12 Best Cocoa Powder Substitutes That You Can Use

Note- This post may contain affiliate links, we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs.

So you’ve come to find the greatest cocoa powder substitutes? If yes, I’m sure you are a major chocolate fan like me. Chocolate is one of the most popular foods and it’s no secret that cocoa is essential for making it. Cocoa powder is a highly refined and concentrated powder made from the cacao fruit’s seeds. Everything with a chocolate flavor needs it.

Coco Powder

But the stars aren’t always on our side. Whether you’re a professional chef, a home baker, or a foodie like myself, there’s a good chance you’ll run out of cocoa powder at some point.

What should you do in this situation? It isn’t easy to replicate the chocolate flavor in our meals without using cocoa powder. This post is written to help you in this situation. We’ll go over the top cocoa powder substitutes in detail here.

Wait! Are you stumped on what to use as the best cocoa powder substitute in your recipe? Don’t worry! I have all the answers with me in this article. Some of the best cocoa powder substitutes include carob powder, hot cocoa mix, dutch process cocoa, unsweetened cooking chocolate, and chocolate chips. 

Even though we all know about chocolate, some of my readers may be unfamiliar with cocoa powder. Before we go into the best options for cocoa powder substitutes, let’s take a deeper look at this popular ingredient. This will help you understand how to substitute it better.

Quick Peek: Cocoa Powder

Cocoa Powder

If you enjoy chocolate, you are aware that many different types of chocolate are available, including dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and many others. Cocoa powder is the essential component that gives our beloved food its chocolaty flavor. 

Cocoa powder is known for its chocolate flavor, but it is much more than that. This section will assist you with all aspects of cocoa powder. You’ll discover what it is, how to use it, and how it tastes and feels. Take a bite of your favorite chocolate and keep reading to find out more!

What Is Cocoa Powder?

Cocoa powder is a powder made from cacao fruit seeds. Cacao is a fruit that grows on cacao trees. Cacao trees are native to America and are tropical plants.  

Cocoa as a seed has been used in a variety of ways throughout history. They used the cocoa seeds to make ceremonial drinks as well as cash! Cocoa powder is a dark brown powder derived from cocoa fruits. It is made by fermenting, drying, and then grinding the cocoa beans.

Cocoa powder has been a cult favorite for a really long time. Have you ever wondered why? Well, let’s learn a little more about it.

Describing Cocoa Powder: Flavor and Texture

Natural cocoa powder is brown and has a robust chocolate flavor. It has a very nutty pleasant fragrance. It is made from cocoa beans after fermenting, drying, and grinding the cocoa seeds.

Cocoa powder is made by removing the cocoa butter from the cacao beans. It is in powder form and has a very smooth grainy texture. Cocoa powder has a strong bitter taste.

Many times cocoa powder is mistaken for chocolate powder. Even though chocolate powder contains a good amount of cocoa powder, it is not the same. The chocolate powder contains cocoa, milk, and sugar powder, making it very sweet when added to dishes.

Even though cocoa powder has a chocolaty taste, we might need to add little sweetness to it to get the best flavor out of it. But the amount of sugar will entirely depend on your taste preference.

Uses of Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder is the main ingredient for making chocolates. If you love the chocolaty taste, you can use it in various meals, including cake, cookies, and even a chocolate dip as a side dish.

Aside from that, it’s utilized to make frosting and coatings for a range of foods. Cocoa powder is often used in beverages to give them a chocolaty flavor. Cocoa powder can also be used to dust cakes with unusual motifs.

Cocoa powder is also an excellent exfoliant for the skin. Cocoa is an excellent choice for those who want natural cosmetic products. It works nicely as both a scrub and a cleanser.

It is, without a doubt, the most popular component of all time. Cocoa powder is used in various ways nowadays due to its therapeutic characteristics.

Cocoa Powder On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Scope

It is well known that cocoa powder is an excellent culinary ingredient. It is not only delicious but also nutritious. Flavin is an antioxidant found in cocoa powder. Flavins have the ability to relax blood arteries. Lowering blood pressure and eliminating the obstruction can both be helped by relaxing the blood vessels.

Cocoa powder is high in flavanol, which helps the body produce more nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is beneficial to blood flow. As a result, we can conclude that cocoa powder is helpful to heart health. Some studies done across the world have shown that eating small amounts of chocolate regularly is extremely good for heart health.

Even though chocolate is usually not recommended for people with diabetes, flavanol in cocoa powder effectively prevents diabetes. Flavanol has been proven in studies to help carbohydrate digestion and insulin production. As a result, we can conclude that small levels of cocoa ingestion are beneficial to diabetic people.

Polyphenols are also found in cocoa powder. It lowers the risk of neuro disorders and enhances cognitive abilities. Cocoa powder is also useful for persons who suffer from depression and mood swings. It’s unclear what’s causing this.

