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17 Best Cocoa Powder Substitutes for Baking

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David Larsen
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Do you need a cocoa powder substitute for a recipe? Are you out of cocoa powder and don’t know what to do? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this blog post, we will discuss 17 different substitutes that can be used in place of cocoa powder.

Some of these substitutes are more common than others, but they all have their own unique flavor profile that can be perfect for your next baking project!

best cocoa powder substitutes

What is cocoa powder?

Cocoa powder is made from the dried beans of Theobroma Cacao, a tropical tree native to South America. Cocoa powder is commonly used for baking and making chocolate-flavored drinks and desserts.

Best cocoa powder substitutes

1. Baking chocolate.

baking chocolate

This is probably the closest substitute to cocoa powder because it has a similar taste and texture. Unlike cocoa powder, baking chocolate is made from unsweetened, pure chocolate.

It is also more concentrated than cocoa powder so you may need to adjust your recipe when using it as a substitute.

Additionally, baking chocolate can be melted down and used in sauces or other recipes that call for liquid chocolate.

2. Cacao Nibs.

cocoa nibs

Cacao nibs are made by crushing cocoa beans into small pieces, a great cocoa powder substitute that is full of flavor and nutrition. Cacao nibs have a deep, chocolatey flavor and are high in magnesium, iron, and antioxidants.

They can be used in baking or added to smoothies for an extra boost of flavor and nutrition. Because cacao nibs have a more intense flavor than cocoa powder, it is best to use them in smaller amounts.

Cacao nibs are a great alternative for those looking for a healthier version of chocolate that still has all the flavor and nutrition of traditional cocoa powder.

3. Carob Powder.

carob powder

Carob powder is a great alternative to cocoa powder, as it has a similar flavor profile and can be used in many of the same applications.

Carob powder contains several beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins A and B, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.

It is also lower in fat than cocoa powder, making it a healthier option for those looking to cut back on fat and sugar.

Carob powder can be used to make cookies, cakes, brownies and other baked goods that would normally require cocoa powder. It can also be added to smoothies or shakes for a delicious chocolatey flavor.

4. Chocolate Chips.

Chocolate chips are a great substitute for cocoa powder. They’re easier to find than cocoa powder, and they melt easily when you heat them over the stove or in the microwave.

Chocolate chips can be used to make rich, creamy desserts like brownies and cookies. Additionally, chocolate chips can be used in other recipes like homemade hot chocolate or even a chocolate sauce for ice cream.

5. Chocolate Protein Powder.

Another great substitute for cocoa powder is chocolate protein powder, which is a combination of cocoa powder and protein. This type of powder can be used as a supplement or added to food as an extra boost of energy and nutrition.

It helps provide essential vitamins and minerals, making it a healthier alternative to traditional cocoa powder.

Additionally, the taste of chocolate protein powder is similar to that of cocoa powder, meaning it can be used in recipes that call for cocoa powder without drastically altering the flavor.

The downside is that chocolate protein powder tends to be more expensive than regular cocoa powder, so keep this in mind when shopping for a substitute.

6. Chocolate Malted Milk Powder.

Chocolate malted milk powder is made of cocoa, malt sweeteners, wheat flour and nonfat dry milk. It can be used as a cocoa powder substitute in baking recipes, with some adjustments.

To use it in place of unsweetened cocoa powder you will need to reduce the amount of sugar added to the recipe if using a sweetened version and also decrease the amount of liquid added.

The chocolate malted milk powder can be used to make brownies, cakes, and other desserts with a thick creamy texture. Additionally, it can also be used to create hot cocoa drinks that are both rich and creamy in flavor.

7. Chocolate Spread.

Chocolate spread is a delicious and easy alternative to cocoa powder, especially for baking. It can be used in place of cocoa powder in recipes to create chocolatey desserts such as cakes, brownies, muffins and more.

Chocolate spread is usually made from oil, sugar, and cocoa solids, which gives it a creamy texture and rich flavor. Additionally, it’s much easier to use than cocoa powder since it doesn’t require any additional ingredients for preparation.

It can be added directly to a recipe and mixed until fully combined. Additionally, chocolate spread has a milder flavor than cocoa powder, which makes it ideal for baked goods that don’t require an intense chocolate flavor.

8. Chocolate Syrup.

This popular pantry staple can be used to add a burst of flavor and sweetness to many recipes. It’s especially useful for replacing cocoa powder in recipes that don’t require the cocoa powder’s leavening properties, such as pudding or cake frostings.

To use chocolate syrup in place of cocoa powder, simply replace the cocoa powder with an equal amount of syrup, and adjust sugar levels accordingly.

Keep in mind that chocolate syrup may not be suitable for all recipes calling for cocoa powder; it is best used as a substitution when the desired flavor profile is sweet rather than bitter or earthy.

9. Coverture chocolate.

Sometimes called “couverture,” this is a type of chocolate made with high-quality cocoa butter and cocoa solids. When melted, it can be used as a substitute for cocoa powder in baking recipes.

