Unsweetened cocoa powder is used in tons of great desserts but if you’re all out (or have a chocolate allergy) you can still make your recipe.
In this article you will learn what substitutions you can use and how to use them in your particular recipe.
So what are the best substitutes for cocoa powder?
The top cocoa powder substitutes are unsweetened baking chocolate, Dutch processed cocoa, and Carob powder or Carob chips.
Cocoa Powder Alternatives
Cocoa powder offers a strong chocolate flavor without added sugar. Along with it’s acidity it makes for a versatile baking component. Because of it’s acid level it acts as a leavening agent so this must be kept in mind when substituting for cocoa powder.
Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
Unsweetened baking chocolate is my go to cocoa powder replacement. It will not add any sweetness to your recipe so no sugar adjustments are required.
But it does have a higher fat content than cocoa powder so you will need to use about one tablespoon less of butter or shortening (whichever fat your recipe calls for).
Use 1/3 oz of baking chocolate for each tablespoon of cocoa powder. When using bakers chocolate, it is best to add it in when the butter is added. I soften my bakers chocolate before adding it as well.
Dutch Processed Cocoa
Dutch processed cocoa powder is an excellent cocoa powder substitute. The only issue is that it is not always stocked at my local grocery store.
Dutch cocoa powder should be used at a 1:1 ratio when replacing unsweetened cocoa powder.
It does provide a more dark chocolate flavor, so if you enjoy dark chocolate it is a great alternative. It has the same sugar and fat level so no additional recipe adjustments are necessary except for acid.
It does have a lower acidity level so additional acid will need to be added. The best to use are lemon juice or white vinegar. Use about 1/8 tsp.
Carob Powder or Chips
If you need a substitute due to a chocolate allergy, then Carob powder is the alternative you are looking for.
Carob powder has the same fat content as cocoa powder, but a bit more sugar. You can use a 1:1 ratio but you will want to use a little less sugar.
Carob chips also work. You can use them much like you would bakers chocolate. Again, it has a higher sugar content so reduce the sugar in your recipe accordingly.
Can I Use Hot Cocoa Powder Instead of Cocoa Powder?
No. Cocoa mix has multiple additives that make it unsuitable for baking. It has added sugar, powdered milk, and more.
Is Chocolate Syrup a Good Substitute for Unsweetened Cocoa Powder?
No. Chocolate syrup has a high water and sugar content. This makes it unsuitable for using in place of cocoa powder.