Who doesn’t love a good cup of hot cocoa? I know I do. I usually make my own hot chocolate and hot cocoa, but many folks find my blog because of this post about Swiss Miss ingredients. Go figure! So I thought I’d provide a bit more information that what was originally here.

If you are a fan of hot chocolate, you might really like my Hot Chocolate Custard.
For ease of browsing, here are all of my beverages. Thanks for stopping by!

A white mug with a fuzzy light blue mug holder. Marshmallows decorated as snowmen float on top of cocoa. Pastel twinkle lights are in the background and white snowflake lights are in the foreground.

Swiss Miss Ingredients

The following is the list of ingredients in a 1 oz, individual package of Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate Flavor Hot Cocoa Mix (found here): Ingredients: sugar, modified whey, cocoa (processed with alkali), hydrogenated coconut oil, nonfat milk, calcium carbonate, less than 2% of: salt, dipotassium phosphate, mono- and diglyderides, artificial flavor, carrageenan. Contains milk. (They’re not trying to be funny with that last one).

  • Sugar–okay.
  • Modified whey? Um, sure.
  • Cocoa? Fine.
  • Hydrogenated coconut oil?! Huh? What is this, Cool Whip?
  • Nonfat milk. ‘kay.
  • Calcium carbonate? This stuff is why the package proudly proclaims “Contains as much calcium as a glass of milk!” It’s ground up shells. Yum.
  • Less than 2% of:  salt. Fine.
  • Dipotassium phosphate? Our friends at Wikipedia say this stuff “is a highly water-soluble salt which is often used as a fertilizer, food additive and buffering agent. It is a common source of phosphorus and potassium.” As a bonus, it’s supposed to help w/headaches. “It is generally recognized as safe.” GRAS, in FDA-speak. Gee, now I feel better.
  • Mono- and diglycerides? These guys are emulsifiers that hold the hydrogenated fat together with the water you’re about to pour into this stuff. Thank goodness for that!
  • Artificial flavor? Mysterious, n’est-ce pas?
  • Carrageenan. This is a thickener. Made from seaweed. A Twitter friend says her daughter is allergic and it made her mouth get all red. Great.

While there is nothing really inherently bad about any of these ingredients, it is very easy to make your own hot cocoa and/or hot chocolate.

Even though Swiss Miss can be an occasional nostalgic treat, please most of the time, make your own hot chocolate or hot cocoa. It won’t take you much longer than the boxed stuff, and you’ll know what’s in it.

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What is the Shelf Life of Swiss Miss?

A box of Swiss Miss Classics Milk Chocolate Flavor.
Boxed Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix. Classic. Photo credit

Lots of folks want to know if Swiss Miss goes bad. Given that ingredient list, I’m inclined to think no, except if a pack of it were to be opened and moisture got in.

But I did some digging around and it turns out that unopened packets of Swiss Miss (flavors unspecified, but I am guessing it is roughly the same for all flavors) are good from 6-12 months from purchase date. (Source: EatbyDate.com)

What Swiss Miss Flavors Are Available?

I am a proponent of making your own hot chocolate from scratch, but if you are a super fan of the boxed mix, and it can be a nostalgic treat, read on about the flavors available with some affiliate links for purchasing or learning more.

As of 2019, there are several lines of Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mixes.

Swiss Miss Classic

A vintage metal mug of hot chocolate next to some chocolate chip cookies sitting on a rustic wooden table

The “Classic” Line contains most of the ingredients I listed above in different combinations/proportions.

Note: All Swiss Miss with Marshmallow Varieties are not vegan OR vegetarian due to the inclusion of gelatin, an animal product, in the marshmallows.

Also Note: Swiss Miss Marshmallow Lovers Hot Cocoa Mix contains 2 forms of artificial sweetener in addition to the natural sweeteners sugar and corn syrup, Acesulfame Potassium and Sucralose.

Swiss Miss Simply Cocoa

Don’t get your hopes up about Simply Cocoa being vegan. It would sound by the name that it is, but both versions, Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate, contain nonfat milk as one of the five ingredients in the product.

If I had to choose between the two lines, Classic or Simply Cocoa, I’d absolutely go for the Simply Cocoa for its much shorter ingredient list (sugar, cocoa, nonfat milk, salt, natural flavors).

Swiss Miss Sensible Sweets

Don’t confuse No Sugar Added with Unsweetened. All the Sensible Sweets flavors contain both Acesulfame Potassium and Sucralose. Note that, in order for it to hit the advertised 25 calories per serving, you must use hot water rather than hot milk to make the “Light Hot Cocoa.”

Swiss Miss Indulgent Collection

The Indulgent Collection gives you two choices for a more decadent cup of hot cocoa–a little richer, a little thicker. The body is most likely provided by carageenan, which is an ingredient in many of the Swiss Miss formulations.

