Can I use instant coffee instead of espresso powder? (+3 substitutes)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can I use instant coffee instead of espresso powder?”, and what are the other substitutes for espresso powder?

Can I use instant coffee instead of espresso powder?

Yes, instant coffee can be used instead of espresso powder. Keep in mind that instant coffee is not as intense as instant espresso or espresso powder. That is why you need to use a greater amount of instant coffee to obtain the same richness and intensity.

However, using too much instant coffee can also make the end product taste sour. Read on if you want to know what are the other alternatives to espresso powder.

What are the other substitutes for espresso powder?

Brewed espresso

Use brewed espresso instead of espresso powder for a deep and rich flavor. However, you need to adjust the number of total liquids in your recipe. Make the strongest and the darkest brew to compensate for the intensity of espresso flavor.

Espresso grounds

The espresso powder sold commercially prepared by grinding, brewing, drying, and then again grinding espresso to a fine powder. So, if you have espresso grounds you can just make espresso powder at home.

Cocoa powder

All-natural cocoa powder that has not been alkalized is a good substitute for espresso powder in a recipe. It enhances the flavor of other ingredients and provides a fruity hint of the cocoa beans. Dutch-processed cocoa powder is alkalized during processing so it won’t taste as bitter as the natural cocoa powder.

Espresso powder vs instant coffee

Instant coffee or powdered coffee is made by freeze-drying or spray-drying brewed ground coffee. Instant coffee has a caffeine level ranging from 27mg to 173mg with an average of 66mg. It can be brewed from arabica and robusta coffee beans. Instant coffee made from the former results in a more intense and bitter flavor.

Espresso powder is the concentrated form of coffee and has a more dark and intense flavor. However, instant espresso has 56mg of caffeine on average. Due to a more pronounced flavor, espresso powder is frequently used to make brownies, cookies, chocolate cakes, or chocolate cupcakes to intensify the flavor of chocolate. Espresso powder adds a rich flavor to chocolate sauce, chocolate buttercream frosting, and ganache.

Other FAQs about Coffee which you may be interested in.

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How to make your own espresso powder at home?


  • Espresso beans
  • Baking Sheet
  • Coffee or spice grinder
  • Airtight container

1 cup of espresso beans will easily yield 1 cup of espresso powder.

Espresso beans

Use high-quality organic espresso beans with a medium roast. If not organic, you can opt for the regular espresso beans as well.

Baking sheet

It is important to have a baking sheet or a baking tray because you will have to dry your ground and brewed espresso beans in the oven

Spice grinder

A spice grinder or a coffee grinder with sharp blades is important to grind your roasted beans. Alternatively, you can use a food processor, pestle and mortar, or a blender.

Air-tight container

Last but not the least, a container with an air-tight lid is important to store your espresso powder. You can use the regular spice container or go for the glass jars.


  • Preheat your oven at 200°F for 20 minutes.
  • Spread the espresso beans on a baking sheet or tray even in a single layer and put it in the oven.
  • Remove the tray from the oven after 1 hour or until the beans feel dry and crunchy and develop a toasted appearance.
  • Let the beans come to room temperature.
  • Grind the beans using a grinder in batches.
  • Transfer the espresso powder to a dry and sterilized air-tight container. Store for up to 6 months.

Recipes to make with espresso powder

Espresso powder can be used to make both savory and sweet dishes.

  • Tiramisu is ut top pick because it is incomplete without espresso powder. The ladyfinger biscuits drenched in espresso impart a deeper and more intense coffee flavor to the dessert. Tiramisu is an absolute treat for coffee lovers.
  • Nothing complements the chocolate in your puddings, mousses, pies, and candies better than espresso powder.
  • Espresso powder imparts the perfect mocha flavor to your fudgy cake, shortbread cookies, and truffles.
  • Espresso pairs well with the nuts because of their warm and earthy flavor that balances the bitterness of the espresso. Add espresso to the nut butter for a deeper flavor or roast your almonds in espresso powder. Espresso waffles are the perfect breakfast to start the day.
  • Do not stop at desserts, add espresso powder to meat rubs for a bold espresso flavor.


In this article, we answered the question “Can I use instant coffee instead of espresso powder?”, and what are the other substitutes for espresso powder?