What is a Good Creme de cacao Substitute?

image of Good Substitute for Creme de cacao liqueur

When you hear Creme de Cacao, you automatically think, “Oh, chocolate!” Or at least, that’s the first thing we thought of.

If you presumed the same thing, then congratulations, you’re correct! This is a chocolate-flavored cream liqueur with a hint of vanilla, perfect for cocktails and desserts.

If you don’t have any creme de cacao, we’ve covered you with our list of substitutes.

Read on!

The Rich Heritage of Crème de Cacao:

Crème de Cacao is made from vodka, cacao beans, and vanilla. You can find it in White and dark crème de cacao. These two differ in production processes and taste. (*)

Contrary to the name, crème de cacao has no cream or dairy products. The word “creme” refers to the liqueur’s rich and syrup-like consistency from the high sugar content.

Fun fact:

Crème de cacao is one of the oldest liqueurs. It originated in France from the French monks in the 16th century.

What Does This Chocolate Liqueur Taste Like?

  • White creme de cacao tastes sweet and has a strong milk chocolate flavor with notes of vanilla.
  • Dark creme de cacao has a much richer, dark chocolate flavor that still tastes sweet.

Both types can be enjoyed on their own as a digestif, meaning it’s meant to consume after meals.

So, what happens if you can’t find this alcoholic liqueur in the liquor store? Here are the ingredients you can replace creme de cacao with:

Creme de Cacao Substitutes: A World of Possibilities:

Don’t fret if you can’t find Creme de Cacao at your local liquor store! We’ve got you covered with a handpicked selection of enchanting substitutes that promise to elevate your drinks and desserts.

Chocolate Flavored Liqueur: Your Go-to Alternative

If you can’t find creme de cacao, you can use a chocolate-flavored drink called chocolate liqueur instead. You can find different kinds of chocolate liqueurs at the store. One good option is Trader Vic’s, which tastes and looks like creme de cacao.

Other chocolate liqueur brands, like Godiva, Bols, De Kuyper, Hiram Walker, or Marie Bizard, might taste sweeter and thicker than creme de cacao, but they will still work well in drinks, baked goods, and desserts.

If you don’t want to use chocolate liqueur, you can also try drinks with coffee, almond, or hazelnut flavors!

How to use: Use a 1:1 substitution ratio. This will provide a similar chocolate flavor and alcohol content.

Fun facts: Chocolate liqueurs have been around since the 17th century and were first created in Europe as medicinal beverages.

Mozart Chocolate Spirit: A Symphony of White Chocolate

We recommend using Mozart’s Chocolate Spirit if you want a white creme de cacao substitute.

It has an intense chocolate flavor but isn’t too sweet, as there aren’t any added sugars throughout production.

Furthermore, Mozart is a clear liquid, making it an ideal substitute. That said, do note that Mozart has a 40% ABV, while creme de cacao only contains 20%.

How to use: Substitute in a 1:1 ratio. This will give a rich chocolate taste without compromising on the alcohol content.

Fun fact: Mozart Chocolate Spirit has won numerous awards for its exceptional taste and quality, solidifying its position as a premium chocolate liqueur in the market.

Bailey’s Chocolate Luxe: Creamy Indulgence

Bailey’s Chocolate Luxe is another kind of chocolate liqueur worth mentioning. This is a creamy chocolate liqueur you can drink with ice or use in chocolate martinis.

We also like using this chocolate liqueur in desserts, like the Grasshopper Pie.

How to use: Use in a 1:1 ratio, but keep in mind that this substitute will add a creamy texture and may slightly alter the flavor profile.

Sandra Davis, Food and Beverage Critic.

“Bailey’s Chocolate Luxe perfectly balances the richness of chocolate with the creaminess of Irish cream, making it a decadent addition to both cocktails and sweet treats.”

Kahlua: A Dash of Coffee-Infused Magic

We only recommend Kahlua if you’re truly in a pinch. It’s a Mexican liqueur known for its presence in popular cocktails like the Black Russian and Espresso Martini.

Expect a thick consistency and intense coffee flavor, which sets it apart from brown creme de cacao. However, it will still work well in cocktails.

This sweet liqueur has that subtle vanilla undertone in brown creme de cacao. If you’d like to experiment, we recommend trying Kahlua Chili Chocolate, which has a delicate chocolate flavor with a spicy kick, perfect for edgy cocktails.

How to use: Substitute in a 1:1 ratio. Kahlua has a coffee flavor, so it will change the drink’s overall taste but still provide a delicious result.

Fun fact: The name “Kahlua” is derived from the Nahuatl word “Kahlúa,” which means “House of the Acolhua people.”

Homemade Creme de Cacao: Unleash Your Inner Alchemist

If you have time and want to experiment, you can make your own chocolate alcoholic liqueur.

