Espresso Powder Uses

Espresso powder is made from brewed espresso that has been concentrated and powdered. This intensely flavored coffee additive can enhance both sweet and savory dishes in your kitchen. With just a spoonful, you can make chocolate taste even more chocolatey, add richness to stews and chili, and create foamy, dessert-like coffee drinks.

Espresso Powder Uses

Espresso powder is an easy way to add bold coffee flavor to recipes without brewing a fresh pot every time. Even though the name contains "espresso," a small amount won’t make your food taste like coffee. Instead, it amplifies existing flavors.

Enhance the Flavor of Chocolate

One of the most popular uses of espresso powder is to intensify chocolate flavors in desserts. The dark, roasted notes of espresso complement rich cocoa and bring out fruity undertones.

Many bakers add a teaspoon of instant espresso to recipes like brownies, chocolate frosting, and chocolate cakes. It provides complexity without adding an identifiable coffee taste. Feel free to experiment with your favorite chocolate treats by adding a small amount of espresso powder.

For example, try whisking a teaspoon into the wet ingredients of brownie batter. If you enjoy more defined mocha flavors, use a tablespoon or more espresso powder. Just be careful not to go overboard, or it will overwhelm the chocolate rather than supporting its best qualities.

You can also make a mocha buttercream by dissolving espresso powder in water before mixing it into vanilla or chocolate frosting. The possibilities are endless when it comes to using this handy powder to elevate cocoa-based goodies.

Key Takeaway: A teaspoon of espresso powder makes chocolate taste even more chocolatey without imparting a strong coffee flavor.

Lend Depth to Chili and Stews

When developing a complex, multilayered dish like beef stew or chili, consider adding espresso powder. The bitter notes work similarly to dark chocolate, enhancing savory flavors. Espresso powder also mimics flavors released during longer cooking times.

Many cooks use brewed coffee instead of broth in hearty chili recipes. If you’re looking to control the intensity of coffee flavor, espresso powder allows more precision.

Start with 1-2 teaspoons of espresso powder per batch of chili or stew. Slowly increase to taste if you want a more pronounced coffee presence. As little as a quarter teaspoon can provide background depth without anyone identifying the flavor as coffee.

Create Faux Espresso Drinks

You can easily mimic coffeehouse drinks with espresso powder, even if you don’t own an expensive espresso machine. Simply add hot water to dissolve the concentrated powder.

For example, stir a teaspoon of espresso powder into a mug of steaming milk. Then top your homemade mocha with whipped cream and chocolate shavings for an indulgent dessert drink.

You can also embrace the popular Dalgona coffee trend without leaving your kitchen. This South Korean beverage is named after the honeycomb toffee candy with a similar light, foamy texture.

To make Dalgona coffee:

  • Add 2 tablespoons instant coffee, 2 tablespoons white sugar, and 2 tablespoons hot water to a bowl
  • Using a hand mixer, whisk ingredients together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes by hand
  • Spoon whipped coffee over cold milk and ice
  • Top with cocoa powder or cinnamon

The espresso powder is necessary to provide an intense coffee base that holds its shape when whipped. Both sweet and impressive, it’s sure to impress guests.

Give Frostings and Glazes a Flavor Boost

Take basic buttercream, chocolate ganache, lemon glaze, and more to the next level with a bit of espresso powder.

For example, try whisking a half teaspoon into one batch of buttercream frosting. Taste and add more if desired. The deep flavor notes complement sweetness without Adding too much liquid or altering texture.

You can also use espresso powder instead of regular coffee as a mixer in tiramisu recipes. Sprinkle it over cream layers and allow time for the powder to fully dissolve for best results.

Feel free to get creative with this technique. Espresso powder pairs nicely with berries, caramel, orange, and other bold flavors.

Upgrade Hot Cocoa Mix

During the fall and winter months, keep a jar of espresso powder handy for spiking packaged hot cocoa mixes. The extra intensity helps balance sweetness and makes the drink more interesting.

For a simple mocha version, combine hot water, cocoa mix, and 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon espresso powder. Sweeten to taste with sugar or sweetened condensed milk.

You can also top peppermint hot chocolate with a dusting of espresso powder blended with confectioners’ sugar. The possibilities are endless when it comes to using this versatile item.


What exactly is espresso powder?

Espresso powder starts with concentrated espresso coffee that gets brewed then dehydrated into an instant powder. It has more intensity than regular instant coffee. A little bit dissolve easily in liquid to provide strong espresso flavor.

Is there caffeine in espresso powder?

Yes, espresso powder contains concentrated caffeine just like regular espresso. However, recipes generally call for small amounts spread across a full batch. Discuss appropriate caffeine consumption with your doctor, especially for children.

What can I substitute if I don’t have espresso powder?

In a pinch, use extra instant coffee instead of espresso powder. The flavor won’t be quite as complex, so you’ll need about 50% more instant coffee. For example, replace 1 teaspoon espresso powder with 11⁄2 teaspoons instant coffee.

You can also omit espresso powder from recipes entirely if necessary. The dish won’t have the flavor-enhancing qualities but should still taste fine.

Can I make homemade espresso powder?

Unfortunately, authentic espresso powder requires commercial drying equipment to turn concentrated brewed coffee into instant powder. For homemade versions, see substitutions above.

How should I store espresso powder?

Like regular coffee, espresso powder is sensitive to air, light, heat, and moisture. Keep it in an airtight opaque container like a jar or stainless steel tin. Store in a cool, dark cabinet for maximum freshness and shelf life.


While called “espresso powder,” this handy item does more than imitate the flavor of a shot of espresso. A tiny bit enhances chocolate, amplifies spices, and balances sweetness while adding richness.

Keep your cooking versatile by having a container on hand. Look for it in the coffee section or with other specialty baking items. A little goes a long way, making it an affordable kitchen staple.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *