How to make a Hot Chocolate Bar
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How To Create an Easy & Festive Hot Cocoa Bar


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Do you want to create your own DIY hot chocolate bar? Here, you’ll find everything you need to do that, and it’s super easy! I’ll help you style your hot cocoa bar, set it up, tell you where to find the toppings and all the extras that make it special, share a recipe for the best hot cocoa you’ll ever make – and even give you links to some of Etsy’s best party invites so you can hold your own hot cocoa bar party ! You’re about to create one of the best holiday hot cocoa bars your friends have ever seen! You’ll also start a tradition in your family that you can continue for years to come!


Making a hot cocoa bar can be a fun tradition to start with your family and friends.  If you celebrate Christmas, or just enjoy the holiday season, adding a hot cocoa bar will help to create memories to last a lifetime with friends and family.  I started this tradition in our home way back in 2012, and it’s still going strong! 

What do you need for a hot cocoa bar?

Mugs for the cocoa

Tray of some sort (either tiered or flat – you can even use cake stands)

Hot Chocolate Bar Toppings

Decorations for a Hot Chocolate Bar


The list is only limited by your imagination!  Think sweet, think candy, think holidays!

  • Marshmallows
  • Marshmallows in the shapes of snowflakes or snowmen
  • Candy can stirrers
  • Chocolate or caramel “spoons”
  • Sprinkles
  • Holiday sugars (I’m going to caution you against the color yellow – it doesn’t look very appetizing on top of whipped cream).

  • Whipped cream
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Flavored syrups
  • Marshmallow or chocolate peppermint covered cookie sticks
  • Chocolate shavings (white or dark)

Recipe for hot chocolate in a slow cooker or Crock Pot

I tested this recipe with friends – and they say it was a hit! Guests went back for seconds (and thirds), so I tend to trust their opinion!  This recipe is so easy, and it keeps your cocoa warm for hours!  If you decided to do a kid and an adult version just be sure to mark them accordingly!  By making the recipe in the slow cooker you can feed a crowd, and you aren’t at the stove when guests arrive (always a huge plus).  Add holiday desserts and Christmas cookies and your hot cocoa bar becomes a hot chocolate buffet with very little effort!  It makes serving hot cocoa at a party super easy!


The Top 3 festive hot cocoa party invitations on Etsy:

This invitation designed by Jolyane at JolieDesigns is one of my favorite Hot Chocolate Party invitations!  The buffalo check design is adorable, and I just love how it’s laid out!  Tell me your friends wouldn’t love to get this invitation!?


Julie at Lalallama Studio has this absolutely stunning invitation that you can personalize for your party.  It’s also an instant download. I love the look of watercolors, don’t you?  This  invitation is super special!


Rounding out the top 3 invites on Etsy is Michelle’s beautiful invitation for Cookies & Cocoa!  Michelle runs the Simply Everyday Me shop, and her work really is so pretty!  You need to check her out!


It’s my opinion that the art of sending a physical invitation has been lost for the most part.  I highly recommend printing these invitations out and sending them to your guests, however; I understand how busy life is, so the great part is that these can also be sent via email!

How to spike the cocoa for an adults only version:

If you want to add some booze to get the party started, you can have some mix-ins ready to go.  Set the alcohol up ahead of time, and perhaps make a sign on a small board that says: “Mix-ins”.  Suggestions for alcohol to add to your recipe would be:

  • Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • Kahlua
  • Vanilla flavored Vodka
  • Rumchata
  • Spiced dark rum

Each of these will add a warm, inviting taste to your hot cocoa that will put the spirit into the spirits! I would suggest adding them near the end of the cooking time or directly into each much. Otherwise, have your guests add them at the end on their own.  This way you can offer several different varieties of alcohol.  

Steps to create your own Hot Chocolate Bar


How To Create an Easy & Festive Hot Cocoa Bar:

Creating your own is SO simple.

  • The base.  You don’t need a fancy, three tiered tray (although the one pictured here is from Hobby Lobby).  You can use a cake stand or a couple of cake stands stacked, a section of counter with a tray, or just a couple of wrapped gift boxes stacked at different heights (make sure they’re strong enough). 
  • The essentials. Spoons – you need to be able to mix your cocoa (unless your using a pre-made chocolate spoon).  Napkins – make sure there is a stack of cute napkins close by! It can get messy when kids are being creative! Pick a festive mug and get a few.  Mine vary slightly one from the other.  Make sure that these mugs fit easily on the stand you decide to use.  Add a few containers that vary in size and shape to hold your toppings.  Placing them at varying heights is always visually appealing.  In addition, it helps you to see all of the different topping options more easily.
  • The decorations. My bar varies from year to year.  Yours should be uniquely you.  Pick a theme and stick with it.  You can pick up little signs to add to your bar, use some faux greens, or some fun little items from the dollar bins at Target.  You can find all sorts of different vessels for your toppings there. This year, I used cute cupcake wraps that I picked up at Homegoods.  They held everything without folding in.  Super cute and super easy!

Remember – your hot cocoa bar can last past the holidays!  

It can be a long, cold winter! Simply change out your mugs and keep the hot cocoa flowing as long as the snow is flying around!  There’s nothing like walking into a house and smelling the warm, comforting smell of chocolate! If you put together a hot chocolate bar,  I’d love to see a photo!




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  1. How fun is this… such great ideas… it’s lovely! it’s time to go shopping… thanks for the links … thank you for including my hot cocoa invitation your post!!! 😀

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