Hot Cocoa Bombs, Ranked From Worst To Best

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Hot chocolate is the ultimate holiday drink. Curling up with a hot mug of molten chocolate excites multiple senses and transports a person to a cozy fireside mindset. Making hot chocolate at home is easy, especially with the abundance of powdered hot chocolate mixes available in local grocery stores. Still, if you want something with a bit more pizzazz to brighten up a cold winter day, you may reach for a hot chocolate bomb.

Typically, hot chocolate bombs are made of a chocolate shell with cocoa powder inside and often marshmallows or something else to jazz the bomb up. This means you can have hot chocolate with both melted chocolate and cocoa powder—a two-for-one chocolate experience. While the most common shape is a ball, they can also come in fun designs.

The idea behind hot cocoa bombs is excellent, but in practice, uneven melting and subpar ingredients can lead to a lackluster experience. We tried hot cocoa bombs from top national retailers to find which ones will bring you joy this season.

13. Williams Sonoma Smiling Snowman Hot Chocolate Bomb

This hot chocolate bomb was almost offensively bad. Not only was it the most expensive single hot cocoa bomb on this list, but it was actually more expensive than many of the multipacks. This could be forgiven if the hot chocolate it created was tasty, but it was far from it. This was easily the worst-tasting hot cocoa of them all.

The design of this bomb is adorable, and that is good because it does not melt easily, so you will be staring at the snowman's face for a while. When you finally get frustrated and start cracking it open to dissolve it, you find the inside contains just three mini marshmallows — the lowest number of any hot cocoa bomb we tried. But the real problem is the taste. This is a white chocolate bomb, despite the ingredient list implying it is milk chocolate. The result is a sickeningly sweet drink with no color or chocolaty flavor. We would never get this hot cocoa bomb again.

12. Ello Market Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa Ball

Found at Rite Aid, Ello Market hot cocoa bombs are affordable but also not very good. This bomb suffered from many of the defects of the Williams Sonoma one. First, it did not melt easily. The shell stayed circular far longer than it should have, considering that near-boiling milk was poured on top of it. The chocolate also did not dissolve well, leaving large chunks at the bottom that refused to budge.

Once again, we saw some stingy marshmallow quantities. This time we got six, which, admittedly, was more than Williams Sonoma but looked frankly pitiful in a whole mug of hot chocolate. Finally, the chocolate itself was overly sweet, slightly fruity, and offered an off-putting aftertaste. That was when you got the taste at all. The result was incredibly mild, which is likely because much of the chocolate never fully dissolved. There were many hot cocoa bombs that performed much better.

11. Trader Joe's Hot Cocoa Polar Bear

This hot cocoa bomb may not be in last place, but it was perhaps the most disappointing. The bear design is adorable. Trader Joe's has a reputation for affordable and delicious food. But this hot cocoa bear was just not it.

The shell was white chocolate and incredibly thick, causing it to melt unevenly and slowly. While the design is cute, once it melts into the milk, it is gone, so that really doesn't add much to the experience overall. Because of all the white chocolate, you end up with a pale hot cocoa that is incredibly sweet and doesn't offer much cocoa flavor. The red hat and scarf also melt and give it a pink hue. It's not terrible, but it does not add to the experience.

The one good thing about this hot cocoa bomb is we finally had someone give us more than a smattering of marshmallows. This, and the fact the white chocolate wasn't horrible, saved it from being placed lower. Still, at the price point, there are better hot cocoa bombs.

10. Choceur Melting Snowman

The Choceur hot cocoa bomb was arguably in the same category as the Trader Joe's one. The design is adorable. However, the shell was too thick. Not only did it melt poorly and require excessive stirring to get things melting, but we are still unsure how many marshmallows were in it. Why? Because the walls were so thick that as they melted, the marshmallows got stuck in them, and everything stuck together as one blob at the bottom of the mug.

