Cacao vs Cocoa Powder for Baking

Cacao powder and cocoa powder almost seems like a spelling mistake, but these are two very different ingredients.

Let’s start with what they both have in common, chocolate!

Chocolate is made from the beans of a cacao tree. In their raw form, cacao beans have a very bitter taste. For these bitter beans to become the sweet, velvety products we’ve become familiar with, they undergo a fermentation process.

The cacao beans are roasted, ground into a liquid, and mixed with other ingredients like cocoa butter, vanilla, and sugar. Voila, now you have chocolate.

The Difference Between Cacao and Cocoa

Cacao powder is made from the fermented cacao bean. The beans are roasted at a low temperature before milling into powder.

Since cacao beans are not roasted at high temperatures, they retain most of their nutritional value. This is why cacao powder is often referred to as being raw or natural.

Due to low heat, cacao powder retains its nutritional value and signature bitter taste.

Characteristics of cacao powder:

  • Not roasted
  • Relatively unprocessed
  • It comes in chips, nibs, pastes, powders
  • Free from added ingredients such as sugar, vanilla, milk
  • Bitter in taste
  • More nutritional value

Cocoa powder is also made from fermented cacao beans, but these beans are roasted at a high temperature before being milled into powder. Essentially, roasting at a high temperature is what turns cacao into cocoa.

Some brands of cocoa powder can be made with added sweeteners and milk, which doesn’t make them vegan or suitable for baking. They are sold as drink mixes for making hot cocoa.

Most cocoa powder has been processed with an alkaline solution to reduce acidity and increase richness. They are often referred to as dutch-processed cocoa powder.

Characteristics of cocoa powder:

  • Roasted
  • Processed with alkali (Dutch-processed) to reduce the sharp, acidic flavor
  • It comes in a wide array of forms
  • Typically contain added ingredients such as sugar, vanilla, milk
  • Sweet in taste
  • Less nutritional value

Can I substitute cacao powder for cocoa powder in baking recipes?

Cacao and cocoa powder are both similar in function, but they have different flavor profiles for baking.

It’s important to know how each reacts when mixed with other baking ingredients.

Usually, it’s best to stick to whatever the recipe calls for. But if you’ve found yourself in a pinch with only one on hand, here are a few things to remember:

Should I use cacao powder or cocoa powder?

Ultimately, the choice is yours.Both cacao powder and cocoa powder will bring a deep chocolatey flavor to your baking. It’s always good to try both and get familiar with the differences in flavor and your taste preferences.While cacao powder has more health benefits, it’s also the pricier option.

How do I use cacao powder?

Cacao is a super tasty and more nutritious way to increase that rich chocolate flavor in cookies, cakes, and brownies. You can also add cacao powder to smoothies, oatmeal, trail mix, and festive drinks.You’ll find that many vegan recipes call for cacao powder. When you mix cacao powder with ingredients like bananas, dates, avocados, and nut milk, you end up with some pretty tasty vegan desserts.

Are there health benefits to cacao?

There are! Cacao is a great protein, iron, potassium, fiber, and magnesium source. Cacao products usually have antioxidant properties and come unsweetened to help reduce calorie and sugar intake.If you want to keep your ingredients as unprocessed as possible, cacao would be the best choice.

Recipes using cocoa powder

While some bakers think that using baking chocolate is always preferable to using cocoa powder in recipes, cocoa powder is actually the most concentrated form of chocolate, according to ScienceDirect. Cocoa powder is made by fermenting and roasting cacao beans which are then pressed to remove most of the cocoa butter, leaving behind a cake that is then ground up into a powder.

The health benefits of the cacao bean are concentrated in cocoa powder compared to bar chocolate, which has added ingredients like fat and sugar. Cocoa contains phytonutrients, including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. According to the National Library of Medicine, it can even have beneficial effects on insulin resistance, cardiovascular health, and mood.

While cocoa powder is a versatile form of chocolate that is great for baking, it can also be used in frosting, sauces, and even in some savory dishes. Within categories of cocoa powder, one difference to be aware of is fat content. Higher-end brands tend to have a higher fat content than budget brands, leading to richer-tasting results.

Natural cocoa powder

Natural cocoa powder has the lightest color of all cocoa powders because it has not been alkalinized, producing naturally occurring tart, bitter, and astringent notes. According to Science Direct, natural cocoa powder is higher in the polyphenols that make cocoa powder a healthy food, and its natural bitterness can balance the sweetness in recipes. If a U.S. recipe calls for “cocoa powder,” it generally refers to natural cocoa powder.

The acidity of natural cocoa powder is why you’ll see it called for in recipes that use baking soda as a raising agent. Baking soda, which is alkaline, reacts with this acidity, giving your chocolatey baked goods a proper rise. The fat content of natural cocoa powder can vary widely from 10 percent fat in Hershey’s Cocoa Powder to higher-fat brands like Gerbs Allergy Friendly Foods running at 21.4 percent fat.

Natural cocoa powder can be substituted for unsweetened baking chocolate by using three tablespoons of cocoa powder for every ounce of unsweetened baking chocolate, plus one tablespoon of shortening to make up for the cocoa butter found in baking chocolate, according to Hershey. It can also be used in frosting and to make hot cocoa lighter in color with a fruity, bittersweet flavor. The compounds called anthocyanins in natural cocoa powder create the reddish hue of early forms of red velvet cake before diners began expecting a more vibrant red and bakers turned to food coloring, according to Mashed.

Dutched cocoa powder

Dutched cocoa powder has been alkalinized using a potassium carbonate wash, leading to deeper, earthier flavors as well as a darker color. The “Dutching” process that leads to this milder-tasting cocoa powder with caramel-like notes is named in honor of the creator of this technique, Dutch chocolate maker Conrad van Houten, according to Science Direct.

While many recipes call for natural cocoa powder, you’ll find Dutched cocoa powder used in recipes that also include baking powder in addition to baking soda or in recipes that provide an acidic ingredient to react with the alkaline raising agent. Dutched cocoa powder’s fat content varies by brand but is generally on the higher end, with Ghirardelli’s Majestic Premium Cocoa Powder running at 20 to 22 percent fat and Valrhona Cocoa Powder at 21.4 percent.

Dutched cocoa powder can be used to flour pans for chocolate cakes, cookies, and brownies to avoid leaving a white coating on darker baked goods. Recipes that call for Dutched cocoa powder are darker in color with a fudgier taste. The earthier, mellower flavor of dutch cocoa powder makes it well-suited for boosting savory meals like chili.

Rouge or red cocoa powder

Rouge or red cocoa powder is yet another stop on the scale of Dutched cocoa powders. Red cocoa powder is further alkalized compared to regular Dutched cocoa powder and has a higher pH, but it isn’t as far alkalinized as black cocoa powder.

Red cocoa powder has a deep, burgundy-adjacent reddish hue due to the Dutching process. Guittard, a chocolate brand that makes the popular and highly rated Cocoa Rouge Powder, says that this cocoa powder has a fudgy, bittersweet flavor right at home in pastries and baked goods like cakes, likely due in part to the fat content of 20 percent.

Another brand that makes red cocoa powder, King Arthur Baking, suggests using it in frostings and chocolate sauces when looking for “serious chocolate flavor.” King Arthur Baking’s cocoa powder contains 22 to 24 percent fat. While red velvet cake usually relies on natural cocoa powder (which is not Dutched), red cocoa powder can also lend a reddish hue to recipes containing an acid like buttermilk.

Double-Dutched or double-dark cocoa powder

Rather than being a result of stopping at a certain point of the Dutching process like red cocoa powder, Double-Dutch cocoa powder is a blended cocoa powder. It takes the best characteristics of Dutch cocoa powder and black cocoa powder to create a dark chocolate flavor, and it is best used in recipes for darker colors and deeper chocolate flavors.

By blending black cocoa powder (which can border on bitter and lead to a drier outcome in baked goods) with traditional Dutch cocoa powder, double-Dutch cocoa powder creates a deep chocolate flavor without the drawbacks of using pure black cocoa powder. It can be used to bake darker pastries approaching the hues of black cocoa powder as well, depending on the proportion of Double-Dutch cocoa powder in a recipe. According to King Arthur Baking, this cocoa powder (containing 16 to 18 percent fat) works well in baked goods like brownies, cookies, and cakes for that “intense” chocolate flavor.

Triple cocoa powder

Triple cocoa powder is another blended cocoa powder that combines the advantages of several different cocoa powders to create a well-balanced all-in-one product. According to King Arthur Baking, triple cocoa powder is made by mixing Dutch cocoa powder, natural cocoa powder, and black cocoa powder. This type of cocoa powder is unique to King Arthur Baking and excellent as an all-purpose cocoa powder.

This unusual cocoa powder is darker than natural cocoa or Dutched cocoa powder due to its black cocoa powder content. It has the earthier, mellower notes of a Dutched cocoa powder with some of the acidity and more rounded fruity chocolate notes of natural cocoa powder, along with a moderate percentage of cocoa fat in the range of 18 to 20 percent. Even better? It can be used as a substitute for either Dutch or natural cocoa powders, making it a handy addition to your pantry that can be used in any recipe.

Bensdorp Dutched cocoa powder

Bensdorp is a 180-year-old chocolate brand from Holland that makes high-quality cocoa powders using specially sourced West African cacao beans, according to parent company Barry Callebaut. King Arthur Baking is the only place to get your hands on Bensdorp Dutched cocoa powder as a home cook. This European-style cocoa powder has a deep chocolate flavor and a darker color with a slightly reddish tone.

It can be used as a substitute in recipes for baked goods and pastries, calling for Dutched cocoa powder, which tends to include baking soda or an acidic component. With a wide range of uses like regular Dutched cocoa powder, Bensdorp powder can also be used in brownies, cookies, cakes, and frosting for full-flavored, rounded chocolate notes. The higher fat content of this cocoa powder (22 to 24 percent fat) makes this a richer-tasting option that tastes great in hot cocoa and other unbaked recipes, like a from-scratch hot fudge sauce.

Black cocoa powder

You likely won’t find black cocoa powder on your regular grocery store shelf. This specialty item is a form of Dutched cocoa powder that has been further exposed to the alkalinizing process, leading to a dark cocoa powder with a much higher pH than other varieties.

Black cocoa powder is a natural food coloring agent used to create dark baked goods — it can be used as a substitute for Dutched but not natural cocoa powders, according to Modern Mountain Flour Company. If using it as a substitute, it’s best to only swap a portion of the cocoa powder in a recipe, according to Mashed. It’s best used in conjunction with other cocoa powders, as black cocoa powder alone can lead to crumbly, dry baked goods. This could be partly due to its lower fat content, with Weirdo Good brand running at 10 percent and Modern Mountain Flour at about 14 percent.

If the color of black cocoa powder reminds you of Oreos, you’re on the right track. Black cocoa powder can be truly black, but this depends on whether they are organic or not. According to organic black cocoa producer Weirdo Good, organic regulations only allow for certain amounts and kinds of alkalinizing agents to make black cocoa powder, preventing them from getting quite as dark as non-organic brands. They point out that there are drawbacks to a truly black cocoa powder: if the alkalinizing process is pushed far enough, ultra-Dutching cocoa powder can lead to bitter, burnt flavors.

