Hazelnut Italian Hot Chocolate (Cioccolata Calda alla Nocciola) |

Hazelnut Italian Hot Chocolate - mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream and nutella sauce

This Hazelnut Italian Hot Chocolate, or Cioccolata Calda alla Nocciola,  is a seriously indulgent thick hot chocolate recipe made with real chocolate, hazelnut liqueur and Nutella. It’s quick and easy to make, and it is the best homemade (or otherwise) hot chocolate you will ever taste – whip up a batch of this thick, rich, and dangerously delicious Italian Hot Chocolate today, and whisk yourself off to Europe in the comfort of your own home!

Jump to the Recipe!

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Oh boy, have I got an amazing treat for you today! This Hazelnut Italian Hot Chocolate is honestly one of the most delicious drinks I have ever had in my life. It is a seriously thick hot chocolate recipe, that is so indulgent you’ll feel like you’re drinking melted chocolate, but so much better! I actually developed the recipe for this thick Italian Hot Chocolate last spring, and while the recipe was amazing and definitely worth sharing, the photos did not do it justice and I really needed to show you how damn good this Italian Hot Chocolate really was. But then summer came and it was too warm, and then life happened and, well, you know how it goes!

 Hazelnut Italian Hot Chocolate - a mug of hot chocolate spilling out over the edges, with whipped cream and nutella sauce

But I will make you wait for this Italian Hot Chocolate recipe no longer! When I was making it again to redo the photos I actually made it even better, with a boozy option! My Hazelnut Italian Hot Chocolate recipe now really does check all the boxes – thick, indulgent, made with real chocolate, has Nutella, is easy to make, and you can make it a boozy hot chocolate, you’re welcome! I used hazelnut liqueur in this Hazelnut Italian Hot Chocolate recipe, in both the thick hot chocolate itself and in the whipped cream! I cannot recommend hazelnut liqueur enough, it’s creamy and so delicious (and I plan to use it in more recipes soon, so grab a bottle and get ready!). The brand I used is an Italian brand called Serravinci which can be hard to find, while not as cream Frangelico would be a good substitute. If you can’t get your hands on some though, you can totally swap for some baileys/Irish cream (even better if you can get the chocolate one), or even some Caramelised White Chocolate Liqueur/regular White Chocolate Liqueur  – yum!

Hazelnut Italian Hot Chocolate - two mugs of hot chocolate with whipped cream and sauce, hazelnuts being sprinkled on top 

Chocolate Orange Baileys Truffles are a decadent chocolate treat everybody is going to love. Made with festive chocolate orange and rich, creamy Bailey’s! - three truffles, one has a bite taken out of it, gift box in the background

Can’t get enough Chocolate?

Check out all my indulgent chocolate recipes here!

So, more about this thick and indulgent Hazelnut Italian Chocolate – it’s not that sad, disappointing watery hot chocolate you make with instant powder and water, maybe a splash of milk if you’re feeling fancy.

This is real European style hot chocolate that takes the word “chocolate” in the title seriously! It is so thick and indulgent, when you serve it people will think you’re handing them a mug of melted chocolate, but it’s even better than that. 

Hazelnut Italian Hot Chocolate - whipped cream being spooned into mug of hot chocolate

In this Italian Hot Chocolate we have butter, milk, Nutella, hazelnut liqueur, and real chocolate. Because it is so thick, you serve it with a bowl of whipped cream for people to spoon into the steaming, thick hot chocolate to thin it down to their desired consistency, and then to add a dollop on top of course! Then you drizzle on some Nutella sauce and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts – bellissima!

Hazelnut Italian Hot Chocolate - full glass of hot chocolate in foreground, hot chocolate being poured into glass in back

Picture yourself sitting outside a quaint little café in Rome, people watching, while sipping on this seriously indulgent and thick Italian Hot Chocolate, your moped parked up not far away – taking your time to enjoy this luxury hot chocolate drink –  just close your eyes while you enjoy my Italian Hot Chocolate and you’ll almost feel like you’re there. I’ve never actually been to Italy myself, so I may not be able to guarantee this is the absolute authentic experience but it’s so damn good, you won’t care either way. I am, however, learning to speak Italian with the help of an app and my Italian boyfriend so I’m halfway there – and Rome is on the top of my list of places to visit ASAP! 

Hazelnut Italian Hot Chocolate - whipped cream being stirred into a mug of hot chocolate

Grab a cup of this thick and indulgent Italian Hot Chocolate and enjoy the chocolatey moment!/Prenditi una tazza di questa cioccolata calda indulgente e goditi il ​​momento del cioccolato!

Hazelnut Italian Hot Chocolate - two mugs of hot chocolate with nutella sauce and whipped cream, bowl of whipped cream to the right

Hazelnut Italian Hot Chocolate




Yield 4-6 mugs

This Hazelnut Italian Hot Chocolate, or Cioccolata Calda alla Nocciola,  is a seriously indulgent thick hot chocolate recipe made with real chocolate, hazelnut liqueur and Nutella. 


For the Italian hot chocolate:

  • 1 tbsp (15g) unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp cornstarch (cornflour)
  • 1 cup (280g) Nutella
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp hazelnut liqueur (optional)
  • 3/4 cup (100g) milk chocolate, finely chopped

For the hazelnut whipped cream:

  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy whipping cream (double cream in the UK)
  • 1.5 tbsp hazelnut liqueur (sub for 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tbsp powdered/icing sugar if not using liqueur)

For the Nutella sauce:

  • 1 tbsp Nutella
  • 1-2 tsp milk
  • chopped hazelnuts to serve


To make the Italian hot chocolate:

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat, and whisk in the cornstarch.
  2. Add the Nutella, and whisk until combined and the Nutella is melted.
  3. Add the milk, vanilla, salt, and hazelnut liqueur and gently whisk to combine. Bring to a gentle boil and allow to bubble until thickened and the mixture coats the back of a spoon (about 5 minutes), whisking every now and then. 
  4. Turn down to a low heat and add the chopped chocolate, whisk constantly until all melted and combined. 
  5. Serve with a bowl of whipped cream

To make the hazelnut whipped cream:

  1. Add the cream and hazelnut liqueur (or vanilla and sugar if subbing out) to a clean bowl and whip until soft peaks (cream will be fluffy and will hold it’s shape, but not be completely stiff)

To make the Nutella sauce:

  1. Put the nutella and 1 tsp of milk in a small, heatproof bowl and microwave for 10-15 seconds. Stir to combine. Add another 1/2 tsp milk as needed to get desired consistency

To serve:

  1. Pour the hot chocolate into a mug and serve with a bowl of the whipped cream
  2. Drinkers can then stir whipped cream into their hot chocolate to get their desired consistency
  3. Then add a dollop of whipped cream on top, drizzle with Nutella sauce, and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts. 


This Italian Hot Chocolate can be made ahead of time, and reheated as needed. 

Please note – you only need a small amount of this hot chocolate as it is extremely rich. The serving suggestion for this is 6 servings, however if you’re feeling very indulgent you can make 4 large servings from it. 

If you don’t have hazelnut liqueur/don’t want to get any – you can sub in Irish Cream (preferably the chocolate variety) for a delicious boozy kick! 

Calorie information is generated using an app and may not be 100% accurate. Apologies in advance for including the calories for this extremely indulgent drink at all!


Courses Drinks

Cuisine Italian

Amount Per Serving

Calories 445

% Daily Value


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