What Are The Best Espresso Powder Substitutes?

Espresso Powder Substitute

Last Updated on October 13, 2023 by Timothy Byron Smith

Why must your baking suffer because of the non-availability of espresso powder? Not anymore. From now on, you will be able to make every dessert simply using the espresso powder substitute! Bye-bye to the days of cursing yourself for forgetting to buy espresso powder!

We have made a list of some of the best espresso powder substitutes to make your life much easier. They are cheap, easy to find, and will make your desserts taste amazing! You might even end up eliminating espresso powder from your recipes forever!

Try These 8 Espresso Powder Substitutes

Remember all those times you kept searching your kitchen for your best espresso powder you bought you don’t know when? And then stood there thinking your dessert in-process is doomed and ruined? Well, try using the following substitutes and you will see that such a day will never repeat itself.

Best Espresso Powder Substitutes

1. Ordinary Cocoa Powder

The most ordinary ingredient that never came to your head as a substitute can save you from an espresso powder crisis! While you typically use cocoa powder for chocolate desserts anyway, it also makes for a great espresso powder substitute.

Espresso powder is typically added to get a sort of mildly bitter flavor or aftertaste in the dessert. Natural cocoa powder contains the raw, bold, and bitter flavors of cocoa beans. This makes it the perfect ingredient for recipes that require bitter flavor.

In chocolate desserts that require a good proportion of espresso powder, this will do perfectly. But if you want less bitterness, make sure to adjust the amount of cocoa powder accordingly.

2. Instant Coffee

This will make for an instant espresso powder substitute no doubt. In fact, it’s the first go-to for any espresso powder crisis. Since instant coffee tastes a lot like espresso powder, you’ll most probably not even notice the difference between espresso powder and instant coffee. And if you do, it might just be an improvement.

Apart from making a fantastic substitute for espresso powder in chocolate desserts, it also does wonders in espresso-based drinks, savory or spicy dishes. Especially in dishes where you want that intense coloring that espresso powder creates.

However, since espresso powder is more concentrated, you’ll have to use a larger quantity of instant coffee in its place.

3. Brewed Espresso

Brewed espresso is basically the espresso coffee prepared with water. You might find this a bit awkward but you can use it as a substitute for espresso powder without risking your dessert. Brewed espresso adds the same flavors, bitterness, intensity, and richness to your dessert as espresso powder.

The liquid form makes the dispersion of flavors and integration of espresso faster. So, for desserts that require or tolerate liquids, you can readily use brewed espresso. This means your cakes, brownies, and other liquids requiring desserts are safe.

Just remember to adjust other liquid additions accordingly to balance the liquid proportion of the recipe.

4. Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder

This type of cocoa powder is another alternative to using espresso powder for your desserts. A Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder is different from natural cocoa powder. Since the dutch processed cocoa powder is more alkalized, it does not have the bitterness of the natural cocoa powder.

In any case, the dutch processed cocoa powder still makes for a great substitute. Yes, it does not have that bitter flavor to it. However, it provides the same intensity and richness to desserts that the espresso powder does. So, if you can sacrifice the intense bitter flavor, this substitute will work just fine.

5. Brewed Coffee

If you’ve got some brewed coffee at home, you are basically covered for espresso powder. Again, we know it is liquid but it makes for just the right espresso powder substitute. Plus it goes perfectly with liquid recipes, be it stew or dips and batter.

To mimic just the right flavors of the espresso powder make sure to get the dark roast brewed coffee. It contains the same intensity as that of the espresso powder. Also, mix it with less water if you want the bold coffee flavor to not get diluted.

Finally, remember to reduce the rest of the recipe’s water content to balance proportions.

6. Strong Coffee

If you love to make strong coffee, you are in luck because that is a great alternative to espresso powder!

Strong coffee means concentrated coffee with less water and more ground coffee. While it doesn’t entirely replace espresso, however, it retains the key intensity and flavors of the espresso powder. So, your recipes with liquid content can easily be made using strong coffee in place of espresso powder.

Remember to keep the ground coffee and water proportions right to make strong coffee. The stronger it is, the better it will stand for the espresso powder. You can even taste for the level of bitterness and intensity you’re looking for.

7. Ground Coffee

You can easily find ground coffee in stores or get whole beans and ground them yourself. In fact, many households typically have ground coffee. And it will make for a good espresso powder substitute.

However, since it is not as concentrated in its flavors and richness as espresso powder, you will need to increase the quantity you use. Or, if you simply want a hint of the coffee, you probably won’t mind the weak flavor.

8. Ground Espresso

Espresso powder, technically, is made from espresso beans that are ground, brewed, dried, and ground again. So, if you have got some ground espresso lying around, you could probably not find a better espresso powder substitute than that.

Since ground espresso is the exact same thing, it will contain all the richness, concentration, intensity, and flavors that you’re looking for. However, all of this will be in a much more concentrated amount since, unlike espresso powder, ground espresso isn’t brewed yet. So, you’ll have to reduce the quantity you use.

Ground espresso will give you great results in almost all recipes. However, for even better results you can grind them further to release all flavors.


What you’re looking for when you add espresso powder in a recipe, is richness, intensity, and a hint or more of bitterness. The above-mentioned espresso powder substitutes easily and readily fulfill all these requirements. That too, without compromising any flavors!

The best part is that you will find most of them already sitting in your kitchen. So, be creative and keep yourself from rushing out to the grocery store every time you run out of espresso powder.

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