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What Are Cocoa Solids?

B. Turner
B. Turner

The majority of chocolate products are made of a combination of cocoa liquor, sugar, and a host of other ingredients. This liquor is made by blending the two basic components of the cocoa bean together. These components can be fatty, in the form of cocoa butter, or dry in the form of cocoa solids. The exact ratio of these two components can effect everything from the taste to the nutritional content of the final product. Some food-governing agencies also require a minimum amount of cocoa solids or butter in a product before it can legally be labeled as chocolate.

Cocoa powder is one of the purest forms of cocoa solid. This powder contains no fatty elements, that is, no cocoa butter. Plain cocoa powder is very bitter, with a strong chocolate flavor. Consumers are likely more familiar with alkalized, or Dutch, cocoa powder, which is less bitter and milder in flavor. These powdered solids are used in baking, or for making hot chocolate.

Dark chocolate can contain 40% or more cocoa solids.
Dark chocolate can contain 40% or more cocoa solids.

Cocoa solids are also added to chocolate bars and other candy, and different products are often associated with a specific cocoa solids content. For example, bittersweet and semisweet chocolate typically contain at least 35 percent solids, while dark chocolate can contain 40 percent or more. Milk chocolate contains as little as ten percent cocoa solids, while white chocolate contains none. Unsweetened baking chocolates are a blend of half solids and half cocoa butter. While many consumers believe that higher solid percentages means better chocolate, this isn't necessarily always the case.

Chocolate is made from cacao beans.
Chocolate is made from cacao beans.

The dry solids from the cocoa bean give chocolate its distinctive flavor, and are also the source of most of its nutritional value. Cocoa butter, on the other hand, is used to give chocolate the correct texture and to control its melting point. Products with too little cocoa butter often feel waxy, while the best quality bars often contain a high percentage of cocoa solids. By varying the ratios of these two ingredients, manufacturers can create chocolates with vastly different flavors and textures.

A very pure form of cocoa solids is cocoa powder.
A very pure form of cocoa solids is cocoa powder.

Cocoa butter is very high in fat, as well as unhealthy saturated fats. Cocoa solids contain little fat, and are virtually free of saturated fat. These solids contain many of the same antioxidants, or flavenoids that are found in red wine. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals, and are often said to give people a mental or emotional lift by boosting serotonin production.

Discussion Comments


Just to clarify that Cocoa powder does still have some "fatty elements" that is, cocoa butter. Usually around 15 percent of the product is cocoa butter. Look at the Nutrition Facts: All the fat is cocoa butter.


I love the rich flavor of semisweet chocolate chips. The high ratio of cocoa solids offers an intense flavor.

If I make chocolate chip cookies, I always use semisweet chips. To me, a cookie with milk chocolate chips is just too sweet and not satisfying enough.

I also prefer dark chocolate candy bars to milk chocolate ones. I’m not that crazy about super sweet stuff, but I love the flavor of chocolate.

The taste of white chocolate makes me sick. I don’t know why anyone would want chocolate without any cocoa solids in it.


Hot chocolate milk made with cocoa solids is so much better than the kind made from chocolate syrup, in my opinion. The syrupy kind is just too sweet, and it tastes like something that should go on a stack of waffles.

My mother used to use chocolate syrup, but I never really liked it. One day, I discovered that you can use a cocoa powder and sugar to make hot chocolate.

I used a couple of teaspoons of each, and I filled the rest of the cup with milk. I stirred it up, plopped a couple of marshmallows on top, and heated it in the microwave. It tasted like it came from a café instead of my kitchen.


Lots of the recipes I see in cooking magazines call for the kind of baking chocolate that contains as much cocoa solids as it does cocoa butter. I prefer using this kind of chocolate, because it results in a richer, more intense flavor.

I recently made brownies containing this type of chocolate. They also contained cocoa powder, so they had even more of a chance of being bittersweet. However, they did have a lot of sugar in them, plus some chocolate chips, and these two ingredients sweetened the bitter chocolate just enough to make the brownies very pleasant to eat.


I use cocoa powder in baking more often than the bars containing cocoa butter. My recipes usually call for added butter, so I figure that the solid form of cocoa is sufficient.

Simple chocolate oatmeal candy can be made with cocoa powder. This is one of the quickest and easiest things that I make, and it tastes like it took a long time to prepare.

I boil the butter and sugar for one minute, and then I stir in oats, peanut butter, and cocoa powder. I plop spoonfuls of it onto wax paper and let it solidify. Some people refrigerate them, but I leave them in a cookie jar once they have hardened. To me, refrigeration takes away some of the flavor.

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    • Dark chocolate can contain 40% or more cocoa solids.
      By: Andris T
      Dark chocolate can contain 40% or more cocoa solids.
    • Chocolate is made from cacao beans.
      By: Printemps
      Chocolate is made from cacao beans.
    • A very pure form of cocoa solids is cocoa powder.
      By: winston
      A very pure form of cocoa solids is cocoa powder.
    • Cocoa solids can be used for making hot chocolate.
      By: haveseen
      Cocoa solids can be used for making hot chocolate.
    • Dry solids from the cocoa bean gives chocolate its distinct flavor.
      By: Jiri Hera
      Dry solids from the cocoa bean gives chocolate its distinct flavor.