Note that Caramel Delight Cocoa contains both Acesulfame Potassium and Sucralose in addition to sugar.

Where Can I Buy Dehydrated Marshmallows Like in Hot Cocoa Mix?

Happily, these little guys are easy to find! Keep in mind, this brand is not vegan because it contains gelatin. But put ’em in your hot cocoa, or add them to your cereal!

Is Swiss Miss Vegan?

Swiss Miss contains both whey powder and nonfat milk powder, so while it is vegetarian, it is not vegan. If you do need a vegan alternative to Swiss Miss, here are some choices for you. If you do not like to make your hot cocoa with water, use your favorite non-dairy milk such as coconut, soy, oat, etc:

Can I Get Vegan Marshmallows for Hot Chocolate?

You can! I couldn’t find dehydrated ones for you, but you can float these vegan beauties in your hot cocoa and never even miss your Swiss Miss!

Is Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix Non-Dairy?

You might think that, because you can make Swiss Miss with hot water rather than hot milk that it might be non-dairy, but it is not, and for the same two ingredients that make it unsuitable for vegans: whey powder, and nonfat milk powder.

How to Make “Copycat” Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa

Whisk some cocoa powder together with sugar (1 part cocoa powder to 2 parts sugar, or to taste). Whisk this into whole milk or half and half (hey, it’s a treat) with a pinch of salt and a splash of vanilla. Allow 1/4 cup of mix for each 8 oz. of dairy. Heat until steamy and delightful.

How to Make Homemade Hot Chocolate

Grate some semi-sweet chocolate into some hot whole milk or half and half. Stop when it’s as chocolatey as you like it. Add a wee splash of vanilla and a pinch of salt. Add some whipped cream for fun, if you want.

Here’s another idea: Orange Hot Chocolate (the hot chocolate will be flavored by whatever flavor chocolate you use). Two ingredients, plus salt. 5 minutes. Perfect.

3 mugs of orange chocolate drinking chocolate. Each is a holiday themed mug with a band of red, white and green around the top. They are sitting on red and green napkins. There is a semi-cirle of chocolate garnishing the edge of the front mug. Christmas tree and lights are in the background.
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More Hot Cocoa and Hot Chocolate Recipes

If you would prefer to make your own hot chocolate or hot cocoa, here are some more recipes to get you started.

With so many ways to make hot chocolate and hot cocoa, I hope you’ll decide to leave the boxed stuff behind or only enjoy it for an occasional nostalgic treat. And stick with the Simply Cocoa version to minimize the ingredients.

I hope you’ve found this post helpful. Thanks for spending some time here today.

Take care, and have a lovely day.

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  1. During the lockdown the news said the virus doesn’t like hot, and I don’t drink caffeine so no coffee and never been big tea drinker. I was over weight, I was in size 18/20 so a big girl. I had purchased 2 months supply of foods, sugar is my thing so I had 2 months worth of junk food too. So like most I assumed all the inactive months to be 1-2 sizes bigger, junk food easier and faster. Now I did cook a lot and froze a lot so many healthy foods where easy and fast to microwave so I did have a mix of healthy and junk foods. Trying to stay healthy I did drink about 12 8oz of Swiss miss a day. When I got to go back to work I was in size 16, then 14 as summer hit, I was doing physical job and being summer thought it was drinking 12 8oz water based that did it, but when I switched to water I continued to loss but much slower I stayed in size 14 a very long time. When it stared getting cold again I went back to hot chocolate and the weight started falling off again. I don’t no my starting point as I was not dieting and didn’t buy a scale until June but I’m down somewhere between 80-100 pounds. I’m in size 10 and they are getting loose so I’m about to be in size 8 for the first time in my adult life. I was not dieting so I ate my healthy and unhealthy foods, yes all same stuff that made me fat. We have been calling it I HAVE A DREAM diet. Not sure if something just clicked in my body as it feels like my body said I’m satisfied so I don’t need to store food anymore and storage was turned off. I came looking at the ingredients trying to see if I could find what ingredient that was doing this for me, I was hoping to find it and see if I could find a way to keep the ones that are doing this since it’s more then the amount of water content as we are on the edge of summer and much harder to drink hot drinks.

    The I HAVE A DREAM diet name came from we all dream to eat tacos, Mexican foods, sugary foods, hamburgers with bread and fixings, pizza, pasta etc eat what we like and lose weight on it. I spent 2 months with my mom this winter she was skeptical that it was the hot chocolate and she made me a lot of home made tamales and homemade jelly’s, cake, monkey bread, and I did many of my favorite places to eat and I dropped from size 12 to size 10 while there and lost just over 20lbs while there. She gets sick on chocolate so not an option for her. Moms worry a lot so until she fed me for 2 months she was afraid I was sick with like cancer or something.

    I’ve thought to make my own, but I’m sure it’s one or more of those scary sounding ones that’s doing it.

    The only other thing I did, was do a detox when the virus was making headlines as I do every year when flu season starts helping make me less likely to catch stuff going around the office. With drinking this much every day my intestines have stayed detoxed or cleaned out this hole year as well. I feel it needs both for it to have worked for me so well.

    It was free too, i was buying more soda then now and I spent more on soda a month then I do now on hot chocolate mix. I did thrift store buying on clothes so the change in soda drinking may have covered some of that expense too. I think maybe was also hoping to find if this is some freaky thing my body decided to do thinking I might have read others with comments like mine, but not.

    1. True, but when you can make your own with ingredients from the grocery store, why not just do that? Way fewer additives that aren’t necessary for home cooking and tasty hot chocolate! 🙂

  2. And now Swiss Miss has started to use Sucralose in the mix even if it is the regular kind and they put sugar in it.

  3. I am actually starting to get addicted to Swiss Miss dark chocolate because it gives me pleasure every time i drink it. but i don’t know why, every time i’m about to pour it on my mug, slight hesitation forms in my mind because of its possible bad effect on my health. and so finally i browse the internet to check everything out and then i found this! damn, i am regretful now. haha! good thing there are alternative ways to satisfy my cravings, in a good way 🙂 great article! 🙂 i will now ignore Swiss Miss at grocery stores!

    1. Haha!! Yes, plenty of ways to have a great cup of hot chocolate or hot cocoa without buying Swiss Miss! Glad you enjoyed the article. If you end up hurting Swiss Miss’s feelings because you’re ignoring her, just blame me. I can take it! lol

  4. My son gets a bad case of hives if he drinks any packaged hot chocolate. Chocolate mint and regular Swiss Miss are definitely not in our cupboards anymore!

    1. We noticed that when my son would drink this stuff his eyes got red and puffy. We thought he had an eye infection. The SwissMiss mix was the one common denominator every time his eyes got red. itchy and teary. We eliminated this from his diet and he has not had that reaction since. We don’t know what specific ingredient caused the reaction but we make our own hot chocolate using very basic wholesome ingredients.

      1. I’m glad you guys were able to figure out that the Swiss Miss was the trigger. It is crazy all the additives that can be in pre-packaged products. Always better to make your own with a short list of ingredients that are easy to pronounce. 🙂

  5. Just made some homemade hot cocoa mix to try different recipes for gifts for the holidays, as homemade mixes can be hit or miss. I wanted to compare the ingredients lists for my 8 yr old son, and we always stress why homemade (usually-but hot always!) means better. The mix I just made was great, but now to find one with less sugar but no added artificial sweeteners… The hunt goes on! Thanks for posting this. As for the ground up shells, it’s the same stuff given to chickens to supplement their calcium for strong egg shells. In and of itself, it isn’t bad for you. Plants that have calcium get their calcium from guess where? Ground up calcium from the ground. The thickening agents and hydrogenated stuff is what I’m more worried about.

    1. Honestly, I rarely use a recipe–I usually start with milk and cocoa, add enough sweetener so I like how it tastes, a touch of vanilla and a pinch of salt. =)

      I’m not saying that the shells are necessarily bad for you, just that probably don’t need to be in anyone’s hot chocolate! lol Many thickening agents are from sea weed, so that’s natural too, but again–why in hot cocoa? If you really want to give it some body, temper in an egg yolk. Makes it silky and oh-so-rich!

  6. ICKY!!!!!
    Are they really ground up shells? I like, drank this literally five minuets ago! (Okay, when you read this, it would be much, much later…) OH AHHHHHHHHH! Seaweed I’m okay with cuz I make a really nice seaweed salad, but SHELLS? Goodness. I’m scared.

  7. what a great post. when i was a kid i used to beg my mother for this so i could dip my finger in the package. i never really got packaged food so it was a treat. now i am disgusted and horrified and try to make a point to tell people about processed food.

  8. I used to use milk w/the mixes, too. But, I learned this: be careful if you use milk w/instant mixes. If you get the kind w/ground up shells in it, you could inadvertently be getting too much calcium. This is not good. Skip the mix, and make your own:)

  9. Wow…I never read labels…I love hot chocolate but maybe I should start making my own! I too, use milk with the “instant” mixes!

  10. This is an interesting way to use Agasweet! I appreciate your creativity, Jenni!
    One of the best qualities of agave nectar: it brings out the flavors of whatever you combine it with. And then, of course – the low, low glycemic index (half of honey!) which makes it suitable for diabetics as well.
    How about a drizzle or two of Tangerine Ginger Agasweet (or any flavor) on top of the whipped cream? With Agasweet – you can afford to indulge! 🙂

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