Thick Italian Hot Chocolate

Have you guys ever had thick Italian hot chocolate? It is hands down the best hot chocolate in the world!! The first time I ever had it was my first trip to Rome about 9 years ago. In all those years I have not forgotten that first hot chocolate. It was a very special experience for me. It was the main reason that Cliff and I went back to Rome last year. That, and the gelato.

If you have never had thick Italian hot chocolate let me explain it to you. Imagine hot chocolate pudding. That is exactly what it tastes like. You can put your spoon in it and the spoon will stand up. It is that thick. And it is wonderful. Every morning Cliff and would go to the bar and he would get some kind of coffee and an orange juice. I would get a pastry and a hot chocolate. Some days I would even get hot chocolate for dinner. We were only in Rome for 4 nights and I needed to get as much hot chocolate as I could!

Drinking hot chocolate in Rome

Hot chocolate in Las Vegas

I always wondered how they made it so thick. I recently discovered that the trick is using cornstarch. How simple! I can make hot chocolate at home????? This could be dangerous. My hot chocolate turned out really great. If I made it again I would probably use semi-sweet chocolate instead of bittersweet. But that’s just my personal preference. If you like hot chocolate, you will love this thick Italian hot chocolate!!!

Here is what you’ll need

First, chop the chocolate finely

Whisk the half-and-half with the cornstarch

In a pot bring the remaining half-and-half to a boil and add the sugar

Add the cornstarch/half-and-half mixture

Whisk til smooth

Remove from heat and add the chocolate

Stir until the chocolate is completely melted

Grab a good book and pretend that you’re sitting in a sidewalk cafe in Rome!

Thick Italian Hot Chocolate
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  1. 1 ½ cups half-and-half
  2. 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
  3. 4 tablespoons sugar (if you use semi-sweet chocolate reduce this to 2 tablespoons)
  4. 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (next time I plan to try semi-sweet chocolate)
  1. In a bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of the half-and-half with the cornstarch, whisking until smooth. It is important that there are no lumps.
  2. Place the remaining half-and-half in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. When the half-and-half begins to bubble around the edges whisk in the sugar.
  3. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture until the half-and-half thickens slightly, usually less than a minute.
  4. Remove from the heat and quickly whisk in the chocolate until very smooth.
  5. Pour into two cups.
Adapted from Italian Food Forever


  1. says

    I had a version of this in Split, Croatia. It was probably the best thing I’ve ever had to drink. I spent the next 2 weeks of my vacation unsuccessfully searching out for this molten chocolate goodness. Since Croatia is heavily influenced by the Italians I’m sure the recipe is similar and now I can make this at home. Thx!

  2. Candice says

    Ohh my, was this good. I don’t know if it was just me, but I had a little trouble whisking the cornstarch into the milk (no half & half on hand.) Next time I might try whisking the cornstarch in a tiny bit of water first. It seems to just melt in water.
    Even with the trouble, this was a serious treat.

  3. Girl in Pigtails says

    OMG! I was looking for a good recipe for hot chocolate… I think I have found it! I’m so excited to make this for my boyfriend. You guys are awesome and I LOVE your blog.

  4. says

    Never been to Italy but I have been to Greece. Your story about the hot chocolate reminds me of my own for loukoumades in Greece. Basically why I want to go back this spring!

  5. Corinne Rizzo Stubblebine says

    My grandmother used to make it for me when I was little and I never got the recipe from her. On a Mediterrean cruise I got some at a restaurant. Thank you so much. I’ll try it as soon as I buy the chocolate.

  6. Gladys Chito says

    Finally a recipe for Italian Hot Chocolate. My daughter just came back from Italy from visiting her in-laws and she brought back little packets to make with milk. It was SO O O O good. I’m so excited to try this recipe…..decadent, smooth and definitely yummy hot chocolate. Once you have had Italian Hot Chocolate you will never go back. It is especially yummy with different flavors of chocolate bars. Try chipotle, raspberry, and any of the Lindt bars…even the sea salt one is great. I’m sure to gain plenty of weight sampling all the flavors.

  7. Anne says

    I wonder if i can use just the milk cream instead of the milk with the chocolate powder.. and make it thicker than the actual milk..

  8. Maria says

    I tried a similar recipe but it turned out way too thick, kind of pasty almost, and I also used 100% cacao chocolate bar. Not quite what I was hoping for. So, I will try your method now with semi-sweet chocolate. I am on the quest to find the perfect thick hot chocolate. Like you, it is one of my fondest memory from an Italy trip — I experienced thick, hot chocolate in Assisi. Thought I’d died and gone to HEAVEN!!

  9. says

    I saw this link from a different site and just had to check it out. We bring a years worth of hot chocolate back from Italy when we visit my inlaws or they ship it to us. Definitely a staple in our house! So I was curious to see how one would make it homemade. This looks yummy!

  10. Walter Godinez says

    I’ve been to Italy and tried the thick hot chocolate from you mention and it is very good, I have even tried hot chocolate from Anglelina’s in France and that’s pretty good too, but hands down the best hot chocolate I have tried in my life is Mexican hot chocolate, the kind you get early in the morning at the coffee and hot chocolate stores that are always next to a bakery. Don’t get me wrong the italian and french hot chocolate is very good, but Mexican hot chocolate is divine. It’s creamy, just the right thickness and the taste is out of this world, even some of my friends that don’t speak much Spanish would sneak out early in the morning to be the first to get a cup of this chocolatey goodness

  11. Lisa says

    I had Italian hot chocolate in Malta and I’ve been saving this recipe for the longest time, and finally indulged myself on this extra wintery night. It is absolutely amazing and dangerously easy! I currently live in Germany and during the winter markets they add Baileys to their hot chocolate with whipped cream so I did that as well. Not only does it make it super delicious, it also adds an extra warmth 😉 Thanks so much for always sharing great, delicious recipes!

  12. Andrew says

    I got the thick Italian hot chocolate multiple times at a number of places when I went to Florence. I asked everywhere what the ingredients are, and everywhere they told me just Chocolate, Milk, and Sugar. How they get it thick is beyond me, but I think it must be some skill with the steamer. One guy made me a hot chocolate that came out thin, more like a french hot chocolate, and he apologized for his lack of skill, saying his co-worker is much better at making it thick.


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