Bittersweet Chocolate Substitute

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Bittersweet Chocolate Substitute

Need a substitute for bittersweet chocolate? Here are several things that will work in its place, including one chocolate-free option.

Bittersweet Chocolate Substitutes

Bittersweet chocolate is often used to lend a rich chocolate flavor to pies, mousse, truffles and buttercream frosting. By law, bittersweet chocolate must contain at least 35% cacao, but most chocolate makers put 50-60% in their bars. The rest of the bar is mostly sugar. So, despite the misleading name, this type of chocolate is plenty sweet.

One bar of bittersweet baking chocolate contains four ounces. Since your recipe may call for more or less than a full bar of baking chocolate, these substitutes replace one ounce of bittersweet chocolate. Just pick one of the substitutes; then, scale it up to meet your needs.

Semi-sweet Chocolate

Replace one ounce of bittersweet chocolate with one ounce of semi-sweet baking chocolate, or three Tablespoons of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Bittersweet chocolate typically contains a bit more cacao and a smidge less sugar than semi-sweet chocolate, but since there aren’t any regulations around the name “semi-sweet”, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes bittersweet chocolate is actually sweeter than semi-sweet chocolate. Weird, but true. Either way, this substitute will give you great results.

Unsweetened Chocolate

Combine one ounce of unsweetened baking chocolate and two teaspoons of sugar to create a replacement for one ounce of bittersweet chocolate. This will give you a substitute with all the chocolate liquor and sweetness that your recipe needs.

Cocoa Powder

Have a container of cocoa powder in your pantry? Use it to whip up a quick substitute for the bittersweet chocolate in your recipe. Three Tablespoons of cocoa powder, two Tablespoons of sugar and one Tablespoon of butter (or your favorite oil) will get the right amount of sweetness, fat and chocolate-y goodness into whatever you’re making.

Carob Powder

If you aren’t able to eat chocolate, or you’re trying to avoid the caffeine, use three Tablespoons of carob powder and one Tablespoon of your favorite oil in place of each ounce of bittersweet chocolate that your recipe calls for. This will give you that rich chocolate taste, without any of the ingredients that you’re trying to avoid.

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Bittersweet Chocolate

Bittersweet Chocolate Substitute

Here are a bunch of substitutes for bittersweet chocolate to help you keep your recipe on track.

  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 oz.


  • semi-sweet baking chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder or carob powder


To replace 1 oz. of bittersweet baking chocolate, use:

-an equal amount of semi-sweet baking chocolate

-3 Tbsp. semi-sweet chocolate chips

-1 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate + 2 tsp sugar

-3 Tbsp cocoa powder + 2 Tbsp sugar + 1 Tbsp butter (or your favorite oil)

-3 Tbsp carob powder + 1 Tbsp of your favorite oil


Nutrition facts are based on using semi-sweet chocolate chips as the substitute.

Keywords: bittersweet chocolate substitute

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