Hot cocoa mix

While people have been drinking chocolate in some form since the Aztecs and possibly pre-Columbian cultures, according to Smithsonian Magazine, the first packaged hot chocolate mix was invented by a dairy company that overproduced dried milk for the Korean War, leading to the creation of Swiss Miss.

Hot cocoa mix combines unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, and usually a dried form of milk, although many brands are free of dairy. Some companies include a powdered form of vanilla, and hot cocoa mix can also contain added ingredients that keep the powder free-flowing.

Hot cocoa mix, while absolutely delicious, is not purely cocoa powder and should generally not be used in baking because it contains other ingredients that will change the texture and flavor of baked goods. Hot cocoa mix can, however, be used in some recipes to boost waffles, make hot fudge sauce, and more.

Fellow chocolate lovers: need some ideas for tasty treats packed with chocolate flavor? Here are some easy, delicious dessert recipes with cocoa powder to get you inspired!

From fudgy brownies to chocolate truffles and no-bake desserts like tiramisu, you’ll love these easy-to-make cocoa powder desserts.

What is cocoa powder?

Cocoa powder is essentially dried and ground cocoa solids from roasted cocoa beans (after most of the cocoa butter has been removed).

It’s different than chocolate bars or chocolate chips, because it doesn’t have nearly as much cocoa butter, and there’s no added sugar, milk, or fats.

Cocoa powder has a rich, deep chocolate flavor, and it’s slightly bitter-tasting on its own (if you’re using unsweetened cocoa powder).

It’s used in lots of chocolate desserts and baking recipes, such as brownies, chocolate breads, cakes, and cookies. It’s also used to flavor drinks, such as hot chocolate and mochas.

How is cocoa powder made?

To make cocoa powder, cocoa beans are first fermented, dried, roasted, and hulled.

Then, they’re pressed to remove most of the cocoa butter. Lastly, they’re ground into a fine powder to get the end product.

Cocoa Powder Desserts

I’m a big fan of chocolate, so naturally, cocoa powder is something I use a lot! I love how it makes desserts extra rich and chocolatey, especially when combined with chocolate chips or melted chocolate.

From brownies to tiramisu, cocoa powder is the perfect way to spruce up a baked or no-bake treat.

Here are some of my favorite dessert recipes with cocoa powder, so you can get your chocolate fix, too!

Double Chocolate Sweet Potato Bread

If you like chocolate banana bread, you’ll love this super chocolatey sweet potato bread! It’s packed with chocolate flavor AND chocolate chips, and it’s super easy to make homemade mashed sweet potato in the microwave.

It’s moist, fudgy, and utterly delicious. Perfect for breakfast, snack, or dessert!

Biscoff Brownie Truffles

These truffles are like a cross between a Biscoff cookie and a fudgy brownie – without any baking required! They’re made with Greek yogurt (no cream cheese), so they’re healthier, too.

Nutella Tiramisu Jars (Nutellamisu)

If you’re in the mood for something that combines chocolate with other delicious flavors, these Nutella tiramisu cups are the way to go!

They’re layered with spongy ladyfinger cookies, sweet Nutella, coffee, and a creamy mascarpone yogurt mixture, then dusted with a light coating of cocoa powder on top. Easy and delicious!

Peanut Butter Banana Brownies

You don’t need an electric mixer to make these delicious brownies! They feature mashed ripe banana and a salty, crunchy peanut butter swirl on top.

Bake up a batch of these beauties – they’re sure to brighten your day. 🙂

Coconut Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie treats are a classic dessert, but this version switches things up with chocolate and coconut! Cocoa powder gets mixed in with the melted marshmallows, and more chocolate gets drizzled on top.

These are super quick and easy to make on the stovetop – there’s no baking required!

Biscoff Tiramisu Cups

This Biscoff tiramisu is a lot like the Nutella tiramisu jars above, but with cookie butter (Biscoff spread) instead of Nutella, and Biscoff cookies instead of ladyfingers.

If you love that spiced Biscoff flavor as much as I do, these are a must-try dessert. So simple to make, too!

Chocolate Avocado Truffles

Who doesn’t love chocolate truffles – especially when they’re healthy?! The secret ingredient in these truffles is avocado. It gives them an extra soft and fudgy texture, while adding nutrients.

I love having these on hand for snacking – you never know when that chocolate craving will hit!

Healthier Oreo Dirt Cups

These Oreo “dirt cups” are a healthier version of the classic, replacing whipped cream and pudding with chocolate Greek yogurt (made with cocoa powder and sweetened with maple syrup).

They’re just as delicious as the original, and just as easy to make! These dirt cups are spooky/Halloween-themed, but you can decorate them for any occasion.

Does cocoa powder expire?

Cocoa powder won’t spoil in terms of making you sick, but it will lose its flavor potency over time.

If you’re in a pinch, you can still use cocoa powder that’s 2-3 years past its expiration date – the chocolate flavor just may not be as rich.

If the container is unopened, cocoa powder will last up to three years. Once opened, it will last for one year. That is, if you store it properly!

How to Store Cocoa Powder

Keep cocoa powder in a cool place (like your pantry), with the lid tightly sealed.

When you use it, be sure to avoid dripping any liquids or other ingredients into the container. This will help it last longer!

More Ways to Use Cocoa Powder

Here’s some more inspiration for delicious desserts with cocoa powder:

  • hot cocoa
  • chocolate oatmeal (baked, stovetop, or overnight oats)
  • chocolate yogurt
  • truffles
  • chocolate dips
  • cheesecake
  • chocolate muffins

What are your favorite recipes with cocoa powder? Let me know in the comments – I always need more chocolate in my life! 🙂

Did you know that you can make delicious hot chocolate with cocoa powder only? Unlike our Oat Milk Hot Chocolate recipe, this hot cocoa is made from just cocoa powder, without any chocolate chips. It’s lower in fat yet super chocolatey and flavorful.

A cozy cup of homemade hot chocolate is a must during cooler months but can really be enjoyed all year round! Unlike store-bought hot cocoa mixes, this healthier hot chocolate consists of only 3 simple ingredients.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s made with only 3 simple ingredients.
  • It uses real cocoa powder – no artificial sweeteners or artificial flavors included.
  • ee, vegan and gluten-free.
  • It’s an easy recipe that’s ready within 5 minutes.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Milk of Choice: Feel free to use your favorite type of milk. For our vegan version of hot chocolate, we chose unsweetened oat milk but any non-dairy milk of choice such as almond milk, soy milk or rice milk does the job. Regular milk will also work. The higher the fat content of the milk, the creamier your hot chocolate will be.
  • Sugar: We used coconut sugar to sweeten this hot chocolate but you could use any sweetener of choice such as brown sugar, regular white sugar, honey, agave nectar or maple syrup.

How to Make Hot Chocolate with Cocoa Powder

This hot cocoa recipe is super easy to make and involves only 3 simple steps. The key to a creamy hot chocolate that’s not clumpy, is to fully dissolve the cocoa powder.

STEP 1: Warm Milk. Heat half of the milk in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until hot (but not boiling). Whisk constantly.

Once it’s hot, add it to a small bowl or glass jar.

STEP 2: Add dry ingredients (cocoa powder & sugar) to the milk.

And start stirring with a whisk until both sugar and cocoa powder are FULLY dissolved.

STEP 3: Add the cocoa mix back to the saucepan and add in the remaining milk.

Heat over low heat to the desired temperature and whisk until well combined.

Top Tip

  • Use a blender: If you have a blender with a built-in heating element (like a Vitamix or Ninja Blender) then you can try dissolving the cocoa powder and sugar by blending on soup mode until the milk is warm and the cocoa fully dissolved. I have not tried this recipe using an immersion blender!
  • Use a microwave: Instead of heating the milk on the stovetop, you could microwave it until hot (but not boiling).
  • Adjust sweetness: This recipe calls for 3 teaspoon of coconut sugar. Feel free to add more or less, depending on how sweet you like it.

Toppings & Add-Ins

  • Vanilla Extract: Add a splash of vanilla extract for some delicious vanilla flavors.
  • Peppermint Extract: Makes a great add-in, especially during Christmas time.
  • Cinnamon: Another great addition during the holiday season. Add ¼ tsp.
  • Caramel Sauce: If you’re a fan of caramel flavors, try adding a spoonful of this 2-Ingredient Vegan Caramel Sauce.
  • Whipped Cream: Topp off with some homemade Vegan Whipped Cream.
  • Salt: Feel free to add a tiny pinch of salt to enhance the natural flavors.
  • Candy Cane: Sprinkle with some crushed candy cane.
  • Mini Marshmallows: one of the most popular hot chocolate toppings. Choose vegan marshmallows to keep the recipe vegan.

Serving Suggestions

  • Breakfast: Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate alongside this 5-Ingredient Vegan Banana Bread or a big bowl of Applesauce Oatmeal.
  • Cookies: Serve this homemade hot chocolate with some 2-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies, or Vegan Chocolate Cookies.
  • Desserts: Instead of coffee, serve this creamy hot chocolate alongside a piece of Peanut Butter Brownies or Pumpkin Brownies.


Can cocoa powder for baking be used for hot chocolate?

Absolutely! However, cocoa powder flavors vary depending on the brand. You can make hot chocolate with both natural cocoa powder and Dutch-process cocoa. Natural cocoa powder is usually available in most grocery stores. Dutch cocoa is usually darker and has a stronger chocolate flavor than natural cocoa powder.

Is cocoa powder hot chocolate good for you?

Unsweetened, raw cocoa powder is packed with nutrients such as zinc, iron, selenium and magnesium. Instead of store-bought hot chocolate, this homemade recipe is made with only cocoa powder and no actual chocolate, chocolate syrup or artificial flavors. There’s also no heavy cream involved, making it lower in fat than more traditional recipes. That being said, the recipe does include refined sugar.

Can I add real chocolate?

You could of course, but then I would recommend checking out our Oat Milk Hot Chocolate recipe that includes real chocolate.

If you tried this or any other recipe on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment or rating below! SIGN UP for the WSK newsletter and get the newest recipes delivered right to your inbox!

📖 Recipe

  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  • milk of choice
  • chocolate chips of choice (optional)
  • In a small saucepan, heat ⅓ cup of milk over medium-low heat until very warm but not boiling.
  • Once hot, add it to a small serving bowl.
  • Add in cocoa powder and sugar and stir vigorously until fully dissolved. Start with 2 tsp of sugar and work your way up from there. You’ll need less sugar if you include the chocolate chips.
  • Add the mix back to the saucepan and add the remaining ⅓ cup of milk. Add the chocolate chips if you want to include them.
  • Heat milk-cocoa mix until warm and the chocolate is fully dissolved. Serve in a large mug with toppings of choice.
  • Taste and adjust the amount of sugar to personal preference.

You can find detailed step-by step-photos right above this recipe card

  • Chocolate Chips: Unlike our Oat Milk Hot Chocolate or Chocolate Chips Hot Chocolate recipe, this hot cocoa is made from just cocoa powder, without any chocolate chips.  However, feel free to add 1-2 teaspoon of chocolate chips of choice. You will then need to reduce the sugar a bit though.
  • Top Tip: It’s really important that the cocoa powder and sugar are fully dissolved. For best results I recommend stirring with a small whisk.
  • Sweetener: You could use any type of sugar or another sweetener of choice such as maple syrup or agave syrup. For a sugar-free version, choose stevia instead. This recipe calls for 3 teaspoon of coconut sugar. Feel free to add more or less, depending on how sweet you like it.
  • Milk: Instead of oat milk you could try almond milk or soy milk for a dairy-free hot chocolate. The recipe also works with regular whole milk. Choose full-fat milk for a creamier hot chocolate.
  • Other Optional Add-Ins: ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, peppermint extract, a sprinkle of cinnamon, mini marshmallows (vegan), vegan whipped cream, vegan caramel sauce
  • Use a microwave: Instead of heating the milk on the stovetop, you could microwave it until hot (but not boiling).

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates.

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When it comes to baking, knowing the differences between unsweetened cocoa powder, natural cocoa powder, Dutch process cocoa powder and black cocoa powder can really help!

Most recipes you are used to making most likely call for unsweetened cocoa powder — like in my Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe. But let’s talk about why, in some cases, you’ll want to use a different kind of cocoa powder and most importantly, why it matters!

First off, what are the cocoa powder types? There is unsweetened cocoa powder, natural cocoa powder, dark cocoa powder, Dutch process cocoa powder, and black cocoa powder. Let’s take a look at the different types of cocoa powder.

Cocoa powder is an unsweetened powder that adds chocolate flavor to baked goods such as brownies, cookies, cakes, and various other dessert recipes.

Cocoa powder comes from cocoa beans, which is the seed of a cacao tree.

Cocoa powder is an end product after cacao beans have been fermented, roasted and pressed to extract about 75% of the cocoa butter. What’s left is a pasty chocolate liquor that is then dried and ground into cocoa powder.

What is Unsweetened/Natural Cocoa Powder?

That’s right! Unsweetened cocoa powder and natural cocoa powder are the same thing. You’ve even probably heard it referred to as baking cocoa. Same, same, same.

Let’s break down unsweetened cocoa powder, talk about what cocoa powder is and its important characteristics.

Unsweetened cocoa powder (or natural cocoa powder, again same thing!) comes from cocoa beans.

  • Most of the cocoa butter in the product has been removed.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder is acidic.
  • It is usually paired with baking soda (a base) since the acidic cocoa powder will react with it, causing bakes to rise.The base (baking soda) also tames the acidity in the cocoa powder. This means that when you take a bit of that cookie, brownie or cake, you don’t think “wow that’s super acidic.”
  • The base (baking soda) also tames the acidity in the cocoa powder. This means that when you take a bit of that cookie, brownie or cake, you don’t think “wow that’s super acidic.”
  • Lighter in color.

Remember: Unsweetened/natural cocoa powder = baking soda.

Recipes Using Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

What is Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder?

Dutch process cocoa powder is unsweetened cocoa powder that has been soaked or treated with an alkaline solution to reduce its acidity.

Dutch process cocoa powder is sometimes called “alkalized,” “European style,” or “dutched.”

Dutch process cocoa has a more intense “chocolatey” flavor as opposed to natural unsweetened cocoa powder.

  • Dutch process cocoa powder is neutral.
  • Usually pairs with baking powder or is used in a recipe that is predominantly baking powder over baking soda.
  • Baking powder is a product made up of baking soda + a powdered acid (think, cream of tartar). This means, baking powder doesn’t need an acid to react. It will react when combined with liquid. This means the Dutch processed cocoa powder doesn’t have a leavening responsibility in the recipe. It is merely an ingredient to add color and flavor.
  • This means the Dutch processed cocoa powder doesn’t have a leavening responsibility in the recipe. It is merely an ingredient to add color and flavor.

Remember: Dutch process cocoa powder = baking powder.

Black cocoa powder is a type of Dutch processed cocoa powder. It is simply a heavily Dutched cocoa powder, meaning it’s been alkalized a lot longer. I go into more detail on black cocoa powder in my Black Cocoa Powder guide!

Recipes Using Dutch Process Cocoa Powder

How to Substitute Cocoa Powders

When substituting cocoa powders, it’s important to know that 3 things can be affected: the taste, the rise, and the color. (Source: King Arthur Baking Company)

Substituting Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Using a 1:1 ratio

If you use unsweetened/natural cocoa powder in a recipe that calls for Dutch process cocoa powder, here is what to expect:

  • Taste may be tangy. Baking soda will neutralize acidity in natural cocoa powder. But in a Dutch process recipe, baking powder is typically used. So, the absence of baking soda means you may have a tangy flavor if you do a direct swap.
  • Color will be lighter. Unsweetened/natural cocoa powder is lighter, so the baked good will be a lighter color.
  • Rise won’t be affected. Since the original recipe called for Dutch processed cocoa powder, it’s likely the leavening agent used is baking powder. This means that swapping out the Dutch process cocoa for unsweetened cocoa powder won’t affect the rise because the baking powder will react on its own when combined with liquid.

How to adjust your recipe if you are using unsweetened cocoa powder instead of Dutch process:

Substituting Dutch Process Cocoa Powder

If you use Dutch process cocoa powder in a recipe that calls for unsweetened/natural cocoa powder, here is what to expect:

  • Taste may be “soapy”. There may be a “slight soapy flavor” as King Arthur Baking Company put it. This is from the baking soda because it didn’t have an acidic cocoa powder to neutralize it.
  • Color will be darker. Dutch process cocoa powder is a darker color than unsweetened, so your baked goods will be a bit darker colored and have a deeper more chocolatey flavor.
  • Rise will be affected. Since the original recipe called for unsweetened/natural cocoa powder, it’s likely the recipe has baking soda. This means that if you use Dutch process, there isn’t any acidity to react with the baking soda. Your bakes could having problems rising.

