Can I use Hershey’s chocolate syrup instead of cocoa powder?

Using Hershey’s chocolate syrup instead of cocoa powder is a common substitution in baking. While the two ingredients are similar, there are some important differences to consider when making this swap.

Quick Answer

Yes, you can use Hershey’s chocolate syrup in place of cocoa powder in many recipes. However, some adjustments may be needed to account for differences in consistency, sweetness, and flavor. Reduce other sugars in the recipe and use 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup for every 1/4 cup of cocoa powder called for.

The Differences Between Cocoa Powder and Chocolate Syrup

Cocoa powder and chocolate syrup are both chocolate products, but they have some distinct differences:

  • Cocoa powder is unsweetened and provides a strong, concentrated chocolate flavor. Chocolate syrup is sweetened and has a milder chocolate taste.
  • Cocoa powder has a thick, dry consistency. Chocolate syrup has a thinner, more liquid texture.
  • Cocoa powder dissolves into liquid when mixed. Chocolate syrup maintains a syrupy consistency.

These differences impact how the ingredients behave in recipes and how much should be used when substituting one for the other.

Substitution Ratio

When replacing cocoa powder with chocolate syrup, the following substitution ratio works best:

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder = 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup

So for every 1/4 cup of cocoa powder called for, use 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup instead. This accounts for the differences in sweetness and consistency.

It’s important to reduce the amount of other sugars in the recipe, since chocolate syrup provides added sweetness. For every 1/4 cup cocoa powder replaced, reduce any granulated sugar or other sweet ingredients by about 2-3 tablespoons.

Adjusting the Liquid

Recipes with cocoa powder often rely on the powder to both flavor and help thicken the batter or dough. Since chocolate syrup won’t provide that thickening effect, you may need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe.

Try reducing any milk, water, or other liquids by 2-3 tablespoons for each 1/4 cup cocoa powder you swap for chocolate syrup.

Keep in mind chocolate syrup contains some liquid on its own, so don’t reduce the total liquid amount too much. Monitor the batter or dough as you mix it and add small amounts of liquid as needed to achieve the right consistency.

Flavor Differences

Cocoa powder has a deep chocolate flavor while chocolate syrup is a bit milder. When using chocolate syrup, you may want to add a bit of extra to pumped up the chocolate taste.

Consider using an extra 1-2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup beyond the recommended substitution ratio. Taste the batter and add more if you want a more prominent chocolate flavor.

Types of Recipes

Chocolate syrup works best as a subsitution for cocoa powder in recipes that are moist and rich rather than dry and delicate. Good options include:

  • Brownies
  • Cookies
  • Milkshakes and smoothies
  • Cakes and cupcakes
  • Frostings and ganache
  • Puddings

Recipes like delicate butter cakes may turn out too dense with chocolate syrup. And in recipes without much liquid, like cookies, the syrup may create a texture that is overly sticky or chewy.

Tips for Success

Here are some top tips for getting great results when using chocolate syrup in place of cocoa powder:

  • Reduce the sugar to account for the sweetness in the syrup.
  • Use the proper substitution ratio – 3 tablespoons syrup for every 1/4 cup cocoa powder.
  • Adjust the liquids to prevent thin batter and enhance thickness.
  • Add extra syrup if you want a more intense chocolate taste.
  • Stick to moist, rich recipes rather than dry delicate baked goods.
  • Mix thoroughly so the syrup incorporates evenly into the batter without streaks.


Chocolate syrup will last for about 3 months after opening when stored properly. Keep it in a cool, dry place and make sure the bottle is tightly sealed after each use.

Over time, chocolate syrup may thicken in texture or start to crystallize. If this happens, you can revive it by microwaving the syrup for 15-30 seconds to restore a smooth, pourable consistency.

Nutrition Comparison

Here is a nutritional comparison between 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup, the equivalent substitution amounts:

Cocoa Powder (1/4 cup)

  • Calories: 26
  • Fat: 1g
  • Carbs: 5g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 2g

Chocolate Syrup (3 tablespoons)

  • Calories: 105
  • Fat: 0g
  • Carbs: 27g
  • Sugar: 24g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

As you can see, chocolate syrup provides significantly more sugar and calories. This is why it’s important to reduce other sugars in the recipe when using chocolate syrup in place of cocoa powder.

Common Brands

Popular brands of chocolate syrup include:

  • Hershey’s
  • Nestle
  • Smucker’s
  • Torani
  • Fox’s U-bet
  • Ah!Laska
  • Bosco

Hershey’s is the most well-known brand. When a recipe calls for chocolate syrup, Hershey’s is most often what is intended.

All major brands work equally well as cocoa powder substitutes. Pick your preferred brand or whatever you have in your pantry.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

You can also make homemade chocolate syrup, which will provide an even richer chocolate taste.

Simply combine the following in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently until smooth and glossy:

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Let the syrup cool completely before using. Store leftover homemade chocolate syrup in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

This syrup can be used in place of store-bought in any recipe. It provides a great way to control the ingredients and skip corn syrup or additives.


Can I use chocolate syrup instead of melted chocolate?

Chocolate syrup is not a good substitute for melted chocolate. Syrup lacks the cocoa butter that gives melted chocolate its rich texture. Opt for real chocolate or cocoa powder in recipes that call for melted chocolate.

Is chocolate syrup the same as chocolate sauce?

Chocolate syrup and chocolate sauce are very similar – the main difference is consistency. Chocolate syrup has a thinner, more pourable liquid texture. Chocolate sauce is thicker and often used for topping desserts.

Can I substitute syrup in recipes that use Dutch process cocoa powder?

Dutch process cocoa powder has a slightly different flavor profile due to the way it is processed. For best results, use regular natural cocoa powder. But in most recipes, you can sub chocolate syrup for Dutch process cocoa in the same ratios.

What can I use instead of chocolate syrup?

If you don’t have chocolate syrup, try substituting an equal amount of chocolate hazelnut spread, fudge sauce, or mole sauce thinned with a bit of milk or water. In a pinch, you can also blend together cocoa powder and honey.

The Bottom Line

Chocolate syrup can be used to replace cocoa powder in many recipes by following a substitution ratio of 3 tablespoons syrup for every 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Reduce sugars, liquids, and adjust flavors as needed based on the syrup’s sweetness and consistency compared to unsweetened cocoa powder. With a few simple tweaks, you can use Hershey’s syrup or other chocolate syrup brands rather than plain cocoa.

Leave a Comment