Hot Chocolate Bar

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How to build a Hot Chocolate Bar: Everything you need for the setup, along with lots of topping ideas and our favorite hot chocolate recipes!

Are you as obsessed with the flavor of hot chocolate as we are? If so, give these hot chocolate-inspired treats a try: Hot Chocolate Snack Mix and Frozen Hot Chocolate Cheesecake.

Assorted hot chocolate ingredients and toppings displayed on a table, including cups, chocolate shavings, whipped cream, and marshmallows.

Hot Chocolate Bar

This Christmas season has been particularly busy because we’ve been helping plan my sister’s wedding. I’ve been put in charge of helping with the food, making over 500 cookies including sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies, and snickerdoodles. Plus, the main attraction: a Hot Chocolate Bar.

After weeks of testing to create the best hot chocolate recipe for the wedding, I’ve created a scaled-down version to share here, complete with a smaller Hot Chocolate Bar. It’s perfect for hosting friends, a shower, or enjoying with family!

Two bowls side by side, one filled with chocolate chips and the other with crushed toffee pieces.

Array of hot chocolate cups with lids alongside a selection of straws displayed on a board.

How To Set Up A Hot Chocolate Bar

  1. Pick Your Spot: Choose a space, whether a small kitchen counter or a larger table, to set up your hot chocolate bar.
  2. Essential Supplies: Gather the basics: Hot cocoa mix or homemade cocoa. Your crockpot to heat the hot chocolate. Mugs or cups for guests. Toppings like whipped cream, marshmallows, and chocolate chips. And of course your mix-ins.
  3. Add Flair: Elevate the hot chocolate bar setup with: Fun paper straws, decorative stirring spoons, or mug labels for customization.
  4. Create Atmosphere: Use festive decorations like lights and tablecloths.
  5. Customize: Let guests personalize their hot cocoa with toppings and mix-ins.
  6. Enjoy: Encourage everyone to savor the experience of creating their ideal cup of hot chocolate. 

Assorted coffee cups with matching lids arranged neatly.

Array of toppings in small glass bowls for a hot chocolate bar, including marshmallows, chocolate chips, and sprinkles.


Hot Chocolate Bar Variations

  • For a Halloween-themed hot chocolate bar, use orange and black mugs, and offer spooky toppings like ghost-shaped marshmallows, gummy worms, candy eyeballs, and crushed Oreo “dirt.” Don’t forget to include candy corn and Halloween-themed straws for added festive fun.
  • For a Christmas bar, use red, green, and white mugs and offer peppermint, gingerbread, and cinnamon toppings. Include whipped cream, holiday sprinkles, festive syrups, and mini marshmallows for a delightful holiday treat.
  • For Valentine’s Day, use pink, red, and white cups and offer heart-shaped marshmallows, chocolates, and syrups like raspberry or cherry. Finish with a sprinkle of cocoa powder and a dollop of whipped cream for a romantic hot chocolate experience.

When setting up a Hot Chocolate Bar, I recommend having one standard hot cocoa recipe and then letting the guests pick their own varieties by using the toppings you’ve set out.

Variety of toppings in containers, each accompanied by a small scoop.

How To Make Crockpot Hot Chocolate

  1. Blend: Mix dutch process cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and 1 cup of whole milk in a blender until smooth.
  2. Transfer: Pour the blend into a slow cooker, making sure to get it all out.
  3. Add Rest: Add the remaining 5 cups of milk, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Stir.
  4. Slow Cook: Cover the slow cooker, set to low, and cook for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally. Avoid high heat to prevent curdling.
  5. Enjoy: Once it’s warmed to your liking, serve in mugs, top with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

Diverse hot chocolate toppings in glass bowls, each with a scoop nestled inside.

