2% or whole milk because I love the richness! For a non-dairy option, try oat or almond milk.
- Sugar: You can use as much or as little sugar in this as you'd like -- feel free to adjust it to your preferences. If I make a sweeter hot chocolate, I like to add a little salt to balance out the sweetness.
- Salt: After testing this recipe a few times, I've found that adding just a bit of salt pairs well with the sugar, chocolate, and amaretto. If you make this drink and find it a tad too sweet, you can try stirring in a pinch of salt to balance things out.
- Amaretto: Disaronno is my recommended brand of choice.
For a full list of ingredients and quantities, refer to the recipe card.
In my opinion, half the fun of hot chocolate is in the toppings! I like garnishing the drink with whipped cream (homemade or store-bought), salted caramel, toasted slivered almonds, and chocolate shavings.
The almonds and chocolate shavings are optional but so fun! The whipped cream and caramel are non-negotiable, though 🙂
TIP: The fastest way to make chocolate shavings is to run a vegetable peeler across a smooth section of a chocolate bar.
How to Make Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Step 1 - Make a cornstarch slurry: Whisk the cornstarch with cold milk until smooth. After making the slurry, set it aside while you prepare the hot chocolate.
TIP: A cornstarch slurry is a mixture of cornstarch and a cold liquid whisked until smooth. The slurry is then added to the boiling hot chocolate to help thicken it. If you were to add the dry cornstarch directly, it would clump up - so a slurry is a safe way to prevent that!
Step 2 - Add the milk, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt to a pot set over medium heat.
Step 3 - Bring to a low simmer over medium heat in a medium saucepan.
Step 4 - Add the dark chocolate and cornstarch slurry, then bring to a boil. Boil, stirring frequently, for at least 1 minute until thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings to your own preferences.
Step 5 - Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and amaretto. Top with whipped cream and salted caramel and any other desired toppings. Serve warm and enjoy!
Storage and Make-Ahead Instructions
- You can very easily make this drink ahead of time and store it in the fridge for a day or two -- just don't add the alcohol or toppings. Right before serving, reheat it on the stovetop, then remove from the heat, stir in the alcohol, and garnish with desired toppings.
- Make a big batch of this by doubling or tripling the recipe to serve a crowd! You can even make a hot chocolate bar and have your guests add a shot of amaretto, brownie bites, whipped cream, and other toppings to their own drinks.
- Leftover hot chocolate (without toppings or alcohol) should be cooled to room temperature and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
You can also add mini marshmallows, toffee bits, crushed graham crackers or biscotti, or white chocolate chips. Keep in mind that marshmallows and white chocolate will make things much sweeter, so you may want to add less sugar to the hot chocolate.
You can add leftover liqueur to your coffee or an amaretto sour. My favorite way to drink amaretto is to mix it with a bit of ice cold milk; it's sweet, nutty, and so delicious as an after-dinner treat.
Of course! Cool the non-spiked hot chocolate to room temperature, then store in the fridge until chilled, about 2 - 4 hours. To serve, fill a glass with ice, pour the drink, and stir in the amaretto.
For even more cozy recipes, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter.Happy eating! Love, Karishma
Amaretto Hot Chocolate
For the cornstarch slurry:
- 1 tablespoon 2% milk, or whole milk | cold
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
For the amaretto hot chocolate:
- Whipped cream, homemade or store-bought
- Salted caramel, homemade or store-bought
- Toasted slivered almonds, optional
- Chocolate shavings or curls, optional
Make the Cornstarch Slurry:
- In a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon 2% milk with ½ teaspoon cornstarch until no clumps remain. Set aside.
Make the Hot Chocolate:
- In a 3-quart saucepan, add 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 cups 2% milk, and a pinch of salt.Bring to a simmer on medium heat, and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. Whisk frequently to ensure the cocoa powder melts into the milk.
- Give the cornstarch slurry another stir to make sure it's smooth, then add it with the chopped chocolate to the pot. Bring to a boil. Whisk constantly for 1 minute until thickened.Note: Cornstarch needs to boil for at least one minute to activate and thicken.
- Taste the hot chocolate and adjust flavorings as needed. Not sweet enough? Stir in additional sugar. Not chocolatey enough? Stir in additional cocoa powder or chopped chocolate.Note: Salt really brings out the chocolate flavors, so if you feel the hot chocolate needs something extra, try adding another pinch. I typically add a bit more salt to this version of hot chocolate as I love the slightly salty flavor paired with the amaretto!
- Remove from the heat, then stir in the ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 ounces amaretto liqueur.
- Divide hot chocolate amongst two mugs and top with whipped cream, salted caramel, almonds (if desired) and chocolate curls (if desired).
You can very easily make this hot chocolate ahead of time and store it in the fridge for a day or two — just don’t add the alcohol or toppings. Before serving, reheat it on the stovetop, then remove from the heat, stir in the alcohol, and garnish with desired toppings. Make a big batch of this by doubling or tripling the recipe to serve a crowd! You can even make a hot chocolate bar and have your guests add a shot of amaretto, whipped cream, and other toppings to their own drinks. Leftover hot chocolate (without toppings or alcohol) should be cooled to room temperature and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop.