The 6 Best Substitutes For German Chocolate In Baking

In modern times, our understanding of things like nutrition and dietary conditions have led to the creation of countless alternatives and substitutes – allowing those with even the most restrictive dietary needs to be able to enjoy their food to the fullest. 

This is even true with foods like German chocolate – once an alienating experience for those with dietary restrictions, but now a food that can be enjoyed thanks to numerous different brands and alternatives. 

But this begs the question: what are the best German chocolate alternatives, and what makes them so special? 

The 6 Best Substitutes For German Chocolate In Baking

What Is German Chocolate? 

German chocolate is a common variety of chocolate that is mainly used for baking, but which can also be consumed and eaten normally. 

While German chocolate can be a vague and blanket term for a lot of things, it generally refers to a sweetened, milk chocolate with minimal cocoa – losing the bitter taste of dark chocolate, and making the perfect addition to cakes, baked goods, and sweet snacks. 

How Is It Used In Baking? 

The main reason German chocolate is used in baking is because of the sweetness and delicacy that its flavor is known for.

This makes it a great ingredient to sweeten chocolate cakes, sweet baked goods, and all manner of cupcakes, treats, and desserts – and as such it remains one of the most popular and commonly used ingredients in the confectionery industry. 

The 6 Best German Chocolate Baking Alternatives

Now that we know a little more about German chocolate, and what it is used for, let’s examine some notable substitutes. 

When it comes to using German chocolate for baking, there are many different alternatives you can choose from – each of them offering the same sweetness and flavor palette, but without the undesired effects or ingredients. 

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Bittersweet Chocolate

This is one of the most common substitutes for German chocolate, and as its name suggests, it strikes the perfect balance between the intense cocoa flavors, and the delicate sweetness most people want from their cakes and baked goods. 

This really goes with anything, just like traditional chocolate, and for those looking to mimic the taste of the original, you could always add a little teaspoon of sugar just to sweeten the pot. 

However, for those looking for a subtler flavor, this is the one to choose!

2. Semi-Sweet Chocolate

If you’re looking for chocolate that still has a little sweetness, and without the harsh bitterness of raw chocolate, then semi-sweet chocolate might be the ingredient for you. 

This contains a lot less dairy and sugar than German chocolate, but adds a nice little jolt of sweetness to any baking recipe. 

With this alternative, the differences really are minimal, and it can be a great addition to baked goods, cakes, and any other sweet treat you might have in mind. 

3. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

For those looking to cut down on the sugar, but who have a penchant for baking, why not give unsweetened cocoa powder a try? 

This is marginally healthier than other kinds of baking chocolate, and while still containing some sugar, it has a much lower content than the regular cocoa. 

This can be a great addition to cakes, baked goods, and all manner of dishes. Be warned though, use sparingly, and combine with butter and a spoonful of sugar for baking. Also, just to make things clear, this is baking only, not for snacking!

4. Raw Chocolate

Raw chocolate is the intensely bitter form of dark chocolate commonly consumed by those on restrictive diets like the ketogenic diet.

Containing no dairy products, this is certainly an acquired taste, and not recommended for the faint hearted – possessing a harsh, bitter flavor palette that is perhaps one of the most polarizing in the world. 

However, if you have the inclination, and want to do some baking, then this can be a great ingredient that can be combined with other sweet additions to make some tasty goods. 

5. Carob Powder

For those who are allergic to dairy products, or who suffer from lactose intolerance, then carob powder is one of the best substitutes you can get. 

Taken from the seed pods of the carob tree, carob powder is a sweet, tasty alternative to chocolate, and one that can have numerous applications with baking and cooking. 

Be warned though, carob can already be quite sweet, which means you will need to amend your sugar content carefully when baking. 

6. Vegan Chocolate

Last on our list, but by no means least, we have vegan chocolate – a vague term, but a product that comes in numerous different iterations and styles, allowing those who follow vegan lifestyles to enjoy chocolate without the dairy content, or the unethical processes involved in sugar refinement. 

These are a great addition to a vegan diet, and are perfect when you just feel like something a little sweet after your lunch or evening meal. 

Why Might People Need Alternatives? 

As you can imagine, there are several reasons why people might need alternatives to German chocolate – allowing them to bake and snack without having to worry about compromising their dietary needs. 

Lactose Intolerance

Most forms of chocolate have some form of milk included within it, and this means that those with intolerances to lactose can suffer from various side effects if they consume it. 

Once upon a time this might have made things like baking quite difficult, but with new and improved options and alternatives, things have never been better. 


With the dairy content comes a clash with veganism, meaning that those who follow the lifestyle – and as such do not consume animal products like milk – require an alternative to chocolate to allow them to bake and snack. 

This is where vegan options come into play, delivering all the taste and enjoyment of traditional German chocolate, albeit in an ethically produced way. 

Health Reasons

People might also have certain health conditions that could facilitate the need for chocolate alternatives. This could be the case for those with type 2 diabetes, or for those looking to lose weight and take better care of their heart. 

In this case, sugar is a big no-no, and an ingredient most people try to avoid under these circumstances. However, for those looking to explore alternatives, there are numerous safe substitutes they can enjoy. 

Personal Preference

Of course, it could just be a case of personal preference, and they might not like the taste or flavor of German chocolate in their baking. 

This means that new alternatives are needed, and luckily there are numerous choices for them to choose from on the modern market – including dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, and all manner of vegan friendly options. 

Making The Right Choice For You

When it comes to making the right choice for you and your family, it is important to take into account the issues or concerns you have with traditional German chocolate, and to plan accordingly. 

This means that if you suffer from dairy allergies, then you should opt for alternatives that contain as little as possible. Likewise, if you are a vegan household, then you should choose something that adheres to those principles. 

Also, it is important to take into account what dish you intend to make – as certain alternatives are better suited to different things.

Cold, creamy desserts might suit actual chocolate better, whereas cakes might be more versatile in what substitutes you can choose. 

This is where planning, consideration, and research come into play – ensuring you can make the best choice for your (and your family’s) dietary requirements. 

Final Thoughts

And there we have it, everything you need to know about German chocolate, its various uses within baking, and the best alternatives on the market today. 

It’s true that certain foods can prove tricky for a lot of people – especially those with health conditions and dietary requirements to contend with.

Luckily though, our continued awareness has led to there being more options than ever before, allowing those with even the most restrictive diets to be able to enjoy their food to the fullest. 

So if you are looking for the best German chocolate alternatives, then be sure to give some of these a try. Something tells me you won’t be disappointed!

The 6 Best Substitutes For German Chocolate In Baking

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


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Want to find the best substitutes for German chocolate? Check out this handy guide for everything you need to know!


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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