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8 Unique & Amazing Substitutes For Cocoa Powder To Know

Quick Answer: How To Use Substitute For Cocoa Powder?

A rich, decadent chocolate taste without the calories and fat found in most store-bought chocolate products, this powder is made from pure cacao beans. With benefits, the cocoa powder substitutes include dutch process cocoa, hot cocoa milk, dark chocolate, carob chocolate, unsweetened cooking chocolate, chocolate chips, couverture chocolate and other chocolate variants.

Who doesn’t love a hot chocolate, delicious chocolate cake, or a tasty chocolate treat in the evening?

Its divine sweet taste that melts in our mouths is hard to beat and we have cocoa powder to thank for it.

Cocoa powder provides most recipes with that rich chocolatey color and flavor we all love. 

If you’re a big foodie that loves to cook with this rich ingredient you’ll know just how much it can enhance a recipe.

However, you might also know how it feels to discover you have none left in the cupboards.

The Best Cocoa Powder Substitutes - What you Need To Know

The fact you’re here may suggest you’ve just found out! If so, don’t worry, we’re here to help. 

In this article, we’ve listed 8 of the best cocoa powder substitutes so that you never have to interrupt your baking.

Today, we’ll tell you what you need to know about each substitute. Keep reading to learn more!

8 Cocoa Powder Substitutes

Each substitute we will be talking about in this article acts as a good replacement for cocoa powder when you have none left.

However, you should remember that you won’t achieve the same texture or flavor.

As a result, you should try your best to use the substitute that works best for your recipe.

We recommend identifying the substitute that replicates the flavors and textures you need for your recipe best. 

Having said that, if push comes to shove, you could use any of the substitutions in our guide to replace cocoa powder.

You might just have to tinker with the recipe a little to get it right. Let’s take a look at the 8 best substitutions you can make for cocoa powder!

1. Carob Powder

Next up, we have carob powder. Carob powder has a similar appearance to cocoa powder.

It is usually used to sweeten baked goods and desserts as it has a wonderfully sweet taste. 

Despite not having the same bitter taste as cocoa powder, the carob powder’s color and sweetness make it a solid substitute and is one of the best cocoa powder substitutes.

It also comes with some great health benefits that can be used to treat diabetes, diarrhea, and persistent heartburn to name just a few. 

How To Substitute

Similar to Dutch-process cocoa, carob powder can be used on a 1:1 basis. However, you will have to reduce the amount of sugar required for the rest of your recipe. This is because carob powder will provide most of the sweetness your recipe needs.

The Best Cocoa Powder Substitutes - What you Need To Know

2. Dutch-Process Cocoa

The first substitute on our list is Dutch-processed cocoa. This is a fantastic cocoa powder substitute as it dissolves easily. It also has a taste that isn’t quite as bitter.

Aside from tasting quite sweet, Dutch-process cocoa powder also provides that dark, rich chocolatey color most recipes require.

Any recipe this substitute is added to will taste and look just like any normal chocolate-based food.

How To Substitute

Substituting Dutch-process cocoa for cocoa powder is easy. In a recipe that doesn’t contain baking soda or baking powder you first need to add a form of acid. This can be simply done by adding ⅛ teaspoon of lemon juice, vinegar, or cream of tartar to every 3 tablespoons of Dutch-process cocoa.This will help with the leavening process. Aside from that, simply use this substitute as a 1:1 substitution.

3. Unsweetened Cooking Chocolate

Another brilliant and quite common substitute for cocoa powder is unsweetened cooking chocolate.

Effortlessly bringing rich chocolate flavors and colors to the table, this baking ingredient contains high levels of chocolate liquor and cocoa solids. 

However, it isn’t an ingredient that contains any sugars. Therefore it will only add fat and flavor to your recipe, not sweetness.

You will also have to use at least 1 tablespoon of fat less in your recipe. 

How To Substitute

To substitute unsweetened cooking chocolate for cocoa powder, start by melting the chocolate. Once melted, mix the chocolate with butter. This will help to give you a similar texture and taste to cocoa powder. We recommend using 2 tablespoons of melted cooking chocolate for every 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder.

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4. Hot Cocoa Mix

If you have a hot cocoa mix in your kitchen cupboard, you could use it to make an effective cocoa powder substitute.

Consisting of sweeteners, spices, and milk solids, hot cocoa mix also contains cocoa powder.

Therefore, you can use this substitute to add that cocoa powder bitterness to your recipe as well as the chocolate flavor and color. 

Hot cocoa mix is also easily made. Simply mix the powder with hot milk or water.

Within seconds you’ll have a delicious cup of hot chocolate.

How To Substitute

Despite containing cocoa powder, the flavors provided by the hot cocoa mix won’t quite be the same. However, it’s well worth using. To substitute hot cocoa mix for cocoa powder, we recommend using 2 teaspoons for every 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder your recipe requires for chocolatey taste.

5. Hot Chocolate Mix

The next substitute we want to tell you about is hot chocolate mix. Hot chocolate mix is rich in chocolate flavor like the hot cocoa mix but it offers a much thicker texture.

This mix is also similar to hot cocoa mix in the way that it also contains cocoa powder. 

This is great because it ensures that your recipe will still have a bitter chocolate flavor.

Other ingredients in the hot chocolate mix include milk powder, creamer, and sugar. 

How To Substitute

Substituting hot chocolate mix for cocoa powder won’t take you long at all. In fact, all you need to do is use the right amount and make sure you use less sugar throughout the rest of your recipe. You should use two teaspoons of the hot chocolate mix for every 1 teaspoon you would normally use cocoa powder.

6. Dark Chocolate

If your recipe relies heavily on the bitterness of the cocoa powder, your best alternative is dark chocolate.

Made from cocoa butter, cocoa solids, and sugar, dark chocolate is rich and bitter, just like cocoa powder.

It also has a beautiful dark chocolate color that will look great in your desserts.

It is also worth mentioning that high-quality dark chocolate is very nutritious. You’ll find most dark chocolates packed with antioxidants. 

How To Substitute

Using dark chocolate as a substitute for cocoa powder is pretty simple. All you need to do is melt the chocolate and use the right amount in your recipe. Once the dark chocolate has melted, use 2 tablespoons to substitute 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder.

Cocoa Powder Substitutes - Dark Chocolates

7. Couverture Chocolate

The second to last substitute on this list is couverture chocolate. Couverture chocolate is a type of chocolate that contains higher amounts of cocoa butter.

You’ll find this type of chocolate most commonly used in the making of professional chocolate bars, barks, candy, brownies, and cakes. 

It is also great dipping chocolate that has a thinner texture than cocoa powder.

However, it will give your recipes that sweet flavor and dark color cocoa powder creates, so you should definitely use it as a substitute if you have no other options available. 

How To Substitute

Couverture chocolate may be ideal for baked goods but when it comes to substituting it for cocoa powder you do need to be careful. There are adjustments you will have to make to the rest of your recipe if you want to avoid an end product full of fat. As a result of the chocolate’s high levels of coconut butter, reduce the levels of fat the rest of your recipe requires.

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8. Chocolate Chips

Finally, we have chocolate chips. Chocolate chips are essentially small pieces of chocolate.

They come in a wide range of different flavors including peanut butter, mint, white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate.

Thanks to their versatility, they work well with most desserts and can also be used in a chocolate fountain.

The most popular desserts chocolate chips are used in are muffins, pies, pastries, cakes, pancakes, and cookies.

They are wonderfully sweet and dark in color so be sure to try them out.

How To Substitute

Chocolate chips contain sweetened chocolate and cocoa butter so making it work with your recipe isn’t difficult. However, they do retain their shape pretty well after baking. Therefore, grounding them first gives you a better chance of bonding them with the other ingredients. When substituting 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, you should use half a cup of chocolate chips.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Cocoa Powder Used For?

Cocoa powder is an ingredient used in baking, cooking, and many other products. For example, it can be used in chocolate, candy, and many other desserts, as well as in sauces, ice cream, and other baked goods.

It is made by grinding the cocoa beans and then sifting the powder.

Is Cocoa Better Than Coffee?

Coffee is a popular drink in America, but cocoa has a more intense flavor and more benefits for your health. Cocoa contains flavonoids and antioxidants that help fight inflammation, cancer, heart disease, and aging.

Cocoa is also a good source of fiber and calcium. Coffee is high in caffeine and has fewer antioxidants than cocoa.

Is Cocoa Powder And Chocolate Powder The Same?

Cocoa powder and chocolate powder are different ingredients. Cocoa powder is a processed mixture of cocoa beans, cocoa butter, and sugar, whereas chocolate powder is a processed mixture of cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and sugar.

The Best Cocoa Powder Substitutes – What You Need To Know

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Cocoa powder gives desserts a rich chocolatey taste, but what do you do if you have none? You use one of the 8 substitutes from our guide; that’s what you do!


  • Carob Powder

  • Dutch-Process Cocoa

  • Unsweetened Cooking Chocolate

  • Hot Cocoa Mix

  • Hot Chocolate Mix

  • Dark Chocolate

  • Couverture Chocolate

  • Chocolate Chips


  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith