substitutes for cocoa powder

7 Substitutes for Cocoa Powder That Are Worth Trying

For lovers of all things chocolatey, cocoa powder is an essential ingredient that provides a rich, indulgent flavor to any sweet treat. It’s a go-to ingredient to make delectable treats and drinks, but occasionally, a substitute may be necessary.

So, if you run out of cocoa powder or have dietary constraints, there are a variety of wonderful alternatives that will still deliver the same delicious flavor. Take a look at some of the most popular substitutes for cocoa powder you can use to create decadent sweet delights.

1. Carob Powder

Carob Powder

Carob powder is a great baking and culinary substitute for cocoa powder. It has several nutritional advantages as it has high vitamin and mineral content, is low in saturated fat and sugar, and has no caffeine. Carob powder also has a distinct taste that is delicately sweet and somewhat bitter, making it an excellent alternative to cocoa powder in many recipes.

When it comes to using carob powder as a substitute for cocoa powder, the ratio can vary depending on the recipe. For some dishes like spicy chili or soups, you may want to use less carob powder to avoid overwhelming the other flavors in the dish.

Suggested ratio: 1 tbsp. cocoa powder = 1 tbsp. carob powder.

2. Unsweetened Chocolate

Unsweetened Chocolate

Unsweetened chocolate, which is made from cocoa butter and cocoa solids, has fewer calories than ordinary cocoa powder. It’s also packed with nutrients, including copper, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron, and can aid in the reduction of cholesterol and blood pressure.

You can replace cocoa powder with unsweetened chocolate in many recipes, although typically it must be processed first. To substitute, blend one part unsweetened chocolate with five parts sugar and two-three tablespoons liquid, such as coconut oil or water. This will provide a taste and texture comparable to that of cocoa powder. This combination may also be heated to make syrup or added directly to baked items for a rich and creamy chocolate flavor.

Suggested ratio: 3 tbsp. cocoa powder = 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate.

3. Nutella


When it comes to baking or flavoring your favorite dishes, Nutella makes the perfect alternative for cocoa powder. It has a decadently sweet and nutty flavor. Nutella is also rich in nutritious content, with its key ingredients being hazelnuts, palm oil, and skim milk powder, which makes it a good source of vitamins, iron, and calcium.

Nutella is an excellent ingredient for creating mouthwatering chocolate muffins or delightful homemade Nutella brownies. You may also use it in lieu of cocoa powder in ice cream by adding a spoonful to melted vanilla ice cream, giving your dessert an irresistible nutty-chocolate flavor. Furthermore, you can use it for savory recipes such as sauces and marinades to elevate the flavor and add depth to your dishes.

Suggested ratio: 1 tbsp. cocoa powder = 1 tbsp. Nutella.

4. Espresso Powder

Espresso Powder

Espresso powder shares a similar flavor profile as cocoa powder. It will give your dishes a chocolate-like taste with some bitterness. While espresso powder does not include the nutritious content of cocoa powder, it may be used to create delightful sweets and beverages.

To use espresso powder in place of cocoa, start with a very small amount. Espresso not only has an intense bitterness, but it also has a high caffeine content. So, start with half or less than half the required amount and add more if needed. You can add espresso powder to beverages, use it as a topping for ice cream, pour it into hot milk, or blend it into sauces or marinades to offer a hint of a chocolatey aroma.

Suggested ratio: 1 tbsp. cocoa powder = 1/2 tbsp. espresso powder. (Taste and add more if needed.)

5. Powdered Peanut Butter

Powdered Peanut Butter

Powdered peanut butter is an interesting substitution for cocoa powder due to its distinctive flavor and nutritional composition. In addition to being free of artificial sweeteners and other additives, it contains healthy fats, proteins, and minerals. It also has more vitamins B3 and E than most cocoa powders, making it a great choice for health-conscious consumers.

You can use powdered peanut butter in a variety of recipes and baked goods to add a sweet, nutty flavor. It may be used as a spread on toast or muffins when blended with ordinary peanut butter. For a delightful nutty taste, you may also swirl it into chilled milk or add it to hot drinks like tea or coffee. Additionally, you can use it to make energy bars and brownies.

Suggested ratio: 1 tbsp. cocoa powder = 1 tbsp. powdered peanut butter.

6. Raw Cacao Powder

Raw Cacao Powder

Raw cacao powder is another excellent alternative to cocoa powder. In addition to having a higher mineral content than cocoa powder and being an excellent source of magnesium, raw cacao is also high in flavonoids and other antioxidants that protect against oxidative stress. It also doesn’t include artificial sweeteners or extra sugar, making it a great option for anyone trying to cut back on their sugar intake.

Raw cacao powder can be used in a variety of dishes and recipes, including baked goods, smoothies, and breakfast cereals. To add a hint of chocolate flavor to any recipe, you can combine cacao powder with other ingredients, such as nut butter, agave syrup, or coconut oil. You can even sprinkle some on top of your yogurt, along with some granola, for a flavorful and healthy snack.

Suggested ratio: 1 tbsp. cocoa powder = 1 tbsp. raw cacao powder.

7. Dark Chocolate Powder

Dark Chocolate Powder

Dark chocolate powder is one of the closest substitutes for cocoa powder since it has a similar flavor profile. It is made by roasting and grinding cocoa beans, in addition to sugar, lecithin, vegetable oil, and other flavorings. The finished product tastes somewhat creamier and sweeter than cocoa powder and can be readily substituted in many recipes.

You can use dark chocolate powder to make everything from hot cocoa and brownies to mousses and ganache. When baking or cooking with dark chocolate powder, a direct replacement of 1:1 ratio will work well. It will preserve the recipe’s natural texture and guarantee the proper amount of sweetness.

Suggested ratio: 1 tbsp. cocoa powder = 1 tbsp. dark chocolate powder.

AboutRibana Hategan

Ribana is a certified pastry chef and passionate home cook who curates and develops recipes that are high on nutrition. She develops and tests cost effective, nutritious meals using quality ingredients to help people better their everyday eating experiences.