Chocolate-based desserts will always have a special place for those with a sweet tooth. Of course, such delightful recipes are only possible when we have prime-quality cocoa powder in our kitchens. The cocoa’s flavor and aroma ooze out that richness that we always crave and drastically improve the taste of any chocolate-flavored baked goodies.
Cocoa powders, even when processed, contain a significant amount of nutrients that are beneficial for our health. Since there are so many brands out there, choosing one can be daunting. So here in this article, we will help you select the best cocoa powder for baking that you can buy online with our top 10 list and our buying guide, fact-checked and reviewed by registered nutritionist-dietitian Samantha Morales.
Samantha began her career in clinical nutrition and weight management at a tertiary hospital in Manila, Philippines. Her practice allowed her to give nutrition counseling and plan modified diets for patients with medical conditions. Presently, she does private practice to focus on true holistic wellness - an approach that believes in aligning one's mind, body, and spiritual well-being.
Our recommendation articles are carefully researched and crafted by the mybest Philippines team of writers and editors. To stay true to our company’s mission and vision to help users’ selection process easier, we also collaborate with experts from various fields to ensure that our content stays factual and useful.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
The products and services listed are ranked independently by the editorial team based on the points mentioned in our thoroughly researched buying guide (as of 01-16-2023).
Table of Contents
Here are some key points to consider:
For more detailed information, read through our buying guide below.
Cocoa powders may have either unsweetened or sweetened flavor profile. Since it is indicated on labels in relatively large prints, it is not that difficult to identify whether the product is unsweetened or not. Your choice can greatly affect the overall flavor profile of the dish.
An unsweetened cocoa powder has a deeper and richer taste compared to sweetened ones because it contains little to no sugar and does not have any added sweeteners. To identify one, you should see the label that indicates 100% cocoa, sugar-free, or the word cocoa is first on the ingredients list.
Despite the bitter taste, the good thing about unsweetened cocoa powder is you can control the sugar or sweetness level should a recipe call for a sweeter outcome. Also, you are free to mix in healthier sweeteners like coco sugar, coconut nectar syrup, raw honey, stevia, or monk fruit.
On the other hand, the sweetened cocoa powder for baking contains added sugar as indicated on the main label as "sweetened" or sugar is written on the ingredients list. The sugar reduces the strong flavor of the chocolate. It works best in brownies and decadent chocolate cakes.
Some may argue that sweetened cocoa powder cannot replace the unsweetened one in several recipes. However, many professional pastry chefs and home bakers still recommend the sweetened one as a substitute as long as you cut down the amount of sweeteners in your ingredients.
Cocoa powders are either naturally processed or Dutch-processed. Both go through the roasting and grinding process to achieve their powdered form. Keep reading to know their differences.
Natural cocoa powders are called such because they remain unadulterated during the process. After roasting the cocoa beans, they are directly placed in the grinder to be powdered.
As a result, they retain their natural antioxidants that our bodies need, making them as the healthier option. Natural processed cocoa powders have a lighter color and richer flavor compared to Dutch-processed ones.
Taste-wise, they have a "metallic" bitterness because the cocoa's natural acid stays in the powder. And because of its high acid content, it is not advisable for people with acid reflux or hyperacidity. But should you prefer using this in baking? Just add a little baking soda to neutralize the acidity.
Dutch-processed cocoa powder, also known as alkalized cocoa powder, has a fruitier and sweeter taste compared to the natural cocoa powder. This is because it undergoes reducing or removing the natural acid of cocoa beans, called alkalization, by washing the beans with a potassium solution before roasting and grinding them.
This process makes the cocoa powder darker in color than a natural-processed one. However, it reduces the antioxidant properties in the powder, making it "less nutritious". Nonetheless, people who like to bake prefer Dutch-processed powder more in sweeter desserts due to its mellow flavor and dissolves quickly in recipes.
Have you ever wondered what makes other chocolate desserts, such as whoopie pies and Oreo cookies, appear darker than others? Well, most of us will give credit to black food coloring gel, and this is partly accurate. But truth be told, we can achieve velvety-textured and deep-shaded desserts using black cocoa powder!
This black powder is a type Dutch-processed cocoa that is heavily alkalized, resulting to a striking black or a very dark brown shade. It still contains the chocolaty flavor and aroma sans the bitter aftertaste present in the natural cocoa powder. In fact, it can also be used as a natural food coloring to your recipes.
The fat content of the cocoa powder can determine the outcome of your desserts. A good rule of thumb is that the higher the fat, the better it tastes because it allows your culinary creation to be richer in flavor. In addition, it affects the moisture of the cake, to achieve decadent bakery-style desserts
An excellent cocoa powder for baking must contain 22% to 24% of fat. You can check the back of the packaging for additional information. With this, however, having high fat content may also mean high cholesterol content. Thus, consume it in moderation to prevent a sudden spike in your blood pressure and sugar.
Speaking of packaging labels, you should also check out the nutritional value of the cocoa powder as they give you more health information. For instance, you can see the nutritional amount or percentages of fat, sugar, proteins, and sometimes, cholesterol. Some products may even contain calcium, iron, and potassium, among others.
So if you are in a physical grocery store, don't forget to look at the back label. When buying online, we recommend searching for the official site of the brand. Most online stores already include the nutritional table, either written in the product description or uploaded in the photos.
Of course, when you are talking about food-related concerns, you must not forget to check the ingredients list for possible allergens and dietary restrictions. For example, in some cases, cocoa powders go through the same machine used in manufacturing chocolate bars that may include allergens like dairy or nuts.
Allergic reactions like lactose intolerance and rashes are discomforting and sometimes detrimental to health. So check if the brand has ingredients like milk or nut powder. For those following religious dietary restrictions, inspect if the product is Kosher-certified for Jewish people or Halal-certified for our Muslim brothers and sisters.
If you are baking desserts for your family or a small group of friends, it's best to purchase a smaller pack of cocoa powder. Since most recipes call for a small amount of cocoa powder, getting this size will help you save money. It also prevents unused cocoa powder from going stale and losing its flavors.
However, if baking chocolate desserts is already your hobby or business, or if you use it to bake your go-to potluck party food, go for a bigger size. But as much as possible, buy only the amount that you need so that you'll have fresh cocoa powder for each baking session!
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All-Time Favorite Cocoa Powder for Baking and Sweet Beverages
Classic Cocoa Powder
Premium Quality Cocoa Powder Preferred by Most Cafes and Restaurants
Alkalized Cocoa Powder
Budget-Friendly and Locally-Made Cocoa Powder That Doesn't Skimp on the Quality
Versatile Cocoa Powder That Has Been Around for Generations
100% Cocoa Dutch Process Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Sustainably Sourced Cocoa Powder That's Also Certified Kosher
Black Cocoa Powder
Velvety Cocoa Powder Perfect for Adding Depth of Flavor to Your Baked Goods
Dutch Cocoa Powder
Imparts a Luscious Flavor and Aroma to Your Desserts
Dutch Processed Alkalized Cocoa Powder
Provides a Rich, Chocolatey Flavor Without the Added Sugar
100% Natural Cocoa Powder
All-Natural Cocoa Powder That's Proudly Pinoy Made
Chelsea Gourmet Dark Cocoa Powder Mix
Mildly Sweetened Cocoa Powder That Reminds You of Home
When it comes to chocolate-based products, Hershey has always been the go-to brand since 1894. Besides their infamous chocolate bars and kisses, they also produce naturally processed cocoa powder. Enjoy its rich and deep cocoa flavor without any added chemicals, perfect for baking your signature moist chocolate cakes.
Besides baking, you can also use it for icing and frosting, hot or iced chocolate drinks, and even champorado! It is definitely nutritious since it is packed with dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, and iron which gives a healthy boost to your sweet treats.
It is Kosher-certified, making it ideal for those who observe the Jewish diet. Since it is naturally processed and unsweetened, expect a bitter taste. However, you can mellow down the bitterness by adding milk and sugar to the mixture. Given all these qualities, it is undeniable to place it on top of the list!
Beryl is another wonderful brand offering gourmet-quality baking ingredients. They source their ingredients from the farms of Malaysia - being one of the world's biggest cocoa producers today. This cocoa powder has a premium quality loved by chefs and chocolatiers around the world.
This cocoa powder is Dutch-processed, so you will barely experience any bitter aftertaste when eating it. Along with other topnotch ingredients, it is ideal for creating delightful treats with smooth and shiny surfaces like chocolate mirror cakes and chocolate-glazed doughnuts.
After opening the package, transfer the leftover cocoa powder to a tight-sealed container to preserve its flavor and prevent it from going stale. You can never go wrong trusting this Halal-certified chocolate confectioner!
Dutche is a local chocolate company that supports the livelihood of cocoa farmers in the Philippines. Established in 2005, it cemented its place as a credible and notable brand in the country. So if you love supporting local products, patronizing this Filipino-made cocoa powder can go a long way!
This cocoa powder goes through the Dutch process to prevent the cocoa beans from being too acidic, resulting in a product that has a hint of sweetness without the bitter aftertaste. It also has a darker brown shade so that you can achieve the classic chocolate cake look.
It has garnered great reviews from food business and small cafe owners because of its superb quality for a lower price, making it ideal for producing baked goodies in large batches. Add this item to your virtual cart and prepare to bake and earn!
Ricoa has been a household brand for decades, and undoubtedly, it remains to be trusted and well-loved cocoa powder. This breakfast cocoa powder is a multi-purpose one as it is useful not only to make delicious cups of chocolate drink but also prepare delectable baked desserts.
It is made from 100% natural and high-quality ingredients, giving off an intensely rich chocolate flavor. Plus, it contains 22% of cocoa butter, ideal for preparing moist cupcakes. If you're craving for desserts but you are on a diet, don't worry! It is unsweetened, perfect for keto-friendly and sugar-free treats.
Ghirardelli is not only a credible chocolate brand but is also a champion of corporate social responsibility. Its cocoa products came from sustainable farms that they built in Ghana to provide a livelihood to the locals. This prime-quality cocoa powder is Dutch-processed to remove acidity while maintaining a rich flavor.
