Zesty Orange Hot Chocolate Recipe

Zesty Orange Hot Chocolate Recipe

December 07, 2022

While hot chocolate recipes are a wonderful winter staple, adding in the bright zest of orange is the perfect way to transform an already delicious beverage into an even more luscious and decadent treat. While the history of the orange chocolate combination dates back several millennia to Chinese origins, this pairing of two unique flavors has regained popularity in recent years within candy bars, ice creams, and even liquors!

Smooth and creamy, full-bodied and rich, this homemade orange hot chocolate recipe elevates a beloved winter beverage to the sublime and puts a heavenly twist on something you were probably already looking forward to sipping this season.

Here’s how to make an orange hot chocolate that will help to brighten up those dark winter nights.


  • 1 ½ cup whole milk
  • 50 grams semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 orange's peel
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice fresh


  1. Put the milk and orange peel into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer.
  2. Turn off the heat, cover the milk, and let sit for 10 -15 minutes, 30 minutes if possible. The longer the milk rests, the more of the orange flavor it will absorb.
  3. Remove the orange peel. Add in the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder, cinnamon powder, and sugar. Whisk well.
  4. Place the saucepan back over medium heat. Let cook until the chocolate melts, stirring periodically.
  5. When the chocolate is melted and the milk begins to simmer, pour in the orange juice. Continue cooking on low heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Pour into an Ember Mug², and dust with cocoa powder and orange zest. Enjoy!

Ember Tips

Use Chocolate Chip Instead

Don’t have any semi-sweet or dark chocolate bars on hand? You can just as easily use chocolate chips for this orange hot chocolate recipe instead.

However, it is still best to use dark or semi-sweet over straight milk chocolate.

Try It with Your Preferred Milk

This recipe comes out best when using whole cow’s milk as it gives it that wonderful creaminess we all love drinks like hot chocolate, Mexican hot chocolate, or even recipes for Hot Buttered Rum.

That said, if you are lactose-intolerant, vegan, or just prefer milk alternatives, this recipe can also be made with other dairy milk like goat’s milk or non-dairy milks like almond milk, though it likely won’t be as creamy as it would be with whole cow’s milk. Additionally, if you fall into one of the previous categories, you may want to try using dairy-free chocolate as well.

Fresh Orange Juice is Always Best

If you want the best hot chocolate orange beverage possible, nothing comes close to fresh-squeezed orange juice. If you do have to get pre-squeezed juice from the store, be sure that it doesn’t have any additives that could cause your orange hot chocolate to be too sweet.

Check Out This White Chocolate Variation

If you want to put even more of a spin on this amazing orange hot chocolate, try swapping out the semi-sweet chocolate for white chocolate to make an orange white hot chocolate. If you try this out, be sure to not add any additional sugar, as the white chocolate is going to be slightly sweeter than the chocolate used in the original version.

Alternatively, if white chocolate is what you are craving, you could try out this creamy chai spiced white hot chocolate recipe instead.

No matter if you are drinking orange hot chocolate, white hot chocolate, or just a traditional cup of cocoa, be sure to keep it at the perfect temperature by drinking it out of an Ember Mug² or Ember Cup.

Because temperature matters.

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