What is Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder and When To Use It!

In this PIATTO ™ guide, we answer your burning questions: What is Dutch processed cocoa powder? When do I use it instead of natural cocoa powder? Let’s go!

Cocoa powder is an essential ingredient in many baked goods, desserts, and beverages. There are two main types of cocoa powder: Dutch processed cocoa powder and natural cocoa powder. While they may look similar, there are some key differences between the two that can affect the flavor and texture of your final product.

sifting dutch processed cocoa

What is Dutch Processed Cocoa?

Dutch processed cocoa powder is treated with an alkali to neutralize its acidity, resulting in a darker color, smoother texture, and milder, less bitter taste than natural cocoa powder. This process also makes this variety of cocoa powder more soluble in liquids, which is why it’s often used in hot cocoa mixes, hot chocolate recipes and chocolate syrups. Its lower acidity also makes it a good choice for recipes that call for baking soda, which needs an alkaline ingredient to react with in order to create carbon dioxide and make baked goods rise.

  • more soluble in liquids
  • paired with baking soda, the reaction between the two makes baked goods rise higher
hot chocolate with both cocoa powder and chocolate

What is Natural Cocoa Powder?

On the other hand, natural cocoa powder is made by simply grinding roasted cocoa beans into a fine powder. It has a reddish-brown color, a slightly acidic taste, and a more intense, bitter chocolate flavor than Dutch processed.

Because it is more acidic, it’s often paired with baking powder in recipes, which needs an acid to react with in order to create carbon dioxide and leaven baked goods. Natural cocoa powder is also a good choice for recipes where the chocolate flavor is meant to be the star, such as chocolate cake or brownies.

Which to Cocoa Powder to Use?

So, when should you use each type of cocoa powder in your recipes? If your recipe calls for baking soda, it’s best to use cocoa powder that is Dutch processed. However, if your recipe calls for baking powder, natural cocoa powder is usually a fine choice.

If you want a milder, less bitter chocolate flavor, use the Dutch processed variety. If you want a more intense chocolate flavor, use natural cocoa powder. It’s important to note that these differences may not always be interchangeable in recipes, so it’s best to follow the recipe’s instructions carefully.

In summary, cocoa powder that is dutch processed and natural cocoa powder have different characteristics that can affect the flavor, texture, and leavening of your baked goods. By understanding these differences and choosing the right type of cocoa powder for your recipe, you can achieve the best results possible in your chocolatey creations. Buon appetito!

PIATTO™ Recipes with Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder!

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About the author

Classic recipes from Italy and beyond. Traditional Italian Cooking and Mediterranean Diet recipes!

PIATTO™ Recipes bring traditional Italian food recipes to your table with our tested, step-by-step recipes and videos. You'll find the best Italian recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Always tested, always delicious.

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