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. My pleasure. My friend Sandi runs a really great gluten-free blog with many baking recipes on it, so if your husband is craving sweets, Sandi is your girl. She is amazing and tests, when she can, with multiple gluten-free flour blends. And she also has a recipe for her own gf flour blend. All those mixes are not really interchangeable, so she will be able to help. https://fearlessdining.com She also has a great and supportive GF Facebook group you can join as well. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1093929974438823

  1. Did I miss the list of Vegan Hot Chocolate recipes? I didn’t find them. Was interested in what options were available as I am allergic to cow protein. Thanks!

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