The 7 Best Cacao Powders of 2020, According to a Dietitian

Boost your antioxidant intake

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Navitas Organics Cacao Powder at Amazon

"Can be used as a 1:1 substitute for cocoa."

Best Budget: Better Body Foods Organic Cacao Powder at Amazon

"Packs a nutritious punch at an affordable price."

Budget Runner-Up: Thrive Market Organic Cacao Powder at thrivemarket.com

"USDA Organic, ethically sourced, vegan, and gluten-free."

Best Organic: Sunfood Superfoods Organic Cacao Powder at Amazon

"Non-GMO Project Verified, USDA Organic, and CCOF-Certified."

Best Nibs: Navitas Organics Cacao Nibs at Amazon

"The deliciously crunchy nibs are an excellent topper for smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods."

Best Fair Trade Certified: Wildly Organic Fermented Cacao Powder at Amazon

"Minimally processed, raw, and unrefined to provide superior quality and taste."

Best for Smoothies: Organic Traditions Cacao Powder at Amazon

"Blends beautifully into your favorite smoothie mix."

Cocoa powder is a supermarket staple for baking and hot chocolate, and it’s often confused with its less processed counterpart, cacao powder. Unlike cocoa, cacao powder is generally raw and unprocessed with no extra additives like sugar and dairy. It’s made from raw cacao beans that are dried and fermented into cacao nibs, which are then ground into powder.

Cacao powder adds rich chocolate flavor to your favorite recipes and is packed with powerful nutrients, including antioxidants, fiber, magnesium, and iron. The nutritious powder has been used medicinally for centuries and is popular today as a flavor booster in baking and smoothies. The delicious powder has many evidence-backed health benefits. Research suggests that cacao powder may boost heart health, protect the nervous system, and lower insulin resistance.

Here, the best cacao powders.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Navitas Organics Cacao Powder

If you’re looking for a great-tasting cacao powder that’s made with the highest quality ingredients, Navitas Organics is an excellent choice. The Fair Trade Certified, USDA Organic powder uses unroasted, non-alkalized beans that are chock full of antioxidants and minerals. Each 2.5-tablespoon serving contains 700 milligrams of flavanols. 

The rich cacao flavor mixes well into your favorite recipe and can be used as a 1:1 substitute for cocoa. The nutritious powder is also Non-GMO, kosher, gluten-free, and vegan. Plus, the powder is free of potentially harmful ingredients or nutritional impediments. For example, Dutch-processed cacao is washed with an alkaline solution of potassium carbonate that helps to neutralize the natural acidity for a more mellow flavor and give a darker chocolate color. This process reduces the amount of beneficial nutrients in the cacao powder.

Best Budget: Better Body Foods Organic Cacao Powder

While cacao powder is less processed than typical cocoa, it also usually comes with a larger price tag. If you want to reap the benefits of cacao powder but want a more budget-friendly product, Better Body Foods Organic Cacao Powder packs a nutritious punch at an affordable price.

The USDA Organic, Non-GMO powder tastes great and offers the same amounts of fiber, magnesium, and vitamin C as comparable products, for a lower price. This powder is a smart swap for cheaper cocoa powders, as it contains the great chocolatey taste with protein, antioxidant flavanols, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Budget Runner-Up: Thrive Market Organic Cacao Powder

Thrive Market Organic Cacao Powder

Courtesy of ThriveMarket.com

Adding a superfood like cacao powder to your recipes doesn’t mean that you have to pay a fortune. Thrive Market’s Organic Cacao Powder is another budget-friendly option that meets all top-quality cacao criteria, just at a lower price. It’s USDA Organic, ethically sourced, vegan, and gluten-free.

Commonly referred to as “Food of the Gods,” cacao powder is a truly powerful ingredient that can boost health and taste heavenly. This affordable option is easy to enjoy. Simply add it to your favorite baking recipe, sprinkle it onto yogurt or coffee, or blend it into a smoothie. 

Best Organic: Sunfood Superfoods Organic Cacao Powder

Selecting a USDA Organic product is an easy way to ensure that your cacao powder is safe and produced without harmful pesticides, fertilizers, and synthetic ingredients. Flavanols in cacao powder have strong anti-inflammatory powers, and choosing an organic product ensures you can reap all the benefits of the superfood without any potentially harmful ingredients or contaminants.