How to adjust your recipe if you are using Dutch process cocoa powder instead of unsweetened:

Store cocoa powder at room temperature in a Ziplock bag or airtight container.

Do not freeze cocoa powder. It won’t lengthen the shelf life and it can actually damage it due to possible condensation.

Cocoa Powder FAQs

What is cocoa powder?

Cocoa powder is an end product after cacao beans have been fermented, roasted and pressed to extract about 75% of the cocoa butter. What’s left is then dried and ground into cocoa powder. Cocoa powder adds a chocolate flavor to baked goods.

Is unsweetened and natural cocoa powder the same?

Yes they are! Those words are used interchangeably to mean the same thing. Natural cocoa powder is just unsweetened, so both words are used.

What is dutch-processed cocoa powder

Dutch process cocoa powder is unsweetened cocoa powder that has been treated with an alkaline solution to reduce its acidity. It is a darker-colored cocoa powder with a richer chocolate flavor.

Can you substitute one type of cocoa powder for another?

Yes. Generally American recipes will be referring to the natural (AKA unsweetened) cocoa powder because Dutch process cocoa powder wasn’t as common back in the day. However, if you want to make sure your recipes bake in the way they were meant to, you may want to adjust the baking powder or baking soda for the type of cocoa powder you are using.

Is Hershey’s cocoa powder Dutch processed?

Hershey’s has a Special Dark cocoa powder which is a 100% Dutch processed cocoa powder. The Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder used to be a combination of unsweetened and Dutch processed cocoa, but recently the brand changed the recipe to make it 100% Dutched.

Why is it called dutch-processed cocoa?

According to, the process is named after the Dutch chocolatier who invented the process. Coenraad Johannes van Houten is a famous chocolatier who created the process of using alkaline salts to extract the bitterness from the chocolate (removing the acidity).

Can I use unsweetened cocoa powder instead of dutch processed cocoa powder?

What is the best cocoa powder for baking?

The best cocoa powder for baking is the one that will work the best with the type of leavening agent you are using (baking powder vs. baking soda) and the one that will produce the right flavor and color for the baked good you are making!

What about cocoa powder vs. hot chocolate powder?

Since we’ve already covered all the ins and outs of what cocoa powder is, let’s talk about how hot chocolate powder is different. Hot chocolate includes cocoa powder, but it also has a few more ingredients in it such as milk powder and sweetener (such as sugar). These additions make the hot chocolate powder different from cocoa powder.

More baking tips found here.

Brown Eyed Baker and King Arthur Baking Company were sources I referred to in putting together this cocoa powder guide. Check out their websites for additional information.

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Baking cocoa is a type of unsweetened cocoa powder that is often used in baking recipes. It is made from cocoa beans that have been roasted and ground. While baking cocoa can be used to make hot chocolate, it will not taste as sweet or rich as hot chocolate made with chocolate.

Cocoa is a popular ingredient in baking because it is so versatile. Can you make an instant hot chocolate just by heating baking cocoa? Sugar and milk can be added, but not to the same degree. To prevent the cocoa powder from becoming lumpy, add a little more flour at a time. Some packets contain a recipe for hot chocolate. Baking cocoa allows you to experiment with other flavors of hot chocolate in addition to baking cocoa. If you prefer, you can froth the milk by running it through a blender or make a decadent pudding with whipped cream and mini marshmallows.

Most people prefer to prepare their hot chocolate by baking cocoa rather than pre-mixed chocolate. Although baking cocoa is acceptable, some people find it unpleasant to make hot chocolate with it. Baking cocoa has the advantage of being more adaptable when attempting to combine it with other flavors.

When you need a cocoa powder substitute for your favorite chocolate dessert, try mixing hot cocoa mix. For your hot chocolate desserts, such as hot chocolate mug cakes, hot chocolate cookies, and hot cocoa cupcakes, you can substitute store-bought powdered mix instead of the milk.

Chocolate recipes call for a variety of cocoa, including baking cocoa and cocoa powder. These two ingredients are frequently used in conjunction.

Warming chocolate drinks are one of the most enjoyable aspects of winter, but if you drink a highly processed hot chocolate, you will miss out on the same health benefits as if you consumed a highly nutritious diet like chocolate. It’s also much better for the planet because it’s much more satisfying and satisfying.

Hot chocolate is made from thick, melted chocolate, which has a deep chocolate flavor. The drink liquid is created by combining warm liquids like water, milk, or cream. A powdered, sugar-based cocoa base is used to make hot cocoa, whereas a solid cocoa powder is used to make hot chocolate.

Is Baking Cocoa The Same As Hot Chocolate Powder?

There is some debate over whether or not baking cocoa is the same as hot chocolate powder. Baking cocoa is usually made from roasted cocoa beans that have been ground up into a powder. Hot chocolate powder is usually made from cocoa beans that have been processed with alkali, which gives it a smoother flavor. Some people believe that the alkali process also makes the hot chocolate powder easier to dissolve in milk.

Baking cocoa or cocoa powder are usually used in chocolate recipes. Dutch-process baking cocoa powder is available, as is natural unsweetened cocoa powder. When you know the difference between these two varieties, you’ll have a whole lot more to work with in your recipe. Baking cocoa powder should be applied in the correct proportions for your baked goods. If you’re making a recipe like a cake, which requires an acidic rise, you’d need natural unsweetened cocoa powder. Either method can be used when recipes do not require rising. Baking cocoa, in addition to improving the chocolate flavor in a recipe, can also leavening the cake. Cocoa powder and baking cocoa are not the same thing. The most important aspect of baking success is knowing what type of cake is right for your recipe.

