Cocoa powder is essential for anyone who loves to bake and has a sweet tooth. It’s one of the most preferred ingredients that give your favorite chocolate dessert its taste and flavor.

Cocoa powder is produced by crushing cocoa beans and removing the fat from it. It has been widely popular due to its role in chocolate productions.

Although it is widely available, finding some substitutes for cocoa powder is crucial if you’re allergic to cocoa or just run out of it in the middle of preparing a dish.

Following are some of the amazing cocoa powder substitutes that are capable of filling its role.

substitutes for cocoa

Substitutes for Cocoa Powder

1. Unsweetened Baking Chocolate

Unsweetened baking chocolate can be your best bet if you’re searching for the closest alternative to cocoa as both of them are made from cocoa beans. [1]

Using substitutes like baking chocolate or solid cacao can give you the same chocolate flavor in your dishes.

However, cocoa powder omits the fat while baking chocolate retains it. So, be mindful of the fat and adjust other fatty ingredients. 

As baking chocolate comes as a solid bar, you’re suggested to melt it before adding to the dishes.

2. Carob Powder

Carob powder or carob flour is one of the best substitutes for cocoa that is made from dried, roasted carob tree pods. Due to its sweet and unique taste, this option is often used as a natural sweetener in baking goods. [2]

Similar to cocoa powder in richness and flavor, carob powder is less bitter and a bit fruitier. 

However, it’s close enough to make a decent alternative, and you can use exactly the same amount of carob flour in a dish that calls for cocoa powder.

3. Hot Cocoa Mix

This ready-to-drink mix can be a great choice if you want the same richness and the deep brown color in your dessert. It’s because the hot cocoa mix contains cocoa powder, along with sugar, milk solids, and spices.

Hot cocoa mix is easy to find in any grocery shop. However, you need to consider the additives while substituting cocoa powder. 

To get the proper chocolate flavor, increase the amount of hot cocoa, and adjust the sweetener accordingly.

Read More: 6 Natural Substitutes for Brown Rice Syrup

4. Chocolate Bar or Chips

Chocolate bar is another easy-to-find option that you can use in your dessert instead of cocoa powder

Both unsweetened and sweetened version can be used based on the requirement of sweetener in your recipe.

Like solid cacao, you need to melt the chips or bars before using. Unlike cocoa powder, these options have sugar and fat, meaning that you need to compensate by reducing other ingredients while making any chocolate dishes. [3]


Using the right cocoa powder substitutes in the right amount can mean the difference between a perfectly flavored dessert and a poor attempt.

Although cocoa is a staple kitchen ingredient, having knowledge about the alternatives may help improve your baking skills.

While all of the substitutes can work in a pinch, some may just work better than others. Use them in your recipes based on your requirements.

Read Next: Best Substitutes for Sherry Vinegar to Make a Delicious Recipe

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