Here’s what the recipe calls for:

  • 1 cup of cacao nibs
  • 1.5 cups of vodka
  • One vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
  • Three teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1.5 cups sugar

Follow these directions:

  1. Place your cacao nibs, vodka, vanilla bean, and extract in a large jar or bottle. Shake it vigorously, then store it in a dark, cool area for two weeks. Shake the mixture every two days.
  2. Strain the liquid with a coffee filter or cheesecloth, discarding any solids.
  3. Place the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring it occasionally until the sugar completely dissolves.
  4. Remove from heat and let it cool before you pour your cacao and vodka mixture.
  5. Let it sit for 2-3 days before using your homemade chocolate liqueur.

Non-Alcoholic Alternatives for Everyone:

Not a fan of alcoholic beverages?

There are non-alcoholic ingredients you can use to replace creme de cacao.

Try any of these non-alcoholic liqueur alternatives:

Chocolate Syrup: A Sweet Touch

We do not recommend chocolate syrup for cocktails, especially if you’re a mixologist. But chocolate syrup is worth considering if you aren’t picky with your drinks and want to add a chocolatey flavor.

You can easily find chocolate syrup in supermarkets. We recommend this if you’re in a pinch or want to create a mocktail.

Alternatively, you can opt for coffee or hazelnut syrup. You can try other non-alcoholic chocolate flavoring options, like cocoa butter.

Pro tip:

We recommend adding heavy cream until you get a similar consistency to the creme de cacao when you use this alternative.

How to use:

  • Substitute 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup for every 1 ounce of Creme de cacao. You may need to adjust other liquid ingredients in the recipe to maintain consistency.

Chocolate Extract: A Cocktail Connoisseur’s Secret

Surprisingly, chocolate extract is a valuable ingredient in cocktails. However, it can be a challenging ingredient to find.

You may find it in grocery stores, but if not, you can grab a bottle online if you aren’t in a hurry. Use this in cocktails like the Bloody Aztec, China White, or Magic Potion.

How to use:

  • Use ½ teaspoon of chocolate extract for every 1 ounce of Creme de cacao. You may need to add additional sweetener or alcohol to achieve the desired flavor.

Cocoa Powder: A Nutty Delight

Non-alcoholic chocolate powder is another excellent substitute!

We like using powdered white chocolate to replace white crème de cacao or regular cocoa powder for brown creme de cacao.

Just mix your powdered white chocolate or hot chocolate with water, powdered sugar, and non-alcoholic vanilla extract.

How to use:

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water (or alcohol) for every 1 ounce of Creme de cacao. Adjust sweetness as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fun fact:

You can create so many different cocktails with creme de cacao, such as the Grasshopper Drink, Brandy Alexander, Chocolate Martini, and a Magic Potion Cocktail.

Wrapping It Up

Just because you don’t have this particular chocolate-flavored liqueur doesn’t mean you have to stop making your cocktail or dessert!

You can easily find a creme de cacao substitute in your local store or home.

What is a Good Creme de cacao Substitute?

Need a substitute for creme de cacao in your recipes? Check out this guide to find the best alternatives that taste just as delicious.
Prep Time 9 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
9 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Servings 4


  • Chocolate Flavored Liqueur
  • Mozart Chocolate Spirit
  • Bailey’s Chocolate Luxe
  • Kahlua
  • Make Your Own Creme de cacao substitute
  • Chocolate Syrup
  • Chocolate Extract
  • Cocoa Powder


  • Determine your desired flavor and alcohol content: Based on the type of drink or recipe you’re making, decide whether you want a similar chocolate flavor, a richer or creamier chocolate taste, or if you’re open to a slightly different flavor like coffee and chocolate. Also, consider if you need a substitute with alcohol content or if a non-alcoholic option will suffice.
  • Browse the table: Look through the table and find the substitutes that match your desired flavor and alcohol content requirements. Pay attention to the “Flavor” and “Alcohol Content” columns to make your decision.
  • Check the substitution ratio: Once you’ve selected a suitable substitute, look at the “Ratio” column to find the recommended substitution ratio. This will tell you how much of the substitute to use in place of Creme de cacao.
  • Adjust your recipe accordingly: Use the suggested ratio to substitute the chosen ingredient for Creme de cacao in your recipe. Keep in mind that some substitutes may require additional adjustments to the other ingredients in your recipe to maintain the right consistency or balance of flavors.


For example, if you want a similar chocolate flavor with alcohol content, you can choose the “Chocolate Flavored Liqueur” substitute. The table shows a 1:1 ratio, so if your recipe calls for 1 ounce of Creme de cacao, replace it with 1 ounce of Chocolate Flavored Liqueur.

Did our list help you find the best ingredient to replace creme de cacao with? If so, let us know in the comments section below!

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