The information below on how to substitute chocolate is excerpted from my book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. In the book you will also find recipes for making your own chocolate (chocolate chunks, white chocolate and peanut butter chips)! But here on this post, I’m able to link up to some helpful articles as well as share reviews of some great dairy-free substitute chocolate brands.
Yes, Real Chocolate is Dairy-Free!
Good news, chocolate by nature, or cacao as it is called, is naturally free of dairy. It’s what manufacturers often add to it for better marketability (i.e. milk solids, butter oil, cream) that poses a problem. Here are some additional posts that should answer many of your chocolate questions:
- Is Chocolate Dairy-Free?
- Does Cocoa Butter Contain Dairy?
- What Brands of Dairy-Free Chocolate Do You Recommend?
Tips to Substitute Chocolate that Often Contains Dairy
Pure chocolate is dark, bold, dense and void of any additives such as milk, sugar or lecithin. It’s what we know to be unsweetened or baker’s chocolate, and is made purely from the two main parts of the cocoa bean: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. It’s dairy-free, plain and simple, your only worry might be if it is contaminated with small amounts of dairy in production (most brands are isolated from the milk chocolate production, but always verify!). Most of us find 100% cacao chocolate to be way too dark for nibbling or adding to cookies. Instead we purchase the types of chocolate below, all of which can contain dairy …
Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate
As mentioned, many brands of chocolate, even very dark ones, do have milk-based ingredients added. 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.
That said, this category has many brands to choose from. Semi-sweet chocolate, the type we most often use as baking morsels, is usually around 35 to 45% cacao. It contains quite a bit of sugar, but is very often void of milk ingredients (unlike milk chocolate which is high in both sugar and dairy). Dark chocolate bars, which can be used for recipes but are also great for nibbling, usually start at around 50% cacao and run right up to 90% cacao (very dark, but loved by chocolate purists)! The amount of non-dairy options seems to jump dramatically at around 70% cacao.
There are a few dairy-free brands, which I’ve come to rely on over the years:
- Enjoy Life Foods: For baking chips, chunks, and indulgent little bars, this family-friendly brand can’t be beat. They run a top allergen-free facility and their chocolate is fairly well-distributed and easy to purchase online.
- Taza Chocolate: Their rustic chocolate discs and bars are simply addictive, and made in their dairy-free, egg-free facility. Sadly, they discontinued their baking chunks – we hope they will bring them back one day.
- Scharffen Berger Baking Chocolate: They run separate facilities, but at last check, their baking chocolate lines (including large semi-sweet and dark chocolate bars and various chocolate chunks) were certified kosher parve. Some of their other products are made in a different factory location that contains milk. If safe for you, these are a gourmet European treat.
As the name implies, milk chocolate does contain dairy. Fortunately, there are some emerging brands of dairy-free “milk” chocolate (note the quotes) for satisfying a super sweet tooth. Following are my current favorite options:
- Enjoy Life Foods: Their Boom Choco Boom Bars come in two RiceMilk varieties, regular and crunch. Sweet and perfectly-portioned for kids and adults.
- Premium Chocolatiers: They also run a top allergen-free facility (they banished soy in 2016), and offer some pretty tasty and smooth Milkless Bars.
- Chocolate Dream: This is a dairy-free, gluten-free line by Hain Celestial, which mostly consists of dark bars and chips, but they also have a Creamy Sweet bar that is true to name.
Interestingly enough, you will see several snack products with dairy-free white chocolate (Lenny & Larry’s, Clif Bar, etc.), but finding dairy-free white chocolate (particularly in chip form) can seem rather elusive to the consumer. Manufacturers have a wider availability of ingredients to them, which includes things like dairy-free chocolate. That said, there are a few options, which are gaining attention:
- Premium Chocolatiers: Their Milkless Bars line includes white chocolate Polar Dream. I haven’t sampled these as of yet, but have heard good things.
- Charm School Chocolate: They make a swoon-worthy vegan white chocolate – not cheap, but worth it.
- Sweet William: This is an Australian brand that I had the opportunity to trial. It’s very popular, and for good reason.
Products: Dairy-Free Chocolate at the Store
Below are the non-dairy chocolate products we’ve had a chance to taste-test and review here on Go Dairy Free – yes, we’ve eaten a lot of chocolate, and will continue to do so. This list will continuously update as we sample new brands (so I recommend bookmarking!) and it includes all types of dairy-free chocolate bars (dark, “milk”, white, flavored, etc.), dairy-free chocolate chips, and even awesome candy bar options (from peanut butter cups to chocolate-covered caramels!). As mentioned, many of these products are made on dairy-free lines, while some may be at risk for potential trace cross-contamination – it’s up to you to check on a products safety for your dietary needs.
