Camping & Survival

30 Days of Preparing for Severe Winter Weather Day 22: The Best Hot Chocolate Recipe

Picture shows a camp cup full of milk on a camp stove.

Hot chocolate is not only yummy and comforting; it actually warms you up. You don’t have to forgo this delicious treat when the power goes out—severe winter weather is the perfect time to enjoy a mug of hot chocolate using a few ingredients from your long-term food storage and a gel fuel camp or survival stove. I whipped up my own ultra chocolaty version in about 20 minutes. Here is my favorite single-serving hot chocolate recipe.

Picture shows a camp cup full of milk on a camp stove.
You don’t have to forgo this delicious treat when the power goes out.


  • 1-1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa —Unopened cocoa has a shelf life of two years beyond its “use by” date.
  • 5 teaspoons powdered sugar —Powdered sugar melts easier in hot water and has a shelf life of 24 months.
  • 3 teaspoons powdered or liquid coffee creamer —I used York Peppermint Pattie liquid creamer. The liquid stays good 120 days after its suggested use by date and powdered coffee creamer lasts for 24 months. You can experiment with different flavors—vanilla is always a favorite.
  • 1/3 cup nonfat powdered milk
  • 1 cup water
  • Sprinkle cinnamon —Cinnamon lasts up to one year past its “best by” date.
  • Mini marshmallows —Marshmallows have a six to eight months shelf life.


  • Mix 1/3 cup powdered milk with 1 cup water until powder dissolves in a metal camp or canteen cup
  • Light the fuel in your camp stove
  • Place your cup directly over the flame and let heat at least 15 minutes or until desired temperature
  • Remove cup from burner and mix in all the ingredients until dissolved
  • Add mini marshmallows if so desired
Picture shows an OD green military surplus Swiss gel fuel M1 stove kit and burner.
The Swiss gel fuel M1 stove kit works just like Sterno.

How to Use the Swiss Gel Fuel M1 Stove, CAMP-245

The Swiss gel fuel M1 stove works just like chaffing fuel or Sterno. It is safe to use indoors in a well-ventilated area for short periods. Do not use a ceramic coffee mug—it may crack. Use a metal canteen or camp cup only.

1. Remove the metal burner from the bottom of the can. 2. Unscrew the green cap and set the stove inside of it or place the stove on another heat-resistant surface. Conveniently, the stove fits perfectly inside the rim of the cap. 3. With a knife, puncture the middle of the metal cover on the can. The metal is soft and flimsy and breaks easily. 4. Ratchet your blade back and forth to expose the fuel. There is no need to remove the metal cover. Make a hole big enough to expose a flame. 5. Tip the can slightly to gain access to the fuel when you light. 6. Use a longer matcher or lighter to light the fuel. (Be careful when lighting as the flame might shoot up.) 7. Fit the metal burner inside the rimmed area on the top of the stove. 8. Put your cup on top of the burner to heat water, coffee, soup or other foods and liquids. 9. When you are finished, using mitts or gloves, remove the burner and put the lid back on the top of the stove to extinguish the flame.

The stove will burn a blue flame and should be odorless. It will make popping noises as the fuel burns—this is normal and nothing to worry about.

When you are finished cooking, let the whole unit cool before putting it back together—all pieces are hot!

Do you think your recipe using the same method is better? Share it with us in the comment section.


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Comments (2)

  1. This is a nice article, but the expiration dates are totally off. I have powdered cinnamon I bought more than 30 years ago that still works fine for my morning oatmeal. Not saying something fresher wouldn’t be better, but if the only cinnamon you have is more than two years past its “expiration date” for goodness sake don’t throw it out. Just use a bit more. And whole spices, like peppercorns, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, etc., are probably good for decades.

    Powdered sugar is also good for many years. Sugar doesn’t “spoil” or lose it’s flavor. Cocoa powder is fine for years, as long as it’s bug-free, and in a pinch after TEOTWAKI, I’d sift out the bugs and use it anyway.

  2. Sounds really good. A nice variation for hot chocolate that I have tried before is to substitute a sprinkle of cayenne pepper for the cinnamon. As Emeril would say, “Bam. Let’s kick it up a notch.” The cayenne pepper seems like an odd ingredient but it really is good in it and add a little extra to keep you warm in a cold environment. Thanks for the recipe.

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