How to Make a Hot Cocoa Bar

Learn how easy it is to make a hot cocoa bar with hot cocoa recipes, toppings, and decor ideas. A fun and cozy way to not only keep warm but also enjoy a sweet treat this holiday season.

Hot Chocolate Bar with mug with cocoa and marshmallows

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I don’t know about you but hot cocoa is one of my favorite holiday treats. Top it with some whipped cream and it’s the perfect sweet treat to enjoy while cuddling up and watching a Christmas movie.

If you’ve happened to read any of my other holiday posts, you will know that we fully embrace Christmas traditions in our home. Whether we are decorating, taking holiday family photos, or baking cookies to share with others, Christmas traditions have become a huge part of how we celebrate during this magical time of year.

In the last few years, we have gotten into the habit of having warm cinnamon rolls and hot cocoa for our Christmas morning breakfast. After we have opened our presents, we usually gather in the living room and everyone enjoys these tasty treats while looking over their gifts. It’s such a nice cozy way to start Christmas morning.

This year, I decided to make it even more special by putting together a hot cocoa bar. The best part of this idea is that it’s completely customizable. You can make homemade cocoa or get some packets of flavored cocoa. We love the Ghirardelli or Swiss Miss Flavors.

Then, you can just add in some fun topping to go with it and enjoy the deliciousness in a homemade Sharpie mug or a cute holiday mug from Dollar Tree.

teal mug with cocoa and white marshmallows

How to Make a Hot Cocoa Bar

Hot Cocoa

There are so many options when it comes to hot cocoa. So, you need to decide how elaborate you want your hot cocoa bar to be. Do you want to have many different flavors or stick to a classic homemade hot cocoa recipe? Here are a few suggestions for some easy homemade hot cocoa:

Of course, as I mentioned above you can also just use the packets of flavored hot cocoa too if you want to keep things super simple. Or, even get these fun hot chocolate sticks.  Here is a recipe from Foodie with Family if you would like to try and make your own.

Hot Cocoa Bombs are also very popular right now and would not only be fun for the kids but would make a great gift idea.

If you’ve never heard of hot cocoa bombs before they are balls of chocolate with hot cocoa mix and marshmallows hidden inside. When dropped in hot milk the chocolate dissolves revealing the cocoa and marshmallows. 

 If you would like to make some of these fun sweet treats, you will need a mold and this recipe from Sugar Geek Show.

hot chocolate bar with white cups and platters with candy and cocoa toppings

Hot Cocoa Toppings

Once you have decided what type of hot cocoa you want to serve, then you just need to add the toppings. Here are a few topping suggestions you can use for your hot cocoa bar:

  • Whipped Topping
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Candy Cane
  • Crushed candy cane pieces to sprinkle on top of the whipped cream.
  • Mini Chocolate Chips
  • White or Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Peanut Butter or Caramel Chips
  • Toffee Bits
  • Mini M&M’s
  • Reese’s Pieces
  • Caramel sauce or Caramel Bits
  • Chocolate Syrup
  • Sprinkles
  • Crushed Cookies

Don’t forget to add in some candy cane stir sticks. They are so easy and fun. Just grab a candy cane, melt any flavor of chocolate you like, dip the end of the candy cane in the chocolate, and then roll over crushed peppermint.

Another variation of these candy cane stir sticks would be to add a marshmallow to the bottom and then dunk it in the chocolate and roll in crushed peppermint.
hot cocoa stir sticks in glass jars

Setting up your Hot Cocoa Bar

This can be as easy as setting it up on your kitchen counter, if you decide to do this on Christmas morning and you are trying to keep it simple then this would work. However, if you are planning it for a small family gathering then decorating a small table with a table covering, mugs, spoons that were dipped in melted chocolate, paper straws, and holiday napkins would be perfect.

If you are making homemade cocoa, you can set that out with the toppings around or beside it. Grab some mini chalkboard signs from the Dollar Tree to write the names of the toppings. If you are using hot cocoa packets then have milk or water warmed and ready to go. 

We love making homemade Sharpie mugs. This would be a fun DIY project to do with your kids to make your hot cocoa bar even more special. This is a great DIY Sharpie Mug tutorial from Jennifer Maker.

Print out this cute hot cocoa sign to display by your cocoa bar below.

cocoa bar printableGet Your Free Hot Cocoa Bar Printable HERE

Serve your warm cup of hot cocoa with these delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies, chocolate peanut butter chip cookies, or these yummy double peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for an extra sweet treat.

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Hopefully, these ideas have inspired you to start a new tradition and make your own hot cocoa bar this year. 

Happy Holidays!

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