Baking for Pros: The Best Alternatives to Cocoa Powder

alternatives to cocoa powder
Running out of key ingredients whilst in the middle of cooking is a nightmare for any home chef, especially if the ingredient you have fallen short of is not easily replaceable. Luckily, there are quite a few options which are great alternatives to cocoa powder.

Whether it’s chocolate brownies, chocolate cake, chocolate sauces or some other delicious confection you are making, you’ll need one key ingredient – cocoa powder. While you can buy organic cocoa powder in most local stores, sometimes you need a replacement, pronto.

Alternatives to cocoa powder range from dark chocolate, cacao nibs, and dutch-processed cocoa powder to chocolate chips and cornstarch, plus several others. It’s likely that you’ll have at least one of these alternatives in your kitchen!

Keep reading to discover the full list of the best alternatives to cocoa powder.

alternatives to cocoa powder

#1 – Chocolate Chips

If you are out of cocoa powder and have chocolate chips at hand, you can use the chocolate chips instead. Ideally, you should use dark chocolate chips, as dark chocolate is rich in many nutrients and minerals, and let’s face it – it tastes better!

#2 – Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder

This ingredient is different from regular cocoa powder as it has been treated with alkaline. This gives it a darker colour and a slightly different flavour profile which will affect the taste and texture of whatever you are making. The rule is, you should replace one-third of a cup of regular cocoa powder with two tablespoons of Dutch-process cocoa powder. With this in mind, Dutch-process cocoa powder is a great substitute for regular cocoa powder.

#3 – Dark Chocolate

If you have dark chocolate on hand, you can use it instead of cocoa powder. It might not be the perfect substitute, but it is still workable. In general, you should replace one cup of regular cocoa powder with three-fourths of a cup of dark chocolate. Nevertheless, if you only want the best cocoa powder, check here.

#4 – Coffee Powder

If you are out of cocoa powder and have coffee powder in your kitchen or your pantry, you might want to consider giving this ingredient a go. In most cases, swapping cocoa for coffee powder works great.

In order to replace half a cup of coffee powder, you just have to mix three tablespoons of coffee powder with three tablespoons of water and one tablespoon of sugar. You can use more sugar if you want whatever you are baking to have a sweeter taste.

#5 – Carob Powder

Carob powder shouldn’t be confused with cocoa powder as it is quite different in terms of colour and taste. Nevertheless, it has become one of the most popular alternatives to cocoa powder.

To replace half a cup of cocoa powder with carob powder, mix two tablespoons of carob powder with half a cup of water and one tablespoon of sugar. You can also add vanilla extract to the mixture to boost the flavour.

#6 – Ground Coffee

If you are out of coffee powder and cocoa powder, you can try using ground coffee instead. To replace half a cup of cocoa powder, you have to mix two tablespoons of ground coffee with half a cup of water and one tablespoon of sugar. Once again, you might want to add vanilla extract to the mix to boost the flavour.

#7 – Cornstarch

This is a lesser known alternative to cocoa powder but it’s a great substitute to go with. To replace half a cup of cocoa powder, mix three tablespoons of cornstarch with one-quarter cup of water and one tablespoon of sugar.

#8 – Cacao Nibs

Cacao nibs have a firm but chewy texture that is similar to the texture of roasted coffee beans and they can be very bitter. Regarded as a great substitute for cocoa powder, you might have to add more sugar to the mix however to compensate for their bitterness. As a guide, you should replace half a cup of cocoa powder with two-thirds of a cup of cacao nibs.

#9 – Cocoa Beans

The good news is, you can buy cocoa beans at many large supermarkets and specialty stores these days. Because of that, buying cocoa beans as an alternative to cocoa powder is always a viable option. Be prepared though, because cocoa beans are very hard and dry. If you want to turn these beans into powder, you will need a lot of patience and an efficient grinder!

In Conclusion

If you are out of regular cocoa powder, you can go ahead and use one of the alternatives above. As you can see, most of these alternatives can be found in the majority of kitchens and pantries. And if all else fails, getting your hands on a jar of ground coffee or a few chocolate bars should not be a problem!

MORE – How to Inject Some Fun In Your Diet While Living Gluten-Free

MORE – 5 Ways To Take Your Coffee To The Next Level


  • Reply godsaur Wednesday 14th November, 2012 at 10:49 am


  • Reply AmberB Tuesday 22nd May, 2012 at 5:37 pm


  • Reply dapperdolly Tuesday 28th February, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Like the Yellow, not the blouse.

  • aussie.elle
    Reply aussie.elle Wednesday 15th February, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    love love love mischa! It sucks that she hasn’t had any big roles since The OC 🙁

  • Reply BellaB Friday 23rd December, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Like the blouse more than the skirt.

  • Reply CharleHouse93 Tuesday 25th October, 2011 at 8:00 pm


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    good! i like the yellow skirt!

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  • alfieandelle
    Reply alfieandelle Monday 30th May, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Save! Cheers to Mischa for making a long-awaited effort I love how sweet she looks here.

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