Top 10 Substitutes for Cocoa Powder

substitutes for cocoa powder
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Cocoa powder, also known as cacao powder or chocolate powder, manufactured from fermented and roasted cocoa beans, is a highly concentrated, unsweetened chocolate product.

The leftover cocoa solids are processed to create cocoa powder after the liquid is squeezed to remove around 70% of the cocoa butter.

The best part is that there are some substitutes for cocoa powder. 

One of the best sources of polyphenols is cocoa powder, which is also high in theobromine and caffeine, which give you more energy.

Dutch process cocoa, unsweetened cooking chocolate, carob powder, hot cocoa mixes, hot chocolate mixes, chocolate chips, dark chocolate, couverture mixes, chocolate bars, Nutella, chocolate syrup, and molasses are the best substitutes for cocoa powder.

To learn more about each choice, let’s go as you continue reading our article. 

1. Carob Powder

Carob powder is one of the finest substitutes for cocoa powder, particularly for individuals who are allergic to chocolate or seeking a healthier option.

Every substitution has a distinct flavor intensity and level of sweetness, so when substituting, be sure to adjust the quantity appropriately.

2. Cacao Raw Powder

Raw cacao powder is gaining popularity as a substitute for cocoa powder in baking and cooking.

The fact that raw cacao powder is less processed than cocoa powder and therefore contains more minerals and antioxidants is one of the key causes of this.

When processed, cocoa powder frequently undergoes high heat and alkali treatment, which can lower its nutritious value.

Raw cacao powder is not only a better substitute for cocoa powder, but it also has a more potent and nuanced flavor.

Its slightly bitter flavor can be mellowed out by adding additional components like milk and sweets.

However, raw cacao powder doesn’t necessarily behave the same as cocoa powder in recipes, so changes to the quantities or cooking techniques may be necessary. 

3. Powdered Black Cocoa

Powdered black cocoa is also on our list of substitutes for cocoa powder.

Dark, rich cocoa powder known as “black cocoa powder” has undergone extensive processing, giving it a stronger flavor than regular cocoa powder.

As a minor substitution for cacao powder in recipes, use this product.

4. Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder

Dutch-processed cocoa powder, commonly called alkalized cocoa powder, is given an alkali treatment to balance its acidity.

This technique produces chocolate that is smoother, milder in flavor, deeper in color, and less bitter.

5. Cocoa Nibs

Cocoa nibs are the full-fat, less-processed variety of cocoa powder, although they are less popular than other substitutes for cocoa powder indicated above.

They are the starting point for pressing cacao butter, which is ground into the renowned and adored cocoa powder.

Cacao nibs must be softly roasted in the oven for about 5 minutes at 200°F (95°C) to replace cacao powder.

Then, add the warm nibs to a powerful blender or food processor, and mix them for about a minute, using 2-second pulses.

Although it won’t have the same texture as cacao paste, the combination will be extremely thick and can be used in frostings, cakes, and brownies. Replace this coarse powder with cocoa powder one to one.

6. Couverture

You might be familiar with couverture chocolate if you create candy or dip chocolate.

This chocolate form, called “couverture,” has more cocoa butter than other varieties.

Due to its added fat, it is most frequently used to manufacture specialty chocolate bars, barks, candies, brownies, and cakes. 

More cocoa butter is present in couverture chocolate. It becomes even more creamy and smooth as a result, making it ideal for dipping.

Even though it isn’t the best substitute for cocoa powder, it works quickly.

The end products will have a strong chocolate flavor and be sweeter, darker, and slightly different in texture.

It is straightforward to substitute cocoa powder for couverture chocolate. Just melt the couverture and add the necessary quantity to your recipe. 

When the chocolate has melted, replace the three teaspoons of cocoa powder with four tablespoons.

Remember to modify the recipe’s fat content, as couverture chocolate contains significantly more fat than other types.

7. Espresso Powder

Coffee beans that have been roasted and brewed into powder form espresso. It can be used as a substitute for cocoa powder to give chocolate treats a richer flavor.

Substitute one tablespoon of espresso powder for every three tablespoons of cocoa powder specified in the recipe.

8. Unsweetened Baking Chocolate

These substitutes for cocoa powder work well for dishes like brownies or cakes that call for melted chocolate.

Melt the same quantity of unsweetened baking chocolate as the amount of cocoa powder specified in the recipe, such as for chocolate cake.

9. Dark Chocolate Chips

Cocoa powder can be replaced with dark chocolate chips. Due to its high cocoa content, dark chocolate gives your food a deep flavor and a touch of sweetness.

Use the melted chocolate as a substitute for cocoa powder by simply melting the chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave.

Remember that while this substitute could somewhat alter the texture of your dessert, the flavor will remain fantastic.

10. Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot cocoa mix is ending our list of substitutes for cocoa powder.

Sugar, cocoa powder, and occasionally salt and vanilla extract are included in hot cocoa mixes. 

When used in recipes that call for unsweetened cocoa powder, the sweetness addition can help counteract the bitterness.

For convenience, time and effort can be saved in the kitchen using pre-measured and pre-mixed ingredients.

The hot cocoa mix is very helpful when used in hot chocolate recipes because it already contains sugar and other flavors that go well with cocoa.

However, since the hot cocoa mix is sweeter than cocoa powder, it’s crucial to remember that it will change the recipe’s flavor.

This effect might be lessened by adjusting the recipe’s sugar content and cutting back on any additional sweets.

In general, hot cocoa mix can be a delightful and practical substitute for cocoa powder in many recipes.


Desserts and other chocolate-based foods often contain cocoa powder. When you want to prepare your favorite treat, you might not always have this component on hand. 

There are numerous substitutes for cocoa powder that you may use, so having one on hand will go a long way toward saving your recipe.

Some are identical to cocoa powder in color and flavor, while others call for changing the recipe’s other components. Enjoy! 

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