Cocoa powder is a store cupboard essential, and it stays fresh for years. It’s also extremely versatile. So, if you’re wondering whether you can replace chocolate with cocoa powder in your recipe, the short answer is yes, cocoa powder can be used as a substitute for chocolate. However, you will need to tweak the other ingredients slightly. Here’s how…
How to substitute cocoa powder for baking chocolate
Use three tablespoons of cocoa powder and one tablespoon of butter or vegetable oil for each 30 grams of chocolate you’re replacing. Cocoa powder has a more intense flavour than baking chocolate, less fat, and, in most cases, no sugar. So if you just swapped one for the other, your bake wouldn’t taste quite the same.
A good quality cocoa powder won’t contain sugar. So, if the recipe calls for milk chocolate or sweetened baking chocolate and you want to swap it out for cocoa powder, don’t forget to add extra sugar.
Cocoa powder to baking chocolate conversion table
If you want to use cocoa powder instead of baking chocolate in the UK, just follow this conversion table:
|Baking chocolate||Cocoa powder|
|30g||3 tbsp (approx 24g) of unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 tbsp (approx 15g) of butter or vegetable oil|
|100g||10 tbsp (approx 80g) of unsweetened cocoa powder + 3.3 tbsp (approx 50g) of butter or vegetable oil|
|150g||15 tbsp (approx 120g) of unsweetened cocoa powder + 5 tbsp (approx 75g) of butter or vegetable oil|
You can also follow this table if you need to replace cocoa powder with cooking chocolate. For example, for every three tablespoons of cocoa powder called for, use 30 grams of cooking chocolate and 1 tablespoon (approx 15 grams) less butter or oil.
Can you replace cooking chocolate with normal chocolate?
You can use normal chocolate instead of cooking chocolate, but you’ll likely get a slightly different result unless you tweak the other ingredients. Cooking (or baking) chocolate tends to have less sugar than normal chocolate and a higher percentage of cocoa solids. It’s also easier to melt than normal chocolate. So, if you’re using normal chocolate when the recipe calls for cooking chocolate, you’ll want to slightly reduce the amount of sugar and butter or oil you use.
You may find it easier to substitute cocoa powder for baking chocolate instead. You can use three tablespoons of cocoa powder and one tablespoon of butter or vegetable oil for every 30 grams of baking chocolate the recipe calls for.
Can I use hot chocolate instead of cocoa powder in a recipe?
This is a tricky one. Hot chocolate is basically cocoa powder with added ingredients, including milk powder and sugar. So, if you use hot chocolate powder instead of cocoa powder, your bake will likely taste sweeter and not as chocolatey. Our recommendation is to use twice as much hot chocolate as you would cocoa powder and to reduce the amount of sugar.
Alternatively, you can use cooking chocolate instead of cocoa powder. Use 30 grams of cooking chocolate for every 24 grams (three tablespoons) of cocoa powder that’s required, and 15 grams less butter or oil.
Can I replace chocolate chips for cooking chocolate?
Chocolate chips don’t melt as easily as cooking chocolate and they usually have more sugar and a lower percentage of cocoa solids. So, if you’re using chocolate chips instead of cooking chocolate, you may want to slightly reduce the sugar and butter you use, and pre-melt the chocolate chips in a bain marie.
Can I use cooking chocolate instead of chocolate chips?
You can chop up baking chocolate to use instead of chocolate chips, but it’s likely to melt in the oven, so you can’t use it to make chocolate chip cookies. Instead, just chop up a normal bar of chocolate.
Is it better to bake with cocoa powder or dark chocolate?
It really depends on what the recipe calls for. Both will give you an intense chocolate flavour, but dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa solids and isn’t quite as strong as cocoa powder.
If you want to use cocoa powder as a dark chocolate substitute, use 55 grams of cocoa powder and 45 grams of butter or another fat for every 100 grams of dark chocolate required. It won’t taste exactly the same, but you’ll still get a rich chocolate flavour.
Did you know that both dark chocolate and cocoa powder have health benefits? To reap the full benefits, choose unsweetened dark chocolate or raw cacao powder.
What’s a good cooking chocolate substitute?
We recommend using unsweetened cocoa powder. Use three tablespoons of cocoa powder and one tablespoon of butter or vegetable oil for every 30 grams of cooking chocolate that the recipe calls for. (Scroll up for our conversion table.)
Can I use milk chocolate as a cocoa powder substitute?
Milk chocolate is a lot sweeter than cocoa powder, and a lot less chocolatey, so it would be really difficult to get anything like the same flavour by swapping them. If you do want to try it, you’ll need to use a lot more milk chocolate than you would cocoa powder and a lot less sugar. You’ll also need to reduce the amount of butter or oil you use. Ultimately, this is going to change the ratio of dry to wet ingredients, so you may not get either the texture or the taste that you’re looking for.
If you do a lot of baking, you might want to buy a larger tin of cocoa powder so that you’re less likely to run out. We sell both 500g and 1kg sizes. Cocoa powder stays fresh for around three years as long as you store it correctly.
My cocoa powder is out of date. What can I use as a cocoa powder substitute?
You can use cooking chocolate instead of cocoa powder (scroll up to find out how), but test your cocoa before you throw it away. In most cases, cocoa powder is fine to use after the sell by date. If it doesn’t smell strange or feel moist to touch, it should be safe to use.
Can you make hot chocolate with cocoa powder?
Of course! You’ll need to use warm milk or a milk substitute rather than water though. Cocoa powder has a much more intense flavour than hot chocolate and Food Thoughts Organic Cocoa Powder is sugar-free, so you may want to add sugar if you prefer a sweeter drink. Here’s a few hot chocolate recipes to try.
Can I use cacao powder instead of cocoa powder?
Cacao powder is only minimally processed, so it has a more bitter flavour than cocoa powder. You can swap one for the other, but the taste won’t be quite the same.
Chocolate v cocoa powder recipes
If you’re worried about swapping one ingredient for another, why not try a new recipe instead? We have lots to choose from, including chocolate brownies made with cocoa powder not baking chocolate, and chocolate mousse made with dark chocolate chips. Every recipe has been tried, tested and tasted. You may well find a new favourite…