This is the ultimate guide to hosting the most festive and fun DIY Hot Cocoa Bar with the best hot chocolate recipes and endless toppings! Host a DIY Hot Chocolate bar at your holiday parties or for a cozy winter night with friends!
Hot Cocoa Bar Ideas Will Spruce Up Any Holiday Party This Year
This DIY Hot Cocoa Bar will surely spread sweetness and holiday cheer to your friends and family! Even long after the holiday season has passed, nothing beats warm, cozy hot chocolate to get you through the entire winter!
To make your DIY Hot Cocoa Bar an absolute stand-out experience, I thought of every detail, from the perfect hot chocolate recipes to the most delicious toppings! I even gathered up the best recipes to serve as guests enjoy your cocoa bar!
Arrange a DIY Hot Cocoa Bar for Christmas gatherings, kid’s events, winter sledding parties, or during a cozy evening at home with the family. This DIY Hot Cocoa Bar is sure to be an exciting hit no matter when it’s enjoyed!
Hot Chocolate Bar Supplies & Ingredients
The first thing you’ll need at your hot chocolate bar is, of course, the hot chocolate! I always use my rich and creamy Crock Pot Hot Chocolate Recipe. It stays warm all day long in the crockpot and makes for easy serving!
Feel free to use any flavored hot chocolate recipe that you think your guests may enjoy! From Nutella Hot Chocolate to Peppermint Hot Chocolate and even Creamy Mexican Hot Chocolate, there are lots of flavors to choose from!
If you’re hosting a DIY Hot Cocoa Bar at a large party or gathering, you could make multiple batches of different flavored hot chocolates! You can also get flavored syrups that guests can add to their hot chocolate instead of making multiple flavored batches.
Next, you’ll need to finish your hot chocolate of choice off with fun, tasty toppings! Keep it simple or go to the extreme; the choice is yours!
Lastly, here are the supplies for the hot cocoa bar! You can use festive mugs or take the easy way out and set out paper coffee cups at your hot chocolate station. The next supply that’s needed is stirrers such as spoons, edible stirrers, gourmet stirrers, candy canes, and cinnamon sticks, which would all compliment the cocoa bar nicely.
Extra supplies like serve ware and mini scoops for the toppings and decorations such as mini signs and ribbons are up to you!
Hot Chocolate Bar Toppings
This DIY Hot Cocoa Bar leaves an abundance of room for you to be creative! From the flavor of the hot cocoa to the endless topping ideas! The sky is the limit with options; the more, the better! Here are some delicious topping ideas to get you started:
- Candy – Mini M&MS, crushed peanut butter cups, a variety of different flavored Hershey kisses that are chopped or whole, crushed Andes mints, crushed peppermint bark, toffee bits, or crushed Twix are all fun toppings! To add a little spice, you could also add Brach’s cinnamon imperials or Red Hots. Peppermint sticks and candy canes are also great and stuck into the hot cocoa for a festive finish!
- Sprinkles – Match the sprinkles to your theme! If you’re planning to do a Christmas theme, choose an assortment of red and green sprinkles! For a winter theme, think blue and white sprinkles. It’s fun to grab jimmies, nonpareils, sugar pearls, and even sand sugar.
- Chocolate Chips – Mini semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips will allow guests to create an even chocolaty-er hot cocoa! For fun flavors, you can also set out white chocolate chips, mint chocolate chips, and as well as peanut butter chips.
- Crushed Cookies – Grab packages of your favorite cookies and then crush them up to use a tasty topping choice! Gingerbread cookies or peppermint-flavored cookies would both be a great option!
- Nuts – Add a sprinkle of salty flavor to your hot cocoa by setting out crushed peanuts, walnuts, or pecans for guests to choose from!
- Marshmallows – I love making Homemade Marshmallows to serve at my DIY hot cocoa bar! We also love using mini marshmallows and flavored marshmallows!
- Whipped Cream – Nothing finishes hot chocolate off like light and fluffy Homemade Whipped Cream! You can also use canned whipped cream if you prefer. Keep an eye out for flavored whip creams that your grocery store may sell, as that would be another fun touch to the cocoa bar!
- Sauces – Friends and family may enjoy finishing their mug of DIY Hot Chocolate off with a drizzle of caramel sauce or chocolate sauce!
- Garnish – To really make a gourmet cup of hot chocolate, you can offer garnishes that can be stuck onto the edge of the mug. Choose Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes, gingerbread man cookies, or Hostess holiday cupcakes to offer at the DIY Cocoa Bar!