For the best organic cacao powder, Sunfood Superfoods Organic Cacao Powder is a great choice. The nutrient-dense powder is not only Non-GMO Project Verified and USDA Organic, but it's also CCOF-Certified, which guarantees that the product has been grown and produced according to federal organic standards. The vegan powder is free of sweeteners and additives.

Best Nibs: Navitas Organics Cacao Nibs

If you love the flavor and nutritional benefits of cacao powder but want a bit more crunch, consider adding cacao nibs to your rotation. Cacao nibs are small pieces of crushed cacao beans that offer mostly the same antioxidants and nutritional stats as the powder, just with a different texture. The deliciously crunchy nibs are an excellent topper for smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods.

Known for their rich and delicious cacao products, Navitas Organics also makes outstanding cacao nibs. The USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified cacao nibs are slightly bitter, but they add a satisfying crunch to your favorite foods and are even delicious straight out of the bag. Cacao nibs also have higher amounts of satiating fat than cacao powder. One 3-tablespoon serving contains a whopping 29% of the daily value of fiber and 20% of the daily value of magnesium.

Best Fair Trade Certified: Wildly Organic Fermented Cacao Powder

If you're concerned not only about the quality of your cacao powder but also about how it affects the environment and those who produce it, selecting a product that's Fair Trade Certified is essential. The Fair Trade Certified seal ensures that the cacao powder is produced in accordance with strict social, environmental, and economic standards. Purchasing a Fair Trade product supports safe working conditions for workers producing the goods, helps to protect the environment, and uplifts communities involved in the supply chain.

For a top-quality Fair Trade product, try Wildly Organic Fermented Cacao Powder. The USDA Organic, cold-processed cacao powder is made from beans grown in the Dominican Republic and is packaged in the United States by the independent, family-owned company. Wildly Organic ensures that their powder is minimally processed, raw, and unrefined to provide superior quality and taste.

Best for Smoothies: Organic Traditions Cacao Powder

For an epic chocolate smoothie bursting with antioxidant power, add a cacao powder like Organic Traditions. The rich, chocolatey powder is unsweetened, non-alkalized, and blends beautifully into your favorite smoothie mix. The health-promoting powder is a delicious addition to frozen fruits and veggies like bananas and spinach. It adds a boost of many key nutrients such as fiber, protein, and magnesium.

Organic Traditions' raw and kosher cacao powder is Ecocert certified. This means that the powder is tested and its production facility is audited to ensure that the product is created with the best practices that support strict social and environmental requirements.

Final Verdict

For a top-quality, great-tasting cacao powder, choose Navitas Organics Cacao Powder.

What to Look for in a Cacao Powder

Ingredients: When looking for a great cacao powder, select a powder that has only one ingredient: cacao powder. It's best to avoid any products that have added sugar or stabilizers.

Certifications: When possible, consider a USDA Organic, Non-GMO cacao powder. To choose a product that is good for you and for the producer that makes it, also look for a Fair Trade Certified cacao powder.

Processing: To ensure the nutrients—especially antioxidants—in your cacao powder are potent, select a cold-processed product. Antioxidants and other nutrients are very sensitive to heat and can be damaged or diminished with certain types of heated processing. For this reason, it's also best to avoid alkalized Dutch Process cocoa.

What Experts Say

"Not only does cacao powder add a chocolate flavor to your favorite recipes, but it's also a potent source of polyphenols—or naturally occurring chemicals—that have powerful antioxidant ability as well as the ability to calm inflammation. Blend cacao powder with nut milk, banana, frozen cauliflower, peanut butter, and chia seeds for a healthified take on a creamy chocolate shake." —Sydney Greene, MS, RD, CDN

Why Trust Verywell Fit

A personal note on my recommendations written above. As a dietitian, I am careful to recommend supplements and powders. I'm a huge fan of cacao powder for its variety of health benefits and delicious chocolate taste. In compiling these recommendations, I spent time reviewing the most current research on cacao powders and looking at multiple products and brands. I believe the cacao powders in the round-up are made by trusted brands, and I would feel comfortable recommending these to clients and patients in my clinical practice.

I have personally tried the majority of these products, and you can currently find Navitas Organics Cacao Powder in my pantry. — Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

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Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. Miller KB, Hurst WJ, Payne MJ, et al. Impact of alkalization on the antioxidant and flavanol content of commercial cocoa powders. J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56(18):8527-33. doi:10.1021/jf801670p

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