How to Set Up an Easy Dessert Bar

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dessert bar

Have you heard of dessert bars before? I’ve seen them at big parties and always thought what a great idea! A dessert bar is basically a big smorgasbord of different desserts for people to choose what they want.

But what’s also great about dessert bars, is that you can make them as big or as small as you want! So I decided I wanted to try one of my own for my husband and I to share.

We have so many cookies, little candies, and other desserts around the holiday season that would make the perfect small-size dessert bar. I bet you do too!

A dessert bar is easy to put together, fun to munch on, and can be scaled to the size you want. It’s a perfect dessert option for the upcoming New Year’s Eve, or any special occasion!

How to set up an easy dessert bar

dessert bar

As you can see, we did a small version of a dessert bar since it was only the two of us.

I decided to make a little board with the desserts on it, and then I also did a separate area for hot chocolate toppings!

dessert bar

For the dessert board, I used a variety of little desserts. Some were homemade, and some store bought. You can make this as easy as you like…you can use homemade treats, or store bought, or treats that were given as gifts! It’s very easy to customize not only the size of the dessert bar, but also the ease of set up and types of dessert.

dessert bar

For our board, I used some homemade treats that I baked earlier in the month and have been saving in the freezer. The homemade treats I used are chocolate crinkle cookies, cranberry white chocolate shortbread cookies, candy cane brownies, and fudge.

But for the rest of the board, I filled it all in with store bought goodies! On the corners I added some white chocolate peppermint pretzels, and some white chocolate snack cakes. I placed a small bowl of melted cookie butter in the center for dipping the pretzel sticks I placed next to it.

dessert bar

After placing the homemade treats on the board, I filled in the gaps with various candies…gummy bears, assorted truffles and chocolates, and mini candy canes!

dessert bar

Once the board was set up, I finished the dessert bar with a little hot chocolate station.

dessert bar

For this section of the dessert bar, we have mugs of hot chocolate (of course!) and all our favorite toppings!

We chose whipped cream, mini marshmallows, gummy bears, shredded coconut, crushed candy cane, and mini chocolate chips. Plus some cinnamon sticks and mini candy canes for stirring!

We also threw on some caramels for good measure, and a couple tea bags for a hot chocolate alternative!

After that, everything was set up! All that was left to do was sit back, watch a Christmas movie, enjoy some desserts, and build the perfect cup of hot chocolate!

So fun!

Dessert Bar Ideas


  • Homemade treats (cookies, brownies, fudge, candy, slices of cake or cheesecake, coffee cake, cupcakes, etc)
  • Store bought snack cakes
  • Pretzels
  • Dipping sauces (caramel, nut butter, cookie butter, chocolate spread, nutella)
  • Chocolate covered pretzels
  • Candies, caramels, chocolates
  • Store bought cookies or cakes or bakery items
  • Candy canes
  • Jam or jelly
  • Chocolate covered or flavored marshmallows
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon rolls
  • Fruit
  • Nuts
hot Chocolate Ideas
  • Hot chocolate or tea
  • Liquors
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Whipped cream
  • Gummy bears or other small candies
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Honey
  • Crushed peppermint
  • Sprinkles
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Mini candy canes
  • Shredded coconut
  • Hot fudge or caramel sauce
  • Crushed peanuts
  • Crushed toffee
  • Cool whip
dessert bar

This dessert bar was so easy to set up and we had a lot of fun with it! It would be the perfect dessert for any special occasion coming up and especially great this time of year with all the treats floating around!

What would you put on your dessert bar? Let me know in the comments! And if you try it for yourself, tag me on social media- I’d love to see what you come up with!


you may also like:

40+ Best Christmas Movies

Christmas Day Recipe Roundup

Pumpkin French Toast Cups

Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffer Ideas

dessert bar

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  1. This looks so delicious. I love how you sprinkled gummies throughout. The bright colors make the display more interesting. And I always love a good hot cocoa making station.

  2. Love your dessert bar – looks yummy. I believe you had a perfect blend of homemade and purchased goodies; this is perfect for a couple to enjoy while watching a movie. The hot chocolate is just the icing on the cake! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow I love this idea! I’ve got a sweet tooth so this is something I would love to try out! I’ll have to make it small though so I don’t make my teeth go bad 😂😅 Great post!

    Taiwo |

    1. Haha I know what you mean! We made it small enough for the two of us so we wouldn’t be eating dessert all day! It can be sized any way you want though, which is perfect!

  4. Wondering if you have experimented with any alternative and more healthful versions of holiday treats. I blog on nutrition so always interested

    1. Yes, of course! The beauty of these dessert boards is you can use any kind of treats you’d like. Some fruit, peanut butter, or lower sugar treats would be perfect!

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