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Check out this list of cacao powder recipes and get blending, baking and making these delicious dishes. Chocolate lovers, here we come! Let’s talk about how to use this powder in the best way possible.

tablespoon scoop of cacao powder next to pieces of broken chocolate.

More natural, less processed forms of chocolate are gaining popularity, so let’s learn how to use cacao powder and discover the best ways to use it in food. I’ve got 16 recipes that are just plain good. They will fill any chocolate cravings you have with 100% plant-based ingredients and whole food.

I’m not crazy in love with chocolate, so it’s got to be a great recipe for me to want to eat it. That said, my fudgy brownies and chocolate peanut butter smoothie are on repeat in my house. They are #worthit. Which one of the below recipes are you excited to try?

Table of Contents
  1. Cacao Powder Recipes
  2. Smoothies with Cacao
  3. How to Use
  4. Questions About Cacao Powder Recipes

Cacao Powder Recipes

When looking for cacao at the grocery store, you may come across cocoa powder. They are similar, yet cocoa powder often has sweetener or gums added to it. So as always, read your labels.

No matter which powder you use, make sure it only has one ingredient. I love using Mountain Rose Herbs Roasted Cacao Powder since it has the best flavor in my opinion.

Since this plant-derived ingredient is naturally unsweetened, it’s great for smoothies and desserts. You are going to add in other natural sweeteners like fruits or maple syrup, so cacao can focus on providing a deeply rich, dark flavor to your recipe. Now, on to the recipes!

Smoothies with Cacao

Adding a scoop of cacao powder transforms smoothies into chocolate shakes. It’s a great natural energy boost (be careful if you’re sensitive to caffeine). Pretty much any ‘chocolate smoothie’ recipe I make uses this natural ingredient as it’s the least processed and fairly easy to find at your local grocery store.

Red Velvet Smoothie
4.5 from 26 votes
Give your heart a healthy boost with cacao (unsweetened cocoa) in this green smoothie recipe. Serve it in a fancy glass with two straws so you and your loved one can enjoy it together!
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2 mason jars of chocolate peanut butter smoothie with straws.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
4.6 from 341 votes
Better than a milkshake! This plant-based peanut butter chocolate smoothie is so creamy and decadent, you'll think it's ice cream. Your body will thank you for enjoying this all-natural, no-sugar-added sweet treat.
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Vegan Shamrock Shake
4.6 from 96 votes
Not only will this healthy vegan shamrock shake win you over with the taste, but you can feel good knowing you're raking in the health benefits with every sip. 
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chocolate cherry smoothie using plant-based ingredients.
Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
4.9 from 22 votes
This antioxidant-packed Chocolate Cherry Smoothie is a healthy indulgence that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Blend it as an energy-boosting snack or a fun and sippable dessert that will leave you smiling.
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Rich Coffee Smoothie
5 from 22 votes
Sip on this cool and creamy coffee smoothie for breakfast or as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. It's got the caffeine you want delivered in an oh-so-smooth beverage that has the bonus of fruits, veggies, protein, fiber and more.
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Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie
4.4 from 95 votes
If you're a chocolate lover, this Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie a great smoothie for you. Sweet bananas, nutty almond milk and ripe strawberries make this plant-based dessert win.
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chocolate protein shake
Chocolate Protein Shake
4.8 from 94 votes
Blend up a creamy, cold chocolate protein shake smoothie made with plant-based superfood protein powder for a delicious meal or snack, or before/after a workout. Includes adaptogens to help ease inflammation.
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photo of a mint chocolate smoothie in a glass jar with a paper straw topped with fresh mint and cacao nibs
Mint Chocolate Smoothie
5 from 13 votes
The combination of cacao powder and fresh mint leaves will give you that chocolate mint flavor you've been craving, but instead of packing in the fat and calories, you'll be packing in nutrients from spinach and avocados! It's really a win-win. When the Girl Scout cravings hit, reach for this smoothie instead.
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hot chocolate smoothie recipe
Hot Chocolate Smoothie
5 from 6 votes
This dessert-like smoothie is perfect for a cool day or healthy treat. It's packed with chocolaty flavor as well as ingredients like spinach and hazelnuts.
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Iron-Rich Smoothie Bowl
5 from 17 votes
Boost your iron intake with this plant-based iron-rich smoothie bowl using fruits vegetables naturally high in iron.
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Fiber Smoothie Cubes
4.8 from 8 votes
Blend up a batch of these Fiber Smoothie Cubes to keep on hand for a quick and easy meal replacement smoothie that is full of fiber and protein to keep you fuller, longer and keep your digestive tract humming along.
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Chocolate Dessert Recipes

