Best Cocoa Powder For Hot Chocolate

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Where Can I Buy Cocoa Powder

BEST HOT CHOCOLATE | the ONLY recipe you need

Cocoa powder is a common ingredient, so its found in many stores. However, the variety and choices for different brands will vary greatly depending on where you shop.

  • has a wide variety of cocoa powder options for any price point. Plus, the customer reviews are always helpful. You can check out their selection of cocoa powder options here.
  • Grocery stores, Walmart and Target may have fewer options, but are convenient places to shop for cocoa powder.
  • Trader Joes, Aldi and Whole Foods are also great places to look for alternative cocoa powder brands.

Stop & Shop Hot Cocoa Mix

This mix from Stop & Shop was the only generic grocery store brand we could find. Usually, generic brands are assumed to be less desirable than the more mainstream brands, but this one made its way right into the midway point, and for good reason.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Good hot chocolate is sweet and chocolatey. But our tasters were still pretty split about this treat. One editor who read the nutrition was not a fan saying, “the box is right, this hot chocolate is most certainly artificially flavored. Pass.” Another was pleasantly surprised. “I was expecting to hate this, but I didn’t. Not the best, but nice sweet flavor.” This mix got points for its “very chocolatey and creamy taste, even though it’s made with water.”

Some weren’t fans of the smell, but the taste made up for it for the most part. One editor said, “Smells a bit fake. Not too sweet.” While another said it was “better than expected, perfectly sweet, slightly milky, but the chocolate quality doesn’t stand out.”

Sweetened Vs Unsweetened Cocoa Powders

Ive always heard and seen things about sweetened vs. unsweetened cocoa powders, but was surprised to learn that natural cocoa is synonymous with unsweetened cocoa powder. And, almost all of the chefs recommendations for the best cocoa powders are unsweetened. Chef Krystal shared that she doesnt really use pre-sweetened cocoa powders or those specifically labeled as sweetened for a couple reasons.

One, if I feel it necessary, Ill add in sweeteners on my own for different applications. Two, cocoa powder on its own can offer some health benefits, so it feels like in using a sweetened option, you negate the ability to control or really know how much sugar youre consuming, versus adding some yourself.

Chef Yasmin kept things simple and noted that any unsweetened cocoa powder will do the trick for her. She shared that she love to bake with unsweetened cocoa powder as its versatile and provides a deep, rich flavor without relying on sugar. She specifically uses unsweetened cocoa powder in the Isot Double Chocolate Cake at Aba, which has a beautifully balanced mouthfeel and layers of chocolate notes.

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Nestl Classic Rich Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix

Nestlé is also known for its wide arrangement of chocolates, but that didn’t translate into the brand’s hot cocoa mix. This was another one where you could see visible sugar flecks in the mix.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

This one tasted “very watered down. The flavor is too subtle, but has a nice color.” One editor was very much not a fan. It was “so watery in both taste and flavor! Yuck!”

After reading the nutrition label, one editor backed up her argument, saying this was, “another highly-processed and fake-tasting product. Better sweetness and smoother compared to Hershey’s, however.”

However, one editor liked this mix because of its “classic childhood flavor, but it’s not super great.” Another liked the creamy taste of this mix and stated that the color of this mix was “on point.”

The visible sugar correlated into a sweet taste. One editor thought this one was “super sweet, thick, and has a great milky flavor.” Another’s nostalgia led to them thinking it tasted like “milk chocolate, but a thinner taste than I remember from childhood.”

This one got a higher rating because it was “delightfully frothy. I feel like this was made with one of those milk steamers. Delicious!” This shocked us because this was made with just hot water. Some didn’t like the sweetness, however, saying it “tastes a bit like sugar water.” Overall, it was OK hot cocoa, making its way toward the middle of our list.

Does Hot Chocolate Mix Contain Gluten

Nestle Hot Cocoa Mix Coco Supreme Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa Powder, 1.75 ...

Most hot chocolate should be gluten-free, but, like any food allergy or intolerance, you want to double-check the label to be sure. If a product has a gluten-free claim or certification on the label, youre good to go. Products can also state if theyre made in a gluten-free facility. Your best bet is to be your own detective and carefully read your labels.

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Starbucks Classic Hot Cocoa Mix

Sadly, Starbucks needs to stick to coffee. This hot cocoa mix was not a crowd-pleaser in any way. Our taste testers preferred the in-store version rather than making it for themselves. One editor said this drink was “so disappointing as I usually order this at Starbucks.” The Starbucks hot cocoa was one of the mixes you can see the sugar when pouring the powder into the cup.6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

The team was confused by the aroma versus the taste of this hot cocoa. One editor said that they were “not sure what’s going on here. The color is enticing but the taste is bitter and waterynot a good combo.” Another said, “awful. Tastes like bitter chocolate.” Unfortunately, the smell couldn’t boost the rating. “True, great smell! Makes me think about Christmas morning. The taste, however, I’ll passbig time,” one editor wrote.

