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The 5 Best Substitutes for Cocoa Powder

If you love baking and cooking, you probably use a significant amount of cocoa powder.

Cocoa powder’s taste and texture make it a great addition for many different recipe types, including cookies, brownies, and cakes.

It’s also great for making chocolate frosting and milkshakes.

The only drawback is that cocoa powder has a lot of caffeine.

If you want to avoid the caffeine but still enjoy cocoa, here are some substitutes for adding a chocolatey flavor to your food.

What is Cocoa Powder?

what is cocoa powder

First off, what is cocoa powder? Cocoa powder can be defined as a substance that has gone through drying and milling, which removes most of its fat or cacao butter content.

This leaves behind around 12% of its original weight in dry cocoa solids; this might not seem like much, but you should still expect to get more than 50% of your recommended daily allowance from an average-sized serving.

The cocoa powder we know and love is made from the beans of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao).

The seeds, or beans, that grow within these pods are commonly called cocoa beans; they’re used to make chocolate, cocoa powder, and even cocoa butter.

The seeds are first fermented and then dried out when making cocoa powder.

The beans are then ground into what is termed as ‘cake’; this cake is then pulverized to create a fine powder that’s rich in flavor and aroma.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Cocoa Powder

The following are the five best substitutes for the cocoa powder that you can use in place of it in your recipes or drinks.

1 – Powdered Peanut Butter

powdered peanut butter

The first substitute is powdered peanut butter, which works well when making peanut butter cookies.

You can also use it in smoothies and baked goods to replace cocoa powder without sacrificing too much flavor.

It’s important to note that individuals who are allergic to peanuts should avoid this substitute.

Additionally, you’ll want to use unsweetened powdered peanut butter to get the best results when baking.

The absence of sugar in this peanut butter substitute will help you avoid the risk of your baked goods becoming tough and dry.

2 – Carob Powder

carob powder

Next up is one alternative that you may not have even heard of before, but it’s a delicious substitute nonetheless.

There are two varieties of carob powder on the market – sweetened and unsweetened.

The sweetened variety will contain sugar, honey, or some other form of sugar.

If you find yourself allergic to peanuts, you should avoid powdered peanut butter.

Carob powder is produced from ground carob pods that are dried and then made into a powder; this results in an earthy taste.

This nutty flavor compliments desserts like chocolate brownies, ice cream, or yogurt.

It also goes well with tea if you’re looking to replace cocoa powder without sacrificing too much flavor.

3 – Baking Chocolate

baking chocolate

Next up, you have baking chocolate.

Baking chocolate can be made from cocoa butter or cocoa powder processed with other ingredients.

This creates a dry and crumbly block of chocolate that is typically used in cakes and cookies.

However, it’s important to note that this substitute should only be used if you want an intense chocolate flavor.

If you want to add cocoa powder to get a milder and sweeter taste, baking chocolate may not be the best alternative.

What’s more, baking chocolate can be used to achieve a dark and rich color in your baked goods and desserts.

Since it has no milk or additional ingredients, this chocolate may provide a more intense look.

4 – Chocolate Chips

chocolate chips

The next substitute is chocolate chips.

Chocolate chips are made by combining cocoa fat with other ingredients like sugar, milk, or flavorings; this mixture can then be processed into small pieces that resemble chocolate chips.

Unlike baking chocolate, these will typically contain more sweetener, which helps to balance out the taste of your baked goods and desserts.

They also benefit from being round, which means you won’t need to spend time slicing them into smaller pieces.

This makes it easy to use chocolate chips to replace cocoa powder in your recipes and drinks.

However, note that this substitute should only be used if you want a sweet taste or a milder flavor – using them in place of baking chocolate will only bring about undesirable results.

5 – Hot Cocoa Mix

hot cocoa mix

Last but not least, you have a hot cocoa mix.

Hot cocoa mix is typically added to milk or water and then whisked together to produce a chocolate drink.

The best part about this substitute is that it comes in several flavors, including white and mint.

This means that you can add this instant powder to your desserts and know that you’ll be getting a chocolate flavor without having to worry about the strong cocoa taste.

It’s important to note that this mix is typically made with sugar or artificial sweeteners, so don’t overdo it when mixing your drinks.

If you’re looking for something more natural, consider using powdered chocolate milk.

Remember always to use unsweetened cocoa powder to avoid your baked goods becoming too sweet.


Cocoa powder is a healthy alternative to sugar, which means you can use it in cakes, brownies, and other baked goods.

However, if you are allergic to cocoa or don’t like its taste, then there are several substitutes that you can use in its place.

The five best substitutes for cocoa powder include powdered peanut butter, carob powder, baking chocolate, chocolate chips, and hot cocoa mix.

All of these provide a different taste to your baked goods and drinks, which is why you should consider using them on a case-by-case basis.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Cocoa Powder

The 5 Best Substitutes for Cocoa Powder
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Powdered Peanut Butter
  • Carob Powder
  • Baking Chocolate
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Hot Cocoa Mix


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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