You can find pure, natural chocolate in the form of cocoa powder. This chocolate powder is made with only cocoa and sugar and is the most pure and intense form of chocolate. The more pure flavor of chocolate is ideal for baking because it has the same classic flavor.

The Dry, Absorbent Ingredient You Need To Know About

When baking with cocoa powder, keep in mind its properties. Because cocoa powder absorbs moisture, it is critical to work with it in a dry, cool environment. Furthermore, because cocoa powder can react with other ingredients, it is best to use it in small amounts and to adjust the recipe to meet your specific needs.

Can You Use Baking Cocoa Instead Of Cocoa Powder?

Baking chocolate that has not been sweetened to the point of bitterness is substituted for natural cocoa powder. Unsweetened baking chocolate can be substituted for three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder by substituting 1 ounce for one ounce.

Two ingredients that have long been contentious: baking cocoa and cocoa powder. All of the differences in your recipe are worth noting in order to select the best option for it. Today, we will look at how each of these is manufactured and how they can be used in food recipes in detail. It will have a stronger acidic flavor than the unsweetened or natural cocoa powder. This type of cocoa powder has a difficult time dissolving. Instead of making creamy desserts, you’ll be able to make them with acidic ingredients. However, it can still be used if necessary.

The process of Dutching cocoa beans is used to remove impurities from low-quality beans in order to conceal their true colors. Cocoa powder in this type of food often contains a lot of additives, such as sugar and flavoring, in order to mask flavors that are not optimal. Baking cocoa is generally thought of as inferior, but it can also be used to make a variety of recipes. Cocoa powder is not processed, and it only dries and grinds. Cocoa baked in a pot is a dark-colored candy that has a very sweet flavor and is non-acidic. Cocoa powder is more acidic than baking soda, so it should be used as a leavening agent in recipes with baking soda. Cocoa powder must have a strong alkaline reaction in order to be converted into a leavening agent.

As a result, you can use baking cocoa (less acidic) instead of cocoa powder. You cannot do this in any other way. They are distinguished by their chemical structures and flavors. Neither is healthier than the other.

Baking Cocoa Vs Unsweetened Cocoa Powde

Can you substitute baking cocoa for unsweetened cocoa powder? When it comes to adding chocolate flavor to recipes, baking cocoa is a great alternative to unsweetened cocoa powder. Because it has a much stronger flavor, it is ideal for brownies, cookies, and some chocolate cakes. Baking cocoa, when used in recipes that call for baking soda, leavesning action that causes the batter to rise when placed in the oven. It is permissible to consume raw baking cocoa powder on a daily basis, but you should limit your consumption to a moderate level in its raw form. As a result, you will have a variety of health benefits, including reduced inflammation and protection against cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

What Type Of Cocoa Is Best For Hot Chocolate?

Our Test Kitchen recommends using Valrhona Pure Cocoa Powder for a cocoa powder that is higher in quality. Valrhona is a favorite among our pro bakers because of its incredible texture. In addition to its velvety texture, this cocoa has a nearly creamy mouthfeel when added to hot chocolate.

To find the best box of hot cocoa mix on the market, we scoured the shelves of grocery stores for the most popular and easily shoppable boxes. We rated each drink based on its aroma, texture, and overall chocolatey flavor, as well as its aroma and flavor. Several of them were attractively fluffy powder flavors, while others had visible sugar in their mix. When the team encountered this hot cocoa, it was difficult to distinguish the taste and odor. Godiva, a gourmet chocolatier, is well-known for its decadent chocolates, but its hot chocolate finished last on our list, despite the fact that the brand is known for its decadent chocolates. A review said it tasted like “very real chocolate,” but it sacrifices sweetness to favor a earthy and heavy cocoa taste. Nestlé’s hot cocoa mix lacks the flavor of its popular chocolate range due to its vast selection of chocolates.

Another example was this one, which showed a small amount of sugar in the mix. One editor was so taken with the flavor of this mix that he wrote that it was “classic childhood flavor, but not great.” Land O Lakes’ mix made our top 5 list as one of our favorites from the taste test. Despite the fact that it is made with water, it has a very chocolate-and-creamy flavor. There were some who were not fans of the smell, but the taste was more than adequate. The chocolate giant’s attempt to combine their popular bar with hot chocolate received mixed reviews. One editor described it as “sweet, very chocolatey,” and it was also labeled as a melted candy bar.

In terms of how you can make your own cocoa powder, there are several options. If you’re looking for a lower-calorie alternative, use cacao powder. To get a little more flavor and less calories, try dark chocolate or cocoa powder. Do your research and make sure the ingredients are well-known and contain no more than the appropriate amount of fat and sugar.

Is Higher Cocoa Percentage Better?

Dark chocolate has a high cocoa content, which means it tastes richer and more savory. The only downside is that a higher cocoa percentage will only make your bar less sweet and, as a result, multilayered.

What Is The Difference Between Drinking Cocoa And Baking Cocoa?

The two products are made with a single ingredient: cacao, but they are both processed and blended differently. Hot cocoa is often flat and sweet, whereas drinking chocolate is rich and complex in flavor and can be sweetened or unsweetened.

Dutch or alkalized cocoa beans are used to make baking cocoa. Cocoa powder is made from roasted cocoa beans and is alkalized to raise the pH level and lower the acidity. In this video, we will learn about the differences between baking soda and cocoa powder and how they compare and contrast. Cocoa powder is similar to chocolate due to its similarity to cocoa beans: the beans are made from the same substance. Baking cocoa has a bolder and richer flavor, as opposed to regular cocoa powder, which is processed. Because cocoa powder has more sweetness, it is better suited for sweet dishes such as cakes and cookies. Cocoa and chocolate are produced from the same plant, but their processing differs.

