Chocolatiering DIY Chocolate Making

How to Make Dark Chocolate Sweeter

how to make dark chocolate sweeter

Dark chocolate not your thing? Food scientist Elily Temam explains how to make dark chocolate sweeter, so you can finally enjoy it the way YOU want to.

Dark chocolate is the first choice for chocolate lovers that want to experience chocolate in its natural form, well, at least close to the unaltered version like the one the Mayans used to consume. Dark chocolate’s depth of flavor and its bittersweet taste is one of the most beloved things in the realm of chocolatiers. This dark chocolate taste is due to the cocoa solid-to-sweetener ratio, ranging from 50 to 90% cocoa solids.

Although dark chocolate is undeniably one of the best chocolate types there is, not everyone feels the same way. People’s preferences vary and they might find dark chocolates’ bitter taste to be a bit overwhelming, particularly above 70%. A way to overcome that bitterness is to sweeten the chocolate.

This article will show you how to make dark chocolate sweeter, so you can finally make use of that block of dark chocolate sitting in your pantry.

Sweeteners You Can Use to Make Dark Chocolate Sweeter

If you want to make your dark chocolate sweeter, there are a couple of sweetener options in stock.


Nature’s favorite sweetener comes in first. Honey is known for having a slightly thicker and stickier texture, but this property of honey doesn’t affect your chocolate’s texture, that is, if you use the honey in a small amount.

Maple syrup

This is a good option for those who aren’t a fan of honey. Maple syrup is one of pancakes’ favorite toppings, and we all know maple syrup’s texture to be thinner than that of honey. If too much is used it might make your chocolate runny and thin.


Stevia is a good option when you want all the sweetness but none of the calories. Stevia is also a great option for people with diabetes. Although stevia is a great replacement for granulated sugar it is around 300 times sweeter than sugar, so we need to be careful with the amount we use.

Granulated sugar

This one is an oldie but a goodie. Adding sugar to your chocolate can be tricky to do if improperly dissolved (or not ground in using a conche) it makes our chocolate have a grainy texture. Powdered sugar is a finer alternative to granulated sugar, you can consider.

Sugar syrup

This is a liquid version of sugar, made from water and granulated sugar. It is a better option since it is not going to have a grainy texture.


Some fruits pair very well with dark chocolate. Examples include banana, shredded coconut, cherries, pears, and raisins. These fruits are a good way to balance the bitterness of the dark chocolate.

Milk Chocolate

Another way you can make your unsweetened chocolate sweeter is by using milk chocolate. Milk chocolate’s main ingredients are sugar, milk solids, cocoa butter, and sometimes a flavorant; these ingredients make milk chocolate sweeter and creamier than dark chocolate.

How to Make Dark Chocolate Sweeter

Before you start adding your sweeteners, the first thing that needs to be done is to melt the chocolate. There are two popular methods used to melt your chocolate; the double boiler method and the microwave method.

These instructions are based on a 3.5oz quantity of chocolate. Adjust as required for the quantity you have.

How to Melt Dark Chocolate before Sweetening

Double Boiler Method

For this method you will need a double-boiler, or a saucepan and a bowl that is heat safe and can sit on top of the saucepan safely.

  1. In the saucepan fill 1-2 inches of water and boil it on the stove.
  2. Once it comes to a simmer reduce the heat to low.
  3. Get your dark chocolate and chop it into equal pieces or grate it.
  4. Put your chopped or grated chocolate in the bowl, and place it over the saucepan of simmering water.
  5. Mix with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, until melted.

Microwave Method

  1. Measure the chocolate amount you need and chop it to equal pieces or grate it.
  2. Transfer the chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl.
  3. Place it in the microwave for 60 seconds. Stir.
  4. Repeat Step 4 as many times as necessary until it’s evenly melted, lump free and smooth.

How to Sweeten Unsweetened Chocolate (Dark Chocolate)

With every sweetener that you use, there is a different outcome in the texture of the chocolate. However, the method used for how to make dark chocolate sweeter is basically the same for all sweeteners.

NOTE: These are simple instructions that do not temper the chocolate before molding. If you prefer to temper your chocolate before molding, then make sure to check out our instructions for tempering chocolate in this article before starting.

Let’s begin.


For 3.5-ounce chocolate use 1 tablespoon of honey.

  1. Melt your chocolate, as instructed above.
  2. Mix in the honey, and stir until combined well.
  3. Taste the chocolate to make sure it is to your liking.
  4. After you have taste-tested and adjusted the honey, pour your chocolate into a mold.
  5. Let it set in the fridge.

Remember: Too much honey will make your chocolate sticky and it will not set.

Maple Syrup

Your starting point for the amount to use in your 3.5oz of unsweetened chocolate should be 1 tablespoon, and add in more maple syrup if you would like it to be sweeter, or more melted dark chocolate if it is too sweet.

  1. Melt your chocolate, as instructed above.
  2. Mix in maple syrup, and stir until combined.  
  3. Taste the chocolate to make sure it is to your liking, and add more maple syrup if desired.
  4. Pour your chocolate into a mold, and let it set in the fridge.

Remember: Too much maple syrup will make your chocolate runny and it will not set.


To the melted 3.5-ounce chocolate, use a quarter to half a teaspoon of stevia powder. Since stevia is about 300 times sweeter, we only need a small amount to get the same effect we do when we use large amounts of sugar.

  1. Follow the instructions above for melting the chocolate, then mix in the stevia powder.
  2. After mixing your stevia and chocolate together, check the sweetness level and adjust as desired.
  3. Pour it into a mold and let it set.

Granulated Sugar

For a 3.5-ounce chocolate use 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Repeat the same process mentioned above for the other sweeteners, tasting it and adjusting it to your liking.

NOTE: Granulated sugar will give your chocolate a grainy texture. You can avoid this by using powdered sugar instead.

Sugar Syrup

For 3.5oz of chocolate, add 1 tablespoon of sugar syrup. Sugar syrup is a simple solution of sugar and water. This is a better option than granulated sugar since it will not cause the chocolate to have a grainy texture. To use it, add the simple syrup to the dark chocolate in the same way as instructed for honey or maple syrup.

NOTE: Like honey and maple syrup, too much sugar syrup will make your chocolate runny.


By making use of fruits that pair very well with dark chocolate or using different candied versions of those fruits, you can enhance your chocolate’s sweetness level. The amount you put in or the type of fruit you choose is up to you, so choose carefully. You can also make a fruit platter with that selection of fruits and serve the chocolate melted along with the fruits, that will make a great party snack and it looks fancy too.

NOTE: Do not use fresh fruit if you are storing the chocolate, as it will rot.

Milk Chocolate

To incorporate milk chocolate into your dark chocolate only requires the milk chocolate you wish to use and the dark chocolate you want to sweeten.

  1. Get equal parts of dark chocolate and equal parts of milk chocolate.
  2. Chop and place chocolate into a bowl. Your bowl of choice depends on which type of chocolate melting technique you want to use (see melting instructions above).
  3. Stir to make sure the chocolate melts uniformly and has a smooth consistency.
  4. Check to make sure the taste is to your liking, and adjust as needed.

Additional Tips For How to Make Dark Chocolate Sweeter

Like every recipe, to get the level of sweetness you would like to achieve, the best way to go is to taste and adjust it as you are cooking.

If you want to add a flavorant (like vanilla, orange/lemon zest, chili powder, peppermint, etc.) do so after you melt your chocolate.

If you are looking to add more of a complex flavor to your chocolate rather than adjusting the sweetness level, here are some things to add to your chocolate to get the flavor profile you are looking for.

  • Sea Salt: Dark chocolate’s bitter taste is due to its acidity level, so the use of an alkaline salt is bound to tone down the bitter flavor of the cocoa solid and give it depth in flavor.
  • Cheese: Rather than dismissing your dark chocolate, instead try enjoying its qualities by pairing it with cheese. There are varieties of cheese that pair very well with dark chocolate according to Cheese Grotto and those are; Comte, gruyere, pleasant ridge river, Beaufort, Farmhouse cheddar, and medium-aged goudas for dark chocolate with about 70 to 80% of cocoa solids.

Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article from chocolate-lover food scientist Elily Temam. As you can now see, there are several methods for how to make dark chocolate sweeter, using a variety of sweeteners. The best one really depends on your personal preference, since sweeteners do add their own flavor and unique qualities.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Maple syrup, honey and sugar syrup will make your chocolate runny or sticky if used too much. This is a good option if you’re making chocolate sauce or syrup, but not if you want a solid block.
  • Granulated sugar will make your chocolate grainy. Try powdered sugar as an alternative.
  • Stevia is a great option for keeping the same chocolate texture, but many people don’t like the flavor.
  • Candied fruit is also a great way to add sweetness to your chocolate (as are marshmallows). Try making rocky road, and you’ll see how dark chocolate perfectly balances with the sweet marshmallow and candied fruit or Turkish delight.
  • Melting dark chocolate and milk chocolate together is probably the best way to sweeten your unsweetened chocolate. But of course, means you need to have milk chocolate you’re willing to give up.

Lastly, how about you try (ahem) just eating your dark chocolate unsweetened? A good way to introduce yourself to it is through cheese, as strange as that sounds. Add some dark chocolate to your next cheese platter and give it a try, who knows, maybe it will convert you to a dark chocolate lover.

Next, learn how to mold your chocolate properly for a really great finish to your sweetened dark chocolate.

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.

    View all posts