Also, like the Trader Joe's bear, this hot cocoa bomb is made primarily of white chocolate. The difference here is the dark chocolate drops inside the bomb. These help balance the end taste a little, though it is still cloyingly sweet. Many people enjoy Choceur chocolate. This is just not a good example of what the brand can offer. This hot cocoa bomb was significantly cheaper than Trader Joe's though, so if you just want the cute design, this is the way to go.

9. Dunkin' Dunkaccino Hot Chocolate Bomb

This hot cocoa bomb seemed a bit confused as to what it wanted to be. Was it hot cocoa? Was it a coffee drink? The answer is it wasn't really either. The cocoa bomb melted okay, although it required stirring to get it to the point where it was drinkable. Plus, it had a decent number of mini marshmallows in it. But the flavor was just not there.

This hot cocoa bomb is made by Frankford, a brand that makes many of the hot cocoa bombs you find around the holidays. The chocolate was okay, but there were undertones of coffee. It was not like a mocha latte, though, just whispers of coffee flavor that were as weak as a typical Dunkin' drink. That at least makes sense with the brand. Still, our feeling is that if you want to make a coffee-flavored hot cocoa, you need to put more flavor in it to really drive it home. As it is, this bomb does not satisfy either the hot cocoa or the "ccino" part of its name.

8. Ello Market Peppermint

Ello Market is back, this time with a peppermint hot chocolate, but this hot beverage provided just four marshmallows, which was less than the milk chocolate one. This hot cocoa bomb suffered from many of the issues of the plain milk chocolate variety. The shell did not melt quickly, and it was a little clumpy and just overall lackluster. That being said, the shell was not overly thick like Trader Joe's and Choceur, so at least it didn't have quite as much clumping at the bottom.

The chocolate itself was not great. It was the same milk chocolate base as the regular milk chocolate coca ball. This one was elevated a little, though, by the peppermint flavor. This brought the total amount of flavor up, which the hot cocoa bomb desperately needed. It created a more interesting and complex drink. Sure, it was no Starbucks peppermint hot chocolate, but it was still an acceptable option.

7. Hershey's

Hershey's is literally a chocolate company, so we expected this chocolate to be on point. Sadly, it didn't quite hit the mark. First of all, it is advertised as having "mini marshmallows" when really it has those tiny micro marshmallows found in hot cocoa packets. These are fine, but they're not the full mini-sized ones you get in a bag and see in some of the other hot cocoa bombs. There were at least a decent amount of marshmallows.

The main issue, though, is that the chocolate itself did not dissolve well. The chocolate clumped a bit at the bottom, though it did at least break open in a decent amount of time. This was better than the Ello Market and the Williams Sonoma ones, which initially did not lose any of their shape and just remained solid balls in steaming hot milk.

Finally, the taste of this chocolate was just not quite where we wanted it to be. The milk chocolate was a little sweet and not intensely chocolatey. Part of the problem seemed to come from the fact that this is milk chocolate, which then gets watered down with more milk. The bomb needs a higher percentage of chocolate to make up for that, and at the end of the day, this hot cocoa bomb didn't have that.

6. Frankford Milk Chocolate

Frankford hot cocoa bombs are found at a few different outlets and seem to be some of the easiest to find. The package advertised it as being made with Belgian milk chocolate and filled with marshmallows. The marshmallows were mini-sized and there was a decent amount of them. The overall color was still lighter than we would have liked, which is probably due to the chocolate taking its good sweet time to melt.

The flavor of the chocolate was surprisingly fruity, which we enjoyed; however, we would have preferred to have a bit more chocolate flavor. While this was creamy, the flavor felt too light to really be enjoyed the way a cup of hot cocoa should be. Still, it provided more depth and interest than many of the other milk chocolate bombs; it just did not melt as much as we would have liked it to.

5. Favorite Day Milk Chocolate

We were pleasantly surprised with our Favorite Day hot chocolate. While sure, it wasn't perfect, this hot cocoa bomb was one of the fastest to melt. Interestingly, this hot cocoa bomb did not open with a crater-style hole appearing, like the others did. Instead, it kind of imploded into itself. Still, it melted easily and mixed into the milk without putting up much of a struggle, which we enjoyed.