Cocoa’s nutritional value is reduced as a result of its lengthy roasting process. Despite its age, cocoa is still regarded as a superfood, with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. As far as I am aware, the decision is not as simple as it appears.

Adding cocoa powder to your recipes without adding any sugar or dairy will give them a little chocolate flavor. The high nutritional value of chocolate, in addition to its antioxidant, magnesium, and zinc properties, makes it an excellent ingredient for cooking. If you want to flavor your recipes without using sugar or dairy, consider using cacao powder.

Dutch-process Vs. Natural Unsweetened

In addition to drinking cocoa powder, you can also bake it. Baking cocoa powder can be Dutch-processed or unsweetened, but Dutch-process and unsweetened are two of the most common options. Dutch-process baking cocoa contains cocoa solids, which make it a bitter cocoa solids substitute for unsweetened baking cocoa. If you don’t have cocoa powder, you can substitute hot chocolate powder; however, cocoa powder gives your recipe a much more chocolaty flavor. Because of the increased cocoa solids, it is less sweet when baking chocolate without sugar. Even if you use unsweetened baking chocolate in your recipe, it won’t have the same off-the-wall chocolate flavor as the author of the recipe likely intended.

How To Make Hot Chocolate With Cocoa Powder And Water

To make hot chocolate with cocoa powder and water, you will need: 1 cup of water, 1/3 cup of cocoa powder, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. First, combine the water, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the cocoa powder and sugar are dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Then, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Serve immediately.

If you want to try something new, you can skip the store-bought mix and make your own. Learn how to make your own drinking powder mix right out of the box by reading on. If you have lactose intolerance, you can also use soy milk, almond milk, or lactose-free milk. If you’re daring, serve it with cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Instead of using milk, try adding coffee. Make sure the mug is microwaveable.

Can You Drink Baking Cocoa Powder

Baking cocoa powder can be used to make a delicious and healthy drink. Simply add a scoop of cocoa powder to a glass of water and enjoy. You can also add milk, honey, or other flavors to create a unique and refreshing drink.

You can make warm, comforting chocolate beverages using a few simple tricks and some imagination, and you can flavor them just the way you want. Cocoa that is plain is low in fat and requires a liquid other than water to mix with. There are several types of milk suitable for children, including cow’s milk, cream, goat’s milk, almond milk, rice milk, or soy milk. To make a single serving of cocoa powder, warm milk, granulated white sugar, and cocoa are all required. If the cocoa powder is lumpy, run it through a sifter before adding it to the liquid. Iced espresso can be made by combining a chocolate coffee mixture with ice or by crushing it with ice in a blender.

To get the most out of cocoa powder, use a whisk to combine it well and dissolve it in a hot liquid. When all of the cocoa powder is dissolved, the ice cream will become smooth and creamy.

Baking With Cocoa Powde

Adding cocoa powder to your recipes is a great way to add flavor, but it should be done properly. Baking cocoa powder is an example of a type of cocoa that is commonly used for baking. A chocolate cake is typically more expensive than a cocoa powder made entirely of cocoa beans. Baking cocoa powders are available in two varieties: Dutch-process and unsweetened. When baking cocoa is Dutch-processed, some of the natural cocoa flavor is removed. No flavors are added to the natural unsweetened baking cocoa. It has been discovered that regular consumption of vegetables can reduce inflammation, protect against cancer, and aid in the prevention of heart disease and diabetes. In the raw form, you should consume it as little as possible. In addition to hot cocoa, cocoa powder can be used. This recipe is a delicious chocolate pudding that can be made in a matter of minutes and is rich and chocolaty. In the winter, it’s ideal for a sweater. Cocoa powder has a low fat and sugar content, despite its high concentration of theobromine. Cocoa powder contains a lot of healthy chemicals that contribute to its high nutritional value. Cocoa powder is an excellent way to add flavor to any recipe, and it can also be a healthier choice if you’re looking for a more natural alternative.

How To Use Baking Cocoa

Baking cocoa is a type of cocoa powder that is used in baking recipes. It is made from cocoa beans that have been roasted and ground into a powder. Baking cocoa has a richer flavor than regular cocoa powder and can be used in many different recipes. It can be used to make chocolate cake, brownies, and other chocolate desserts.

Cocoa powder, which is derived from cocoa butter derived from the cocoa plant, has a bitter flavor and is said to be aromatic. Baking cocoa powder has been developed over time as a more processed form of cocoa powder. Cocoa powder’s natural texture and bitter flavor make it less likely to be used in typical sweet desserts such as hot chocolate. Cocoa powder is alkalized in a potassium carbonate solution prior to being washed in Dutch Process Cocoa. This results in a sweet, rich flavor that neutralizes the acidity. This is frequently used in baking as well as for baking cocoa. Natural cocoa is sharper than smooth cocoa due to its smoothness.

Two Types Of Baking Cocoa Powders

Baking cocoa can take two forms: Dutch-process or unsweetened. Dutch-process cocoa is made by removing some of the natural flavor and color from the cocoa bean. Baking is a common application for this food because it provides a smooth, consistent flavor and does not produce a strong chocolate flavor. Natural unsweetened cocoa comes from beans that have been roasted and ground. This type of chocolate has a distinct chocolate flavor, and it is popular in savory dishes like chocolate cake and brownies. It is critical to use the right cocoa type in your baking recipe if you want to make a great cup of cocoa. Dutch-process and natural unsweetened baking cocoa powder are two different types of cocoa powder available on the market. If you are looking for a smooth and consistent chocolate flavor or a more pronounced chocolate flavor, both baking cocoa powder types can be used. It is critical to use the correct type of flour in your recipe.

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