What To Serve With Hot Chocolate:

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Hot Chocolate Bar

5 from 4 votes
How to build a Hot Chocolate Bar: Everything you need for the setup, along with numerous topping ideas and delicious hot chocolate recipes!
Assorted hot chocolate ingredients and toppings displayed on a table, including cups, chocolate shavings, whipped cream, and marshmallows.
Print Recipe

Hot Chocolate Bar

Assorted hot chocolate ingredients and toppings displayed on a table, including cups, chocolate shavings, whipped cream, and marshmallows.
5 from 4 votes
How to build a Hot Chocolate Bar: Everything you need for the setup, along with numerous topping ideas and delicious hot chocolate recipes!
Course Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword hot chocolate bar
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 -10 beverages
Chelsea Lords
Calories 643kcal


  • See Note 1 for all the equipment we use when creating this Hot Chocolate Bar!


Crockpot Hot Chocolate

  • 1/2 cup special dark cocoa powder (Note 2)
  • 3/4 up to 1 cup white granulated sugar (adjust to preference)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 cups whole milk, separated
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream (or use more milk)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Pick Your Favorite Toppings, Such As:

  • Must-Haves: Whipped Cream and marshmallows
  • Nutritious: Sweetened coconut flakes, raisins/Craisins/dried cherries, pepitas, nuts
  • Candy: Heath bar, toffee bits, crushed Butterfinger, miniature chocolate chips, sprinkles, mini Reese's cups, mini caramel bits, sprinkles
  • Cookies: Crushed-up Oreos, Graham Crackers, Nilla Wafers, Pretzels
  • Sauces: Caramel, Hot Fudge
  • Ice Cream: A scoop of peppermint stick, chocolate, vanilla, etc.!


  • BLEND: In a blender, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and 1 cup of the whole milk. Blend until smooth.
    Blender filled with sugar, cocoa, salt, milk, and vanilla, to be added to a slow cooker for the creation of crockpot hot chocolate.
  • TRANSFER TO SLOW COOKER: Pour the blended cocoa mixture into a slow cooker, ensuring you scrape out every bit.
  • ADD REMAINING INGREDIENTS: Pour in the remaining 5 cups of milk, heavy whipping cream, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
    Remaining milk and cream being added to the crockpot, followed by stirring and cooking on low heat to complete the hot chocolate.
  • SLOW COOK: Cover the slow cooker and set it to low. Cook for approximately 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The hot chocolate is ready once it's warmed to your liking. (Don't cook on high; this can curdle the milk)
  • TOPPINGS: To get your toppings just the right size, use a nut grinder, small food processor, or a mini blender jar. Pulse down cookies, pretzels, and nuts to your desired coarseness. Once you've prepped all your toppings, grab a muffin tin and line it with muffin liners, or use miniature bowls, to organize and display each choice.
  • SERVING STATION: Organize your serving area with the crockpot of warm hot chocolate, any sauces and/or toppings, and whipped cream. Ensure hot chocolate cups are available for guests to use. Enjoy!
  • ENJOY: Once warmed, ladle the hot chocolate into mugs. Top with your preferred toppings and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Supplies:
  • Individual hot chocolate cups or mugs: I get the cups, lids, and cup sleeves all on Amazon. If you are interested here's exactly what I use!
  • Little mini wooden scoops (for the topping containers): Found here.
  • Mini wooden stirring sticks: Found here.
  • Small signs – Maybe some cute labels or signs to let folks know what's what!
  • Topping containers – Muffin Pan with liners – or, if you’re feeling fancy, grab some miniature glass jars.
  • 6-quart Crock-Pot for the hot chocolate
  • Optional: This nut grinder is my favorite tool when preparing the toppings for this Caramel Apple Bar! It’ll quickly chop up cookies, nuts and seeds, and candies in a whiz.
Note 2: Cocoa Powder: For the best possible flavor be sure to use a "dutched" cocoa powder; this hot chocolate is not the same with regular cocoa powder! Hershey’s® “Special Dark” cocoa powder is a dutched cocoa available at most grocery stores. This is my favorite cocoa powder.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 643kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 623mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 56g | Vitamin A: 1099IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 395mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.





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      1. Thanks for the quick reply! Do you know the size (either ounces or dimensions) and are they glass/plastic and are they pedestal? Sorry for all the questions! I’m trying to put this together for my baby sprinkle and since I need to order online, am having a hard time figuring what containers work best. Thank you!!

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