How To Make A Hot Chocolate Bar
First, select your hot chocolate recipe! Then, scan the ingredients list and note if there’s anything you’ll need to grab from the store. Shop your pantry first, as a lot of the cocoa recipes use pantry staple ingredients!
Next, make a list of the toppings you’ll want. Think mini or crushed candies, marshmallows, stir sticks, whipped cream, as well as flavored syrups. Add these items to your shopping list, but again, shop your pantry first to save!
Then dream up the display and set up you’re hoping to achieve with your hot cocoa bar! If desired, browse your local stores for hot cocoa bar decor, fun mugs, and serve ware.
Hot Chocolate Bar Ideas: Hot Cocoa Bar Decor
Everyone loves a good theme; therefore, for added fun, tailor your DIY Hot Cocoa Bar to a specific theme to ramp up the excitement! Make some tasty recipes to match your theme, and use fun hot cocoa bar decor to dress it up even more!
You can find budget-friendly yet good-quality items for decor at Target’s Bullseye’s Playground as well as Hobby Lobby, Walmart, and Michales Craft store. Little signs, small decorations, and even festive ribbons dress up a cocoa bar easily!
If you’re someone who loves a good theme party, here are some fun ideas that you may enjoy:
Hot Cocoa-Themed Treats – You can keep the fun Hot Chocolate theme rolling by pairing your DIY Cocoa bar with Hot Cocoa-themed snacks! My Hot Chocolate Oreo Balls and Hot Chocolate Brownie Bites look like mini cups of hot cocoa, while my Hot Chocolate Dip can be served in an overside mug and topped with marshmallows for a fun appearance! You can also serve up more desserts that are made with hot cocoa powder, such as my Hot Chocolate Muddy Buddies, Hot Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats, or this easy-to-make- Hot Chocolate Dump Cake!
Christmas-Themed Snacks – If you’re enjoying this DIY Hot Cocoa Bar around Christmas time, then try making some Christmas themed treats to enjoy with it! From Festive Christmas Oreo Balls and Easy Christmas Wreath Cookies to Meringue Christmas Trees, there are plenty of sweet holiday goodies to choose from! You can also serve up lighter options to cut the sweetness of the night by enjoying this Easy Christmas Appetizer, which is like little Christmas tree sandwiches. My Christmas Tree Charcuterie Board would make an excellent edible centerpiece that’s filled with fresh vegetables, fruit, and cheese!
The Grinch Theme – Not only is The Grinch a classic and ever-popular Christmas movie, but the big green guy is also currently trending on everything! From clothing for adults and kids to decor and even snacks! Therefore, host a Grinch-themed cocoa party while watching everyone’s favorite Christmas movie! Serve up Grinch Cake Balls and Heart-Shaped Grinch Cookies to push this fun theme over the top! You can even find lots of Grinch decor at Hobby Lobby or Target!
Winter-Themed Recipes – A DIY Hot Chocolate Bar should be enjoyed throughout the entire season, even long after the holidays have passed! Therefore, serve up winter-themed treats to fill up bellies while also warming up with a mug of hot chocolate. These fun Easy Oreo Snowman Cookies would be a hit, as would my Cute Oreo Penguin Cookies! My Adorable Snowman Cake Pops and Cute Melted Snowman Cookies are also popular treats that everyone always loves!
Adult Hot Cocoa Bar – If you’re hosting an adults-only hot cocoa bar, you could offer different types of alcohol for guests to add to their mugs! I’d recommend using Bailey’s Irish cream, Kahlua, a dark rum, or bourbon.
Tips For Serving A Hot Cocoa Bar
- Crockpot Hot Chocolate – Regardless of what hot chocolate recipe you decide to make for your DIY Hot Cocoa Bar, I’d recommend serving it in a crockpot. This will keep the hot chocolate perfectly warm all night long! I find that Hot chocolate in the crockpot also makes for easier serving since you can use a ladle to scoop it up with and then pour it directly into mugs.
- Clear Server ware – I suggest using mason jars, clear jars, bowls, and other server ware to use for holding the hot cocoa toppings, stir sticks, and treats. This not only allows guests to easily see what there are for options, but it also makes for an eye-pleasing appearance! I have found that Hobby Lobby has a wonderful glassware selection, and often, you can catch it on a great sale.
- Oversized Mugs – Since this DIY hot cocoa bar is overflowing with delicious topping choices, oversized mugs would be best to allow friends and family to pile on everything their hearts desire!
- Lots Of Toppings – The more toppings, the better! This doesn’t necessarily mean you need a big quantity of each option since there will be lots to choose from. Instead, fill jars with lots of fun choices that make the experience that much more fun and exciting!
