Agh! So, you were about to make a cake, and you discovered that the cocoa powder container was empty. Why are the most important items in the kitchen usually always out of stock when they’re most needed? You asked yourself.
Well, there are natural ways to substitute cocoa powder rather than beating yourself up to get another yet expensive jar of cocoa powder if you still want to enjoy your favorite recipes without sacrificing the cocoa flavor.
Some of the best substitutes for cocoa powder that you can always use include dutch-process cocoa, unsweetened cooking chocolate, carob powder, hot cocoa mix, chocolate chips, dark chocolate, coverture chocolate, and Nutella.
But you don’t have to stop here, you still need to understand how to use these alternatives in place of cocoa powder to avoid making mistakes!
What Is Cocoa Powder?
Cocoa powder is the ground-up remains of cacao beans, seeds from the cocoa tree that grows in tropical climates.
They’re also called Theobroma cacao, which means “food of the gods” in Greek. It’s a key ingredient in chocolate, but it’s also found in many other foods.
Cocoa powder has a bittersweet flavor similar to chocolate but not EXACTLY the same. The difference comes down to how much sugar is added to the powder before it’s sold on the market.
Cocoa powder can make hot cocoa or chocolate milk and cakes, cookies, brownies, and other desserts. It can also be used as an ingredient in meatloaf or meatballs for extra flavor!
Best Substitutes For Cocoa Powder
1. Chocolate Chips
Chocolate chip is another alternative, but there are some limitations.
When substituting chocolate chips for cocoa powder, you would want to do a 1:2 ratio substitute while adjusting your recipe’s amount of sugar and fat.
Chocolate chips are sweeter and contain more fat than cocoa powder. This is because Cocoa powder is made by grinding roasted cacao beans into a fine powder.
Cocoa butter forms the main ingredient in cocoa powder, which gives it its unique flavor and color.
On the other hand, chocolate chips are made from chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, milk solids, and sugar. They also contain vegetable oils and lecithin to make them smoother in texture and easier to melt down.
But as long as you don’t mind the extra fat, this makes them an ideal substitute for cocoa powder in recipes where the cocoa powder is used for its color or flavor, but not its texture (such as in sauces).
2. Coverture Chocolate
Coverture Chocolate is a great substitute for cocoa powder because it can be used the same way and has the same flavor. It’s made from the same cacao bean, so it has all the cocoa’s antioxidants and nutrients.
It is used to make desserts like chocolate cake, pudding, and truffles. It can also be used as an ingredient in other foods like ice cream or chocolate milk.
To get the best result, use half a cup of grounded chocolate chips to replace three tablespoons of cocoa powder.
3. Dutch-Process Cocoa
Cocoa powder and Dutch-process cocoa are both forms of chocolate made from roasted cocoa beans.
Cocoa powder is simply the name given to cocoa that has been ground into a fine powder. At the same time, Dutch processing is a chemical treatment designed to make the chocolate darker, richer in flavor, and less acidic.
The similarities between these two products are clear: both have a bittersweet taste and deep chocolate flavor.
However, there’s one important difference: Dutch-processed cocoa is not as acidic as raw cocoa (which means it’s less likely to make your teeth feel sensitive or painful).
And if you’re a baker, you’ll cherish Dutch-process cocoa even more since it will dissolve more easily into your batter than a regular cocoa powder.
Both types of cocoa can be used interchangeably in recipes like cakes, brownies, cookies, ice cream, etc.
A 1:1 substitute for cocoa powder will do just fine. The color will be dark while obtaining that tasty chocolate flavor.
4. Carob Powder
You may be wondering what makes carob powder suitable for substituting cocoa powder.
Well, carob is a legume that is related to the peanut plant. However, the flavor of carob is often described as earthy and sweet with a hint of chocolate.
That little hint of cocoa is worth more than gold, especially in making desserts and baked goods.
Come to think of it; it is more healthful than regular cocoa powder. It has a milder, more subtle flavor than cocoa powder, and it contains no caffeine. Carob is also high in calcium, potassium, B vitamins, and antioxidants.
Although Carob powder is more alkaline than cocoa powder, it reacts differently when mixed with other ingredients. This can affect how your final product tastes and feels on your teeth and tongue.
Here a 1:1 ratio substitute for cocoa powder would be perfect.
5. Hot Cocoa Mix
Hot cocoa mix is made with chocolate and milk powder or condensed milk, sugar, and sometimes a little vanilla. This makes it an ideal substitute for cocoa powder, which often has a bitter taste.
However, there are a few things that you need to consider before doing so, though.
The first thing is that the Hot Cocoa Mix is made with milk so that it will add a bit of sweetness and creaminess to your recipe. If this is not desirable for your recipe, you might want to try using chocolate syrup instead.
The second thing is that Hot Cocoa Mix will make your recipe more liquidy than if you used cocoa powder alone.
This could cause problems with texture or structure if your original recipe calls for something solid like brownie or cookie dough. If this is an issue, try adding more flour or another thickener like cornstarch or baking soda before baking!
And lastly, replace every teaspoon of cocoa powder with two teaspoons of the hot cocoa mix.
6. Chocolate Syrup
Chocolate syrup is a great all-around addition to any dessert, but you might be surprised to learn that it can be used as a substitute for cocoa powder in some recipes.
It’s true — chocolate syrup and cocoa powder have a lot of similarities. Both provide sweet, chocolatey flavor in baked goods and other desserts.
But if you’re looking for a way to make your favorite dessert healthier or need something quick, then using chocolate syrup instead of cocoa powder can help!
The chocolate syrup contains water and sugar. But unlike cocoa powder, chocolate syrup is made by dissolving chocolate chips in water and adding sugar to make it sweet enough for baking and cooking.
To make a righteous substitute, use two tablespoons of melted dark chocolate instead of three tablespoons of cocoa powder.
7. Unsweetened Cooking Chocolate
When baking cookies, it’s important to use the right ingredients. Otherwise, your cookies won’t turn out right, and they’ll be too dry or too oily.
That’s why so many people use unsweetened cooking chocolate to substitute for cocoa powder in their recipes.
But why is this?
What makes these two ingredients so similar that they can be used interchangeably? The answer lies in their properties:
- Unsweetened cooking chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa butter than cocoa powder does, which means that when you bake with it, you get a richer flavor and a smoother texture
- It also contains no sugar, so it’s healthier than regular cocoa powder. You won’t have any added calories from added sugars
WARNING: Whatever you are doing, ensure that you are using two tbsp of melted unsweetened cooking chocolate for three tbsp of cocoa powder.
If you’re looking for a substitute for cocoa powder, Nutella is the way to go.
It is a thick, smooth chocolate-hazelnut spread that can be used to batter or fill cakes or cupcakes.
Nutella also makes a great addition to hot cocoa or coffee drinks! Nutella is sweetened with sugar and contains no saturated fat or cholesterol.
Nutella is also just as versatile as cocoa powder—you can use it in brownies, cakes, cookies, and other treats. And you can use it as an ingredient in frostings and sauces too!
Like the Chocolate syrup, you want to substitute three tbsp cocoa powder for two tblsp of melted coverture chocolate.
After all this, there is one thing about the Substitute For Cocoa Powder: You have to use these alternatives sparingly, or your dish will taste bitter.
Additionally, the choice MUST have a chocolatey taste, enough to give your treats some added sweetness, but not so much that they taste too acidic. Most people are looking for when they need a substitute for cocoa powder.
Hence, these findings suggest that cocoa powder is not as important to the quality of your chocolate cake as most chefs would have us believe.