How to Make a DIY Hot Chocolate Bar

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Setting up a DIY hot chocolate bar at your next party or gathering is sure to be a huge hit with guests! See how easy it is to set up and check out our list of the recommend supplies and most popular toppings!

DIY Hot Chocolate Bar Setup

A few years ago (okay about ten years ago), we hosted our first multi-family Christmas Eve dinner. My aunt had previously hosted this annual holiday gathering and was ready for a break. We had just completed a major addition to the house (a new kitchen) and were eager to have a turn to host. It turns out that we did a pretty good job with hosting, because we have now held the Christmas Eve get-together for for about 9 of the last 10 years! We look forward to welcoming our family over each year and always have a huge assortment of yummy food and drink.

Several dishes that we made that first year are repeated each and every year because they are such huge crowd pleasers. One of the staples each and every Christmas Eve on our counter is the DIY Hot Chocolate Bar! Everyone loves this tasty feature and while it has taken various forms over the years, it’s always there in some capacity.

Last fall I attended a DIY craft workshop for a fundraiser and the project that I chose to make was a hot cocoa bar box! I knew that this box would be put to good use. Not only would it make our Christmas Eve hot chocolate bar even easier to setup, it would also come in handy for other cold weather gatherings!

Here is the box after I finished staining and painting it:

board and brush hot cocoa bar box

Top Tips for Setting Up Your Hot Chocolate Bar

Here are some of my top tips for setting up a successful hot chocolate bar:

  • Place your hot chocolate bar on a very sturdy surface, such as a countertop. If you have small children attending your party, make sure that the hot water dispenser (and other ingredients) are kept up and out of reach.
  • Cute mugs look great on display, but might be impractical for bigger groups. (Lots of dishes to wash, potential for breaking, etc.) Insulated to-go style cups with lids are a wonderful option for serving the hot chocolate.
  • Keep any refrigerated items (like whipped cream) in your refridgerator until your guests start to arrive.
  • If using disposable cups, place a Sharpie marker next to the hot cocoa bar for guests to write their names on their cups.
  • Start heating your water well before your first guests begin to arrive. Our urn heats up pretty fast, so we usually turn it on about 30-45 minutes before the party start time.

Hot Chocolate Bar Water and Cups

Best Equipment for a DIY Hot Cocoa Bar

Here are some of our favorite items and pieces of equipment to use with our setup:

I found some cute Santa themed plastic cups at the dollar store and used one to hold our spoons.

Santa Cup Dollar Tree

Popular Toppings and Treats to Include in Your Hot Chocolate Bar

Check out some of the most popular toppings and other mix-ins for your bar:

DIY Hot Chocolate Bar Jars

I hope this helps to spark some fun ideas for your own hot chocolate bar!

If you decide to give this a try, let us know how it works out for you! If you post a pic on social media, feel free to tag us – we’d love to see it! 


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