How to replace cocoa powder

Updated February 21, 2017

Cocoa powder adds a rich chocolatey flavour to baked goods without the fat of unsweetened baking chocolate. There are two types of cocoa powder, and you must know which type you are replacing for the best results from your recipe. Dutch-process or Dutched cocoa powder has been alkalinised to make it less acidic. Recipes calling for this type of cocoa have an added acidic ingredient, which will interact with the baking soda in the recipe. Natural cocoa powder is acidic and will itself react with baking soda. With some adjustments to the recipe, unsweetened baking chocolate and carob powder can replace both types of cocoa powder.

Unsweetened baking chocolate

Measure 28 g (1 oz) of unsweetened baking chocolate for every 15 ml (3 tbsp) of cocoa powder in your recipe. Baking chocolate bars are scored into 28 g (1 oz) squares. Break off the number of squares needed for the recipe.

Melt the baking chocolate in a microwave-safe dish in 30-second increments on low power, stirring after each increment, until the chocolate has completely melted.

Reduce oil or butter in your recipe by 15 ml (1 tbsp) for each 28 g (1 oz) of baking chocolate used. For the example, if you use 76 g (2 2/3 oz) baking chocolate to replace 125 ml (1/2 cup) cocoa powder, remove 45 ml (3 tbsp) oil or butter from the recipe.

Add 0.5 ml (1/8 tsp) of baking soda to your dry ingredients per 28 g (1 oz) of baking chocolate only if you are replacing Dutch-process cocoa powder.

Add the melted chocolate to your recipe with the liquid ingredients.

Continue to prepare and bake your dish as indicated in your recipe.

Carob powder

Replace an equal amount of carob powder for natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder in your recipes.

Combine the carob powder with water to form a paste before adding it to your recipe. Use 30 ml (2 tbsp) water per 45 ml (3 tbsp) of carob powder when making the paste.

Add the paste to the wet ingredients in your recipe.

Continue to prepare your dish as directed. You do not have to add baking soda even if you are replacing Dutched cocoa powder in your recipe.

Reduce the baking temperature a little when using the carob powder substitute. Add five to 10 minutes to the baking time if needed to ensure your dish has cooked through.


Do not use cocoa drink mix or chocolate milk mix to replace cocoa powder in recipes. The added sugars and fats will affect the taste of the recipe.

Things You'll Need

  • Unsweetened baking chocolate
  • Microwave-safe dish
  • Carob powder
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