According to some studies, it could be linked to the presence of antioxidants such as flavanol and polyphenols. However, some argue that it is simply due to the happy hormones released by eating chocolate. Now that I’ve given you enough information about cocoa powder let’s move on to the main topic: the finest cocoa powder substitutes.

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

12 Best Cocoa Powder Substitutes

Now that we have discussed all cocoa powder, it’s time to see what you can use instead of it. So, let’s see some of the best cocoa powder substitutes. 

1. Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder

Dutch Process cocoa Powder

Dutch-process cocoa powder is one of the best substitutes for cocoa powder. It has a rich brown color and less bitterness when compared to normal cocoa powder. It is also easily dissolvable than cocoa powder.

Dutch cocoa powder is sometimes known as “alkalized cocoa powder” or “European style cocoa powder.” This cocoa powder differs from regular cocoa powder in that the acidity has been removed—this technique results in deeper color and a smoother texture in this chocolate version. 

One disadvantage of this cocoa alternative is that it is less reactive with baking soda, which may prevent the dough from rising properly. As a result, more of it is required when utilizing dutch process cocoa as a cocoa powder alternative.

Because dutch cocoa powder is likewise cocoa powder, we can easily substitute one tablespoon of dutch process cocoa for one tablespoon of cocoa in most recipes.

2. Unsweetened Chocolate Chip

Chocolate Chip

Another reliable cocoa powder substitute is unsweetened chocolate chips. This substitute can be used in a variety of ingredients. But it is the best cocoa powder substitute when it comes to baking. It is the best method to reciprocate the exact cocoa flavor.

We can use it straight, powder it, or melt it depending on the needs of the meal we’re cooking. Chocolate chips include cocoa butter, which is a good thing. As a result, use less oil when using the unsweetened chocolate chip as a cocoa powder substitute in dishes with oil.  Replace 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder with half a cup of chocolate chips.

3. Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is another best cocoa powder substitute. Dark chocolates have an intense brown color and a little bitter taste, similar to cocoa powder. 

One of the most trustworthy cocoa powder substitutes is dark chocolate, with less sugar and more cocoa content. When purchasing dark chocolate, look for chocolate that contains no or very little sugar. This can be used in baking and other recipes as a replacement. 

Different dark chocolates have different cocoa contents; it’s important to use caution when adding them to a meal to achieve the right flavor. To balance the flavor, substitute two tablespoons of melted dark chocolate for three tablespoons of cocoa powder.

4. Chocolate Drinks

Chocolate Drink

Chocolate drinks are one of the most available cocoa powder substitutes. Even though it is not the best, it can come in handy in some situations.

Other than cocoa, the chocolate drink could contain a blend of substances such as artificial flavors and sugar. When we substitute any chocolate drink for cocoa, we must consider how the other components affect our recipe.

Also, using chocolate drinks while baking is not a good idea because it will change the consistency of our meals. However, if your favorite dish is missing a hint of chocolate, there’s no harm in adding some!

5. Carob Powder

Carob Powder

If you are someone who just became vegan and is looking for the best cocoa powder substitute, carob powder is your answer. Carob powder is gluten and caffeine-free. 

Carob powder, often called carob flour, is a light brown powder with a texture similar to cocoa powder. Carob, unlike cocoa, has a sweeter flavor. Carob powder is created from carob tree seeds that have been dried and roasted.

Unlike cocoa, carob powder has a sweet flavor. We can use a 1:1 ratio when utilizing carob as a cocoa alternative. On the other hand, carob is naturally sweet, which will come through in your dish.

6. Black Cocoa Powder

Black Cocoa Powder

Black cocoa powder is nothing but more refined cocoa powder and can be used as another cocoa powder substitute. Another type of Dutch cocoa powder is black cocoa powder. Black coca has a dark color and is less bitter than Dutch-process cocoa. Most ingredients go well with black chocolate.

If you want a more deep chocolate hue in your cake or sweets, you can use black cocoa powder instead of your regular cocoa powder. We can use a 1:1 ratio when utilizing black cocoa powder as a cocoa replacement. Black cocoa powder may not react well with leavening agents like Dutch-process cocoa powder.

7. Raw Cacao Powder

Raw Cacao Powder

Cacao and cocoa powder is obtained from the cacao fruit, and when in need, raw cacao is the best cocoa powder substitute. Even though they are sourced from the same plant, the processing method is different. 

Cacao powder is made by grinding cacao seeds directly after fermentation. It is not roasted, unlike cocoa powder. Raw cacao powder has a significantly stronger flavor than regular cocoa powder. As a result, when using a cocoa alternative, remember to add enough water and sugar to balance the flavor.

