Warm Up Your Winter: Amazing Hot Chocolate Bar Ideas for Cozy Evenings

Nothing says “winter” more than a warming cup of cocoa during the cooler fall and winter months. You’ve come to the right place for some inspiration and ideas on a memorable hot chocolate bar.

You can set one up as early as Thanksgiving, have one ready at Christmas and/or celebrate New Year’s with a delicious hot chocolate station.

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I’ve even made one for a winter-themed baby shower (Baby it’s cold outside!)

Below are tips to make it delicious, special, and a welcoming part of your home this year.

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This post may contain affiliate links. For my full disclosure policy click here.

How To Set Up A Hot Chocolate Bar


how to set up a hot chocolate bar

First things first, decide where to put your hot chocolate bar. If you’re planning it for a party, you might want it in the food serving area or dining room.  

Great options are to use the dining room buffet, hutch or even a bar cart. If it’s a family celebration for the holiday season, maybe a corner in the kitchen is the best place for it as everyone tends to congregate there anyways!

Hot Chocolate Bar Ideas

hot cocoa bar ideas

Here’s the fun part!

There are so many yummy ingredients that you can offer when it comes to creating a hot chocolate bar – you can go all out and have a range of options or keep it simple with only your favorites.

If you’re setting up a hot chocolate bar for a holiday party, you might want to have several batches of hot cocoa already made and warming in a crock pot.  

Hot Chocolate Slow Cooker Recipe

Here’s a great slow cooker hot chocolate recipe from Saving Talents that even gives a few flavor variations. Savvy Mama Lifestyle has a delicious mint version (my favorite) that’s perfect for the slow cooker as well.

Adults Only Hot Cocoa Bar

If you’re looking for an “adults only” hot chocolate recipe, check out this Baileys Hot Chocolate from Amy Treasure.

Trendy Hot Chocolate Bar Idea

Another way to serve a larger crowd is to use hot chocolate bombs – they are the newest winter drink trend.

hot chocolate bomb bar station

Hot Chocolate Bombs

Hot Chocolate Bombs are individual chocolate balls that are full of cocoa mix, when hot milk is poured over top the chocolate shell opens up and the bomb “explodes” in your mug.

At your station, each guest would pick their ‘bomb’ and pour warm milk over to make their hot chocolate.

You could buy premade bombs on Etsy – Hot Chocolate Bombs. Or if you’re feeling in the crafting mood you could make your own using the recipes below, amazon sells a variety of molds you can use

Hot Cocoa Bomb Recipes

Homemade Hot Cocoa Balls with Marshmallows and Peanut Butter!


These Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate Bombs are filled with peanut butter flavor and marshmallows. Included is an easy step-by-step tutorial so you can make them right at home!

Turtle Holiday Hot Cocoa Bombs

📸 www.rachelteodoro.com

Turtles are my absolute favorite chocolate holiday treat! These hot cocoa bombs have all the same ingredients to wow your guests.

Minnie Mouse Hot Cocoa Bombs

📸  thefarmgirlgabs.com

These Minnie Mouse inspired hot chocolate bombs are great for kids to enjoy.

3-Ingredient VEGAN Hot Chocolate Bombs

📸  wowitsveggie.com

Vegans or anyone with a dairy allergy can enjoy your hot chocolate bar too with these vegan hot chocolate bombs.

Hot Chocolate Bombs Hack!

Use this ingenious hack to make hot chocolate bombs in just minutes. (And save some money too!) If you have a large crowd, this hack can help keep costs down – the kids can help stuff them too.

📸  chaoticallyyours.com

Or you might just want to go the route of providing individual packets of hot chocolate mix, especially if it’s a bar that will stay up semi-permanently.

Make sure that you have a carafe of hot water available at all times, or an electric kettle that’s always full of water so that it’s quick and easy to prepare.

Festive Cups and Mugs Are Essential!

There are TONS of festive mugs and cups out there.   Mismatched or all the same type both work well!

Amazon has these disposable hot chocolate cups, but if you are able to use reusable mugs it’s a nicer and more sustainable choice.

DIY Hot Cocoa Stirrers

hot chocolate bar toppings

A really cool stirrer idea comes from  Betty Crocker.   Add chocolate and sprinkles to a spoon so guests can mix right into their hot chocolate! This is a simple way to get a “wow!” from your guests.

Hot Cocoa Bar Topping Ideas

hot cocoa bar ideas

Now that you have a recipe for your hot chocolate, you’ll want to provide a range of delicious toppings.

To make your display cohesive, use pretty bowls or mason jars to hold the toppings. Also, make sure to provide a spoon for each topping, so that your guests can easily scoop out what they want.

Here are some topping ideas:

  • marshmallows
  • dark chocolate chips dark, white or butterscotch
  • toffee bits
  • cinnamon sticks
  • crushed cookies gingerbread or graham crackers
  • crushed peppermints
  • candy canes
  • hot chocolate stir sticks (see above recipe)
  • whipped cream
  • chocolate syrup
  • caramel sauce
  • shaker of ground cinnamon
  • festive sprinkles

Hot Chocolate Bar Decoration Ideas

Hot Chocolate Bar Sign

“Warm up at the hot chocolate bar

Hot Chocolate Bar Printable Kit

This “kit” comes with downloadable signs, menus, and tags.

Printable Buffalo Plaid Hot Chocolate Sign

This buffalo plaid sign screams winter! Download and print at home. The set also comes with cup tags and topping signs.

Set Up and Decorations

And finally, choose how to display your hot chocolate bar.  

You can use stands to hold all the toppings or just spread them out on your table if it’s large enough. Some fun ideas are to add some twinkle lights for a little bling or tuck in some ornaments here and there.

You can even weave a garland through the setup.

Have fun with it!   Add some cute signage to help make it festive. You might want to add cute labels to all the toppings, too.

Hot Cocoa Bar Ideas

No matter how you set up your hot chocolate bar, the moment people see it, this will be the most popular place in the house.

It’s hard to resist a steaming cup of cocoa and with the range of irresistible toppings you provide, this hot chocolate bar is sure to be a holiday crowd-pleaser!

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