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How to Setup a Hot Chocolate Bar + Free Printables

Last Updated: Nov 3, 2017

If you could build your very own hot chocolate bar, what would you include in it? Marshmallows? Crumbled candy canes? Chocolate syrup?

Luckily, it’s really easy to create a hot chocolate bar with every topping you can imagine. And with the holidays right around the corner, you’ll want to come up with some extra-sweet ideas for your gatherings. A hot chocolate bar is a great way for guests of all ages interact and make their own cozy hot cocoa.

Hot chocolate with toppings in mug

Whether you are hosting five or 20+ people, there are must-have items for your hot cocoa bar. Below you’ll find some topping suggestions as well as things to have on hand like spoons, labels and best of all, treats! Remember, one can never go wrong with anything that involves chocolate, so have fun with it.

Ideas for a DIY hot chocolate bar

Full hot chocolate bar
A hot chocolate bar should consist of the following items: hot chocolate, hot milk (if you are using cocoa mix), thermos or coffee dispensers, toppings, paper cups or mugs, spoons and stirring sticks.

Giving your guests different options to add to their cocoa makes the party way more fun. Use anything you’d like from peppermint candy to white chocolate shavings for a unique spin on cocoa. If it is an adult only party, try including Irish cream or coffee-flavored liqueur.


Topping ideas

  • Marshmallows
  • Peppermint candy
  • Spearmint candy
  • White chocolate chips
  • Chocolate chips
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Caramel
  • Maple syrup

Decorating Your Hot Chocolate Bar

Start by choosing a theme for your hot chocolate bar. Will it be a casual, cozy setting? Colorful and kid-friendly? After you’ve chosen a party theme, decide on which room in your home to utilize (kitchen or dining room gives easier access to refill toppings, but a living room is cozier).

Add a Wintry Tablecloth

Hot cocoa bar tablecloth
A tablecloth not only adds a little flair, but it also makes the cleanup a little easier. Get creative with it; we suggest using a throw blanket or an oversized scarf for an extra warm feeling.

Include a banner or backdrop

Hot cocoa bar banner
Adding a backdrop to your table setting makes all the difference. If you’ve chosen a theme, it’s a great idea to incorporate that into the backdrop. Cut-out letters and paint them in bold colors to go with your decor.

Gather bar items

Displays for chocolate bar
For displaying all of your items, you’ll need serving trays, wooden boxes, containers and jars. Make sure items are on different levels for easy access, especially if you have a lot of things to place on the table. Paper cups can go on a cupcake or cake stand and any goodies can be displayed on a cutting board or large plate.

Create topping labels

Displays for hot chocolate var
Next, decide how you will display your toppings. Jars with spoons allow for a quick scoop, or you can choose to use small trays instead. Whatever you decide, don’t forget to label all your items. If you have a little extra time to get crafty, download our printable labels below, cut them out and glue or string them to your supplies:

Hot chocolate printables download button

Pair with sweet treats

Cupcakes for hot chocolate
Hot cocoa always calls for a sweet treat! Run to your local bakery and grab a couple baked goods: pastries, cake, cupcakes or cookies will do. Place those on a pretty tray or in a nice jar to complement the decor. Another great idea is to have a cookie swap with all your friends.

Include creative chocolate stirrers

Hot chocolate stirrers
If you want to impress your guests, here is a little creative trick: hot chocolate sticks. These can make variations of hot chocolate such as salted caramel, s’mores, coffee or mint. All your guests have to do is dunk these into a mug filled with warm milk and wait until the chocolate melts.

As you can see, setting up a hot chocolate bar is easier than you think. Your guests will appreciate all the little details and especially all the chocolate. If you want to make your party a little more personal, choose from our variety of photo mugs and have a little something for your guests to take home.