Get Cozy with the Best Hot Cocoa Mix

Who has the time to warm milk in a pot and break out the whisk to make hot chocolate with actual cocoa powder, sugar, salt, vanilla, etc.? I have a child. I have three cats. I can’t mess around with multiple dishes and kitchen tools. When I want hot chocolate, I want it easily. I want to simply mix powder with hot water and stir. But I still want it to taste creamy and like it’s at least heard of a cacao nib.

Luckily for me and other time-strapped or simply impatient hot chocolate lovers, the Sporked team and Mythical executive assistant, Laura Torres, gathered some of the top-selling and most popular hot cocoa mixes to find the perfect powder. We used only hot water when making each cup so we could assess the mixes at their most bare-boned. There was nowhere for these mixes to hide any flaws in our taste test. Here are the top five best tasting brands.

The following article contains affiliate links that may generate a small commission to us when you make a purchase through the link. Learn more about how we work with affiliates here.


Trader Joe’s Organic Hot Cocoa Mix

Best of the Best

Trader Joe’s Organic Hot Cocoa Mix

Not only does Trader Joe’s cocoa have the best packaging but the beloved/cultish store also makes the best tasting mix. “It has a nice cocoa flavor,” said Sporked managing editor Gwynedd Stuart. “It’s sweet but not obnoxiously so.” It has a cocoa flavor that stays with you with a pleasantly bittersweet finish. It tastes like real chocolate and that makes it real good. I’ll admit, this is the cocoa I currently have in my pantry. I didn’t come in thinking it would win, but I feel delightfully validated that it did.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Great Value Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix

Best Value

Great Value Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix

If hot cocoa isn’t a once-in-a-while treat for you but a regular, everyday beverage, then you should stock up on a few tubs of Walmart’s signature mix. “It’s thick and chocolaty,” said Laura. “Like good, solid, football game hot chocolate.” (Those from the Northeast can sub “hockey game” in for “football game,” if that makes more sense.) It’s terrifically creamy, even without any milk or actual cream, and it is definitely sweet. You don’t get a ton of authentic chocolate flavor, but it will scratch a hot cocoa itch. 

Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

Swiss Miss Indulgent Collection Dark Chocolate

Best Dark Chocolate

Swiss Miss Indulgent Collection Dark Chocolate 

“I buy this when I want to feel more mature,” Laura said. It does feel like a more grown-up version of a childhood favorite, for sure. It’s dark and indulgent. It keeps you coming back for sip after sip. If Great Value is hockey game or football game cocoa, this is Ice Capades cocoa. It’s a little fancier—a little more upscale. It’s richer and feels like it’s really warming you up from the inside. It’s the type of hot chocolate you hold with both hands, just under your nose, breathing in the warm, sweet vapors before taking a sip. A cinematic hot chocolate.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate Hot Chocolate Mix

Best Nostalgic

Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate 

This may not be the best cocoa, but it will bring you back to some childhood memory or other. “It’s a classic,” said Laura. Sporked staff writer Jordan Myrick agreed saying, “I don’t know if it’s the best hot chocolate out there, but there’s something about it that’s reminiscent of being a child.” Whether or not you want to return to childhood is up to you. But if you do, then stir up a pouch of this tried-and-true mix. I will say, nostalgia aside, there is a slight saltiness to this mix that the others don’t have. I like a little salt in my cocoa, so, for me, that’s a good thing.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

Kroger Hot Cocoa Mix

Best Creamy

Kroger Dutch Hot Cocoa Mix Milk Chocolate

Possibly the sweetest of the bunch, Kroger’s mix also produces the creamiest cream-free cocoa of them all. “It has milk chocolate vibes off the bat,” said Laura. This one also comes with mini marshmallows, which immediately melt into the cocoa—they could be the source of the mix’s creaminess. I’d like this cocoa on a brisk, winter walk. I want it poured into a to-go mug that I can hold to warm up my hands as I stroll the frigid streets or emerge from my ice fishing cabin onto a deeply frozen lake.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Kroger

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Film your own taste test at home and share with us using #SporkedTasteTest for a chance to be featured on our social pages!


About the Author

Justine Sterling

Justine Sterling is the editor-in-chief of Sporked. She has been writing about food and beverages for well over a decade and is an avid at-home cook and snacker. Don’t worry, she’s not a food snob. Sure, she loves a fresh-shucked oyster. But she also will leap at whatever new product Reese’s releases and loves a Tostitos Hint of Lime, even if there is no actual lime in the ingredients.

Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!

Your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published.

  • Camino mix (Canadian company) is amazing; the only better hot chocolate I have had is very expensive shaved chocolate mix from chocolate shops. Incredibly delicious.

    Reply
  • Best dairy-free? Swiss Miss!

    Reply
  • Have you ever nestled near a fireplace with Land O lakes coco? That is my favorite one out of all.

    Reply