How to Substitute Unsweetened Chocolate & Cocoa


Even the most careful cook may find herself missing an ingredient in a recipe occasionally. Emergency substitutions can save a situation from becoming a disaster, particularly when the missing ingredient is a form of chocolate. Most forms of chocolate keep well for up to a year in a cool, dry place, according to Hershey's.

Things You'll Need

  • Unsweetened baking chocolate squares
  • Semisweet baking chocolate squares
  • Sweet baking chocolate squares
  • Baking cocoa
  • Sugar
  • Shortening: solid shortening, vegetable oil, butter or margarine
  • Serrated knife

Chocolate Substitutions

  • Substitute unsweetened chocolate for cocoa powder at a ratio of one square of unsweetened chocolate for each 3 Tbsps. of cocoa and 1 Tbsp. of shortening called for in the recipe.

  • Substitute cocoa powder for unsweetened chocolate by adding 3 Tbsps. of cocoa and 1 Tbsp. of shortening for each square of unsweetened chocolate specified in the recipe.

  • Substitute a 1 oz. square of unsweetened baking chocolate and 1 Tbsp. of sugar for a 1 oz. square of semisweet baking chocolate.

  • Replace 1 oz. of sweet baking chocolate with 3 Tbsps. cocoa powder, 4 tsps. sugar and 1 Tbsp. shortening.

  • Substitute cocoa by melting the shortening and stirring in the cocoa--1 Tbsp. shortening and 3 Tbsps. cocoa for each 1 oz. of chocolate or 1 cup of chips in a recipes calling for melted unsweetened baking chocolate or chips. Add 4 tsps. sugar if the recipe calls for melted sweetened baking chocolate or chips, 1 Tbsp. sugar for semi-sweet.

  • Replace 1 cup of semisweet chips with 6 oz. of semisweet baking chocolate chopped well with a serrated knife. Baker's Chocolate suggests the pieces be about ¼ inch each to prevent uneven baking.

Tips & Warnings

  • Exposure to fluctuating temperatures causes the surface clouding known as "bloom" on chocolate. Bloom affects the appearance but not the other characteristics of the chocolate. Avoid bloom by keeping the chocolate in a cool, dry place of fairly constant temperature.
  • Sweet, semisweet, unsweetened and bittersweet chocolates taste distinctly different. Use care in substitutions to select the right combination of chocolate and sugar to achieve the desired results.

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  • Photo Credit chocolate image by Horticulture from
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