How to thicken hot chocolate? (+3 Ingredients)

In this article, we will answer the question “How to thicken hot chocolate?”, and how to make the best hot chocolate?

How to thicken hot chocolate?

To thicken hot chocolate you can use starch, gums (hydrocolloids) or you can add a thick ingredient into your drink, such as cream or melted chocolate. 

Thickeners in food have the ability to modify the rheology of the food system, that is, their flow behavior and their consistency. This affects the sensory properties of the food, thus it changes its texture and mouthfeel (1).

Can you use starch to thicken hot chocolate?

Yes, you can use starch to thicken hot chocolate. Starch of different types are used as thickeners, in combination with other types of polysaccharides. Tapioca and potato starches are the most applied starches in the food industry (2). However, you can use cornstarch or other sources of starch.

The advantage of using starch as a thickener is mainly its availability and its low price. The disadvantage is its low solubility (3) and the fact that starches can retrograde when stored. 

Retrogradation is the reordering of the starch structures, primarily involving amylopectin and causes the loss of texture and exudation of the liquid phase (2).

To use starch to thicken hot chocolate, you will have to solubilize it previously in cool (not cold) milk or in water before you add it to the (not still hot/ cooled out) drink. Then, you will have to reheat the beverage under stirring till the starch granules swell and thicken the drink.

Can you use xanthan gum to thicken hot chocolate?

Yes, you can use xanthan gum to thicken hot chocolate. Xanthan gum is a hydrocolloid with a wide application in the food industry. 

Hydrocolloids are polysaccharides (natural polymers of high molecular weights) that have a large number of hydroxyl (-OH) groups in their structure, which markedly increases their affinity for binding water molecules. As a consequence, they are able to capture “loose” water from the food matrix, making it thicker (1).

Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide produced by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris.

The advantage of using xanthan gum is that it is able to provide an optimal viscosity and long-term stability. In addition, its properties will not be disrupted through temperature fluctuations, such as cooling and warming. In this sense, xanthan gum is widely applied in the dairy industry (4).

The disadvantage of using xanthan gum is its low solubility. The solubility of the gum depends on many factors, including temperature. However, it will need to be previously hydrated in a liquid prior to use. 

To thicken hot chocolate with xanthan gum, you will have to hydrate the powdered gum in a cool (not cold) portion of milk for a few minutes. Following, you should add cocoa powder and stir the milk containing gum and cocoa with a blender. Finally, you can heat the milk.

Can you use cream to thicken hot chocolate?

Yes, you can use cream to thicken your hot chocolate. Cream is an emulsion of milk fat globules which provides sensation of thickness, giving rise to the overall perception of creaminess in liquid milk (5). 

The milk fat globules present in the cream have an ideal and evenly distributed small size and are dispersed in the milk in an unique way, not reproducible by other types of lipids. The perception of creaminess is greater for smaller fat globules of the milk.

The milk fat globules are stabilized in the emulsion due to the presence of an outer membrane, which maintains the integrity of the lipid droplets and helps to protect them from destabilization in the emulsion. This also enables the easy dispersion of the cream in the cocoa beverage.

The advantage of using cream to thicken hot chocolate is its practicality and the sensory properties provided by the cream. The disadvantage is the increase of the caloric load of the drink.

 To thicken hot chocolate with cream, add the cream to the milk and stir. 

Other FAQs about Chocolate that you may be interested in.

Can you get sick from eating expired chocolate?

Can chocolate go bad?

Can you freeze chocolate syrup?


In this article, we answered the question “How to thicken hot chocolate?”, and how to make the best hot chocolate?


  1. Saha, Dipjyoti, and Suvendu Bhattacharya. Hydrocolloids as thickening and gelling agents in food: a critical review. J food sci technol, 2010, 47, 587-597.
  2. Brunnschweiler, Judith, et al. Isolation, physicochemical characterization and application of yam (Dioscorea spp.) starch as thickening and gelling agent. Starch‐Stärke, 2005, 57, 107-117.
  3. Leonard, Rebecca J., et al. Effects of bolus rheology on aspiration in patients with dysphagia. J Acad Nutr Diet, 2014, 114, 590-594.
  4. Izydorczyk, Marta, Steve W. Cui, and Qi Wang. Polysaccharide gums: structures, functional properties, and applications. Food carbohydrates: Chemistry, physical properties, and applications. 2005.
  5. Truong, Tuyen, et al. Effect of milk fat globule size on the physical functionality of dairy products. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2016.

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