Is there such thing as chocolate with no sugar?

Chocolate is a beloved treat around the world, prized for its rich, sweet taste. However, the sugar content of regular chocolate can be a drawback for some. Whether you’re watching your sugar intake for health or dietary reasons, or simply prefer less sweet versions of your favorite foods, you may wonder: is there really such a thing as chocolate without any sugar?

What Gives Chocolate its Sweetness?

To understand how chocolate can be sweet without sugar, it helps to first look at what makes regular chocolate sweet in the first place. The sweetness of chocolate comes primarily from two ingredients:

  • Sucrose – Also known as table sugar, sucrose is a disaccharide made up of glucose and fructose molecules. Sucrose makes up a significant portion of the sugar content in regular dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate.
  • Cocoa butter – The natural fat extracted from cocoa beans that gives chocolate its smooth, creamy texture. Cocoa butter contains naturally occurring sugars that provide a subtle sweetness.

Together, sucrose and cocoa butter create the sweet, indulgent taste people expect from chocolate. So to make a chocolate with no added sugars, sucrose needs to be removed and the naturally sweet notes of cocoa butter highlighted.

Types of Sugar-Free Chocolate

There are a few different types of chocolate made without added sugars:

Unsweetened Baking Chocolate

This type of chocolate contains just cocoa solids and cocoa butter, with no added sweeteners. It has an intensely dark, bitter flavor. While unsweetened baking chocolate contains no sugar, it is usually not eaten on its own due to its lack of sweetness.

Dark Chocolate

Sugar-free dark chocolate has the cocoa solids and cocoa butter of unsweetened chocolate, but with added sweeteners other than sucrose. These alternate sweeteners give it a sweeter, more palatable taste than unsweetened baking chocolate. The most commonly used sucrose replacements in dark chocolate are:

  • Stevia – A natural, plant-derived zero-calorie sweetener.
  • Sucralose – An artificial sweetener known as Splenda.
  • Xylitol – A sugar alcohol derived from fibrous plant material.
  • Erythritol – A sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in some fruits.

In addition to alternate sweeteners, sugar-free dark chocolate often includes extra cocoa butter for a creamier, melt-in-your-mouth texture. The higher the cocoa percentage, the lower the sugar content of the chocolate. Look for varieties with 70% cocoa or higher.

Milk and White Sugar-Free Chocolate

Milk and white chocolate by nature have higher amounts of milk products like powdered milk than dark chocolate. To offset the lack of sugar’s flavor contribution, sugar-free milk or white chocolate use:

  • Extra milk or cocoa butter
  • Vanilla or other flavorings
  • The same alternate sweeteners as sugar-free dark chocolate

Due to their milder flavors, finding milk or white chocolate without any added sugars is more challenging. However, many brands make sugar-free varieties sweetened with stevia or other sucralose replacements.

Benefits of Sugar-Free Chocolate

Eliminating sucrose can transform chocolate into a relatively healthy treat. Benefits of opting for sugar-free chocolate include:

Fewer Calories

Sucrose has 4 calories per gram. By using low or zero-calorie sweeteners instead, sugar-free chocolate has significantly fewer calories. This can help with weight management.

Lower Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) measures how quickly foods raise blood sugar. Sucrose has a high GI. Non-nutritive sweeteners have minimal effects on blood sugar and insulin compared to regular sugar, lowering chocolate’s GI.

Less Risk of Tooth Decay

Sucrose feeds the bacteria that cause cavities. Sugar-free chocolate won’t erode tooth enamel or promote dental caries like the sugary kind.

No Sugar Crash

Chocolate high in sugar can initially spike energy, only to lead to a slump afterward as blood sugar drops. Sugar-free chocolate avoids this “sugar crash” effect.

Downsides of Sugar-Free Chocolate

Sugar-free chocolate does have some potential disadvantages including:

Laxative Effects

Sugar alcohols like xylitol and erythritol can have a laxative effect if eaten in large amounts. This effect may be more pronounced in some people than others.


