Shelf Life of
Chocolate Substitutes

What is a Substitute for Chocolate?

Chocolate Substitute

Chocolate Substitutes

What’s the best chocolate substitute, whether you need a bittersweet chocolate substitute or an unsweetened chocolate substitute or even a substitute for cocoa powder?

Although there really is no substitute for chocolate when indulging, a chocolate substitute is often needed while baking or cooking. There are many different kinds of chocolate based products including baking, bittersweet, unsweetened, milk, etc. – to understand the differences in these chocolates see the bottom of this page. To keep all of these different chocolates on hand can difficult because of the shelf life of chocolate and the fact that it is hard to resist.

So, use this table to find a chocolate substitute, a substitute for bittersweet chocolate or find a substitute for cocoa powder for your recipes.

Table of Chocolate Substitutes:

Chocolate Amount Substitute
Unsweetened Chocolate substitute 1 Ounce (or 1 Square) 3 Tablespoons Unsweetened (or Dutch) Cocoa Powder + Plus 1 Tablespoon of either butter, margarine, shortening OR vegetable oil
*OR* 3 Tablespoons Carob Powder +plus 2 Tablespoons Water
Bittersweet Chocolate substitute 1 Ounce (or 1 Square) 1 Ounce Semisweet Chocolate
Semisweet Chocolate substitute 1 Ounce (or 1 Square) 1 Ounce (or 1 square) or Unsweetened Chocolate +plus 4 teaspoons Sugar
*OR* 1 Ounce Semisweet Chocolate Chips +plus 1 teaspoon Shortening
Semisweet Chocolate Chips substitute 6 Ounce package 6 ounces sweet cooking chocolate
*OR* 6 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate +plus 6 Tablespoons of Sugar
*OR* 2 ounces (2 squares) Unsweetened Chocolate +plus 2 Tablespoons of Shortening and 1/2 Cup Sugar
German Chocolate substitute 6 Ounce package 3 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder +plus 4 teaspoons Sugar +plus 1 Tablespoon of Butter
White Chocolate substitute 1 Ounce 1 Ounce Milk Chocolate
*OR* 1 ounce sweet dark Chocolate
Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder substitute 1/4 Cup 1 Ounce (1 square) Unsweetened Chocolate
*OR* 1/4 Cup Dutch processed Cocoa plus 1/8 teaspoon cream or tartar or white vinegar
*OR* 1/4 Cup Carob powder
Dutch Processed Cocoa substitute 1/4 Cup 1/4 Cup natural unsweetened Cocoa powder plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda





Chocolate Substitute Warnings:

There are a few don’ts when substituting for chocolate:

  • Don’t substitute chocolate syrup (because it contains water) for melted chocolate.
  • Don’t substitute instant cocoa mixes (because they contain powdered milk) for cocoa powder.


    Chocolate Substitute Choices

    To better understand what to substitute for chocolate, here’s an explanation of what makes up each form of chocolate. All chocolate begins the same – Cacao beans are roasted and shelled – but they are then processed into different varieties.
    Varieties include:

  • Unsweetened chocolate – is pure & natural chocolate liquor (not alcohol, that’s just what the chocolate liquid is called when it is processed and separated from the fatty part of the bean). It’s most often used in brownies.
  • Bittersweet chocolate – is 35% chocolate liquor, some cocoa butter has been added back in along with a very small amount of sugar.
  • Semisweet chocolate- this dark chocolate has some sugar and flavoring added. By U.S. standards it may contain between 15-35% chocolate liquor which make some brands of semisweet the same as bittersweet, depending on the manufacturer.
  • Semisweet Chocolate Chips – have a stabilizer added so they will hold their shape.
  • Baking chocolate – is either unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate (50-58% cocoa butter by US standards).
  • Milk chocolate – is made of chocolate, milk solids, sugar and vanilla (and/or other flavors).
  • Cocoa Powder- this powder is what’s left after all the fat (cocoa butter) has been pressed from the chocolate.
  • White Chocolate – is only the cocoa butter portion of the bean which is then generally mixed with milk, sugar and salt. This type of chocolate is the fattiest and contains NO antioxidents because it contains none of the dark color solids from the bean.



    Remember, when making substitutions be sure to measure accurately for best results. Some chocolate substitutes or cocoa powder substitutes may alter slightly the taste, texture, weight, or moisture content of the finished product. These recommendations are meant to save you a trip to the store during your cooking process.

    *Please note that some chocolate substitute choices may not be appropriate for your specific recipe.

    To find out how long other ingredients are good for, please visit the DairyDrinksFruitsGrainsProteinsVegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or search below.

    Search the Shelf Life Guide!