It has a rich flavor and will retain its shape once cooled. This makes coverture chocolate an excellent option when you need a substitution for cocoa powder in recipes that require a molded end product like truffles or cakes.

However, coverture chocolate can be expensive and can vary in quality, so it’s important to look for brands with higher cocoa butter content (at least 33%) if you want the best results.

Additionally, because coverture chocolate is not as finely ground as cocoa powder, it may take longer to dissolve when added to recipes.

10. Dark chocolate.

If you’re looking for a cocoa powder substitute that is even richer in flavor and texture, dark chocolate makes an excellent alternative.

Not only does it provide the same depth of flavor as cocoa powder, but it also adds moisture to recipes and provides additional sweetness.

Dark chocolate can be used to replace cocoa powder in many recipes, such as cakes, muffins, brownies, and even hot chocolate.

However, it should be noted that dark chocolate will not provide the same health benefits as cocoa powder, as it is higher in saturated fat and sugar.

As well, the taste of dark chocolate may overpower other ingredients in a recipe; therefore it’s important to adjust the amount you use accordingly.

Ultimately, though, dark chocolate is an excellent substitute for cocoa powder as long as you are mindful of the taste and texture it will provide.

11. Dutch-process cocoa.

Dutch-process cocoa is a type of cocoa powder that has been treated with alkali, making it milder and less acidic than natural cocoa. It’s also darker in color and frequently has a richer flavor than natural cocoa.

Dutch-process cocoa can be used as an alternative to regular cocoa powder in some recipes, although it may affect the end result in terms of color and flavor. For example, when using

Dutch-process cocoa powder in a recipe that calls for baking soda, it’s often necessary to add additional baking soda, because the alkali in the Dutch-process cocoa neutralizes some of the baking soda’s leavening power.

12. Espresso Powder.

Espresso powder is another great cocoa powder substitute and can be used to add an intense flavor to a variety of desserts.

When substituting espresso powder for cocoa powder, use one teaspoon of espresso powder for every three teaspoons of cocoa powder that are called for in the recipe.

Espresso powder makes a great addition to brownies, cakes and other baked goods as it adds a bold, rich flavor. It can also be used as a garnish for hot chocolate or other beverages to give them an extra kick of flavor.

Keep in mind that espresso powder is very strong and should be used sparingly to avoid overpowering the recipe.

13. Hot chocolate mix.

Hot chocolate mix is an alternative to cocoa powder that works especially well in recipes for hot chocolate and other beverages.

Hot chocolate mix usually contains a blend of dried milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and other flavors. It can be used as a direct substitute for cocoa powder in many recipes.

However, it will result in the final product being sweeter than if regular cocoa powder was used.

Additionally, some brands of hot chocolate mix contain other additives like stabilizers or artificial flavors and colors that may affect the taste, texture, and quality of the final product. Therefore, be sure to check labels before using a particular mix in your recipe.

14. Hot Cocoa Mix.

A great alternative to cocoa powder is hot cocoa mix. Hot cocoa mix contains cocoa powder, sugar and other flavorings such as marshmallows and powdered creamer.

It has a richer flavor than plain cocoa powder and usually comes in individual packets that can be prepared easily and quickly at home or the office.

Hot chocolate mixes are available in a variety of flavors ranging from traditional chocolate to more decadent choices like salted caramel.

Additionally, some hot cocoa mixes are sugar-free, making them a great option for those watching their sugar intake.

15. Molasses.

This thick syrup is made from boiling down sugar cane or sugar beets and adding acid to it. It has a sweet and slightly bitter taste that can be used as a substitute for cocoa powder in baking.

Molasses also contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a healthier option than cocoa powder.

However, it is less flavorful than cocoa powder, so it won’t give the same depth of flavor to your recipes.

To make up for this, you can add additional spices like cinnamon or nutmeg to the recipe. When substituting molasses for cocoa powder in baking, use a 1:1 ratio when measuring out ingredients.

16. Nutella.

While it may sound strange to use as a substitute for cocoa powder, Nutella can make an excellent alternative. Not only is it filled with delicious hazelnut flavor, but it also contains some cocoa powder for a slight chocolate flavor.

You can add Nutella to recipes that call for cocoa powder in place of the required amount and have delicious results.

17. Powdered Peanut Butter.

This is a perfect substitute for cocoa powder and has the same taste as cocoa. It adds a rich, delicious flavor to your baked goods and also helps them retain their moistness.

Plus, it’s made from natural ingredients and contains no added sugar or preservatives. For those with nut allergies, you can use other nut-free substitutes like carob powder or almond flour.

Be sure to adjust the amount of sugar or other sweetener you use, as powdered peanut butter is naturally sweeter than cocoa powder. It’s also important to reduce the amount of liquid in your recipe since powdered peanut butter absorbs liquid more quickly than cocoa powder!

How to choose the Best Cocoa Powder Substitute?

