Bittersweet Baking Chocolate Substitute

Bittersweet Chocolate Substitute. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

If a recipe calls for bittersweet baking chocolate, and you don't have any on hand, just grab one of these ingredients from your pantry to whip up a simple substitute. It'll save you a trip to the store, so you can enjoy your treat sooner.

Best Bittersweet Baking Chocolate Substitute

Replace the bittersweet chocolate called for in your recipe with an equal amount of semi-sweet chocolate. The two are actually very similar in taste and composition, so you shouldn't notice any real difference in your recipe.

Baking chocolate squares will work best, but semi-sweet chocolate chips can be used in a pinch. Just know that chocolate chips are designed to be melt-resistant, so it'll take a bit more effort to get them to melt. For this reason, they work better in cookie and brownie recipes. It's best to stick to baking squares when you're making something like pudding.

Three tablespoons of chocolate chips is the equivalent of one ounce of baking chocolate.

Next Best Substitute

Bittersweet chocolate can also be replaced with unsweetened cocoa powder. However, since cocoa powder contains almost no fat and absolutely no sugar, you'll need to add those things to make it work. To create a good substitute for bittersweet chocolate, add one tablespoon of cocoa powder, one tablespoon of sugar and two teaspoons of butter to your recipe for each ounce of bittersweet chocolate that you're replacing. There may be small differences in the texture of the finished product, but all in all, this substitute should give you a good result, and plenty of chocolate flavor.

If you need to replace more than a couple ounces of bittersweet chocolate, go with the first substitute. This will keep the fat, chocolate solids and sugar at or very near the level intended in your recipe. When you get into replacing large amounts of chocolate, it's important to pick a substitute that won't alter the chemistry of the recipe.

Have Unsweetened Chocolate in Your Pantry?

It can also be used as a substitute for bittersweet chocolate. Just combine 2/3 ounce of unsweetened chocolate with two teaspoons of sugar for each ounce of bittersweet chocolate that you're replacing.

So, What's the Difference Between Bittersweet and Semi-sweet Chocolate Anyway?

A bit of cacao. The FDA requires bittersweet chocolate to contain at least 35 percent cacao, but most manufacturers make their bars with 50-60 percent.

The term "semi-sweet" isn't regulated by the government, but most bars fall in the 15-35 percent range. Semi-sweet chocolate also tends to have a bit more sugar than bittersweet, though this isn't always the case.

More Chocolate Substitutes

Keep these chocolate substitutes in mind the next time you find you're out of a type of chocolate that you need for a recipe. They may not be as good as the real thing, but they'll do in a pinch.

View All Ingredient Substitutions