Though rare, some people have allergies to sugar substitutes like xylitol or stevia. Allergies to sucralose are even less common.


Artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols can sometimes leave an aftertaste. However, chocolate helps cover up this side effect better than many other foods.

Less Shelf Stable

The structure and moisture content of chocolate is affected by removing sucrose. Sugar-free chocolate, especially milk and white varieties, are generally more prone to seizing up during production and blooming (getting a white coating) during storage.

Higher Price

Non-nutritive sweeteners are typically more expensive than sucrose. Sugar-free chocolate is often priced at a premium compared to regular varieties.

Tips for Enjoying Sugar-Free Chocolate

Here are some pro tips for choosing and enjoying sugar-free chocolate:

  • Start with higher cocoa percentages like 70% dark chocolate. The robust flavors cover up any aftertastes better.
  • Look for types sweetened specifically with stevia or erythritol if you’re sensitive to sugar alcohols.
  • Store sugar-free chocolate in cooler conditions since it’s more prone to blooming at higher temperatures.
  • Add nuts, coconut, berries or seeds for extra flavor and texture.
  • Melt sugar-free chocolate for dessert fondues or rich hot cocoa without the sugar crash.
  • Pair it with cheeses, fruits, or red wine like regular dark chocolate.
  • Read the ingredients list carefully to confirm the type of sweetener(s) used.

Recipes Using Sugar-Free Chocolate

Here are some delicious ways to use sugar-free chocolate in recipes:

Sugar-Free Chocolate Mousse


  • 8 oz sugar-free dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered erythritol
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave, then let cool slightly.
  2. Whip the cream to stiff peaks, then gently fold in the erythritol and vanilla.
  3. Gently fold the whipped cream into the melted chocolate until uniform.
  4. Divide between 4 ramekins and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Sugar-Free Chocolate Avocado Pudding


  • 2 medium ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup powdered erythritol
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or milk of choice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Scoop the flesh of the avocados into a food processor
  2. Add the cocoa powder, erythritol, cream/milk and vanilla
  3. Process until completely smooth and creamy
  4. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving

Sugar-Free Chocolate Crepes



  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Coconut oil for cooking


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz sugar-free dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp powdered erythritol
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Blend all crepe ingredients except oil until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled pan over medium heat and cook crepes for about 90 seconds per side.
  3. Whip cream until it holds stiff peaks, then fold in chocolate, erythritol and vanilla.
  4. Fill crepes with chocolate whipped cream and enjoy!

Where to Buy Sugar-Free Chocolate

Here are some places to find sugar-free chocolate varieties:

Health Food Stores

Stores focused on health and nutrition products like Whole Foods, Sprouts or Earthfare typically have a decent selection of stevia-sweetened, erythritol-sweetened, and unsweetened baking chocolate.


Buying online gives access to a huge variety of sugar-free chocolate options. Amazon carries many sugar-free chocolate bars and baking chips. Brands like Lily’s Sweets and Chocoperfection specialize in sugar-free chocolate sold through their websites.

Specialty Candy Shops

Candy specialty stores increasingly offer sugar-free candies and chocolates. Seek out local shops that advertise stocking sugar-free treats.


Many major drugstore chains will have a section of diabetic-friendly foods, including sugar-free chocolate. Check the labels closely to ensure the sweeteners used fit your dietary needs.


To control all the ingredients yourself, melt unsweetened baking chocolate and mix in stevia, erythritol, vanilla, or any other natural sweeteners as desired. Pour chocolate into molds to set before eating.


In summary, there are several tasty options for enjoying real chocolate without the high amounts of sugar found in regular varieties. Unsweetened, dark, milk, and white chocolate can all be made sugar-free by replacing sucrose with stevia, sucralose, erythritol and other non-nutritive sweeteners. The result still provides the rich chocolate flavor with fewer calories, less blood sugar impact, and no sugar crash after-effects. While still considered a treat food, sugar-free chocolate can be a smarter way to indulge a chocolate craving.

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