Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate Substitute

Chocolate chips in wooden spoon on wood table
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  • Prep Time
    2 min
  • Cook Time
    0 min
  • Total Time
    2 min
  • Yield
    1 ounce square substitute

What can you do when a recipe calls for semi-sweet baking chocolate squares, and you don’t have any on hand? What you can use will depend on the type of recipe. In some cases, you can substitute semi-sweet chocolate chips. But if you are making candy, they may not melt as well, and there may be some difference in consistency and sweetness. Try this substitute for one ounce of semi-sweet baking chocolate instead:


  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons butter, vegetable oil or shortening


Combine the ingredients. Depending on the recipe, you can simply add them all to the mix rather than combining them in a separate bowl before adding them.

Then, use in place of one ounce/square of semi-sweet baking chocolate. You would need to melt the butter or shortening, but no melting is needed if using vegetable oil.

If you need a larger quantity, just double, triple or quadruple this recipe to arrive at the amount that you need.

Variations In Proportions for the Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate Substitute

Some other lists of substitutions propose a 3:3:1 unsweetened cocoa powder to sugar to butter. For example, three tablespoons of cocoa, three tablespoons sugar, one tablespoon butter. This is a sweeter ratio than I propose, but you may find you prefer it.

Other Substitutions for Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate

  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: If you have semi-sweet chocolate chips on hand, they can stand in for semi-sweet baking squares in a pinch. But they may not melt as well, and are therefore not a good substitute to use in candy recipes. Some cooks find they are sweeter than semi-sweet baking squares, so you may want to adjust the other ingredients. You can substitute them ounce for ounce, so you will need to weigh the chips rather than measure them in a measuring cup.
  • Bittersweet Baking Chocolate: You can substitute this ounce for ounce for semi-sweet baking chocolate and you probably won't detect any difference. If desired, you may add a little extra sugar.
  • Unsweetened Baking Chocolate: Add one tablespoon of sugar per ounce, and substitute it ounce for ounce for semi-sweet baking chocolate. You won't need any added butter or oil.

More Chocolate Substitutes:

You may find yourself in a bind when recipes call for different kinds of chocolate. Here are our kitchen hacks for substitutions so you might be able to avoid a trip to the grocery store.