Hosting a Hot Chocolate Bar Party


Hosting a Hot Chocolate Bar Party

Winter is synonymous with Hot Chocolate season! Read on to learn about how to throw a fabulous hot chocolate bar party with everything that you need and a recipe for a large crowd slow cooker hot chocolate! Spread that holiday cheer with a Hot Cocoa Bar at your next holiday gathering!

Whether you are hosting friends for a holiday dinner, neighbors for a progressive dinner party or hosting a cookie exchange this season, a hot chocolate bar is the perfect accent for your party to celebrate the season!

Start by making the hot cocoa in the crockpot so that it stays hot during the party and your guests can just serve themselves.  Place the slow cooker and a small dish with a ladle for serving next to the toppings for your hot chocolate bar.

If your space doesn’t allow for a slow cooker, as an alternative, you can set out an assortment of hot cocoa flavors and a tea kettle or coffee pot with hot water for guests to make their own hot cocoa based on their flavor preference.

Boost the flavor and fun factor of your hot chocolate bar with great toppings.   Simply think about great pairings with rich and creamy chocolate and you’ll come up with some great toppings.  See a sample list of hot cocoa bar toppings below to start.


Hot Chocolate Bar Toppings

  • Chocolate Chips
  • Butterscotch chips
  • Toffee Chips
  • Crushed Peppermint
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods
  • Ground Cinnamon or Nutmeg
  • Andes Mints
  • Candy Canes
  • Whipped Cream
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Chocolate Sauce
  • Flavored Syrups like Hazelnut, Caramel, Vanilla

Safeway has everything you need to set up a fabulous hot chocolate bar.  Try a gourmet flavored hot chocolate like the dark chocolate or white chocolate cocoa mix from Signature SELECT.  Add some marshmallows, peppermint, whipped cream, and your favorite toppings to make it gourmet.


How to Set up a Hot Cocoa Bar

Arrange the hot chocolate toppings in an assortment of bowls or mason jars and if you wish, you can add festive labels with red and white twine identifying each item so your guests know which toppings are available.   I chose smaller mason jars so that people can pour directly from the jars without needing an extra spoon.  You can also use larger bowls and add a serving spoon for guests to help themselves.

In addition to toppings, you can have a few chocolate snacks available for your guests to imbibe while making their festive hot chocolate.  A few seasonal holiday snacks I suggest include the Signature SELECT Peppermint Bark, the Signature SELECT Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Rods, the Signature SELECT Peppermint White Chocolate Covered Pretzel Twists and chocolate-covered almonds.

Make cleanup easier by using paper cups.  I chose red to go with my holiday theme, but if you want your guests to have cups with lids, then consider the Open Nature Compostable line of paper coffee cups with lids.

Free Hot Chocolate Bar Printable

Of course, every hot cocoa bar needs a good sign. You can print a sign a home using a free printable hot chocolate bar sign.

8×10 hot cocoa Bar Sign


You can also print blank labels and write the toppings with a white pen or chalk marker. 

Free printable sheet of black chalkboard circle labels for toppings: 

2 inch Circle tags BLANK CHALK

blank black chalk circle labels for hot cocoa bar

You can also print labels with the names of your guests on there! Use that same baker’s twine to tie it around the sleeves of the paper cups!


Making Hot Cocoa in the Slow Cooker

Start by whisking together the cocoa powder and hot water in a pot. When the cocoa mixes in, add it to a slow cooker along with chocolate chips, milk, heavy cream, two cans of evaporated milk, sugar, and a hint of salt. That’s it! Let it go low and slow for 6 hours or on the high setting for 4 hours. As always, you want to whisk the hot chocolate every now and then to make sure the chocolate isn’t stuck to the bottom.

You can also make this on the stove and keep warm in the slow cooker. Just whisk the water and cocoa powder together over medium heat until it begins to simmer, add in the remaining ingredients and whisk until the chocolate melts. Make sure the hot chocolate doesn’t boil. You want it to just barely reach the simmer point. It should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes altogether.




Slow Cooker Hot Cocoa for Hot Chocolate Bar Party

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Course: Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: slow cooker hot cocoa, hot chocolate bar
Cook Time: 4 hours
Servings: 15 people
Author: Eva Fry


  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 20 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 10 cups whole milk or 2%
  • 2 12 ounce cans evaporated milk
  • ½ cup sugar optional
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • toppings: marshmallows toffee bits, chocolate chips, crushed peppermints, candy canes, pirouette cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, Andes mints, whipped cream, dark chocolate syrup, caramel sauce


  • Start by adding the cocoa powder to a pot, pour in the hot water and whisk until mixed.
  • Add the cocoa mixture along with the chocolate chips, milk, evaporated milk, and salt to a 6-quart slow cooker or larger.
  • Cook the hot chocolate on the high setting for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours. Low for 6 hours is what I prefer. Make sure to stir the hot chocolate every hour to keep the chocolate from settling to the bottom.
  • Keep on the warm setting if you’re serving it hot chocolate bar style with toppings on the side. Leftover hot chocolate can be refrigerated for up to one week and can be warmed in the microwave before serving.




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