Hot Chocolate Toppings, Dustings & Rimming Make It More Amazing

You’ve made your hot chocolate in your favorite mug, and now you’re ready to make it truly amazing. Here are some ideas for hot chocolate toppings, dustings & flavorings.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links (marked with an *). This means that, at no extra cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

Marshmallow Hot Chocolate Toppings

The best hot chocolate toppings are marshmallows piled sky-high. They can come in flavors to enhance your chocolate, and in shapes or sculptures for even more fun.

Hot chocolate with marshmallows piled high in happy mug

Marshmallow Shapes

hot chocolate with snowflake marshmallow

Sometimes you can buy marshmallows premade in fun shapes like this snowflake (available on Amazon and in most stores.)

Or make marshmallows a special shape yourself.

Want to make the marshmallow in your hot chocolate match the theme of your party?

Use Jet-Puffed Stacker Mallows marshmallows and cut them the desired shape with a mini metal cookie cutter*.

(These mini cookie cutters have a shape for every holiday and season & can be used for vegetables or cheese for kid’s lunches too.)

mini cookie cutters for marshmallows

Find or create special shapes for every seasonal holiday.

Check your local grocers during each holiday season to find all sorts of different shaped marshmallows.

log shaped marshmallows on hot chocolate

Log shaped marshmallows in fall.

bunny marshmallow for easter hot chocolate

Find or create cute bunny, Easter egg and chick marshmallow sculptures for your Easter hot chocolate.

Show the love on Valentine’s Day or any day with heart shaped marshmallows, either purchased that shape or cut with cookie cutters.

(Amazon has small heart marshmallows.)

heart shaped marshmallows
ghost marshmallow for halloween hot chocolate

Of course you want a hot chocolate after trick or treating on Halloween. It’s chilly out there! Add a ghost shaped marshmallow with eyes and mouth drawn on with edible ink pen.

Marshmallow sculptures take it to the next level.

mouse marshmallow sculpture for hot chocolate

For the truly creative: a cute mouse marshmallow sculpture peeks above the rim of a hot chocolate mug. (Heat marshmallow or use touch of canned frosting as glue to make them stick together.)

snowman marshmallow in hot chocolate

Okay, now that we’ve scared you, take a look at one that’s a lot simpler but just as fun. A snowman made of marshmallows with pretzel arms & legs. (Use pretzels to fasten marshmallows together.) Smiling face and buttons made using an edible ink pen.

We just have to show you this fun gingerbread man in a hot chocolate hot tub!

Requires a small mug so cookie doesn’t sink to the bottom, and teeny marshmallows as hot tub bubbles.

This is so great! And so easy to do.

snowman face marshmallows in hot chocolate

This is simple, but still fun. Draw a snowman face on a large marshmallow with an edible ink pen. Use an orange cookie icing pen for carrot nose. (Want it even easier? Wilton sells snowman hot chocolate trimming kits at Walmart, Amazon, and most grocery stores. It comes with a snowman face marshmallow and peppermint stir stick.)

Don’t stop at the smiling snowman face for your hot chocolate marshmallow – especially for Halloween!

draw faces on marshmallows for hot chocolate

Create monster marshmallows with homemade marshmallow recipe (see America’s Test Kitchen YouTube video.)

halloween hot chocolate sculptures

Or, skip making the marshmallows and just put the candy eyes in the hot chocolate!

candy eyes in hot chocolate and muffin for halloween

Don’t want to risk ruining your marshmallow sculpture in the hot chocolate? Put them on bamboo skewers above small marshmallows. You can do the same with cookies and candies.

cookies on wooden sticks as garnishes for hot chocolate
hot chocolate with ghost marshmallows on a stick

Marshmallow Size Matters

mallow bits

Mallow Bits Teeny Tiny Marshmallows*

Want teeny tiny marshmallows in your hot chocolate or on your ice cream?

Shake Mallow Bits on, or use the little scoop so you know its only 20 calories.

Toasted Marshmallows

hot chocolate with toasted marshmallows

How to toast marshmallows at home: put marshmallows on baking sheet, broil in oven until browned (a few seconds), remove from oven and turn with tongs, then broil on the other side until golden brown.

Hot Chocolate Toppings & Dustings

Besides marshmallows, there are many toppings for hot chocolate:

  • whipped cream
  • chocolate or caramel sauce
  • cookie crumbles (gingerbread, shortbread, oreo, sugar cookie)
  • chocolate shavings or chips (white chocolate too)
  • sprinkles & candy shapes
  • dusting with cocoa
  • maple syrup
  • spices
  • nuts

(To get mountains of whipped cream like this, you need to apply it using a special tip on a whipped cream dispenser.)

hot chocolate with toppings piled high

Ice Cream

Put ice cream in your favorite flavor on top of your hot chocolate:

  • chocolate
  • mint
  • mint chocolate chip
  • Oreo or chocolate bar flavors

Top with whipped cream and your favorite toppings & it’s almost a dessert!