- Display – Arrange and display your DIY hot chocolate bar in a way that’s easy to enjoy. For example, consider setting up your cocoa bar on a long table or kitchen island that’s spread out. This way, multiple guests at a time can be topping off their mugs full of hot chocolate. However, if you’re working with a small space, you can use tiered serving trays to set up a cozy DIY cocoa bar!
- Snacks – Consider serving up delicious appetizers and yummy desserts for friends and family to snack on while they enjoy themselves.
What To Serve With Your DIY Hot Cocoa Bar
- Freshly Baked Cookies – I find that freshly baked cookies are the perfect fit at any gathering! Whether you keep it simple with a stack of Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies or fill a bowl with these fun Small Chocolate Chip Cookies you can’t go wrong! These Homemade Sugar Cookies with Brown Sugar, Frosted Big & Chewy Gingerbread Cookies, as well as the Peppermint Mocha Cookies would also be tasty options to serve to friends and family!
- Homemade Brownies – Keep the chocolate flowing by baking up homemade brownies to set out for guests to nibble on! However, if you want to keep it simple, you can learn How To Make Box Brownies Better! However, if you’re looking to go the extra mile, then I’d suggest baking up my Mud Pie Brownies, No Bake Cookie Brownies, or these rich, indulgent Buckeye Brownies!
- Easy To Make Dips – Every gathering needs a dip or two! If you’re hosting this DIY Hot Chocolate Bar around the holidays, consider setting out this Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip, Buddy The Elf Christmas Dip, as well as my extremely popular Christmas Cake Dip! Though if you’re already through the holidays, my Brownie S’mores Dip and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip will make for yummy dipping!
- Savory Snacks – To give taste buds a break in the sweetness, you can serve up savory snacks! After all, savory and sweet go hand in hand together! We love Soft Pretzels, and even this Butter Board (TikTok Recipe) is enjoyed with slices of fresh bread!
DIY Hot Cocoa Bar FAQs
How Do You Warm Milk For A Hot Chocolate Bar?
Milk can be warmed up using a double boiler, a small saucepan on the stovetop, or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. Just be sure not to overcook it, or it will alter the taste of the milk.
How To Store Leftover Hot Chocolate?
If you have leftover hot chocolate in the crockpot, first allow it to cool. Then, transfer it into an airtight container such as a jar or pitcher with a tight lid.
Then, store the hot chocolate in the fridge to drink within 4 to 5 days. Reheat the hot chocolate by using the microwave or a small saucepan on the stovetop.
What Should I Do With The Leftover Toppings?
Store the leftover toppings in Ziploc bags with the excess air squeezed out of them or in airtight containers. You can save the leftover toppings to use for decorating Classic Christmas Sugar Cookies or gingerbread houses!
How Long Does It Take A Crockpot To Heat Hot Chocolate?
When making homemade hot chocolate from scratch, it will take about 2 hours. However, if you’re reheating hot chocolate, it will only take about 45 to 60 minutes.
What’s The Best Way To Keep Hot Chocolate Warm For A Party?
Once the hot chocolate has cooked, turn the crockpot to warm. The hot chocolate will then stay warm all day in the crockpot! Just be sure to whisk or stir it often to prevent the chocolate from settling at the bottom of the slow cooker.
I do not recommend setting the crockpot to low heat to keep the hot chocolate warm. Doing so will cause the cocoa to curdle. Therefore, once the hot cocoa has finished cooking, turn it immediately to warm!
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Hot Chocolate Bar
Crockpot Hot Chocolate
- vanilla simple syrup
- peppermint simple syrup
- gingerbread simple syrup
- mug toppers
- peanut butter balls
- Add the 1½ cups chocolate chips, ¼ cups cocoa powder, ¼ cups powdered sugar, 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk, 2 cups heavy cream, 6 cups whole milk, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract to a large crockpot and whisk together.4
- Cook the mixture on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- While the hot chocolate cooks, set up your bar with your add-ins and toppings. Some ideas include vanilla simple syrup, peppermint simple syrup, gingerbread simple syrup, candy canes, crushed peppermint, toffee bits, chocolate chips, Andes mints, M&M's, sprinkles, sea salt, whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate syrup, and caramel syrup.
- After the 2 hours is up, stir in the 2 cups mini marshmallows and let sit for about 10 minutes and stir them again, they should completely dissolve.
- Serve with fun holiday treats like cookies, pirouettes, mug toppers, biscotti, peanut butter balls, truffles, and more!
- Hot Chocolate can be kept on warm all day. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.