A hot chocolate bar is the perfect addition to any holiday party! These hot chocolate bar ideas will give you all the inspiration you need to put together a beautiful hot cocoa board for Christmas.

Mugs of hot chocolate surrounded by cookies and toppings.

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This time of year, everyone seems to be planning a party. You are too, right? Or maybe you want to set up a simple, kid-friendly afternoon for you and your family on a snowy day?

Well, if you are, or just want something to daydream about, how about planning a hot chocolate bar? The idea is the same as self-serve coffee service, but with less caffeine and more mmmm.

Your hot chocolate bar can be as low-key as having a pan on the stove with a ladle and some mugs, or as extravagant as, well, the sky’s the limit. Sugar, sugar, everywhere. Tis the season! The more the merrier when it comes to a hot cocoa board!

When thinking about what you want to put out, it can be a bit overwhelming. Chocolate has a lot of fans, after all. So here are a few ideas, suggestions, recommendations, and more to get you going and help you create the perfect hot cocoa bar.

A hot chocolate charcuterie board.

Hot Chocolate Bar “Recipe”

First, you need to decide if you want a theme. Do you want peppermint hot cocoa things, different types of marshmallows for hot cocoa, or just a bunch of candy for hot chocolate? No matter what, you end up with hot chocolate and that is a very good thing!

There are endless instant cocoas on the market, but don’t forget you can make your own. It’s gently warmed water, milk, non-dairy milk or cream, sugar, and cocoa powder. Adjust the ratios to your liking. Then, you just whisk until the sugar melts, and it’s ready. Making homemade hot chocolate is also a good idea if you need a hot chocolate bar on a budget. Save money whenever you can during the holidays!

Add flavorings to your hot cocoa bar so your guests to customize their drinks as they like. Coffee syrups are an easy, tasty way to add a little extra flavor to hot cocoa. Always make sure the littles have someone to help them create a beverage of their own. A kid-friendly hot chocolate bar is a fantastic holiday dessert idea!

Every hot chocolate bar will need mugs, napkins, stirrers, and plates. Then, don’t forget the marshmallows, chocolate chips, caramel, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, non-dairy whipped topping, additional cocoa powder, and an option or two for the sugar and dairy-free folks. So many choices for a hot chocolate bar! Let’s get into the real ideas.

5 of Our Favorite Hot Chocolate Bar Ideas

5 Hot Chocolate Bar Ideas for Holiday Parties.

1. Candy Cane Heaven

For this mint-lovers delight, start with your favorite hot chocolate recipe, but make it with Guittard Cocoa Rouge. It’s a deep, rich cocoa powder with a gorgeous, natural red tint. Your guests will love it. Then wind candy-striped twine around the handles of your mugs for a festive touch.

Make sure to set out whole and crushed candy canes, minty whipped cream, Peppermint Oreo Balls, mint-chocolate crème candies, and if you can, absolutely include some chocolate-covered mint Oreo’s or Jo-Jo’s. A peppermint hot chocolate bar is perfect for the holidays!

A mug of peppermint hot chocolate.

2. Farmhouse Chic

To honor all those hard-working dairy farmers, go for it, and make your hot cocoa with the richest heavy cream you can find. Then, serve your warm beverages in your favorite mason jars. Use cute little glass milk bottles with long spoons for the toppings.

You’ll for sure need whipped cream, vanilla marshmallows, toffee bits, marshmallow cream, milk chocolate syrup, and milk chocolate curls. Go over the top, and search online for some old-fashioned Cow Tails candies if you really want that farmhouse theme. Think rustic but classy for your simple hot chocolate bar ideas, and you just can’t go wrong!

A farmhouse chic hot chocolate bar board with cookies, spreads, and hot chocolate.

3. Cookies, Cookies, Cookies

Line your buffet with craft paper, and get out every cookie you can think of. This may just be our favorite hot chocolate bar for Christmas!

Do it up with homemade sugar cookies, Christmas M&M cookies, pizzelles, Rice Krispie treats, and classic spritz cookies. Then, don’t forget the store-bought Pirouline, Pocky, graham cracker crumbs, and all the gingerbread people. The piece de resistance though? Chocolate chip cookie edible shot glasses to really take things over the top!

Include some bowls of frosting and cookie butter along with small palate knives for creative sandwiching. Warm up milk chocolate, and let your guests get their Cookie Monster on. Hot chocolate bar ideas for kids? Hot chocolate bar ideas for adults? This one checks all the boxes!

4. Après Ski

For your grown-up party, make that hot chocolate bar an actual bar. Heat up batches of white and dark hot chocolate. Then, gather your favorite festive liqueurs like Crème de Menthe, Butterscotch and Peppermint Schnapps, Kahlúa, Drambuie, and Irish Cream.

Put out liquid measure pour spouts, or have a jigger or shot glass with measurements to help keep things balanced. Since this is for the grown-ups, you can offer up a spicy Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon sticks. To make the party a little wild, have a small kitchen torch available for guests to get toasty and brûlée their marshmallows. This hot cocoa bar idea will definitely liven up your holiday party!

5. Glittering Lights, Hot Chocolate Nights

This is for the crowd who loves a bit of shine. Add some edible metallic food color to your assortment of hot chocolates, get all the food-grade glitter, sparkle sugar, and spray on shimmer. Put out bowls of gold and silver candy toppings. Weave tiny LED lights around the table, and set the holiday music to disco-Christmas and have a jolly good time!

Look for hot cocoa mugs that have twinkle lights in them. Or, wrap some fairy lights around the handles of your hot chocolate cups. The more glitter and shine, the better!

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s hot chocolate time.

hot chocolate bar ideas for holiday parties.


How do you keep hot chocolate warm for a party?

Try storing your hot chocolate in a coffee carafe, leave it simmering in a pot over low heat on the stove, or keep it warm in a slow cooker instead!

What can I add to hot chocolate to make it better?

Try stirring in whole milk, heavy cream, sugar, espresso powder, peppermint extract, cinnamon, coffee syrups, or even hazelnut spread!

How do I set up a hot chocolate bar?

There are endless ways to set up and decorate a hot chocolate bar. No way is right or wrong! However, we recommend starting with a centerpiece – your hot chocolate, of course! Then, add small bowls and jars full of your different mix-ins and toppings. Arrange mugs, spoons, and straws in the empty spaces, kind of like how you would prepare a charcuterie board.

More Christmas Party Ideas

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About Kasey Schwartz

For over 15 years, Kasey Schwartz, the mastermind behind All Things Mamma, has been the ultimate go-to for mouthwatering family recipes. Her work has been featured on Today.com, Buzz Feed, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, making her your go-to mom next door for all things delicious and family-friendly.

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