Hot Chocolate with Ice Cream

Whipped Cream

hot chocolate with whipped cream and star sprinkles

Marshmallows aren’t the only favorite topping. Whipped cream comes next, whether you use the easy spray-on whipped cream or make your own. See our easy recipe.

The star sprinkles add a festive touch.

Chocolate Curls

hot chocolate with chocolate curls and strawberries

Using a grater on the slice blade, grate enough chocolate curls for the hot chocolate you’ll be serving. If you use the larger slice blade, the chocolate lasts longer directly on top of the hot chocolate.

You can also use a paring knife or vegetable peeler. All 3 methods demonstrated in this video.

Stenciled Design

Add Christmas cheer to your hot chocolate by stenciling a design on top with cocoa powder.

Use or cut a stencil in a shape that matches your mood or party theme.

Place the stencil over your cocoa mug and shake a little cocoa powder over it until the shape is filled in. (Notice that the whipped topping doesn’t go past the rim of the mug.)

Voila! You now have a gourmet hot chocolate.

hot chocolate with stenciled cocoa powder on top


A dusting of cocoa adds to the fun of the moment. But all dustings aren’t just for designs or appearance, like with cocoa. Dusting with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, can add flavor to every sip.

dusting of spices on top of hot chocolate

Latte Art

autumn hot chocolate with barista design

Hot chocolate is perfect for latte art – you’re pouring hot milk into the mug anyway! Use the same technique as with a latte to make the tulip, rosetta, swan, flowers and more. (Follow the pro who knows, Barista Kim on YouTube, to see how to create the flower above and more.)



Christmas Gingerbread Hot Chocolate with star cookie garnish

Garnishes are added on top of the whipped cream or marshmallows, on wooden sticks to stay above, or hanging off the rim of the cup to keep them from getting soggy or flavoring the hot chocolate itself.

Choose a cookie garnish that matches your party theme. You can use a cookie you made for the party in the whipped cream (as above) or make special rim cookies (right).

Just cut a slit before baking.

make sugar cookies with slots for hot chocolate mugs
Gingerbread man garnish on hot chocolate


Find a chocolate shape that matches the theme of your party or holiday to garnish your hot chocolate, like this chocolate Easter bunny & eggs on the marshmallows. So cute!

Easter hot chocolate

Did you know?

Hershey’s Kisses* have a special chocolate kiss just for hot chocolate. It’s filled with marshmallow creme.


You’ve seen the candy eyes floating in the hot chocolate for Halloween. Put your favorite candies on top, or the expected seasonal candy.

Crushed candy cane adds flavor and holiday spirit to hot chocolate.

Christmas Hot Chocolate with crushed peppermint

Other Favorite Snacks

caramel popcorn garnish on hot chocolate

Garnish a hot chocolate with a special treat like this caramel popcorn to create a signature hot chocolate recipe.

hot chocolate with marshmallows and pretzels

The saltiness of pretzels lends itself to hot chocolate, especially with caramel sauce. Put them on top of the marshmallows or whipped cream so they retain their crunch.


hot chocolate with plaid drizzle on marshmallows

How you drizzle is as important as what you drizzle. These marshmallows with plaid drizzle add a unique appearance to the hot chocolate. Can how you drizzle add to your party theme?

Rimming the Glass

Add a special touch to your signature hot chocolate recipe by rimming the glass just like a cocktail.

hot chocolate or north pole cocktail with ginger and peppermint

To rim with chocolate, caramel, or candy sauce:

  1. In a saucer that’s slightly bigger than the circumference of the mouth of your mug, pour sauce. Turn your mug upside down so the mouth of the mug dips into the sauce. Lift straight out. (The deeper to sauce in the dish, more is retained on the glass.)
  2. If you want to add a texture, sprinkle cookie crumbs, candy sprinkless or fine nut pieces on the sauce on the side of the mug. (Try not to get it inside the mug as this will change the flavor & texture of the hot chocolate itself, and is very difficult to get out of the glass.)
pink hot chocolate with pink candy rimming

To rim with sugar or sprinkles:

  1. Pour the sugar or sprinkles in a saucer.
  2. Insert an orange wedge on the rim of the glass and turn all the way around.
  3. While rim is still wet, turn glass upside down so mouth is dipped into the saucer.
  4. Lift straight up and let dry before pouring hot chocolate – without touching rim of glass.

“Stir” Sticks

  • cinnamon sticks
  • wafer cookie straw
  • licorice sticks
  • candy cane or peppermint stick

Candy canes aren’t just for Christmas hot chocolate! Put 2 together into a heart for Valentine’s Day hot chocolate – with heart shaped marshmallows, of course.

valentines day hot chocolate with candy cane heart and heart marshmallows

How to Make Pink Hot Chocolate

pink hot chocolate for valentines day

Melt 1/2 c white chocolate chips, add strawberry ice cream syrup until shade of pink you desire, then add milk and heat as usual. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles, or your usual hot chocolate toppings.

Want more? See all of our hot chocolate recipes.

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Want even more? See our new hot chocolate recipes & ideas.

hot chocolate merrymaker

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