Can You Make Cocoa Powder From Chocolate? – Do This Instead

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Nothing is quite as quintessential as warming up with a delicious mug of hot chocolate after spending an afternoon playing outside in the snow.

But what happens if you get inside and realize that you forgot to add cocoa powder to this week’s shopping list?

Don’t worry! So long as you have some chocolate on hand you will be able to make a delicious cup of hot chocolate that will have you wondering why you ever used regular old cocoa powder in the first place. 

So, can you make cocoa powder from chocolate? Due to the fat content, usually from cocoa butter, you can’t make cocoa powder from chocolate. However, you can take your chocolate and make a delicious ganache which you can then use as a creamy concentrate for your hot chocolate. 

Read on to discover why you can’t make cocoa powder from chocolate, how to make a perfect chocolate ganache, how to make your hot chocolate from ganache, and more! 

What’s The Difference Between Cocoa Powder And Chocolate?

First off, we should establish an understanding of what the difference is between cocoa powder and chocolate. Cocoa powder is the dried, often roasted powder that is created when all the cocoa butter has been extracted from the cocoa bean. 

To make this powder, the cocoa beans are fermented, dried, then roasted and cracked into little pieces called nibs.

These nibs are then crushed so that about 75% of the cocoa butter is removed and the product that is left is called chocolate liquor

The chocolate liquor is dried out and ground into the cocoa powder that we see on the grocery store shelves.

To make a long story short, during the processing of the cocoa bean the cocoa butter is extracted and the remaining solids are dried and ground into the powder we know as cocoa. 

The powder is unsweetened, though if you’re buying a hot chocolate mix they will often have some sweetener added in. 

The main difference between cocoa powder and chocolate is that chocolate has the cocoa powder and cocoa butter separated, but then they are added back together once processed

Chocolate often includes an emulsifier, such as lecithin, to bond the cocoa powder and cocoa butter together. Also, chocolate is typically sweetened, though as we will see below, that isn’t always the case. 

With that said, that fat content can actually make your hot chocolate even creamier, more delicious, and even taste more richly of chocolate since the cocoa butter has a strong chocolate aroma.

In fact, if I only have cocoa powder at home I will usually add a little knob of cocoa butter for extra flavor. 

Now that you know the difference between cocoa powder and chocolate, you can see that unless you have special equipment to extract the cocoa butter from your chocolate you won’t be able to make cocoa powder from chocolate.

There are a couple of different types of cocoa powder that you can come across in the stores including: 

  • Raw Cacao: This form of powder hasn’t been roasted or Dutched, like the other forms of cocoa powder. It is typically a little stronger tasting than other types of cocoa, but is a lighter brownish-red color. Other cocoas will be a darker brown/black.
  • Dutch Processed: This type of chocolate comes from cocoa beans that have been washed in a mixture made from potassium carbonate. The mixture alkalizes the cocoa powder, which means it removes some of its acidity. 
  • Natural Cocoa: As the name suggests, this cocoa powder has just been dried and roasted, with no alkalizing solution added. That makes the flavor a little more bitter and acidic, but still delicious. It works best in recipes that call for baking soda. 

Chocolate can come in a variety of sweetness levels including: 

  • 100% Baker’s Chocolate Bars: this form is perfect for folks who do a lot of baking and like to add their own sweetener to their recipes. 
  • Dark Chocolate Bars: These bars can range from 40% to 90% dark. The higher the percentage, the less sweetener there is in the bar. This style is great for snacking and for using to make ganaches and other chocolate treats. Just adjust sweetness ratios accordingly.
  • Milk Chocolate Bars: As the name suggests, these chocolate bars have dairy added to them to make them even creamier. They are often a little higher in sweetener and make perfect snacking chocolate. They will do in a pinch for baking and desserts though. 

As you can see there is quite a difference between cocoa powder and chocolate, though both can be fabulous choices to make hot chocolate. Keep reading for all the inside information on how to make the most delicious hot chocolate ever. 

Can You Make Cocoa Powder From Chocolate?

As we’ve already covered, cocoa powder is made from the dried chocolate liquor of the cocoa bean that has had most of the cocoa butter (fat) removed.

Chocolate, on the other hand, is a delicious combination of cocoa powder, cocoa butter, an emulsifier, and typically some sweetener. 

Unless you have a special machine that allows you to extract the cocoa butter from the chocolate, then you’re not going to be able to make cocoa powder from chocolate.

However, that doesn’t mean you won’t still be able to make a delicious cup of hot chocolate. 

There are a couple of methods you can use to transform your chocolate bar into a rich and creamy mug of hot chocolate, but my favorite is to make a ganache. You can then use this ganache as a concentrate for your hot chocolate.

From that base, you can decide if you want to add steamed/warmed milk, peppermint, cinnamon, maple syrup, or any other delicious flavorings to make your perfectly customized cup. 

What Is Cocoa Butter?

Cocoa butter is the fat that is pressed out of the cocoa nib during processing. It is a saturated fat that has a beautiful chocolatey aroma and can be used in sweet and savory cooking.

Even though it’s called butter, there is no dairy in it, which makes it a great fat choice for vegans.

The flavor of cocoa butter is pretty mild, but it adds an extra dimension to chocolate bars and hot chocolate.

It also holds its texture at room temperature, which makes it perfect for use in chocolate bars and other desserts. If you want to get fancy, you can even temper it for that perfect snap. 

The inclusion of cocoa butter is the main difference between chocolate and cocoa powder. The latter having had most of the cocoa butter removed. 

How To Make Chocolate Ganache 

Making a chocolate ganache is pretty easy. Most recipes only require 2 ingredients: chocolate and heavy cream. Depending on the type of chocolate you use, your ganache will be more or less sweet. 

In order to prevent your chocolate from seizing and separating, make sure that you don’t get any water in either the cream or the chocolate bowl. Water makes the molecules in the chocolate seize up and it can be annoying and difficult to fix.

You also want to make sure that you don’t use a whisk to combine your chocolate since it can incorporate too much air in the mixture. This method can cause the fat to separate and leave you with a greasy mess. 

Since you’re using this as a concentrate for your hot chocolate, you can always add more sweetener, but you can’t take it away if it’s already in the ganache.

That’s why I typically recommend using a semi-sweet or dark chocolate bar to make the ganache. 

From there you can then add your own sweetener to your cup depending on your preference that day. You can also add in other flavors like peppermint, cinnamon, clove, steamed milk, or anything else that makes your taste buds sing. 

Follow this recipe to make a creamy and decadent ganache for your perfect hot chocolate! 


  • 8 oz of semi-sweet chocolate bars
  • 1 cup of heavy cream


  1. Chop your chocolate into small pieces. You want them small so that they can melt into the cream. Large chunks will take a lot longer and may impact the consistency of your ganache.
  2. Place the chopped chocolate into a heat-proof metal bowl and set aside. 
  3. Place a saucepan on the stove and add the heavy cream. 
  4. Heat your cream over medium heat until it comes to a gentle simmer with some steam. DO NOT boil your cream as it can scorch the milk and ruin the flavor. 
  5. Once your cream is heated, pour it over the chocolate and then let the mixture sit for 2-3 minutes to allow the chocolate to soften. 
  6. After 2-3 minutes, find a rubber spatula and very gently and slowly stir the mixture until all the chocolate has melted and everything has combined completely. 
  7. Once you’ve made your ganache you can use it as is or allow it to set up for 3-4 hours in the fridge. The longer you let it set up, the firmer it will become.

When it is first made it will be more liquidy and as it sits it will firm up and become pipeable. 

What To Do If Your Chocolate Didn’t Melt

If your chocolate won’t melt fully, then that is a sign that your cream wasn’t hot enough or that your chocolate chunks were too big.

Do not put it in the microwave, since this doesn’t heat the cream evenly and could burn your mixture

Make a double boiler by placing a glass or metal bowl over a saucepan with some water in it. Do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl or it can burn your chocolate. 

Bring the water in the saucepan to boil, then reduce to simmer, and gently stir your ganache with a rubber spatula until fully melted.

Once done, remove the bowl from the saucepan and let your ganache cool on the counter for 2 hours

How To Cool Your Ganache

If you want to cool your ganache you have a couple of options. You can let it sit on the counter for 2 hours to set. This method takes a little more time, but the cooling process will be relatively even so it won’t impact the texture. 

You could also place your ganache in the fridge. However, this method may not cool your ganache evenly, so make sure you give it a gentle stir with your spatula every so often to maintain the smooth and creamy texture. 

How To Store Your Ganache

If you plan on freezing and using your ganache to make hot chocolate then I suggest storing it in individual portions to make it easier to use.

I will typically use about 1/4 cup ganache mix per mug of hot chocolate, so that would be a good portion size. It will last about 3 months in the freezer

However, if you know you will use all of your ganache within five days, then you can store it in the fridge. I suggest storing it in a glass jar with a piece of plastic wrap pressed onto the top of the ganache, then sealed tightly with a lid. 

Always use a clean spoon to remove your ganache from the container to prevent any contamination that could cause it to spoil. 

How To Make Hot Chocolate With Chocolate Ganache

Now that you’ve made a perfect decadent chocolate ganache you can use it to make a creamy hot chocolate. Follow these instructions and you’ll be sipping on decadence in no time! 


  • 1.5 cups of milk or water
  • 1/4 cup chocolate ganache 
  • a pinch of sea salt

Optional Additions:

  • a dash of cinnamon 
  • maple syrup 
  • a couple of drops of peppermint extract 
  • whipped cream


  1. Heat your milk or dairy alternative to a gentle simmer (you want to see a couple of bubbles and some steam) in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not bring it to a rapid boil since this can scorch the milk. 
  2. Once heated, stir in the ganache, sea salt, and any other additions until the chocolate is fully melted. 
  3. Pour the mixture into your mug, top with whipped cream, and enjoy! 

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