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How to Make Dark Chocolate from Cocoa Powder (Easy)

how to make dark chocolate from cocoa powder

Looking for a quick chocolatey fix? There’s no faster way to make your own than with cocoa powder. Food scientist and chocolate lover Elily Temam explains how to make dark chocolate from cocoa powder, easily and quickly.

While at Chocolatiering we love well-crafted chocolate, especially the homemade bean-to-bar stuff, there is also a place for easy chocolate hacks. If you want to learn about chocolate production but have little cooking experience, or if you want a simple way to share the chocolate-making experience with kids, then starting small with easy ‘hacks’ like this can be a good introduction.

Because, let’s face it, bean-to-bar chocolate making can be a little bit daunting. So, let’s take a break from the serious and proper techniques, and take a peek at how to make dark chocolate with cocoa powder. Don’t expect a craft chocolate experience, but it will probably be enough to satisfy your kids and your spouse’s sweet-tooth for an afternoon. Let’s now hand over to Elily to explain how.

How to Make Dark Chocolate from Cocoa Powder

Author: Elily Temam, Food Scientist

As a chocolate enthusiast, there is no better feeling than making it yourself, because it gives you the freedom to play with different flavor combinations and make different fun shaped chocolates. But to make chocolate from scratch you need the cocoa pod, and it can be a bit intimidating not to mention costly as well. To make chocolate from the pods, it could easily take you a week just to ferment the beans, and sometimes it might not come out right. So, you just resort to the ready-made chocolates from the nearby store.

But don’t be discouraged. There is another way you can make your own dark chocolate, and you don’t need to wait seven days for it. By using cocoa powder you can have the chocolate of your dreams within a couple of hours. With this article you will learn step-by-step how you to make dark chocolate from cocoa powder, easily and quickly. 

Ingredients for Cocoa Powder Chocolate

The first thing you need to do, to make dark chocolate from cocoa powder, is to get the right ingredients. Making cocoa powder chocolates at home only needs a couple of ingredients, and the flavors vary with your preference. Here are the ingredients you need to make your chocolate.

Cocoa Powder

The cocoa powder we use to make dark chocolate is different in a sense that it needs the cocoa solids to be more than 50% to get the bitter sweet chocolate flavor we all know and love. When it comes to the cocoa powder there is further choice on the type we could use to make our chocolate – the first one is unsweetened dark cocoa powder (natural) and Dutch cocoa powder. The choice between these two options is up to you, it is really personal preference. Here is a short description to give you an idea of what their difference is:

  • Dutch cocoa is dark brown and has less of a bitter taste than natural cocoa powder since the cocoa powder is treated with alkaline to tone down the bitterness.
  • Natural cocoa powder is untreated, and unsweetened cocoa powder with an acidic taste.

Since the main ingredient in making our dark chocolate is cocoa powder, we have to use the best one. Some of the brands that are well known are:

  • Hershey’s: Hershey’s is a very well-known chocolate in the United States. In terms of affordability and quality, Hershey’s is preferred by a lot of people. They give you the chance to choose from both of their options, the Hershey’s natural cocoa powder and Hershey’s Dutch processed cocoa powder.
  • Ghirardelli majestic premium cocoa powder: This is the cocoa powder that is a tad fancier. Ghirardelli majestic is 100% cocoa and about 20-22% cocoa butter. Like Hershey’s, Ghirardelli also offers both types of the cocoa powder. 
  • Nestle Toll House: This brand makes natural unsweetened cocoa powder. It is affordable and is low calorie as well. 

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is always a good addition to your chocolate. Coconut gives the chocolate a smooth texture and makes it spreadable.


Honey is nature’s sweetener. Since we will be making dark chocolate, only a little sweetness is needed to fully enjoy it. If you are not a fan of the smell or taste of honey, you can use maple syrup in its place.


The flavorings you decide to use us up to you. Some of my favorite flavorings, that you can use are:

  • Salt; it adds depth to the flavor of your chocolate.
  • Your favorite nuts
  • Shredded coconut

I have listed down more flavor combinations towards the end of the article. Now that you have all the preparation information you need before making your cocoa powder chocolate, let’s move onto the steps needed to make it.

Easy Recipe: How to Make Dark Chocolate from Cocoa Powder

Quantity: 12 pieces/squares.


  • ¼ cup Cocoa Powder (natural or Dutch processed)
  • ¼ cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Honey
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped Nuts or other flavorings of your choice


  1. Lay out your chocolate molds, in preparation.
  2. Put your coconut oil in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 25 to 30 seconds until melted.
  3. Pass the cocoa powder through a sieve, into your melted coconut oil. Mix well with a rubber spatula, until fully combined and smooth.
  4. Add honey, and mix well. If the honey sinks to the bottom of the chocolate or clumps up, microwave for 20 seconds, and stir well.
  5. Once the honey is incorporated, stir in the nuts or other flavorings of your choice.
  6. Pour the chocolate mixture into your molds using a spoon. Place it in the fridge, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until it has set.
  7. Once set, carefully remove the chocolate from the mold. Store chocolates in an airtight container, to prevent it from going bad.

