Cocoa Powder : Natural or Dutch-Process?



Hello, my dear readers!

Christmas is around the corner and there is lot of  baking going on ….. lot of COCOA POWDER being used in our kitchens.

Did you know there are two types of cocoa powder & they shouldn’t  substitute one for the other in recipes?

However, according to Fine Cooking magazine, “You can substitute natural cocoa powder for Dutch-process in most recipes (though not vice versa). Flavor and texture can be affected, but generally only in recipes calling for 3/4 cup (75 g) or more.”


How many of you just had the A-HA moment?

….. perhaps recipe that didn’t turn out …..  you tried it over and over & couldn’t figure out what went wrong?

….. and the culprit was Cocoa Powder?


I’ve been there …. I was novice baker once ….. and I did make cocoa powder mistakes as experiences baker …..


Well, no more mishaps in the kitchen …. no more chocolate recipes that didn’t turn out … today I will teach you the difference between Cocoa Powder & Cocoa Powder.



Cocoa powder is made by roasting Cocoa Beans and grounding them into to a paste. The thick paste is pressed between hydraulic plates, which squeezes out more then half of it’s cocoa butter. Remaining cocoa solids ( hard disk of cocoa powder) are grated into a fine cocoa powder……


….. this is what we know as NATURAL COCOA POWDER …..

Natural cocoa powder  has an intense bittersweet flavor with high natural acidity and full fruity flavor. It gives cakes, cookies, brownies and other baking goods deep chocolate flavor. Natural cocoa being an acid is used in recipes with baking soda (an alkali).


… second type of cocoa powder is DUTCH-PROCESS COCOA POWDER …..

Dutch-process cocoa powder is made from cocoa beans that have been washed with a potassium solution to neutralize their acidity. This process is called Dutching. It neutralizes cocoa powder and it gives it darker color and milder flavor.

Dutch-process cocoa powder is used in recipes with baking powder (an acid) unless the recipe calls for other acidic ingredients in sufficient quantities.




You might come across a recipe calling for BLACK COCOA POWDER ….. don’t stress …. this is just heavily Dutched  (super-alkalized) cocoa powder and is usually used in combination with another cocoa powder as color booster.


I don’t think you can buy Black Cocoa Powder in any supermarket, but King Arthur Flour sells it online. Closest substitution for Black Cocoa Powder in local supermarkets is Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder.



Natural Unsweetened Cocoa PowderGhirardelli, Hershey’s, Scharffen Berger, Nestlé


Dutch-Process Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – Droste, Valrhona, Hershey’s, Pernigotti, Callebaut,


This cocoa powder talk made me crave some good chocolate cake …. I am off to bake something ……


Don’t forget …. Keep Smiling …. Keep Cooking!







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© Copyright 2012FoodieBibi, All rights Reserved. Written For: Bibi's Culinary Journey

8 Responses to “Cocoa Powder : Natural or Dutch-Process?”

  1. Debra says:

    Thank you so much for this! I often wondered, now I know!
    Debra recently posted..Jubilation, with a False NoteMy Profile

  2. Kris says:

    Very interesting, and VERY good to know! Thanks for sharing :)
    Kris recently posted..Pumpkin Roll BarsMy Profile

  3. Raquel says:

    Oh wow! I had not known about this. Thank you Bibi! Of course now I am hungry for some chocolate. Can’t wait to see what you whipped up!
    Raquel recently posted..Gingerbread CupcakesMy Profile

  4. kiwik says:

    hi !

    I would like to make this chocolate cupcake recipe that I found on internet, and it requires dutch-processed cocoa powder … Since I live in Paris and that I can’t find it anywhere, is it okay if I use normal cocoa powder, Van Houten’s for example ? Will the result be the same ?

    Thx so much in advance !

    • FoodieBibi says:

      “You can substitute natural cocoa powder for Dutch-process in most recipes (though not vice versa). Flavor and texture can be affected, but generally only in recipes calling for 3/4 cup (75 g) or more.”

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