It has a hint of natural sweetness and a signature deep brown shade, great for baking, cooking, or crafting sweet beverages. It is Kosher-compliant and comes in a resealable pack, so you don't have to worry about transferring it to another container.
By using this rich cocoa powder, you can pull off a scrumptious chocolate chip brownie or a mint chocolate cake - the possibilities are endless!
We know the health benefits of dark chocolate. Well, Barry Callebaut's cocoa powder is the pulverized version of it! The cacao beans are harvested from sustainable rainforest farms to ensure exceptional product quality while being mindful of the environment and giving livelihood to the community.
This Halal-certified product has an intense cocoa flavor and aroma, which is a signature quality of dark chocolate. It is low in fat to produce healthier, mouth-watering dark chocolate-based cakes and pastries without the bitter aftertaste, ideal for those who have a sweet tooth.
From the makers of Barry Callebaut, a Switzerland-based company that developed ruby chocolates, here is another bestselling productー their very own baking cocoa powder! The Bensdorp cocoa powder is organic and Dutch-processed, so even if it is unsweetened, it has a luscious chocolate aroma and a sweet aftertaste.
Each cocoa bean went through the traditional methods of roasting, winnowing, and treating using modern equipment to preserve its signature flavor. With this, you can bake European-inspired desserts like chocolate macarons or chocolate soufflé. Just remember to transfer the unused powder in a sealed container and to store it in a cool, dry place to extend its shelf life.
Whether you're making chocolate pastries or blending chocolate chip frappes, Cocoa Monster offers a high-quality cocoa powder to give your desserts that velvety chocolate punch. It features an aromatic and flavorful cocoa powder with notes of sweetness sans the sugar.
Use it in a multitude of ways ー Black Forest cake, rocky road brownies, or chocolate pancakes. It is also light and easy to mix with chocolate-based milkshakes and cocktails with a few drops vanilla and a shot of Irish cream. Surely, your recipes are going to be a hit to your guests!
Goya is another Philippine-based company known for producing affordable yet delicious chocolates. So if you are looking for a trusted local brand, look no further because they also offer delicious cocoa powder. With this, you can bake some delightful chocolate cupcakes, muffins, and other baked goods.
Because it is naturally processed, its flavor may be too intense for drinks, but nonetheless, it's deliciously rich. So, remember to put only a few spoonfuls first and adjust accordingly. Also, this cocoa powder comes with a covered lid, so you're spared from looking for a new container to transfer the leftover powder.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly dark cocoa powder, this product from Family's Choice has got you covered! Despite the low price, it does not compromise the quality. It contains dark cocoa powder, known for its antioxidant properties that improve skin condition and health.
What makes this cocoa powder unique is the added French vanilla flavor which gives it a mildly sweet taste. French vanilla serves as a flavor enhancer to the lavishly tasty dark chocolate, perfect for your signature D.I.Y. chocolate desserts, frappes, and cocktails. It is a must-try indeed!
Below are few of the most asked questions on the web answered by the mybest team about cocoa powder for baking.
Cocoa powder for baking is best stored in an airtight container to prevent it from losing its delicious aroma and flavor. Keep it under a cool (60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit / 15 to 21 degrees Celsius), dry place. It should restrict exposure to oxygen, direct sunlight, or close to any heat source to avoid spoilage.
Likewise, avoid keeping it inside the fridge or freezer to avoid moisture that may cause molds, unless you are living in a very hot climate. Storing it inside the refrigerator will not extend the shelf life of the cocoa powder.
Tasting the cocoa powder is the most practical way to determine if it is still good for baking. When it still has the same rich smell and taste, then it is safe to use. However, if you see molds building up, dispose the cocoa powder right away.
Cocoa powders indicate their "best before" dates (2-3 years from the manufacturing date) to notify consumers when the peak quality retains. After which, the powder will decrease in texture and flavor. Once opened, its lifespan may reduce to a little over one year as it is exposed to moisture.
You might find mixed responses to this question, but the answer is yes in some cake, muffin, and pudding recipes. Keep in mind, though, that the flavor of the baked goods may not be the same as cocoa powder.
Drinking chocolate powder has a weaker cocoa flavor, but it is sweeter due to its more sugar content. With this flavor profile, add a scoop or two of the drinking chocolate powder to strengthen the cocoa flavor and reduce the amount of sugar that the recipe requires. A splash of espresso coffee can also enhance the chocolate flavor.
When baking, you need high-quality ingredients to make the best baked desserts. We have prepared several article reviews about different ingredients to help you on your baking journey. Click the links below to see some of our recommended products!
Author: Roel Pillas Malubay
Editor: Aprille Jarcia
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, in collaboration with the expert featured in this article. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
No. 1：Hershey's｜100% Cacao｜Natural Unsweetened
No. 2：Beryl's｜Classic Cocoa Powder
No. 3：Dutche｜Alkalized Cocoa Powder
No. 4：Ricoa｜Breakfast Cocoa
No. 5：Ghirardelli｜100% Cocoa Dutch Process Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
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