Photographs for How to Make Dark Chocolate with Cocoa Powder

Recipe tested, photographs and captions by Ayla Marika.

dark chocolate cocoa powder ingredients
INGREDIENTS. Dark chocolate cocoa powder ingredients from top left:
(1) Lovely honey from our own bees, (2) Cadbury Bournville Dutch-processed cocoa, (3) Organic coconut oil, (4) Chopped Cashews.
how to make dark chocolate with cocoa powder process step 1
Step 1: Mix the cocoa powder and melted coconut oil together. If the cocoa is lumpy, sieve it first, otherwise sifting is not required.
how to make dark chocolate with cocoa powder process step 2
Step 2: Once combined, it will be a very liquid paste, like icing.
honey clumping step 4
Step 3: Mix in the honey.
Step 4: If the honey clumps together like shown here, microwave for 10-20 seconds. Don’t overcook. The honey will clump if the weather is cold – in my case, it was snowing outside!
making dark chocolate from cocoa powder process step 5
Step 5: Mix in the nuts or other flavor additions. I think coconut would be a great addition, which I’ll do next time.
how to make dark chocolate from cocoa powder process step 6
Step 6: Spoon the cocoa powder chocolate mixture into your mold. I used a simple ice cube tray – not very elegant, but effective.
cocoa chocolate molds step 7
Step 7: Chocolate is ready to go into the fridge.

Recipe Testing Notes:

This recipe creates a soft, fudgy textured ‘chocolate’ as opposed to a hard chocolate. You won’t be able to mold it into pretty shapes, instead expect something a bit more like a chocolate brownie in texture. For a more authentic cocoa powder chocolate, next time I would use cacao butter instead of coconut oil, and instead of honey I would grind the mixture with sugar in a mortar and pestle, in a style similar to that described by Simon in his recipe for making chocolate from cacao nibs. Even though it is not a typical chocolate, it is very more-ish, and should fulfil that chocolate urge if you have none of the real stuff on hand.

Suggested Flavor Combinations

Chocolate is a perfect pairing with a lot of different flavoring options. Now that you have learned how to make chocolate with cocoa powder, you might be wondering what different flavors you can use and combine to customize your chocolate to your liking.

If you are the type of person who likes to spice up your chocolate, here are some hot and fiery flavorings you can use:

  • Chipotle chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Candied ginger
  • …and the best couple in the food world, salt and pepper

If you are more into classic chocolate flavors that are simple and full of depth, then here are a few of them:

  • Salted caramel
  • Shredded coconut
  • Orange or lemon zest
  • Pomegranate

If you had the time, I would list out all of the flavor combinations that goes well with chocolate but for today’s article I think this will suffice. These are some recommendations of the things you can add to your chocolate, but do not limit yourself and explore more.

If the thought of making dark chocolate at home was something you’ve always wanted to do but weren’t able to, I hope this article gives you the push you need to make this delightful treat for you and your loved ones.

Final Thoughts on Making Chocolate with Cocoa Powder

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article from Elily Temam, and that this has inspired you to try your hand at creating some easy homemade dark chocolate with cocoa powder yourself. If you are curious about making chocolate, then this is by far the easiest way to dip your toe in and give it a try. There is very little to lose, and you most likely already have the ingredients at home. It is also a great recipe to try with the kids.

After giving this recipe a try, you might notice a few improvements that could be made, however. You will also probably start to notice that while it gives you a bit of chocolate satisfaction, cocoa powder chocolate is not, well, real chocolate. If this is you, then it’s time to delve a bit deeper. Try your hand at making chocolate from cacao nibs next, which will yield results closer to what you would consider ‘real chocolate’.

And when you’re ready, take the next step into making chocolate from cacao beans. But no need to rush, learning how to make dark chocolate with cocoa powder is a great start, especially if you have little experience in the kitchen or are bringing children into the chocolate-making process with you. The main thing is to have fun, experiment and if things don’t work the first time just try and try again.

Happy chocolatiering!

Article Author

  • Elily Temam

    Elily Temam is a food scientist based in Ethiopia, with a lifelong love for chocolate. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Technology from Arsi University, and is completing her Master’s in Food Science and Nutrition at Addis Ababa University. Elily has professional experience in the dairy industry, runs the Telegram food channel EASY RECIPE, and aspires to become a Chocolatier. She hopes to focus her future research onto global issues including food security, sustainable farming and post-harvest loss reduction. As well as chocolate, cooking and nutrition, Elily enjoys writing, dancing and learning new languages.

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