Hot Chocolate Bar Ideas

Join me for some festive Hot Chocolate Bar Ideas and warm up this holiday season by creating your own DIY hot cocoa bar. Perfect for your family and guests, pour a cup of cocoa, add the toppings and enjoy!

Three jars filled with toppings for a hot chocolate bar

Creating a DIY hot chocolate bar is a simple celebration of the holiday season. It is one of my favorite ways to create a cozy winter space for my family.

During the long, dark, cold days of winter, my family enjoys making their own hot chocolate drink and then adding their choice of toppings. It is cozy, delicious, and decadent.

The best thing about creating your own hot cocoa bar is that you can keep it simple or make it as detailed as you desire.

I love coordinating my winter decorating theme. So to match my Woodland Christmas tree, I am sharing my rustic hot chocolate bar with a woodland touch.

This is the list of ultimate chocolate bar ideas, from decor to hot cocoa toppings!

Wooden tray decorated with jars and Christmas decor for a hot chocolate bar

Hot Chocolate Bar Decor

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Hot chocolate bar decor can be as simple or as decorated as you would like. The possibilities are endless, from a simple wooden tray on the kitchen counter to a fully decorated buffet.

Here are just a few ideas for adding holiday cheer to your cocoa bar.

  • Mounting Putty – is essential to keep the decor in place so that nothing gets knocked over. I used it on the bottom of my bottle brush trees, reindeer, and the jar filled with candy canes.
  • Bottle Brush Trees – available in all sizes and colors, bottle brush Christmas trees are the perfect addition for a festive woodland touch.
  • Reindeer – I love adding reindeer to my holiday decor for a rustic festive feel.
Hot Chocolate Bar Decor
  • Holiday Sprays or Picks – the possibilities are endless regarding the availability of holiday sprays and picks. For a free option, consider clipping your own evergreen foliage.
    • A few of my favorite Sprays and Picks are shared HERE
  • Bakers Twine/Ribbon – add some ribbon around the jars to add a festive touch, and use baker’s twine to tie on labels and decorations.
  • Pinecones – another fun idea is to use pinecones to decorate the hot cocoa bar or mini pinecone ornaments to decorate the jars.
Jar filled with toppings for hot chocolate bar
  • Lights – mini fairy lights can add a special glow and atmosphere when placed in the bottom of the tray or woven amongst the jars and hot chocolate mugs. I prefer to use battery-operated lights so that I don’t have to worry about being near a wall outlet to plug the lights in.
  • Tissue Paper – I used two different kinds of tissue paper and lined the bottom of my tray to add more texture to the arrangement. It will also help protect the wooden tray in case something gets spilled.
  • Stands – to create different levels for various toppings, use various sizes of wooden pedestal stands to hold the jars or decor. Another great option is to use tree rounds to add height to the jars and a feel of rustic charm.
  • Hot Cocoa Bar Sign – create your own using a chalkboard, find free printables online or buy a pre-made one. While I don’t have the set-up for adding a hot chocolate bar sign, it adds an extra festive touch if you have the space.
  • Candles – Consider adding several candles to set a cozy, festive mood. Place them in several locations in the setup if you are decorating a larger space, such as a buffet or side table. Just be sure to take precautions so that they don’t get knocked over.

Hot Cocoa Bar Ideas

  • Crock Pot and Ladle – If you are serving hot chocolate to a large group, plan to make it ahead. Then keep it warm in the crock pot and let individuals ladle it into their mugs.
  • Mugs – Set out an array of coffee mugs or disposable coffee cups for your family or guests to choose from. I love using my mugs from the Hearth and Home collection, or you can purchase disposable cups with sleeves and lids.
Black Mug Filled with Hot Chocolate and topped with whip cream and chocolate sauce
  • Labels – Use labels to identify the different toppings in each of the jars. I purchased several small wooden ornaments to use as a label, but you can be as creative as you like. Purchase pre-made ones or make your own using cardstock or Christmas tags.
Ball Canning Jars filled hot chocolate toppings
  • Jars – I used mason jars in different sizes for the hot chocolate bar toppings. I really like using a wide-mouth jar, as the opening makes it easy to scoop the toppings out. Use a variety of styles and sizes to add height and interest to the grouping of toppings.
Spoons in a jar on a tray decorated for a hot chocolate bar
  • Spoons – To stir the hot chocolate, you need to set some spoons near or on the hot chocolate station. For a budget-friendly option, I used some silver spoons that I found at local thrift stores. However, you can use wooden spoons or coffee stir sticks.
  • Scoops – Don’t forget to add some scoops or spoons to get all those delicious toppings out of the jars.
  • Tray – I placed all the Christmas decorations and jars in a large wooden tray with handles for my hot chocolate bar. This is a great option if you can move the tray around easily.

Hot Chocolate Bar Toppings

Have you wondered what do you put in a hot chocolate station beside the usual whipped cream and marshmallows? Here is a list of a show-stopping array of delicious hot chocolate toppings.

