7 Best Cocoa Powder Substitutes

Cocoa powder, or cacao, is a popular ingredient in cooking and baking. It has a rich flavor and can be found in many recipes such as brownies, cookies, cakes, and more!

Cocoa is a rich source of antioxidants, magnesium, and fiber. Different types of cocoa powders are made from different ingredients, with varying levels of sweetness.

But if you don’t have cocoa on hand, there are some other ingredient substitutes that you might consider using to get the same end result.

Some of the handy Cocoa Powder substitutes you can easily find are Unsweetened Cooking Chocolate, Dutch-process Cocoa Carob Powder, Hot Cocoa Mix, Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate, and Coverture Chocolate.

A thing to keep in mind is that the best cocoa powder substitute is really up to your personal tastes so don’t be afraid to try each of the swaps before if available.

What is Cocoa Powder?

Cocoa Powder Substitutes

Cocoa powder is a rich source of antioxidants, magnesium, and fiber. Different types of cocoa powders are made from different ingredients, with varying levels of sweetness.  

Cocoa powder is a pre-roasted version of cacao beans from the Theobroma Cacao tree, which are native to tropical regions in South America. They contain high amounts of fat and sugar, making them ideal for drinking as a hot beverage.

In fact, many chocolate manufacturers roast their beans before pulverizing them, which allows the flavors to develop and become richer.

Cocoa powder can be made from different types of cocoas, depending on what you’re looking for in a recipe. Some recipes call for more acidic or sweeter cocoa, while others may require you to use an unsweetened cocoa powder.

7 Best Cocoa Powder Substitutes

Let’s get started with my personal favorite:

1. Unsweetened Cooking Chocolate

It is one of the best substitutes for cocoa powder as they both come from cocoa beans.

Unsweetened cooking chocolate is made of 100% pure chocolate liquor, which means it does not contain sugar or milk. This is made from ground, roasted cacao beans.

It is the least processed version of cocoa powder available (and also happens to be vegan).

It’s typically the best substitute for baking recipes that require cocoa powder but result in a very bitter taste if you use another form of unsweetened cocoa.

Use 2 teaspoons of unsweetened cooking chocolate as a substitute for 3 teaspoon cocoa powder.

2. Dutch-Process Cocoa

Dutch-process Cocoa is a type of cocoa powder that has been treated with alkali to reduce its acidity, which enhances the flavor of your chocolate baked goods.

It’s typically darker in color and more acidic than other types of cocoa and also happens to be vegan ( if it doesn’t contain any dairy). Dutch-process cocoa will produce a darker chocolate flavor with less bitterness than regular cocoa powder.

It usually requires the use of baking soda because of its acidic composition, which can result in a slightly bitter taste.

It’s best used in recipes that require baking soda as it’s more acidic than other cocoa powders. However, the result tends to be less bitter.

Use 1 tablespoon of Dutch-process cocoa powder as a substitute for 1 tablespoon of regular or specialty cocoa powder.

3. Carob Powder

Carob Powder

Carob is known for its sweet, chocolate-like taste and contains zero caffeine. It’s also a great substitute for cocoa powder in recipes because it tends to have a flavor that resembles cocoa powder.

Carob Powder is made from the pods of the carob tree and has a slightly sweet taste. In fact, carob powder closely resembles cocoa powder in nutrients including calcium, iron, thiamin, and riboflavin.

Although carob does not contain caffeine, it does have a slight laxative effect in some people if taken in large quantities. This is why many prefer pure cocoa powder over carob powder.

Carob powder will be naturally sweeter-giving you that sugar craving without the sugar calories. Just use carob powder as a 1:1 substitute for cocoa powder.

4. Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot cocoa mix is a great substitute to use in recipes that require cocoa powder because it allows you to have more control over the sweetness of your baked goods. It’s also much faster and easier than measuring out multiple ingredients.

Just add 2 tablespoons of hot cocoa mix for every tablespoon of regular cocoa powder in a recipe. This type of cocoa mix is usually sweetened, so you won’t have to add in extra sugar if your recipe requires it.

5. Chocolate Chips

Chocolate Chips are made from different types of chocolate, typically milk or dark chocolate. They are a great substitute for cocoa powder because they melt easily, don’t require extra sugar, and will result in an evenly flavored finished product.

Chocolate chips are typically designed for recipes that require a certain amount of melted chocolate as an ingredient. They can be used to make chocolate cakes, brownies, and candies.

