What is the Best Substitute for Cacao Nibs?

by Charlie
Cacao Nibs

Cacao nibs are a nutritious treat with a chocolatey flavor that have many versatile applications. You can add them to baked goods, oatmeal, snacks, smoothies, and much more. Thanks to their moderately sweet taste, they are impressive additions to whatever it is that you’re making. 

So, what is the best substitute for cacao nibs? The ideal substitute for cacao nibs will be chocolate chips. These little pieces of chocolate are perfect because they are just as versatile as cacao nibs and have a similar flavor as well as texture. In terms of application and taste, you can find different chocolate chips variants and eventually get something that will work just like cacao nibs. 

An Overview of Cacao Nibs 

Cacao nibs are little pieces of cacao beans (also known as cocoa beans). These beans have been crushed to find the cacao nibs. As you can expect, these nibs are produced from the beans of the Theobroma cacao tree. These beans go through a thorough drying process after being harvested, then they are fermented and cracked to produce the cacao nibs. 

You can find roasted cacao nibs in some instances, while others are not. The unroasted cacao nibs are also known as “raw” cacao nibs. Whether roasted or unroasted, cacao nibs provide a chocolatey taste that can easily add flavor to your recipe. 

One of the most interesting things about cacao nibs is the fact that they are incredibly versatile. You can add these nibs to a wide array of recipes, including smoothies, baked foods, and oatmeal. Their taste and flavor will make them incredibly effective recipe options that will improve the taste of whatever you add them to. 

They have a lower sugar content than many other chocolate products you might want to add to a recipe, so you don’t have to worry about blood sugar. They also contain no added sweeteners, so you’re pretty much covered when it comes to taste. Note that in some cases, however, you will need to adjust the content of these nibs to make accommodations for your taste preference. 

Beyond their impressive taste, cacao nibs also provide several health benefits. They are packed full of antioxidants, and they come with anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have also shown that they can boost blood sugar control and the health of your immune system. 

Why Substitute Cacao Nibs? 

  • Taste differences: You could want to experiment with your recipe when using cacao nibs. In this case, a substitute will serve you pretty well and help you to make changes easily. 
  • Non-availability: Cacao nibs are usually available in grocery stores near you. However, you will need to find something just as great in case the grocery stores near you don’t have any nibs. 
  • Chocolate allergies: While they aren’t chocolates, cacao nibs share significant similarities to chocolates – including the taste. If you’re allergic, you could get a substitute to help you enjoy the same great taste in your recipe while reducing the chances of a reaction. 

Options for Cacao Nibs Substitutes

Best Overall Substitute for Cacao Nibs: Chocolate Chips

As the name probably gives away, chocolate chips are bits of chocolate cut into small pieces. These chips are available in different sizes, allowing you to find different options that pique your fancy. You can also find chocolate chips in different shapes and sizes. 

Chocolate chips are the ideal substitutes for cacao nibs for several reasons. Most important is the fact that they can be used in pretty much the same recipes. You can add chocolate chips to pastries, bread, oatmeal, or even use them as snacks if they’re large enough. 

At the same time, chocolate chips can have the same taste as cacao nibs. While most chocolate chips are sweetened, you can find some unsweetened variants, giving you a similar flavor delivery to cacao nibs. 

Some even prefer chocolate chips in baking because they don’t melt. If you take a chocolate chip out of the oven, you will find that it will eventually take shape after some cooling. This characteristic means that chocolate chips are durable and can last pretty long. They are also easier to work with – especially when you’re baking. 

Best Substitute for Cacao Nibs when Making Candy: Roasted Cocoa Beans

Roasted cocoa beans also share a significant amount of similarities with cacao nibs. As you probably suspected, they come from the same source – the Theobroma cacao plant. They can also be used for pretty much the same things, and they have almost the same taste. 

The primary difference between the two lies in the manufacturing process. Roasted cocoa beans are roasted after they are harvested – unlike cacao nibs, which are dried and fermented. Roasted cocoa beans also last slightly longer than the cacao nibs, and you should be able to make them at home with the right tools. 

As explained earlier, roasted cocoa beans can be used for pretty much the same applications as cacao nibs. However, the primary application they work for will be in making candy. Thanks to their sweet taste and roasted nature, these beans are great tools for candy manufacturing. Note, that you will need to be careful with your manufacturing process as these beans are pretty finicky to work with. 

Best Substitutes for Allergies: Walnut Pieces

Walnut pieces are a bit of an unconventional choice when you think about it. However, they work pretty well for a lot of ways you can use cacao nibs. Most especially, walnut pieces are ideal for people looking to substitute cacao nibs for allergy reasons. 

You can get walnut pieces pretty much anywhere, so don’t bother about availability. Also, walnut pieces come in different taste variants – mainly, salted and unsalted. So, you get options and varieties that can help to make your recipes better. 

Most importantly, walnuts don’t taste like cacao nibs. So, if you’re looking for a substitute for the latter that will completely change your taste palette, you should consider walnuts for sure.

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