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Substituting Cocoa Powder For Chocolate Chips

Have you ever been in that annoying position where you needed to use something but discovered you didn’t have that item? That’s how I felt when I was about to make some cookies yesterday. The recipe called for some chocolate chips, I had everything ready, but when I reached for my chocolate chips, I learned the hard way that I was all out.

I was already well into the recipe, so there was no going back. There was certainly no time for a trip to the grocery store, so after a brief stalemate, I initiated this brilliant plan to make my chocolate chips with some cocoa powder I had, and boy did it turn out to be an incredible idea.

So I have decided to share my knowledge with others in a similar position. But before we get into how you can substitute cocoa powder for chocolate chips, let us get familiar with these items.

Cocoa Powder Nutrition Facts

Substituting Cocoa Powder For Chocolate Chips

What is Cocoa Powder?

Cocoa powder is dry cocoa solids that have been crushed to a fine powdered consistency. It all starts when the cocoa beans are roasted and turned into a paste called “cocoa liquor” this paste contains roughly the same quantity of cocoa solids and cocoa butter. The butter is separated from the solids, and the resulting solids are crushed to form what we all know as Cocoa powder.

What are Chocolate Chips?

Hey, we are about to replace chocolate chips in our recipe, so it is only logical for us to know exactly what it is and examine if the cocoa powder would be a suitable substitute.

If you have ever worked with chocolate chips in your recipe, you would know that they are little droplets of sweet chocolate. The small chocolate chunks are sweetened and often shaped into a teardrop or a triangle; there are also semi-sweet and unsweetened chocolate chips for you to choose from.

Uses of Chocolate Chips in Recipes

Chocolate chips are often used to decorate desserts and other baked goods, but apart from their aesthetic functions, they can also contribute to the texture and flavor of what you bake. A common recipe for these sweetened chocolate droplets is the chocolate chips cookies; you can also throw some chocolate chips on muffins, pancakes, or trail mixes.

Unlike cocoa powder, chocolate chips contain a lot of cocoa butter; this helps the small chunks of chocolate retain their shape when baked, and this may be why it is called for in chewy cookie recipes. Another thing you could do with chocolate chips is to melt them for a recipe that calls for melted chocolate.

Below are some examples of recipes that call for chocolate chips.

  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
  • Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
  • Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
  • Chocolate Chip Blondies
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Lasagna Dessert
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars
  • Subway Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Starbucks Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Parfait
  • One-minute Chocolate Chip Cookie In a Mug
  • White Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
  • Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Bars
  • Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Replacing Chocolate Chips with Cocoa Powder 

They are both crafted from cocoa beans; they both have sweet and unsweetened varieties; the only problem is that one contains cocoa butter, the other does not. So skeptics would ask, “can one substitute the other?”.

Honestly, when I decided to swap in cocoa powder for chocolate chips in my cookie recipe, I was not sure what to expect. But if you think about it, the major difference here is just cocoa butter, and we can fix that by adding some store-bought cocoa butter, unsalted butter, or coconut oil to cocoa powder.

With that in mind, we have to add some sweetener to our mix, pour it into a piping bag, and recreate our favorite chocolate chip designs.

Dark Chocolate Chips

Dark Chocolate Chips


If you need some dark-colored chocolate chips, then you should do this. Add two tablespoons of cocoa butter, unsalted butter, or coconut oil to a double boiler. To this two tablespoons of butter, add three tablespoons of cocoa powder, you can add one tablespoon of sugar, but I prefer dark chocolate chips without sugar. Stir thoroughly until everything is well incorporated, and the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool, then put it in a piping bag. Squeeze out small drops of this mixture onto a baking paper and freeze for one hour.

Milk Chocolate Chips

Milk Chocolate Chips


This chocolate Chip variety is pretty similar to dark chocolate chips, but it has a lighter brown color and a sweeter taste. To a double boiler, add two tablespoons of coconut oil or cocoa butter, one tablespoon of milk powder, one to two tablespoons of sugar, and two tablespoons of cocoa powder; mix to properly incorporate all the ingredients, use a piping bag to get the design you want. Also, use baking paper and freeze the chocolate droplets for one hour.

Unsweetened Chocolate Chips


If you don’t want sweet chocolate chips, then opting for an unsweetened variety may be the best thing to do. For these homemade chocolate chips, you have to leave out sugar during the preparation process; everything stays the same.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I substitute cocoa powder for melted chocolate?

As I have already mentioned, cocoa powder is just dry cocoa solids. It would not melt properly, so you need to add butter, margarine, coconut oil, or cocoa butter.

Can I use Cacao nibs in place of chocolate chips?

Yes, you can use cacao nibs to substitute chocolate chips. They are dairy-free and can be gotten from any nearby grocery store.

What is the shelf life of chocolate chips?

If stored properly, chocolate chips can last up to two years; milk chocolate chips go bad faster than dark chocolate chips. The secret of this longevity is in the high cocoa percentage.


If you have ever wondered if cocoa powder can be used to recreate chocolate chips, well, the answer is a big “yes” it can be used together with butter to create deliciously good chocolate chips.