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Hot Chocolate Bar Setup Ideas

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What could be more festive than a Hot chocolate bar that is ready for your guests and family to enjoy homemade hot? It is the perfect way to warm up on a cold day. Then, add tops and mix-ins to make it a gourmet indulgent treat. 

How to Setup a Hot Chocolate Bar 

It is fun to set up a self-serve hot chocolate bar. To keep things interesting, I choose a different theme for our Hot Chocolate Bar every year. It is perfect for holiday parties, baby showers, birthdays, etc.

Invite guests to come in a warm-up with a decadent hot chocolate. 

Hot Chocolate Bar arranged in a metal tray with mason jars and bakers twine

Hot Chocolate Bar

Last year I added a little turquoise decor. Turquoise looks so fun with red and white.  This video shows how I made the turquoise Christmas tree, cookie cake, and chocolate-dipped marshmallows.

This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you purchase from one of these links, I will make a small commission, but rest assured, you will not pay more for any products.

PLEASE NOTE: Supplies are limited in stores. Therefore, I have gathered some of my must-haves for a Hot Chocolate Bar in my Amazon Store.

Hot chocolate bar with pinecone Christmas trees on a table

Hot Chocolate Bar Pinecone Christmas Trees decorations

I used items from my yard to decorate my hot chocolate bar such as pine sprigs, pinecones, and my DIY pinecone trees

Hot Chocolate Bar Ideas for Christmas

Hot Chocolate Bar Ideas for Christmas

Just a little inspiration to get you started. I like to set up a Hot Chocolate Bar for Thanksgiving since it is my favorite way to kick off the holiday season.

It is for everyone to enjoy both young and old. It is fun to pick a theme and change it up a little year to year, but I always include my vintage Santa mugs. Lots of delicious toppings, and mix in sauces, whipped cream, etc. 

Recipes for Hot Chocolate 

There are many ways to make hot chocolate. Some of these ways are easier than others to set up as a self-serve hot chocolate bar.  I have included some of my favorite ways to make this cozy treat. 

Keurig Coffee Maker

The easiest way to serve hot chocolate is with a Keurig coffee maker and hot chocolate pods. You can place the coffee maker on a countertop or table with a basket filled with various hot chocolate and coffee k-cups.  

Hot Chocolate Maker

I recommend my hot chocolate mix recipe and making it in a “real” hot chocolate maker to mix, heat, froth, and serve when using a mix.

Hot Chocolate Bombs

This year I am adding my hot chocolate bombs to the bar. To serve, I will warm the milk ahead of time and place it in an insulated server.

Everyone loves to watch them melt and explode with all the goodies hidden inside their chocolate shell. However, I do not recommend serving these for a large crowd unless you have plenty of space and multiple milk servers.

However, these make a gorgeous party favor for guests to take home.  Don’t forget the adorable tags.

You're The Bomb gift tags and white chocolate bombs with snowman faces

You’re The Bomb gift with a tag

Hersey’s Hot Cocoa

The Hersey Company has the original “Perfectly Chocolate” hot cocoa recipe printed on the side of their cocoa box. I remember my father standing over the stove making hot cocoa for the family. I have so many fond memories of sipping hot cocoa. 

Crockpot (Slow Cooker)

For the Ultimate Gourmet Hot Chocolate (Serenidtiy-style), I serve Crockpot Hot Chocolate from an insulated server. Since the Crockpot recipe takes two hours to make, I make it a day ahead and refrigerate it until I am ready to serve.

I heat the mixture on the stove in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Note: I find it best to heat in batches then transfer the hot mixture to an insulated server. 

This recipe is excellent for serving a few guests or a crowd.

Note: This is my favorite hot chocolate recipe ever!

Crockpot hot chocolate in a mug topped with mini marshmallows

Crockpot Hot Chocolate

Packets of Hot Cocoa Mix

The invention of the single-serve hot cocoa packets (envelope) made serving hot cocoa almost instant. There are various flavors and sugar-free options to offer your guests. Adding some packs of sugar-free hot cocoa is always a good idea. 

You can serve hot milk from an insulated server or water in an electric kettle and allow guests to help themselves.

Sweet Toppings

I like to start with a list of goodies. I would like to offer toppings and sweet treats.

My must-have toppings are mini marshmallows, chocolate and caramel sauce (homemade recipe), whipping cream, chocolate bars (grated or chopped chocolate) or mini chocolate chips, and candy canes (chopped) or crushed peppermints. However, you can include any candies that melt. 

Caramel Sauce

Caramel Sauce



Hot Drink Station Set-Up Essentials

Your hot drink station could include hot chocolate, coffee, and tea if space permits. In the past, I have used a small section of the kitchen counter for a simple bar. I have also used the dining buffet for a more elaborate bar. For example, when my children were young, I used a vintage cabinet in my kitchen, but I have moved it to the living room or dining room.

Note: There could be spills, so I place everything on trays.


Gather your recipes, a list of goodies, and any display items needed. After you select the elements, you include on your bar, you will determine how to serve them. For example, I use mason jars and mini scoops for toppings—trays for cookies and other sweet treats.

