Can You Use Nesquik Instead of Cocoa Powder

Can You Use Nesquik Instead of Cocoa Powder
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Cooking is an art that requires very specific ingredients. If you are a professional chef then you’ll likely be able to tweak your recipes to your liking, replacing and removing ingredients as you see fit.

For the rest of us who are not as experienced, we often find ourselves wondering about substitutes that can be used for various items. One of those common ingredients that people tend to run out of is cocoa powder.

So, what do you do if you find yourself wanting to make a chocolate cake but you don’t have any cocoa powder? You find a substitute of course. One of the closest substitutes that comes to mind is Nesquik, but can you use Nesquik as a replacement for cocoa powder?

Continue below for the answer.

Can Cocoa Powder Be Replaced With Nesquik?

Can Cocoa Powder Be Replaced With Nesquik?

Yes, it most definitely can. In fact, it is probably the only substitute that will not result in a major difference in terms of taste. Neither will there be a major difference in texture or appearance. Note that there will be some things that you will need to adjust in your recipes though.

See tips for substituting cocoa with Nesquik below.

How To Replace Cocoa Powder With Nesquik

Cocoa powder is generally an unsweetened, low fat product. Nesquik, on the other hand, has several additives such as sugar, flavoring agents and stabilizers. While nesquik is made of cocoa, the actual proportion of cocoa in Nesquik is about 15%. Cocoa also has a more intense and slightly bitter flavor compared to Nesquik.

As such, given the differences between the two products, there are some considerations that come into play when replacing cocoa with Nesquik. The first is that you will need to cut the amount of sugar you use in the recipe. Chefs suggest using half the amount of sugar that the recipe would usually call for.

What’s A Good Measure For Replacing Cocoa With Nesquik?

In addition to cutting the amount of sugar required, you will need to know how many tablespoons or cups of Nesquik replace a similar amount of cocoa.

You can expect that for every 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, replace with 2 tablespoons of Nesquik. If the measurement is in cups, replace a full cup of cocoa with ⅔ cup of Nesquik.

How Do You Retain The Cocoa Taste When Using Nesquik?

As indicated earlier, some trade offs in terms of flavor are to be expected when using Nesquik. Cocoa has a bitterish earthy flavor that will be lost when you use Nesquik. If you want to replicate that taste in your product, you can add lemon juice and a pinch of salt to your recipe.

Another suggestion is to add a shot of espresso to cut the sugary taste from the item and to kick up the cocoa in the Nesquik a notch.

What Recipes Can You Use Nesquik In As A Replacement For Cocoa?

There are a variety of recipes where you can switch cocoa and us Nesquik. Some of the ones we love are:


Nesquik is a great replacement for cocoa in brownies. You will need to reduce the sugar in the brownies by about a half though. In addition, a shot of espresso can help to improve the flavor by making it more earthy.


For frosting, Nesquik can indeed be used instead of cocoa powder. In fact, because it already contains some sugar and fat, this drink mix incorporates well in frostings.  It also blends nicely with butter and milk as well. Some people suggest adding a dash of coffee to improve the flavor.

Cakes and cupcakes

Nesquik can definitely be used in place of cocoa in a cake. It won’t work as well as it does in brownies or icing, though. Cocoa powder is the best option if you want your cake to be spongy and rise, Nesquik will not give the same effect.

Conversely, it might make the cake heavy. Nesquik will however increase the fat content of the batter, resulting in a moister, brownie-like cake, which is not altogether a bad thing if you like a heavier cake.

Apart From Nesquik, What Else Can Be Used To Replace Cocoa?

There are many possible options for replacements. What you use will ultimately depend on how far you are willing to veer from the genuine cocoa taste. Here’s a list of the top 3 substitutes that people use for cocoa in all kinds of recipes.


Both milk and dark chocolate can be used as replacements for cocoa powder. Keep in mind that milk chocolate tends to have added sugar and milk, so this could throw off other ratios in your recipe. Dark chocolate is generally a better option, because it comes with less or no additives. If you reduce both fat and sugar by one tablespoon each (or less, depending on the brand you’re using), a 1/3-oz square of chocolate should approximate to a tablespoon of cocoa powder in your recipes.

Chocolate Syrup

This is a quick and easy replacement, with some caveats. The syrup is liquid and as such must be used with extra precautions to avoid it making the batter or other recipe too runny. In addition, chocolate syrups can be excessively sweet, so you will need to reduce any additional sugar in the recipe significantly.


A lesser known substitute is carob. Carob is a brown floury powder that is extracted from the carob bean. Because it is plant based, it is perfect for vegans. With a little bit of honey, its flavor rivals that of chocolate. Carob can be used in the same quantities as cocoa powder.

The Takeaway

When cooking, it is totally acceptable to use substitutes. While substitutes are necessitated when you run out of ingredients, substitutes can be used just for the sake of a change in flavor profile. When it comes to cocoa powder, Nesquik can be used as an alternative in many recipes.

Note, however, that the taste will not be exactly the same and you will need to reduce the amount of sugar used. If you do not like the taste of Nesquik, other substitutes you can try include dark chocolate and carob.

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