8. Molasses


Molasses is another interesting cocoa powder substitute. Molasses is dark syrup primarily used for sweetening dishes, and hence it works well while substituting cocoa powder in most dishes.

It is a liquid obtained from transforming sugar canes into sugar beets. It’s not only tasty but also highly healthy. The amount of sugar extracted from molasses determines its sweetness.

 When utilizing molasses as a cocoa powder alternative, keep in mind that molasses has a high moisture absorption capability. As a result, we must exercise caution when utilizing it in baking. If you want a smoky sweetened chocolate flavor, replace two teaspoons of cocoa powder with one tablespoon of molasses.

9. Nutella 


Nutella is, without a doubt, the first thing that springs to mind when we think of cocoa powder substitutes. Nutella is a well-known spread with a significant quantity of cocoa in its ingredient list, making it an excellent chocolate substitute.

Nutella, on the other hand, prefers the sweeter side of things. If you want to utilize Nutella in icing or cream in cakes or desserts, this is the product for you. However, if you prefer a bitter chocolate flavor, you may want to explore alternative possibilities.

10. Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot cocoa mix

One of the closest cocoa powder substitutes is a hot cocoa mix. Certain hot cocoa mix powders are so similar to cocoa powder that we can’t tell the difference.

A hot cocoa mix comprises milk powder, sugar, and cocoa powder. Use a hot cocoa powder with less sugar and higher cocoa content to acquire the optimum flavor.

Because the texture of both chocolate and the hot cocoa mix is so similar, the cocoa mix can easily be substituted for cocoa in a number of recipes. Replace one teaspoon of cocoa powder with two tablespoons of the hot cocoa mix while heating.

11. Espresso Powder

Espresso Powder

Espresso powder is the perfect cocoa powder substitute if you like the bitter taste of the cocoa powder.

Espresso, like cocoa powder, is processed through a series of steps, including fermentation and roasting. Espresso, unlike regular coffee powder, is more bitter and adds a distinct flavor and aroma to most foods. It also gives the dish a similar color.

As a result, espresso is a fantastic substitute for cocoa powder. On the other hand, espresso is not an option while cooking for children. Because of the high caffeine content, it is not recommended for children.

12. Regular Chocolate bar

Chocolate Bar

One of the most typical cocoa powder substitutes is a standard chocolate bar. It can be used in either crushed or melted form. 

It will be an excellent choice for cakes and cookies. Because it contains extra sugar, the ordinary chocolate bar is sweeter. So, if you’re making a recipe that calls for sugar, use a small amount because the chocolate bar will also provide sweetness. If you choose between an unsweetened chocolate chip and a conventional chocolate bar, go with the latter.

Short Recap For The Best Cocoa Powder Substitutes

Are you still undecided about which of these cocoa powder substitutes you should choose? Don’t worry; here’s a little clip that may assist you in escaping this difficult predicament.

Most appropriate: Hot cocoa is the most acceptable cocoa powder substitute since it can practically match the flavor and taste of cocoa.

Easily accessible: Dark chocolate is the most readily accessible option. Even if they don’t have the same flavor as cocoa, they can be used safely for garnishing, vegetable salads, and non-vegetarian dishes.

Best flavor combination: When raw cacao powder is employed, the best flavor profile.

Final Thoughts

I hope you found the answers you were seeking now that we’ve reached the end of the post. Cocoa powder is such a versatile ingredient that it may add a new dimension to various meals.

Although most of the listed ingredients can be used in cocoa powder substitutes, there is no precise match for cocoas. However, if you know of any other alternatives to the ones listed above, please share them in the comments area.

How To Substitute The Above Mentioned Ingredients For Cocoa Powder

Cocoa Powder Substitutes

Here is how you can substitute the above mentioned ingredients for Cocoa Powder.
5 from 1 vote


  • Dutch- process Cocoa Powder
  • Unsweetend Chocolate Chip
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Chocolate Drink
  • Balck Cocoa Powder
  • Raw Cocoa Powder
  • Molasses
  • Nutella
  • Hot Cocoa Mix
  • Espresso Powder
  • Regular Chocolate Bar
  • Carob Powder


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a good substitute for cocoa powder?

The hot chocolate mix is one of the best substitutes for cocoa powder.

Can melted chocolate be used in place of cocoa?

Yes. Melted chocolate is a good cocoa powder substitute. Replace 3 teaspoons of cocoa with one bar of melted chocolate.

What tastes like chocolate but is healthy?

Carob flour is the best vegan and gluten-free substitute that can almost reproduce chocolate taste.

What can I use instead of cocoa powder in a cake?

You can use either Dutch-processed cocoa powder or unsweetened baking chocolates as cocoa powder substitutes in cakes.

Is dark chocolate the same as cocoa?

No. Dark chocolate is made from cocoa. Apart from cocoa, dark chocolate also contains various other ingredients.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating