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Can you use Hershey’s cocoa for baking?

Hershey’s cocoa powder is one of the most popular cocoa powders available and can definitely be used for baking. However, there are some important things to consider when using Hershey’s cocoa versus other cocoa powders.

The Difference Between Hershey’s Cocoa and Other Cocoa Powders

The main difference between Hershey’s cocoa and other cocoa powders is that Hershey’s is a “Dutched” cocoa powder. This means it has been processed with an alkalizing agent to neutralize its natural acidity and give it a milder flavor. Other cocoa powders are 100% cacao and retain their natural acidity and intense chocolate flavor.

Here are some key differences between Hershey’s cocoa and natural cocoa powder:

  • Hershey’s has a milder, more mellow chocolate flavor compared to natural cocoa.
  • It has a darker color than natural cocoa powder.
  • It does not react the same way when baking, so recipe adjustments may be needed.
  • It has a higher fat content (around 12%) than natural cocoa powder (around 10-12%).

Both Hershey’s cocoa and natural cocoa can be used successfully in baking, but they will impact the final product a bit differently. Keep this in mind when substituting one for the other in recipes.

Using Hershey’s Cocoa in Baked Goods

Here are some tips for using Hershey’s cocoa powder successfully in baking:


Hershey’s cocoa works well in most cake recipes, as its milder flavor allows other ingredients like vanilla and spices to shine. It produces a cake with a dark color but more subtle chocolate taste.

Since Hershey’s cocoa has a higher fat content, you may need to adjust the recipe by reducing butter or other fats slightly. Too much total fat can result in a dense or heavy cake.


The higher fat content of Hershey’s cocoa makes it a good choice for cookies, keeping them moist and chewy. Its mellow flavor is ideal in cookies with mix-ins like chocolate chips, nuts, or fruit.

You may want to slightly increase the Hershey’s cocoa called for in cookie recipes that use natural cocoa. This will account for its lighter flavor and produce a richer chocolate taste.


Hershey’s cocoa is the preferred cocoa powder for making fudgy, chewy brownies. The fat in Hershey’s cocoa allows the brownies to retain moisture for a pleasant, dense texture.

You can generally substitute Hershey’s cocoa in equal amounts when the recipe calls for natural cocoa. Adjust to taste if you prefer a more intense chocolate flavor.


The milder cocoa flavor of Hershey’s cocoa allows other muffin flavors like fruit, cinnamon, and vanilla to come through. Its darker color also provides nice visual appeal.

When adapting recipes that use natural cocoa, you may need to increase the Hershey’s cocoa by 1-2 tablespoons for more color and moisture.

Frostings and Fillings

Hershey’s cocoa works wonderfully in buttercream frostings, ganaches, and chocolate fillings. Its high fat content and smooth texture make it ideal for flavoring frostings.

For a deeper chocolate taste, use 25-50% more Hershey’s cocoa compared to natural cocoa when substituting.

Tips for Baking Success

Here are some top tips to ensure baking success when using Hershey’s cocoa powder:

  • Sift the cocoa powder before using to remove any lumps.
  • Mix the cocoa powder with hot water or other liquids before adding to the batter. This improves its ability to dissolve.
  • Adjust recipe fat, leavening, and liquids as needed based on the higher fat content of Hershey’s cocoa.
  • Add 25-50% more Hershey’s cocoa powder compared to natural cocoa when substituting.
  • Store opened Hershey’s cocoa powder in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Recommended Recipes Using Hershey’s Cocoa

Here are some delicious recipes that use Hershey’s cocoa powder:


  • Mississippi Mud Cake – Dense, fudgy cake with marshmallowy frosting
  • Hershey’s Best Brownies – Ultra thick and chewy brownies
  • Hershey’s Cocoa Fudge – Rich, chocolatey homemade fudge
  • Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling – Tender chocolate cupcakes and silky filling


  • Hershey’s Cocoa Cookies – Chewy, chocolatey cookies
  • Double Chocolate Chip Cookies – Packed with chocolate flavor
  • Chocolate Crackle Cookies – Crispy outside and fudgy inside
  • Cocoa Shortbread – Buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread

Everyday Treats

  • Chocolate Banana Bread – Dense, moist banana bread with chocolate swirl
  • Chocolate Zucchini Bread – Delicious way to use up zucchini
  • Chocolate Chip Muffins – Bakery-style chocolate chip muffins
  • Chocolate Granola Bars – Chewy, crunchy granola bars with chocolate chunks

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Hershey’s cocoa powder the same as baking cocoa?

No, Hershey’s cocoa powder is a “Dutched” cocoa that has been processed and neutralized. Baking cocoa is 100% cacao that retains its natural acidity and intense chocolate flavor.

Can you substitute Hershey’s cocoa for baking cocoa?

Yes, you can substitute Hershey’s cocoa for natural baking cocoa in recipes. However, some adjustments may be needed such as using 25-50% more Hershey’s cocoa and reducing other fats slightly.

Is Hershey’s cocoa powder alkalized?

Yes, Hershey’s cocoa powder is alkalized or “Dutched” through processing with an alkalizing agent. This reduces acidity and gives it a milder flavor compared to natural cocoa.

What is the difference between cocoa and cacao?

Cocoa and cacao both refer to products made from the cacao bean. However, “cacao” most often refers to less processed products that retain more antioxidants and nutrients from the bean. “Cocoa” refers to more processed and alkalized products like Hershey’s cocoa powder.

Can you use Hershey’s cocoa in a mole sauce?

No, Hershey’s cocoa would not be the best choice for an authentic mole sauce. Mole sauces are based on Mexican-style cocoa powders that retain their natural acidity and work well with the other spices and chiles. Natural baking cocoa would be a better substitute.


Hershey’s cocoa can be used successfully in baking with some recipe adjustments. While it has a milder chocolate flavor, its higher fat content gives baked goods a moist, tender texture. Sift before using and store in an airtight container after opening. When substituting Hershey’s cocoa for natural cocoa, you may need to increase the amount by 25-50% and reduce other fats slightly. With its widespread availability and versatility, Hershey’s cocoa is a useful staple ingredient for any baker.