Chocolate chips are made from chocolate liquor, sugar, and cocoa butter. They’re already sweetened so they won’t require any extra measure of sugar when used for baking recipes.

Like other forms of unsweetened cocoa powder – the result is a more bitter taste that some may not prefer in certain applications.

Use chocolate chips as a substitute for cocoa powder in recipes that require melted chocolate. Usually, it will take about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips to equal 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder.

6. Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is a great substitute for cocoa powder because it also has a very rich flavor.

Cocoa powder and dark chocolate are both made from the same ingredient: cacao beans. They’re simply treated differently before they become their final forms – which is what changes the resulting flavors of each product.

Cacao beans aren’t actually chocolate until they’re treated to become cocoa powder or dark chocolate. After the beans are fermented and dried, cacao beans are roasted and ground into a liquid.

The next step is to add in some cocoa butter and sugar before it’s molded into dark chocolate. The added ingredients do not change the taste of dark chocolate much, just give it a more mild flavor.

Dark chocolate can be used to make brownies, pies, cakes, and more. It will provide a richer taste in your baked goods. Use 3 tablespoons of dark chocolate chips in place of 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder for best results.

7. Coverture Chocolate

Coverture chocolate is much sweeter than other forms of chocolate. It’s typically used for baking because it melts very well, but it also contains a lot of added sugar and flavorings.

Coverture is a type of chocolate that contains cocoa butter and other ingredients such as soy lecithin to help give the chocolate a creamy texture when melted.

It has a rich cocoa taste and can be melted into recipes as another form of cocoa to use as a substitute for cocoa powder.

Coverture chocolate can be used in place of any other type of unsweetened chocolate substitute for baking recipes. Use 2 tablespoons of coverture chocolate instead of 3 tablespoons of regular cocoa powder to achieve desired results.

What Does Cocoa Powder Taste Like?

Cocoa powder has a strong, bitter taste that can sometimes be overwhelming. You may need to add more sugar or butter to your recipe if you use cocoa powder as a substitute for other types of chocolate.

How is Cocoa Powder Made?

Cocoa powder is a product that’s made from fermented and dried cocoa beans.

The process of making cocoa powder starts with taking the cocoa beans through a fermentation process to remove any proteins, sugars, starches, and other components that would cause undesirable flavors in the final product.

After it passes through the fermentation phase, the dry cocoa beans are then placed into a large hopper that will grind the beans into an even fine powder.

The cocoa beans are then cooled before they’re passed through several round rollers to remove any lumps of cocoa beans in the mixture.

What Is the Difference Between Cocoa Powder and Chocolate Powder?

Cocoa powder- that’s made from cocoa beans, is a form of cocoa that has been treated to remove the sugar and other components. It has a stronger more bitter taste than regular chocolate.

Chocolate powder on the other hand is a product that contains some amount of sugar or another type of sweetener. It can be used as a substitute for cocoa powder in some recipes, although it may alter the taste and texture slightly.

Chocolate powder is a type of product that’s made from roasted, ground cocoa beans. It also contains powdered milk and sugar as additives. The sugar will give the chocolate powder a sweeter flavor than pure cocoa powder.

Can You Use Drinking Chocolate Instead of Cocoa Powder in Cakes?

Drinking chocolate is a type of product that is designed to be mixed into hot milk. It’s a very strong and flavorful chocolate mix, which makes it a popular choice for many beverages.

Drinking chocolate can be used as a substitute for cocoa powder in some baking recipes, but it may affect the overall flavor or texture of your cake. In some cases, it may be too strong of a flavor for certain recipes.

You can always add more ingredients to your baking recipe if you need to dilute the flavor of the drinking chocolate powder.

You can use equal amounts of sugar or butter in place of drinking chocolate to cut down on the intensity and so these other flavors don’t overwhelm the recipe.

Can Coffee Be a Substitute for Cocoa Powder?

Yes, you can use instant coffee instead of cocoa powder in your baking recipes. It’s a great option to use if you need to make another type of substitution for your recipe.

Instant coffee contains caffeine which will give baked goods an extra flavorful boost. You’ll get the same strength of flavor that you would expect from other types of chocolate substitutes.

Instant coffee can be used as a substitute for cocoa powder at a 1:1 ratio. It’s best to use this substitution in recipes that call for about 2/3 cup of cocoa powder or less.

Final Words

When you’re out of cocoa powder, don’t worry! There are plenty of other ingredient substitutes that can be used to get the same end result.

Simply use one of these ingredients in place and your recipe will turn out just as well with a different taste profile.

I hope this article was helpful, see you next time!

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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