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Hot Chocolate Bar Ideas + Printable Checklist

Baby, it’s cold outside! What better way to spread cheer than throwing a hot chocolate bar party? I’ve got loads of Hot Chocolate Bar ideas for you plus a printable for you to throw the best party of the year!

I love a good hot chocolate station for entertaining. It’s a warm and cozy way to entertain starting with the holiday season and hot chocolate season goes right into spring here in the midwest!

hot chocolate bar ideas

Alright, let’s get making the ultimate hot chocolate bar worthy of a cold winter day!

Hot Cocoa Bar Ideas

Here are some ideas to get you started on the base for your hot chocolate bar. You don’t need all of these, so just pick which ones work for you!

Hot chocolate bar sign – if you’re crafty, you can make your own cocoa bar sign. For the rest of us – this would be me – there’s lots of cute hot chocolate bar printables on Etsy!!

Cup Labels – if you’ve ever had a party, you know how many discarded, half full cups there are at the end. I think this happens when people set their drink down and then can’t remember which one is theirs! 

You can use a Sharpie marker on disposable cups, or dry erase markers on ceramic coffee mugs. Other ideas are drink charms, or you could cut tags cut from card stock and attach to mug handles with some cute twine or ribbon.

Bowls and trays for the fixings – look around your kitchen and house to see what you have that can be repurposed. You’ll be amazed what you find!

Insulated carafe – to keep hot cocoa warm if it’s not in the crockpot.

Festive straws – I recommend you use paper and not plastic because hot chocolate and plastic might make a melty mess.

Labels – to identify different ingredients

Long handled spoons – for stirring

Mugs or paper coffee cups – Set out a fun array of coffee cups and cute mugs for people to choose from. Actually, grab the ugly mugs, too!

Don’t worry about all your cups matching, this is part of the fun! People can pick which cup fits their personality and it’s a good conversation starter to boot!

Of course, you can use paper cups, too. Just make sure they’re sturdy to avoid tipping.

Napkins

Small scoops for toppings – you can find these inexpensively at the Dollar Tree. I found a four pack for a dollar!

Electric kettle – If you’re using an instant hot cocoa mix, you’ll need hot water at the ready.

I have this electric kettle I love to use because it’s easy to fill and pour from. Plus, the water heats up in just a minute or two, making it perfect for frequent refills!

Alright, let’s talk about some more hot chocolate bar ideas for you!

Hot Chocolate Options

You can use your own homemade hot chocolate recipe, of course!

But while we’re making recommendations, be sure to check out my Instant Pot hot chocolate. It’s made using cocoa powder, sugar, heavy cream and milk and it’s wonderfully decadent and stays warm in the pot!

You can also make your own hot cocoa mix.

Store-bought hot cocoa mix – our family absolutely loves the rich mix from Williams-Sonoma.

Hot chocolate bombs are all the range right now and are a fun twist, especially for kids!

And of course, packaged hot chocolate mixes are a great way to keep things simple and so are K-cups for a Keurig.

Basically, there’s no shortage of options for our hot chocolate base!

Hot Chocolate Bar Toppings

There are so many fun toppings you can add to your hot cocoa bar.

  • Butterscotch chocolate chips
  • Caramel bits
  • Finely chopped nuts
  • Flavored marshmallows
  • Milk chocolate chips
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Peanut butter chips
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Toasted marshmallows
  • Toffee bits
  • Toffee chips
  • White chocolate chips

To display your toppings, mason jars filled with different colors of sprinkles is a fun idea!

Kids love the clear glass because they can see right into them from their eye level. It’s like a Christmas coming early at a hot chocolate station for them!

hot chocolate bar sign

Hot Cocoa Bar Ideas for Stirrers and Dippers

Okay, this is everything you need to mix your delicious hot chocolate concoctions or dip and eat. Some ideas for you are: 

  • Candy canes
  • Christmas pretzel rods – the chocolate coated kind. I love ’em!
  • Cinnamon sticks – use these only if your cups are shallow or they’ll get lost
  • Candy stripe cookie sticks
  • Caramel sticks
  • Peppermint sticks
  • Chocolate wafer sticks
  • Butter crisps
  • Chocolate chips cookies
  • Vanilla wafer cookies

Perfect for floating on a sea of whipped cream, these different toppings are perfect to decorate the top of your hot cocoa with holiday cheer.

  • Chocolate shavings
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Crushed candy canes
  • Broken cookie bits
  • Crushed pretzels
  • Finely chopped salted nuts
  • Fudge-covered graham clusters
  • Hershey kisses or hugs
  • Ice cream
  • Marshmallow fluff or homemade marshmallows
  • Salted caramel syrup or caramel sauce
  • Sprinkles
  • Toasted coconut
  • Whipped cream

Spices

Make like Starbucks and sprinkle these on the top of your hot cocoa. Basically, there’s no wrong way to make the right cup!

For the dried spices (like the chili powder and ground cinnamon) you can grab salt and pepper shakers from the dollar store and fill them for easy sprinkling.

  • Almond extract
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Flavored creamers
  • Flavored syrups
  • Ground cardamom
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Nutella
  • Nutmeg
  • Orange zest
  • Pumpkin spice
  • Vanilla extract

Add in Ideas for Adults Only

Keep these grown up additions stashed away from the main station or you might have little hands grabbing adult only drinks. For the rest of you, have at it!

  • Amaretto
  • Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • Bourbon
  • Brandy
  • Coffee
  • Espresso
  • Kahlúa
  • Peppermint vodka
  • Rum

On the side

For some extra nibbles, your guests will go wild for Sprinkle Cookies and Sugar Cookie Cake. Have fun, friends!!

If you make your own hot cocoa bar, tag me at @thisfarmgirlcooks and #thisfarmgirlcooks on Instagram. I can’t wait to see it!

Do you have a topping I should add to the hot chocolate bar ideas? Let me know about them below!

made with love, Deanne

Hot Chocolate Bar Checklist HERE

hot chocolate bar checklist

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