If you are looking for a cocoa powder substitute, it is important to consider the flavor and texture of your recipe. Certain substitutes may work better in some recipes than others. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right cocoa powder substitute:

  1. Consider the type of recipe

Some recipes are designed specifically with cocoa powder in mind and may not work well with substitutes. For these recipes, it is best to stick with cocoa powder.

  1. Consider the flavor

Different cocoa powder substitutes will provide different flavors to your recipe. Some are milder than others, while some have a more intense chocolate flavor. Be sure to select one that matches the desired flavor of your recipe.

  1. Consider the texture

Cocoa powder can add a certain creaminess and richness to recipes that other substitutes may not be able to provide. If you are looking for this, you may need to look for cocoa powder substitutes that have similar properties.

  1. Look at ingredients

If you are trying to avoid certain ingredients or are looking for an all-natural alternative, check the ingredient list of your substitute to make sure it meets your needs.

How to use cocoa powder?

Cocoa powder can be used in a variety of ways to add flavor and depth to recipes. It can be added to smoothies, baking recipes, sauces and even hot beverages for an extra boost of chocolatey goodness! Here are some tips on how to incorporate cocoa powder into your cooking:

  1. Use it as a topping for toast, pancakes or waffles. Sprinkle a few teaspoons of cocoa powder onto the top of your favorite breakfast treat and enjoy its rich flavor.
  2. Add it to smoothies! Cocoa powder pairs especially well with bananas and other fruits. Just add a spoonful into your blender along with the rest of your ingredients for a delicious and nourishing smoothie.
  3. Try it in your favorite baking recipes! Cocoa powder can add a delicious chocolatey flavor to cakes, brownies and other desserts. Just replace some of the flour with cocoa powder for a unique twist on your classic recipes.
  4. Use it to make hot chocolate or other warm beverages. Simply add a spoonful of cocoa powder to your favorite mug, fill with hot milk and stir until combined. Enjoy!
  5. Sprinkle some on top of your yogurt or oatmeal for added flavor and crunch.


Can I use coffee instead of cocoa powder?

Yes, you can use coffee instead of cocoa powder in some recipes. However, it is important to note that the flavor and texture will be different. Coffee has a bolder flavor and will not provide the same richness that cocoa powder does. Additionally, coffee tends to be more acidic than cocoa powder, so you may need to adjust other ingredients in your recipe to compensate. As with any substitution, it is best to experiment and adjust as needed to create the desired flavor profile in your recipe.

Can I substitute hot chocolate for cocoa powder?

Yes, hot chocolate can be substituted for cocoa powder in some recipes. However, the flavor and texture of the final product may not be as expected due to the added ingredients in hot chocolate mixes. If possible, use a high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder for best results. Additionally, you may need to adjust the liquid content of your recipe, since hot chocolate mix contains more liquid than cocoa powder.

Can I substitute flour for cocoa powder?

Yes, you can substitute flour for cocoa powder in many recipes, however it will not provide the same flavor or texture. Cocoa powder has a distinct, rich taste and helps to give baked goods their signature chocolatey flavor. Additionally, cocoa powder helps to add structure and stability to the batter, so if you are substituting with flour you may need to add additional ingredients such as butter or oil to help achieve the desired texture. In general, it is best not to substitute flour for cocoa powder unless it is absolutely necessary. However, if you do decide to substitute, we recommend using a 1:1 ratio of all-purpose flour to cocoa powder. For example, if a recipe calls for one cup of cocoa powder, use one cup of all-purpose flour.

Can I use dark chocolate instead of cocoa powder?

Yes, you can use dark chocolate instead of cocoa powder in certain recipes. However, it is important to keep in mind that dark chocolate has a more intense flavor and contains more fat than cocoa powder. Therefore, when substituting dark chocolate for cocoa powder in a recipe, you may need to adjust the other ingredients accordingly (for example, reducing the amount of butter or oil). Additionally, dark chocolate has a higher melting point than cocoa powder, so you may need to use lower temperatures when baking.

Can I use Nutella instead of cocoa powder?

Yes, you can definitely use Nutella instead of cocoa powder. However, it may affect the texture and flavor of your finished product. Nutella is a much sweeter spread than cocoa powder and will likely cause your final product to be overly sweet if not balanced out with other ingredients. Additionally, using Nutella instead of cocoa powder could affect the texture of your final product, as Nutella is a much thicker spread than cocoa powder. Consider adding more liquid to the recipe to compensate for this difference in consistency.

17 Best Cocoa Powder Substitutes

17 Best Cocoa Powder Substitutes

This is a great recipe for those who are looking for a cocoa powder substitute. This substitute can be used in baking or as an alternative to cocoa powder in your favorite recipes. It is made with three simple ingredients and only takes minutes to make.


  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder


    1. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch.
    2. Add in the cocoa powder and mix until everything is well blended.
    3. Store the mixture in an airtight container for up to one month.

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