The flavor resembled more of a dark chocolate flavor because it was not sweet at all. One editor said it had a “bitter burnt flavor.” Another editor was very upset with the aftertaste, saying, “It was almost sour! Didn’t even taste like chocolate.”

Tips For Making Homemade Hot Chocolate:

  • The best hot chocolate is made with cacao powder, which you can find at many grocery stores or online! Raw cacao powder is healthier and richer in chocolate flavor than regular cocoa powder. However, you can use a good quality cocoa powder in its place.
  • Its important to whisk the cacao powder into the milk before heating it up . If you add the cacao powder to hot milk it can clump up.
  • This hot cocoa is naturally sweetened with honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar, but you can use regular white or brown sugar instead.
  • I love this small saucepan and mini whisk for making hot chocolate, as well as for oatmeal and sauces.
  • For a vegan version, use canned coconut milk in place of the regular milk . Swap out the honey for maple syrup.
  • A pinch of salt helps to amplify all of the flavors.
  • Try this hot cacao with Cardamom Whipped Cream!

*This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links to products I use and love . Thank you for supporting From Scratch Fast!

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Which Brand Of Cocoa Powder Is The Best

It is quite tricky to choose the best cocoa powder brands since there are various brands available. Therefore, I have the lists of the best brands of cocoa powder right here!

  • Hershey: comes in two varieties, and the Special Dark version is alkalized. Both the two Hershey products contain 100% pure cocoa and deliver fascinating flavor.
  • Ghirardelli: enhance the chocolate flavor and cocoa notes to your baked goods and desserts.
  • Anthony: affordable, organic cocoa powder imported from the Dominican Republic the home of cocoa.
  • Droste: rich and full-bodied flavor for the perfect brownies, frostings, cookings, etc.
  • Valrhona: features the pure and intense cocoa taste with a hot red mahogany color.

How We Graded Them

How to Make the Best Cheap Hot Cocoa Possible

To test the power of some of these mixes, we did not do anything fancy with our chocolate concoctions. We used just hot water and the preferred measured portion from each box.

While preparing the hot cocoa for the taste test, we did notice some had visible sugar in the mix, while others had an aesthetically pleasing fluffy powder texture. Ones that have sugar were noted if you’re curious to see if the visible sugar led to a sweeter mix.

We graded each mix based on the aroma of chocolate, the texture of the drink, sweetness, and overall chocolatey taste. The room filled quickly after preparing all 10 with delicate chocolatey clouds that inspired us to play holiday music and pretend we were coming inside from a snow day filled with sledding. We can imagine, right?

The hot cocoa mixes we tried, in alphabetical order, included:

Now, see what tasted the best, ranked from worst-tasting to best-tasting hot chocolate mix.

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What Is Cacao Powder

Ever wondered what the difference is between cacao powder and cocoa powder? They have the same letters just placed differently! They probably seem interchangeable, but are they?

Read on if you’re curious to learn why cacao has been talked about so much. There’s been a lot of hype around cacao for nutritional benefits, so here’s the rundown!

Hersheys 100% Natural Unsweetened

Hersheys is probably one of the best-known cocoa brands in the U.S. Unsweetened and non-alkalized, it can be used both for making hot cocoa or for baking, as presented on the box. As it is not processed, this type of cocoa is rich in flavanols, which are anti-oxidants. However, some users find the taste to be too bitter and not flavored enough.

Both Cadbury and Nestle brands are owned by Hershey, so they sell the same cocoa. For a more exquisite taste, we recommend an European cocoa brand.

Still, for someone looking for a budget-appropriate cocoa brand, Hersheys is a convenient choice.

Chefs Pencil is reader-supported. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, though this not impact the product selection, which is done independently by our editors and contributors.

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Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Cocoa Powder

Product Name
  • A total of 36 oz US-made unsweetened cocoa powder over six 8 oz cans
  • Suitable for desserts and as hot chocolate
  • OU Kosher Certified and suitable for those on a gluten-free diet

The HERSHEYS natural unsweetened cocoa 8 oz is gluten free and OU Kosher Certified. Made of pure cacao in the US, this is ideal for making desserts with as well as being suitable for hot cocoa. The back of the can contains recipes and instructions for making frosting and hot cocoa, although if you prefer chocolate a little darker, you may need to mix in some dark cocoa with this when baking, as it is a lighter cocoa.

Unfortunately, a number of buyers do receive damaged or opened cans, which means you may have to spend some extra time cleaning up when the package arrives.



  • Risk of receiving damaged or opened cans
  • If you want a darker color, you may need to mix this with a different cocoa
  • This 2 lb bag of cocoa powder is certified USDA Organic and is also gluten free
  • Less-refined cocoa due to non-alkalizing during processing
  • The small batches of this cocoa are tested

Certified USDA Organic, Anthonys organic cocoa powder is suitable for those on a gluten-free diet. As this small batch tested cocoa powder has not been treated to neutralize its acidity, the final product is less refined. A small number of buyers commented that this may not have as much flavor as other organic cocoas, and that it may be drier than other pure cocoas.