This hot cocoa bomb was filled with a reasonable number of mini marshmallows, which we appreciated. And the price for three cocoa bombs, which come in a pack, really was not bad.

The main downside was that the flavor was not exceptional. It was fine, but frankly, we would have been happier with a stronger chocolate flavor. We were a little disappointed with the lackluster chocolate. Once again, we think the problem may stem from using only milk chocolate and not incorporating a deeper cocoa flavor.

4. Choceur Assorted Belgian Chocolate Hot Cocoa Bombs

This pack of hot cocoa bombs fixed many, though not all, of the previous Choceur hot cocoa bomb's problems. First, these melted much better. Were they perfect? Absolutely not. But none of these three bombs suffered from overly thick walls that prevented them from melting at all.

The weak link of the three was the white chocolate, which probably does not come as a surprise to anyone, as white chocolate is broadly considered "not chocolate." This one basically just tasted like overly sweet milk, with not much else to liven it up.

The milk chocolate bomb was fine. Once again, it was too sweet, but it melted okay and offered a decent chocolate flavor. The dark chocolate was easily the best of the three. It had the richest and most chocolaty flavor.

Overall, these were a solid selection of hot cocoa bombs, and they were reasonably priced. The three-pack also allowed us to experience different types of chocolate without throwing them all together into one drink, as the snowman did. Overall, we were happy with this hot chocolate.

3. Chocolate Works

What is with these expensive brands and being stingy with marshmallows? Seriously. No one wants just three marshmallows in their hot chocolate. At that point why even bother putting the marshmallows in at all?

The lack of marshmallows in this hot chocolate is what kept it from rocketing to the very top of the list. Of all the hot cocoa bombs we tried, these were some of the best melters and provided a deeply chocolaty flavor, which we very much enjoyed. Not only that, but the drizzle on top was pretty without being over the top or impeding the bomb from melting properly in the hot milk. We are looking at you, Trader Joe's!

The other consideration for this pack, though, is that it was more expensive than other options. These cocoa bombs are available on Amazon, but per hot cocoa bomb, these end up being among the most expensive on the list.

2. Favorite Day Dark Chocolate with Drizzle & Milk Chocolate with Caramel

Favorite Day really kicked it up a notch with this double pack. Both flavors were superior to just the regular milk chocolate and brought with them the advantages of the other Favorite Day hot cocoa bombs.

Like Frankford, these are advertised as being made with Belgian chocolate. The dark chocolate melted well, and while it needed to be stirred, it created a rich, dark-colored hot cocoa. This was perhaps the best chocolate flavor we found on the list.

The caramel milk chocolate was lighter in flavor but had a robustness that came from the addition of the caramel pieces. They looked lovely on top of the ball and made a sweet hot chocolate that offered a deeper flavor than simply adding white sugar.

Our one complaint is that there were not enough marshmallows. Would it kill these companies to add more than a few marshmallows?

1. Frankford Double Chocolate

Frankford Double Chocolate really is the best of both worlds. Half is milk chocolate, half is dark chocolate, and the result is a sweet but deeply chocolatey cocoa bomb. This cocoa bomb not only tasted more chocolatey than most of the others but also was a noticeably darker color.

The chocolate did take its good sweet time melting but it did not clump in the ways that many of the others did. Additionally, it offered mini marshmallows in decent quantities. Interestingly, even though it is one of the cheaper companies on this list, Frankford is not stingy with its marshmallows. And really, that is the root of why we love this hot cocoa bomb so much.

Not only was it one of the more delicious-tasting cocoa bombs, with a generous amount of marshmallows, but it was also among the cheapest. This cocoa bomb company provides flavor and value in a way that most of the other hot cocoa bombs just don't. This bomb may not offer the same fancy designs as others, but it doesn't have to. It knows it is delicious and that people who find it will love it.