How to Set Up a DIY Hot Chocolate Bar

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Warm up this holiday by creating your own DIY hot cocoa bar. This party idea is perfect for the kids, and includes homemade marshmallows, candy, and more!
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A homemade hot chocolate bar setup in the kitchen for the holidays.

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I’ve got a fun idea for you to help any little ones in your life celebrate the holiday season this winter … a DIY Hot Chocolate Bar!

DIY Hot Cocoa Bar Setup Guide With Instructions and Supplies

Now, it’s not all 100% real food, but I did what I could to make things somewhat homemade and also dye-free. This would be the perfect addition to a Cookie Swap or Gingerbread House Making Party—all things my girls are totally into right now!

Featured Comment

It was so simple and SO good. I can’t emphasize how much I loved the simplicity of this recipe.
– Jennifer

Supplies Needed for a Homemade Hot Chocolate Bar

It did take me a little time to pull everything together, but my 6th grader (who loves to help with things like this) loved every minute of it. :) Here’s a list of our hot chocolate bar supplies:

Ingredients for a HotCocoa Bar

  • Sprinkles (we used dye-free)
  • Crushed peppermint
  • Toasted coconut
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Crushed white chocolate pieces
  • Candy canes (dye-free)
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Grated cinnamon
  • Homemade whipped cream
  • Homemade chocolate sauce (in a squeeze bottle)
  • Marshmallows (we offered both store-bought mini marshmallows and homemade in two flavors: mint chocolate chip and salted caramel)



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As you can see on the top row, we also thought it’d be fun to add a little game where the kids could guess how many marshmallows were in the jar. The winner takes all! What’s your guess?

Ingredients to make your own hot chocolate bar at home.

I was excited to have another reason to make homemade marshmallows (besides our end of school year, backyard, movie party with smores). I always include store-bought (dye-free) marshmallows as well, because I know some kids won’t touch anything that looks too different from the norm!

homemade and store-bought marshmallows on tray.

Lastly, I’d say the kids’ creations came together pretty well – they were not scared to pile ’em high! This turned out to be a lot more fun than I was even expecting (and I promise, I thought it’d be fun!). I ended up leaving it set up for the rest of the weekend so my husband and I could indulge as well along with anyone else who stopped by. :) I’ll definitely be doing this again next year! And it will be even easier now that I have all the stuff.

For another fun little sweet treat, make these Chocolate Turtles!

Two homemade hot chocolates topped with whipped cream, marshmallows and drizzled with chocolate syrup.

I’d love to know if you’ve ever set up a Hot Chocolate Bar and included anything I did not mention here. If so, please do tell! And here’s that Homemade Hot Cocoa recipe for you (made with maple syrup instead of sugar)…

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8 thoughts on “How to Set Up a DIY Hot Chocolate Bar”

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  1. Hi! Really curious why a lot of your recipes the last few years (as opposed to when you first began) are not entirely 100 percent real food anymore? It’s not my go to anymore, unfortunately. Found an organic, real food, four ingredient version of Hot Chocolate on another site. Hoping you are not straying from real foods, due to popularity of your site. Real foods is the reason my friends, and family loved your recipes so much. :( Do you plan to continue real food recipes or here and there?

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      During the holidays you might see more treats which Lisa always says to enjoy in moderation. We are definitely keeping within the Real Food rules when we post the majority of our recipes, again, besides the occasional treat. – Nicole

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for the hot cocoa recipe! I’m not a huge fan of chocolate or hot beverages, but I tried this tonight as part of preparing for a Christmas party I’ll be hosting this year to see what I thought regarding serving it to my guests. It was so simple and SO good. I can’t emphasize how much I loved the simplicity of this recipe. I think the reason I liked it so much taste-wise was b/c of the maple syrup as I’m a huge maple fan, despite the fact that the (special dark) cocoa was really the only taste I could discern. Still–this was the best hot cocoa I think I’ve ever had and look forward to the ease I’ll have in offering it at my upcoming party!

  3. Thanks for your recipe for hot chocolate! My family makes maple syrup, and I’ve had fun experimenting with their different infused flavors (their new peppermint maple syrup is my favorite so far and 100% real!).

  4. Just wanted to thank you for your chocolate sauce recipe. I have used it for hot chocolate and chocolate milk ever since I saw it in your first cook book. When my family made the switch to real food five years ago,the simple powdered hot chocolate packet mix was what I missed most. But not anymore because of your sooo convenient chocolate sauce!