If you don’t have enough mugs, you can use paper cups with sleeves. I found these adorable buffalo check coffee cups I include on my bar this year. 

This year I used rustic and vintage items and buffalo check ribbons.

I used wood slices I cut from a fallen tree; therefore, they were free. All the vintage items I already owned, so no expense there either—all the mason jars I had on hand. I purchased the ribbon, and I made the cute labels.

The labels are available for you as a free download. In addition, I added a memo board I made with a printable you can download to add to your bar. You can see it in the photo below.

Message board-cup of cheer

Message board-cup of cheer

Hot chocolates in a clear glass mugs topped with marhmallows

Hot Chocolate with marshmallows

If you have a dollar store in your area you can find glass or ceramic mugs for a dollar or less. To add some festive fun to my plain one-dollar mugs I added a vinyl decal Cheers. 

DIY Decorations 

The below photo includes the handmade Rae Dunn-inspired block signs (see this earlier post about making them). You can whip these up in a flash. 

Rae Dunn inspired block signs sitting on tree slices

Rae Dunn inspired block signs


Want to enjoy all the holiday season has to offer? Feeling overwhelmed?

Join me as we enjoy a stress-free holiday season with a ton of inspiration, money-saving ideas for decorating, gift-giving, and so much more.

Join me with this special invitation. And have the best of everything this holiday. Have a Merry Christmas, and enjoy all the blessings of the season!


Chalkboard Labels

Place all of your display items on the bar. Once you are happy with the display, please take off your jars, fill them with the goodies and tie your labels on with ribbon or baker’s twine.

I taped construction paper around the whipped cream can and added the label with the baker’s twine. I added baker’s twine to the vintage cookie cutters too.


Goodies Hot Cocoa Bar

Goodies Hot Cocoa Bar

My Latest Video:


Hot Chocolate Bar Sign

While setting up your hot cocoa bar for Christmas, you can gather items you love, such as this Baby, it’s cold outside sign I made a few years ago, but I love it, so I added it to the hot cocoa bar again this year. Here is a similar one you can order. 

The hot chocolate bar block signs I made a few years (you can see how to make one in this earlier post).

Baby Its cold outside sign

Baby Its cold outside sign

Vintage and rustic

Vintage and rustic

More Hot Chocolate Bar Inspiration

 Set up a woodland-themed hot cocoa bar in a tiny corner on your kitchen counter. This simple, small-space hot cocoa bar is pretty enough to be the only Christmas decoration in a small kitchen too.

Hot Cocoa Bar with mugs, decorations, candy canes on a counter

Hot Cocoa Bar

Elegant Hot Chocolate Bar includes hot cocoa bombs, different flavors of hot chocolate, and a cocoa sign that make this festive and pretty. It welcomes our guests to enjoy a hot beverage at our hot chocolate bar.

Hot chocolate bar with hot chocolate bombs on a table

Vintage hot chocolate bar

Bring some holiday cheer to your home by creating a festive and functional hot chocolate stand in your kitchen using a tiered tray and vintage Christmas decorations.

Classic Hot Chocolate Bar with an elf and hot cocoa in a wooden dough bowl

Classic Hot Chocolate Bar


My sweet and talented daughter, Olivia, joined me this year on the Hot Chocolate Bar tour. She has a ton of DIY ideas you do not want to miss.

DIY Hot Chocolate Bar

DIY Hot Chocolate Bar

Over on The House on Silverado, my friend, Niky, shares setting up an adult and kid-friendly hot chocolate bar.

Fun Hot Chocolate Bar Idea

Fun Hot Chocolate Bar Idea

From Home with Jemma, my friend Jemma always delights with her decorating, so you are in for a special treat. 

Hot Cocoa Bar Ideas

Hot Cocoa Bar Ideas

Lia’s from Southern Yankee DIY’s Hot Cocoa Bar. My friend Lia has been enjoying the south, but it got a wee bit chilly, so she set up her hot cocoa bar early to warm up, sipping hot cocoa in front of the fire. 

Southern Yankee DIY's Hot Cocoa Bar

Southern Yankee DIY’s Hot Cocoa Bar


Thank you for your visit today. I hope you found some sweet inspiration.

Happy Thanksgiving,





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Monday 3rd of October 2022

Well, I definitely found loads of inspiration, and my tummy is growling just looking at all that yumminess on display. Sugar rush, here I come :D

Michelle | Thistle Key Lane

Monday 15th of November 2021

I drink hot chocolate almost year round and I love all your fantastic ideas for setting up a hot chocolate bar. I'm so excited to feature your post this week at our Tuesday Turn About Link Party! Hope to see you there!


Saturday 13th of November 2021

I've set up my hot cocoa bar already, too! I love your cute ideas--pinning! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!


Thursday 11th of November 2021

Great post, Kippi, with lots of ideas to set up a great chocolate bar. Congrats, you were the most clicked at the FWF party!

Michelle @ The Painted Hinge

Thursday 11th of November 2021

I love all these wonderful hot chocolate bar ideas for the holidays! Thanks so much for sharing them with us at Farmhouse Friday - we're featuring you at tomorrow's party!

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