Ditch those bland, watery hot chocolate packets forever with this Slow Cooker Peppermint Hot Chocolate recipe! With just seven simple ingredients, you’ll be treating yourself to the most decadent and cozy warm drink of the holiday season in no time.

a hand holding a mug of peppermint hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and crushed candy canes

Why We Love This Slow Cooker Peppermint Hot Chocolate

As soon as December rolls around, we rush to Starbucks to get a taste of their popular peppermint hot chocolate recipe. However, after several trips, we realized we could make a much more budget-friendly and even tastier recipe at home! So, let us introduce you to our new favorite slow cooker peppermint hot chocolate recipe. Perfect for holiday parties, cold winter days and cold winter nights, and more, it’s: 

  • Created with just 7 ingredients
  • Made in the slow cooker for easy prep and minimal cleanup
  • Great for serving a crowd
  • Rich, creamy, and super customizable to satisfy all your preferences, needs, and cravings! 
a spoon scooping up hot chocolate from a slow cooker with marshmallows floating on top

Key Ingredients You’ll Need

Unlike many recipes that use mint extract or peppermint oil, we opted for candy canes for an extra sweet taste without being overpoweringly minty. Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Whole Milk – This forms the base of the hot chocolate, creating a smooth texture. 
  • Heavy Cream – Used to thicken the consistency, and make it extra rich. 
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – The primary source of chocolate flavor. Make sure your cocoa is unsweetened so as not to overpower the recipe! 
  • Peppermint Candy Canes – We like to use mini candy canes as they melt quickly and have a strong, minty taste. However, full-sized can be used, too. 
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate – This creates an even more indulgent taste that takes the recipe to the next level. Just make sure to use high-quality chocolate like Lindt or Ghiradelli! 
  • Vanilla Extract – Enhances the cocoa flavor. 
  • Salt – Helps balance the rest of the ingredients, and prevents your peppermint hot cocoa from being overly sweet. 

Flavor Variations & Easy Substitutions

The great thing about making drinks at home is that you can alter and adjust them any way you’d like! Take a look at some of our favorite variations and substitutions to make this slow cooker peppermint hot chocolate your own. 

  • If you aren’t a huge fan of peppermint flavor, replace the candy canes with ½ cup granulated sugar. Or, try this Espresso Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate instead! 
  • Use different chocolate or a combination of chocolate. We love to use semi-sweet dark chocolate candy bars for their bold flavor. However, feel free to use chocolate chips, milk chocolate, or even white chocolate if you prefer. 
  • If needed, you can easily make this recipe dairy-free by replacing the heavy cream with coconut cream, opting for dairy-free milk, and using non-dairy chocolate chips.
  • Add different flavors by mixing in Nutella, peanut butter, or salted caramel! 
  • Combine the hot chocolate with coffee or espresso, or stir in instant coffee granules for a peppermint mocha. 
a white mug full of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and candy cane pieces

How to Make Slow Cooker Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Even easier than storebought hot chocolate mix, this is the best hot cocoa recipe you’ll ever make! 

  1. Combine the ingredients in a 6-quart slow cooker, and stir to combine. 
  2. Cook on low, stirring frequently to combine the ingredients and ensure the bottom doesn’t burn. Don’t cook longer than 2 hours! 
  3. Set the slow cooker to warm, and serve.

Serving Suggestions

We love to serve this peppermint hot chocolate topped off with loads of marshmallows. However, if you want to get fancy and make it truly gourmet, try adding: 

  • Whipped Cream
  • Chocolate Sprinkles 
  • Crushed Candy Canes
  • Chocolate Syrup

Make a Hot Chocolate Bar

The use of the slow cooker makes this recipe perfect for setting up a holiday hot chocolate bar! To do so, set the slow cooker on a low setting or warm. Then, set it in the center of a table or cart surrounded by mugs, and bowls of toppings like marshmallows, candy canes, mini chocolate chips, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, crushed candy canes, and more! 

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a mug of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and crushed candy canes

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Commonly Asked Questions

Will the milk curdle in the slow cooker?

Because we heat all of the ingredients at once and use a low heat, the milk does not actually cook and will not curdle. 

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes! Once combined, let your hot chocolate cool, and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, pop it in the microwave. Or, warm it back up in the slow cooker. 

Can I make this peppermint hot chocolate without a slow cooker

Sure! Just warm all of the ingredients in a large pot over medium heat on the stove top, stirring to combine. 

More Slow Cooker Recipes Perfect for the Holidays 

During the holidays, our slow cookers never get a break. Whether you’re hosting parties, preparing gifts, or cooking for your family, you won’t want to miss out on these other hands-off, delicious recipes! 

overhead image of a mug of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and candy cane pieces

Slow Cooker Peppermint Hot Chocolate

5 from 1 vote
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 10 minutes
Ditch those bland, watery hot chocolate packets for good! This Slow Cooker Peppermint Hot Chocolate comes together with just 7 ingredients for the best warm drink for the holiday season! Easy to make, it's rich, creamy, and perfect for serving a crowd.


  • 16-20 mini peppermint candy canes
  • 10 ounces high-quality semi-sweet chocolate
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: marshmallows for serving


  • In a 6-qt slow cooker, add the candy canes, chocolate, milk, heavy cream, cocoa powder, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.
    16-20 mini peppermint candy canes, 10 ounces high-quality semi-sweet chocolate, 6 cups whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, Pinch of salt
  • Set on low for 2 hours. After 1 hour, give it a good whisk. Stir until the ingredients come together and are smooth. *Tip: Be sure to stir from time to time to make sure the bottom does not burn.
  • Leave on the warm setting, and serve with marshmallows or toppings of choice.
    Optional: marshmallows for serving



Serving: 1serving | Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 82mg | Potassium: 588mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 752IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 274mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Meet Alia & Radwa

Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

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