Cacao isn’t just for smoothies. Use it in dessert bowls, drinks and more! I love the rich flavor it brings to my homemade hot chocolate recipe and these fudge brownies are next-level good. How do you like to use this fun ingredient? Drop your favorite cacao powder recipe in the comments below!

Homemade Hot Chocolate
4.9 from 10 votes
Take a spin on the classic hot chocolate recipe and not even miss a beat with this homemade hot chocolate recipe. This one is even better tasting AND twice as good for you. Let's cheers to that!
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Platter of gluten free fudgy brownies
Fudgy Gluten-Free Brownies
5 from 6 votes
Thick, fudgy brownies that also happen to be vegan and gluten-free. (No one will be able to tell!) Loaded with delicious chocolate flavor and a great texture, this Fudgy Gluten-Free Brownie Recipe really hit the spot.
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Coconut Joy Vegan Smoothie Bowl
4.6 from 25 votes
Blend up some plant-based goodness for a delicious, nutrient-rich dessert or snack. The flavors of coconut, chocolate and almond come together quickly in this vegan smoothie bowl.
Make Recipe
How to Make Chia Pudding
5 from 4 votes
Chocolate chia pudding makes the perfect snack, quick breakfast or unique brunch addition. Use it to top pancakes, inside a parfait or mixed with granola. You may need more than one spoon as it is entirely delicious and shareable!
Make Recipe
Chocolate Smoothie Bowl
4.9 from 13 votes
Cacao adds rich chocolate flavor as well as a big boost of iron and other vitamins and minerals coupled with healthy fats to this chocolate smoothie bowl.
Make Recipe

How to Use

Any recipe that calls for cocoa powder can easily be switched to cacao powder (though the unsweetened cocoa powder is fine, too!). I like using a tablespoon of cacao in smoothies to turn them into chocolate creations. This powder pairs well with berries and cherries, as well as nut/seed butter.

Make ‘chocolate milk’ by adding this powder and a squirt of maple syrup to a cup of your favorite plant milk and stirring until dissolved. I also use it in my homemade hot chocolate recipe for a rich flavor.

Questions About Cacao Powder Recipes

What can I do with cacao powder?

What can’t you do? Cacao powder can be used just like cocoa powder. Add it to smoothies, baked goods, oatmeal, plant milk, coffee and more to satisfy that chocolate craving.

Can I drink cacao every day?

In moderation, of course! Cacao powder contains natural caffeine so if your body is sensitive to this, then a little goes a long way. It is the perfect way to turn any smoothie into a chocolate delight and to add a chocolate flavor to desserts without adding extra sugar.

Can you drink raw cacao powder?

Yes. Cacao powder is a less processed form of chocolate. Make sure you look for 100% cacao, with no added sweetener. You can also use cacao nibs, which taste like unsweetened chocolate chips.

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  1. The Red Velvet smoothie tastes so much like the cake! I sucked it down quick, but my son did take a sip and said “yummy!”. I’m going to make this one for all my kids. Looking forward to trying more of these recipes! Thank you!

    1. Hi Kelley! I’m so glad you (and your son) liked it! I love this one too. 🙂

  2. You are amazing – love these recipes. Looking forward to trying these healthy recipes on my teenagers.