These hot cocoa cookies are made with a rich chocolate cookie stuffed with toasted marshmallows and topped with chocolate ganache and sprinkles. They're just like drinking a cup of hot cocoa! They're simple to make and some of the most festive holiday cookies you will find.
When the weather turns and the holidays are approaching, it only seems right to turn up the oven and make a batch of cookies! We love a variety of cookies in our annual cookie boxes like white chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies, Ritz cookies, and toffee cookies. Some sort of chocolate is always a must.
Each year we focus on a batch of chewy chocolate cookies, and this year we're so excited to bring you the most adorable cookies, complete with a gooey marshmallow, chocolate ganache, and festive sprinkles.
Why You'll Love These Hot Cocoa Cookies
- Like peanut butter cup cookies—but with chocolate and marshmallow!
- No chilling required.
- Some of the most festive cookies you'll find, making them perfect for holiday cookie exchanges.
- Chewy cookies with rich chocolate flavor.
- Kids love to make them (and eat them).
Grab These Ingredients
Here are the simple ingredients for these delicious cookies. Skip down to the recipe card for the exact measurements.
- Flour: all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled) is ideal here. We also tested this recipe with Bob's Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free flour and they turned out great.
- Natural cocoa powder: most standard cocoa powders are natural cocoa powder (instead of Dutch-processed like we use in chocolate shortbread cookies).
- Baking soda: the acid in the cocoa powder reacts with the baking soda and helps the cookies rise.
- Salt and vanilla extract: for flavor.
- Butter: we used unsalted butter, at room temperature. Swap a vegan butter for a dairy-free option.
- Sugar: a mix of granulated sugar and brown sugar gives these
- Egg: large eggs are best for baking.
- Milk: just a touch of milk, or almond milk, to counter the cocoa powder.
- Jumbo marshmallows: we're cutting the marshmallows in half for the perfect size.
- Powdered sugar and sprinkles: plus a few other ingredients above make the thick chocolate ganache.
How to Make Hot Cocoa Cookies
These step-by-step instructions will teach you exactly how to make these gooey hot chocolate cookies. Jump down to the recipe card for the full, printable recipe.
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside. Add the butter and sugars to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large bowl with an electric hand mixer. Beat them for 2-3 minutes, until light and smooth. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat again until no yellow streaks remain and the mixture is light and fluffy.
Slowly add the flour mixture on low speed then turn the mixer up to medium-high and continue to mix until combined and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The dough will be a little wet.
Use a heaping teaspoon to shape the dough into one-inch balls. Coat your hands in a bit of cocoa powder as you roll them if you find the dough is sticking to your hands. Place the cookie dough balls in a greased mini muffin tin.
Bake the cookies at 375°F for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies puff up and set. Remove the cookies from the oven and use the back of a teaspoon to press a whole into the center of each baked cookie (see image below).
Place a marshmallow half on top of each cookie. Switch the oven to broil and place the cookies back in the oven until the marshmallows are puffy and golden brown on top, about 2 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. While they're cooling, whisk the icing ingredients together, drizzle on top of the cookies, and top them with sprinkles. Serve with a cold glass of milk or a mug of hot cocoa!
Frequently Asked Questions
Hot cocoa mix and cocoa powder can be used interchangeably in cookies, for the most part. They will yield a slightly different result, but should still work! Feel free to swap it for the cocoa powder in this recipe.
Cocoa powder used in cookies gives them a deep, rich chocolate flavor. You reduce the amount of flour you'd typically use because the cocoa powder replaces the need for that flour.
Chocolate is also acidic and works great with recipes using baking soda because baking soda needs acid to activate and rise. It's what makes your cookies tall and puffy! Additionally, chocolate is a drying ingredient, so I like to add a tablespoon of milk to my dough in most of my cookie recipes, like our Rolo cookies.
I tested this recipe with mini marshmallows and jumbo marshmallows and both work well! In my opinion, the jumbo marshmallows yield a more effective result in terms of looks (they both taste the same:)). I opted for a vegan marshmallow!
Typically cookie dough is chilled so that it holds its shape better while they're baking. Most of our recipes, including our toffee cookies, require chilling for the best textures. But not this hot chocolate cookies recipe! We don't have to worry about them overspreading because these hot cocoa cookies are baked inside a mini muffin tin!
Make Ahead and Storage Instructions
Fridge: Follow the directions to make the dough then wrap it in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for up to 3 days before rolling and baking. Baked cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or up to a week in the fridge.
Freezer: Roll the dough into balls and place on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 15-20 minutes until the dough is frozen then transfer the dough balls to a plastic bag or airtight container. Bake from frozen and add an extra minute or two of baking time.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, don't forget to leave a star review and comment! I'd also love if you followed along on Instagram and tagged me so I can see what you make!
More Christmas Cookies
- Gluten free (flourless) chocolate crinkle cookies
- No bake chocolate oatmeal cookies
- Chocolate Andes mint cookies
- Ritz cookies
- Chocolate shortbread cookies
- Gluten free peanut butter blossoms
Hot Cocoa Cookies
For the cookies:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (or 1:1 gluten-free flour)
- ½ cup natural cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature (vegan butter works for dairy-free option)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 14 jumbo marshmallows cut in half
For the chocolate topping:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted (or vegan butter)
- 2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Christmas sprinkles to top
- Mini Muffin Tins
- Electric mixer or stand mixer
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease one 24-count mini muffin tin (or 2 12-count mini muffin tins) with non stick spray and set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
- In a large bowl with a stand mixer or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat until combined. Turn the mixer on low and add half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and beat slowly until flour is partially incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until flour is completely incorporated. Add the remaining flour and repeat the process until dough is completely combined and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. It will be slightly wet and sticky.
- Use a heaping teaspoon to shape the dough in one inch balls and place one in each muffin cup. The dough will be a little wet and may get on your fingers and hands as you're rolling. You can put a little cocoa powder on your fingers and hands to prevent this. Bake the dough in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies puff up and set.
- When the time is up, remove the cookies from the oven and immediately use the back of a teaspoon to press a whole into the center of each cookie.
- Switch the oven to broil then place half of the large marshmallow cut side down inside the hole of the cookies. Broil the cookies on high for 1-3 minutes until the marshmallows are puffy and golden brown on the top. Keep an eye on them the whole time because they can burn quickly. The marshmallows will puff really high, but will come back down once they’re removed from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While they’re cooling, make the chocolate ganache. Place a piece of parchment paper under the cooling rack with the cookies to catch any extra chocolate ganache that drips off. Mix all of the chocolate topping ingredients together in a medium bowl. Working quickly, use a spoon to partially cover the tops of the cookies with ganache and top with assorted sprinkles.