- 30 Dairy-Free Advent Calendars for a Free-From Christmas Countdown
- Amanda’s Own Chocolates are Allergen-Free for Every Sweet Occasion
- Amano Artisan Dark Chocolate Bars are Single Origin and Handcrafted
- Amy’s Organic Candy Bars come in Three Indulgent Vegan Flavors
- Bixby Candy Bars are Pure Gourmet Indulgences in these Vegan Varieties
- Booja Booja Chocolate Truffles offer Vegan Decadence
- Chocolat Stella Organic Swiss Dark Chocolate Bars are Worldly Confections
- Chocolate Emporium Creates Dairy-Free Confections in their Kosher Facility
- Chocolate Inspirations Crafts Vegan Caramel, Brittle, Toffee, and More
- Chocolate-Covered Cocomels are Enrobed Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Caramels
- Chomp Vegan Milk Chocolate is Bean-to-Candy Bars
- Cocomels Bites Fulfill Chewy Caramel and Crunchy Toffee Cravings
- Dar Chocolate Bars: Bean-to-Bar Bliss (Dairy-Free Versions)
- Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One Chocolate will Astonish Your Taste Buds
- Eli’s Earth Bars are Organic Vegan Candy Bars
- Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Bars Now in 15 Vegan Varieties
- Endangered Species Oat Milk Chocolate Bars Release in More Vegan Varieties
- Endangered Species Oat Milk Chocolate Chips Now in Two Premium Varieties
- Enjoy Life Chocolate Bars Satisfy Every Allergy-Friendly Occasion
- Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips Now in Dark, Semi-Sweet, and Rich Ricemilk
- Enjoy Life White Baking Chips are a New Kind of Mini Morsels
- Ethereal Confections makes Artisan Vegan Chocolate Bars and Truffles
- Evolved Nut Butter Cups have come a Long Way
- Free2b Chocolate Cups are Filled with Allergy-Friendly Sweetness
- Ghirardelli Non-Dairy Chocolate Chips Launch in Time for Baking Season
- Gnosis Raw Chocolate Bars come in White and Dark Varieties
- Go Max Go Candy Bars are Vegan Versions of Your Old Favorites
- Great Value Free From Baking Chips include Dairy-Free White Chocolate
- Grocer’s Daughter Chocolates include Dairy-Free Bark, Bars, and Bon Bons
- Heavenly Organics Chocolate Honey Patties are Pure and Simple
- Hershey’s Oat Made is Brand’s First Line of Dairy-Free Chocolate Bars
- Honey Acres Honey Patties are Treats for Dark Chocolate Purists
- Justin’s Nut Butter Cups include 4 Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Varieties
- Läderach Breaks the Mold with Vegan Cashew Milk Chocolate Line
- Lagusta’s Luscious Bluestocking BonBons make a Delicious Statement
- Lake Champlain Dark Chocolate Bars are Sweet on Vegan Options
- Lindt OatMilk Chocolate Bars bring Dairy-Free to the Mainstream
- Missy J’s Carob Cups are Free of Dairy, Soy, Chocolate & Refined Sugar
- Missy J’s Carob Truffley Treats are Dairy Free and Refined Sugar Free
- Moo Free Organic Dairy-Free Milk Chocolate
- Natierra Dark Chocolate Covered Fruit is Organic and Freeze-Dried
- Nestle Tollhouse Allergen Free Morsels are Simply Delicious
- Nestle Tollhouse Syrups are Chocolate Drizzles in Cookie-Inspired Flavors
- NibMor Organic Dark Chocolate Bars can also be Found in Pieces
- No Tricks Candy Bars are Dairy-Free Twix Copycats from No Whey
- No Whey Chocolate Candy includes Copycat M&Ms, Milky Ways, and More
- No Whey Chocolate Truffles are All Boxed Up and Top Allergen-Free
- No Whey Holiday Chocolates are Sweet Gifts for Every Occasion
- No Whey Milkless Chocolate Bars in Dark, “Milk,” and White Chocolate
- OCHO Organic Candy Bars are Now Available in 2 Vegan Varieties
- Olivia Chocolat Bars Milk the Dairy-Free Chocolate Market
- Pascha Chocolate Bars aren’t just Black and White
- Pascha Organic Chocolate Chips in Dark, Sugar-Free, and White Chocolate
- Purdy’s Vegan Chocolate Bars Deliver in Dairy-Free Mylk & Dark Varieties
- Purdy’s Vegan Chocolates Treat Fans to Inspired Dairy-Free Caramels
- Rescue Chocolate adds Paleo Options to their Benevolent Vegan Bars
- Righteously Raw Chocolate Truffle Bars are How Healthy Chocoholics Snack
- Sanders Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Caramels are Small Batch Wonders
- Sjaak’s Bites come in Dairy-Free Milk and Dark Chocolate Varieties
- Sjaak’s Melk Chocolate Bars come in 5 Vegan Milk Chocolate Varieties
- Sjaak’s Organic Vegan Boxed Chocolates make Sweet Dairy-Free Gifts
- Sunbiotics Probiotic Chocolate Bars are Organic, Raw, and Low-Glycemic
- Sweet Pete’s Confections are Sweet on Vegan & Gluten-Free Customers
- Sweet William Chocolate is an Allergy-Friendly Favorite in Australia
- Taza Chocolate Discs are Stone Ground for a Taste of Mexican Tradition
- The 25 Best Dairy-Free Chocolate Gifts for the Holidays
- The Chocolate Therapist Dark Chocolate Bars are a Cure-All for Cravings
- Theo Dark Chocolate Bars provide Any Day Vegan, Organic Indulgences
- Theo Peanut Butter Cups come in Four Vegan, Soy-Free Flavors
- Trader Joe’s Almond Milk Chocolate Bar is a Smooth Dairy-Free Alternative
- Videri Dark Chocolate Bars are Gourmet, Gift-Worthy and Dairy-Free
- Violife Cocospread is the Icing on the Allergen-Free Cake for Chocoholics
- Vosges Dairy-Free Chocolate Bars include Vegan Tree Mylk Chocolate
- Zimt Chocolate Bars include Vegan White, Milkless, and Artisan Dark