This recipe will show you how easy and fun it can be to build your very own Hot Chocolate Bar for your next Christmas party, girl's night, or any other holiday season get-together. We’ve included our favorite recipe for slow cooker hot chocolate, hot chocolate topping ideas, set-up tips, and more.
DIY Hot Cocoa Bar Ideas
Building your very own Hot Chocolate Bar is a simple way to spread holiday cheer and have a ton of fun in the process. It’s perfect for all ages, group sizes, and events and can be done as simply or elaborately as you want.
If you enjoy making cute little labels, writing a menu on a chalkboard sign, and decorating the table you can absolutely go to town! However, a Hot Chocolate Bar can also be as simple as a setting out a crock pot full of hot chocolate, cute mugs, and a few mason jars with your favorite toppings.
While hot chocolate tends to be reserved for winter months, this really could be perfect for a special get together at any time of the year. When it comes to Hot Chocolate Bar ideas, anything goes.
Best Hot Chocolate Bar Toppings
Besides the usual whipped cream and marshmallows, these are a few of our favorite treats, sauces, and dippers to add to your Hot Chocolate Bar. These ideas really just scratch the surface - just about anything sweet will work.
Syrups and Sauces
Toppings for Hot Chocolate
- Crushed Nuts or Candied Nuts
- Hershey’s Kisses
- Chocolate Chips
- Chocolate covered marshmallows
For Dipping and Swirling
- Peppermint sticks
- Candy canes
- Rock candy
- Cinnamon sticks
- Pirouette cookies
- Christmas cookies
- Peppermint bark
Setting Up Your Hot Chocolate Bar
When it comes to the set up, I suggest dedicating an entire table or an entire section of a table to the Hot Chocolate Bar. It’s easier to set up and easier for your guests to grab everything that they want. You can go as simple or as elaborate as you want, and even add festive decorations to the table if you’re up for it.
As far as how to set up a Hot Chocolate Bar, here’s what you’ll need:
- Crock pot and ladle. Making your hot chocolate in a crock pot is super convenient because you can set it to “warm” and let guests ladle their own.
- Cups, napkins, and spoons. You can either use disposable cups or non-disposable mugs. Totally up to you!
- Serving containers for each topping. Mason jars or any other glass jars work great because you can see through them. If you aren’t expecting a huge crowd, you could even arrange some of the toppings on a pretty cheese board or other serving platter, along with small ramekins for things like sprinkles and chocolate chips.
- Small spoons or scoops for toppings. For anything that isn’t individually wrapped, you’ll want to have a tiny spoon or scoop.
- Optional - labels. This isn’t completely necessary, but nice for a larger group.
How to Make Homemade Hot Chocolate
- Add ingredients to slow cooker. In a slow cooker, add the sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt and half of the milk. Whisk until combined, then add the rest of the milk and whisk again.
- Cook. Place lid on the slow cooker and turn to LOW. Cook for about 2 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes. Once the mixture reaches 160-185 degrees F, turn off the crockpot or set to warm.
- Serve. Stir well, then ladle into mugs and serve with your favorite Hot Chocolate Bar toppings. Enjoy!
More Hot Chocolate Bar Ideas and Tips
- To make hot chocolate over the stovetop, just add all of your ingredients to a large pot, whisk well, and warm over medium low. Stir frequently, cooking until everything has melted together and has reached 160-185 degrees F.
- If you aren’t expecting a huge crowd, choosing fewer toppings will make your life easier and be far less wasteful. Plus, you can spend more time arranging the toppings on a pretty wooden cheese board or another festive platter.
- Don’t hesitate to use a hot chocolate mix if it will make your life easier! Hot cocoa mix can still be made in your slow cooker and it will still be a major hit.
- Check out these hot chocolate variations for more ideas on ways to flavor your hot chocolate and even decorate the rims of your mugs.
Storing and Reheating Hot Chocolate
- Refrigerator: store completely cooled leftover Hot Chocolate in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- To reheat: transfer hot chocolate to a small pot and gently reheat over medium heat until warm. If you only want to reheat a small portion, stir the mixture well, then ladle into a mug and microwave until warm.
Hot Chocolate Recipe and Hot Chocolate Bar Toppings
- 1 14-oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
- ½ cup Cocoa Powder
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 pinch Salt
- 8 cups Milk
Hot Chocolate Bar Toppings
- Whipped Cream
- Candy Canes
- Crushed Nuts
- Chocolate Chips
- Hershey's Kisses
- In a slow cooker, add the sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt and half of the milk. Whisk until combined, then add the rest of the milk and whisk again.
- Place lid on the slow cooker and turn to LOW. Cook for about 2 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes.
- Once the mixture reaches 160-185 degrees F, turn off the crockpot or set to warm.
- Stir well, then ladle into mugs and serve with your favorite Hot Chocolate Bar toppings. Enjoy!
More Hot Drink Recipes to Try
- Mulled Cider
- Crockpot White Hot Chocolate
- Nutella Hot Chocolate
- Unicorn Hot Chocolate
- Crockpot Hot Chocolate
- More Drink Recipes
- More Holiday Recipes
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This recipe will guide you through how to make your very own Hot Chocolate Bar, including homemade hot chocolate, toppings, and set up ideas. It's an easy and fun way to spread holiday cheer and have a lot of fun.