Use this list to gather ideas for your hot chocolate toppings to create your favorite cozy drink. Remember, you can keep this as simple or elaborate as you choose.

Many of these ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. The sauces and syrups can be found online or possibly purchased from your local coffee shop.

Hot Chocolate Bar Set Up

Hot Chocolate

  • Homemade – Try making your own delicious hot chocolate recipe, which is a great option if you serve a large group. Make it ahead and keep it warm in a slow cooker; then, each person can dip out their desired amount using a ladle.
Hot Chocolate Bar

Best Hot Chocolate Toppings and Stir Ins

Keep the hot chocolate bar simple and easy with just a few of these topping selections, or make it elaborate! This section is for those wondering, what can I top hot chocolate with?

No matter what you choose, be creative and provide a selection of fun toppings for a delicious cup of hot chocolate!

  • Caramel Chips
  • Soft Caramels
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Caramel Truffles
  • Chocolate Chips
  • English Toffee Bits
  • A Dollop of Ice Cream
  • White Chocolate Chips
  • Hot Chocolate Bombs
  • Jumbo Marshmallows

What to Sprinkle on Hot Chocolate

Once you have your mug of hot cocoa and have added in your favorite toppings, then added the whipped cream, don’t forget the final step of sprinkling on some added flavor!

Here is a list of some options to add the finishing touch to your drink.

  • Peppermint Bark
  • Peppermint Candy
  • Shaved Chocolate Bars
  • White Chocolate Shavings
  • Sea Salt
  • Toffee Bits
  • Ground Cinnamon
Sauces and Syrups for Hot Chocolate

Syrups and Sauce

Add a touch of decadence to your drink with a drizzle of syrups or sauces over the top of your whipped cream!

  • Chocolate
  • Caramel Sauce
  • White Chocolate
  • Sea Salt Caramel
  • Dulce de Leche

Hot Chocolate Bar Ideas for Stirrers

Once you have your hot cup of cocoa prepared, don’t forget to add a stirrer.

  • Candy Cane
  • Chocolate Coated Pretzel Stick
  • Peppermint Sticks
  • Pirouette Cookies

How to Set Up a Hot Chocolate Bar

A hot chocolate bar can be as simple or as detailed as desired, from a wooden tray on the kitchen island to a fully decorated table.

Whatever you choose, there is no wrong way to set up a hot chocolate bar. Here is how to make a hot chocolate bar for Christmas.


The first thing to think about is where you want to place your hot chocolate bar. Choose an area where people can easily access the hot chocolate and toppings.

If you have the space, dedicate a table or a section of a table to the hot chocolate bar. If space is an issue, use a wooden or tiered tray to display the jars filled with toppings, making everything easily movable.


Set the ingredients up orderly to create a hot chocolate bar party that people can easily move along. Make a clear starting point with enough mugs for your guests on one end, followed by the prepared hot cocoa mix and then the toppings.

Wooden tray decorated with jars and Christmas decor for a hot chocolate bar

How to Make a Hot Chocolate Bar

There are so many ways to make a hot chocolate bar. But here is a simple idea with instructions on how I made our rustic woodland Hot Chocolate Bar.

Gather Decor

Begin with layering pretty Christmas tissue paper in the bottom of a wooden tray. Then add the tall decor pieces to the back area of the tray.

Decorate Jars

To decorate the jars, use ribbon to add a festive touch. A great way to attach the ribbon to the jars is to use mounting putty to hold the ribbon in place.

Add Labels

Use hot chocolate bar labels to identify the jars’ contents. Using bakers twine, tie the labels around the top of the jar. Add on a miniature ornament for a holiday touch.

Fill the Jars

Once the jars are labeled, add the sweet treats that will fill the mugs. Then, place the jars on the wooden tray.

Add the Finishing Touches

Arrange the jars and decor on the wooden tray to what you think looks best. Then, add the finishing touches by adding a string of white lights and filling any empty spaces with holiday picks.

What Kind of Cookies to Serve at a Hot Chocolate Bar

When setting up a hot chocolate bar, Christmas cookies are a must! Classic snickerdoodle cookies decorated with festive Christmas sprinkles to match the hot chocolate bar theme are a great option.

Another fun option is to create various cookies with different shapes and flavors, such as sugar cookies and chocolate crinkle cookies.

This will add an extra special touch to your hot chocolate bar, and your guests will love it!

DIY Hot Chocolate Bar: FAQs

I hope this post inspires you with ways to create the ultimate hot chocolate bar for this hot chocolate season! It is such a fun way to celebrate the season and chase away the winter blues!

It is the perfect way to celebrate with dear friends and family! Cheers to a delicious cup of hot cocoa!

Thank you for sharing!

6 thoughts on “Hot Chocolate Bar Ideas”

  1. A lovely set up! I’m inspired! I really like the woodland tissue paper. I haven’t been able to find it at the link, I wondered if it was still available. Do you happen to remember the vendor name?
    Thanks!! Lori


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