Anthonys Organic Cocoa Powder

Neuhaus Hot Chocolate Cocoa Powder

Anthonys organic cocoa powder is the to-go option if you are looking for the best cocoa powder with a budget-friendly price tag. This product is imported from the Dominican Republic- the home of cocoa.

This organic cocoa powder is naturally gluten-free, and it is made free of preservatives or other artificial ingredients. Since there is no fat and meager calories per serving, Anthonys organic cocoa powder is Paleo-friendly and Keto-friendly.

Thanks to the dark color and delicious flavor, this product is ideal for any baking or cooking application. Since this organic cocoa powder is non-alkalized, it features the rich flavor of chocolate, and it can boost the flavor of smoothies, coffee, oatmeal, and more.

Key Features:

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Best Value To Quantity: Good & Gather Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

A trustworthy cocoa powder that wont invade your wallet can be found with Good and Gather. This kosher product does not contain any of the 8 major allergens and is ready to eat upon opening. Boasting a classic chocolate flavor, you can safely pair this blend with fruit, coffee, beverages, and baked goods. Many loyal users have touted this cocoa as superior in tarts and brownies. A resealable container holds 8 ounces of cocoa. This unsweetened powder is made in the USA.

We Have Curated A List Of The Best Cocoa Powder Options That Will Help You Bake A Delicious Chocolate Cake

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Eating a delicious chocolatey dessert can really brighten up your day and uplift your mood! Whether you want to make yourself a creamy bar of chocolate or you want to snack on a gooey piece of brownie, every good chocolatey dessert needs a very important ingredient, cocoa powder! Cocoa powder is made from roasting and processing cacao beans, and it is rich in antioxidants. Now you might be thinking, how much cocoa is too much? It all depends on the recipe and the quality of cocoa powder you use. Therefore, we have curated a list of the best cocoa powder options that will help you bake a delicious chocolate cake.

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Best Richness In Flavor: Betterbody Foods Organic Cacao Powder

A wise way to satisfy your chocolate cravings, this cacao powder is both healthy and indulgent. Highly rated and adored, this premium powder is pure quality. An excellent balance of sweet and sensible, BetterBody cacao is gluten-free, non-GMO, USDA organic, and even kosher certified. It tastes incredible in baked bread, cakes, muffins, and cookies. For even more variety, try blending it into a shake, or adding a scoop to your waffle or pancake mix. A little bit goes a long way, so you wont need to restock in a hurry!

Best Homemade Chocolate Brownies With Cocoa Powder R

How to Make The Best Hot Chocolate Of All Time (4 ways)
Satisfy your chocolate cravings with Alton Brown’s Cocoa Brownies recipe from Good Eats on Food Network. For a well-balanced brownie, don’t forget the salt.

Provided by Alton Brown

Total TimeCategoryCalories

  • Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan and bake for 45 minutes. Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. When it’s done, remove to a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut into it until it’s mostly cool.




























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Cacao Powder Vs Cocoa Powder

They both start out the same – from the cacao bean. Ever heard of cacao nibs? They’re the cacao beans finely ground up into small pieces.

Cacao powder and nibs are raw and unprocessed and contain the most nutritional benefits.

When cacao beans are roasted and ground up, it becomes cocoa powder. The high temperatures of the roasting process reduce the amount of nutritional properties like polyphenols, which are plant properties and a type of antioxidant that plays a protective role in our health.

However, cocoa powder still has great nutritional value too!

Cacao powder can be expensive. When you compare it to cocoa powder it can be more affordable to buy cocoa powder. So, know you can make the recipe with cocoa powder too!

Cacao powder will taste a bit more bitter but in my opinion – more chocolatey!

How To Make Hot Chocolate

Lets whip this up!

  • First, combine cocoa powder, sugar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil while stirring, until smooth.
  • Add the milk and continue to stir over medium heat, be sure not to boil.
  • Once the cocoa has reached the desired temperature, remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and pour into mugs.
  • Top with whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate chips, sprinkles- whatever youre heart desires and enjoy!
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    How Many Types Of Cocoa Powders Are There

    There are three main types of cocoa powders: brute, Dutch-processed, and natural cocoa. Both brute and Dutch cocoa powders are alkalized. They are made from high-fat cacao beans .

    However, brute cocoa has a richer chocolate flavor and is dark-brown , while Dutch cocoa has a milder chocolatey taste and is a lighter brown. Natural cocoa is not alkalized, and it has a bitter taste. It has a lower fat content and a light brown color.

    Cacao Vs Cocoa Powder

    Cadbury Hot Chocolate Cocoa Powder 250G

    Both cacao and cocoa are derived from the cacao beans that have been stripped of cocoa butter. Their main difference is in the method of processing, nutritional value, color and taste.

    Cacao is purer and more nutritious than cocoa. Cacao is made from roasted cacao beans, usually with no additives added. It has a bitter taste and a lighter color. On the other hand, cocoa is made from fermented then roasted cacao beans processed at extremely high temperatures. In most cases, sugar and milk powder are added to the cocoa powder to make it less bitter and for a darker color.

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