How to Substitute Chocolate


Click on the subtitles below for instant information on how to substitute chocolate with a variety of dairy-free options …

Yes, Chocolate is Dairy-Free!

Good news, chocolate by nature is dairy-free! It’s what manufacturers often do to it that makes it enter the world of dairy. Here are some additional posts that should answer many of your chocolate questions:

Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Come on, venture out, the intense flavors of dark chocolate and semi-sweet can soothe even the most irritable of beasts. For snacking, start with dark chocolate that has 50% cocoa, this will have enough sweetness to get that sugar fix as well. For baking, semi-sweet and bittersweet are typically the best options to substitute chocolate (the milky kind) anyway, as milk chocolate can overpower a recipe.

Use caution when shopping for chocolate, as many dark and semi-sweet chocolates do in fact contain milk (i.e. milk solids, butter oil, milk).  Also, for the highly sensitive, be aware that most chocolate is made on shared equipment, and therefore at risk for cross-contamination with milk chocolate.  Consult our Product Lists for several brands of non-dairy and dairy-free chocolates for delicious ways to substitute chocolate in baking and snacking.

Two dairy-free brands that I like (manufacturer’s note that they are made on dedicated dairy-free equipment) are the Scharffen Berger Home Baking Bars (use caution, some of the other Scharffen Berger dark products are made in a different factory that contains milk), and Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Bars.

Two excellent brands that are widely distributed in a variety of flavors are Endangered Species and Chocolove. The dark chocolate lines from both of these companies are made without dairy ingredients, though cross-contamination is possible from their shared equipment.

Milk Chocolate

If you must have milk chocolate, there are a few rice milk based chocolate bars popping up on the market.  The soy-based ones didn’t go over, but the rice ones seem to be popular. Vegan Organica (U.K.) and Terra Nostra (Canada, U.S) used to be the leaders in the rice milk chocolate market. However, both companies also make milk chocolate bars, so these may not be suitable for the highly allergic due to potential cross-contamination.

To address the allergy-friendly niche, Enjoy Life Foods popped up with their own line of gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and vegan “milk” chocolate.

White Chocolate

White chocolate is a bit trickier, since milk powder is often used as the base rather than cocoa powder. However, dairy-free white chocolate does exist! See our No Dairy Product Lists for vegan white chocolate chips and confections that you can buy online or occasionally in-store.

For homemade white chocolate, enjoy the recipe in Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook.

Products: Dairy-Free Chocolate at the Store

Below are the products we’ve had a chance to taste-test and review here on Go Dairy Free. For a more extensive list of options available to substitute chocolate, get one of our No Dairy Product Lists; they include thousands of dairy-free foods.

For more chocolaty recipes and dairy alternative tips from my kitchen, see Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living.

How to Substitute Chocolate - Taza Organic Chocolate Baking Squares

Taza Organic Semi-Sweet Baking Squares – Photo by Me

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.