How to Use Cacao Butter, the Keto-Friendly Fat Your Diet Needs
- Cacao butter is a smooth and silky fat source derived from cold-pressed cacao beans.
- This dairy-free butter makes the perfect ketogenic fat source, since it contains antioxidants, saturated fats and disease-fighting compounds.
- Use it to add rich chocolatey flavor and aroma to recipes—including Bulletproof Coffee.
Whether or not you’ve heard of cacao butter, you’ve probably tasted it (or rubbed it on your skin). This keto-friendly butter rarely plays a starring role in recipes, but works in the background to add creamy mouthfeel, fragrance and smoothness to your favorite food and body products. But what makes this carb-free butter so special?
In addition to its rich taste, cacao butter is loaded with antioxidants, flavanols and saturated fats that can help support a healthy inflammation response. Read on to discover why it makes everything so much better—plus how to use it for maximum impact in your diet.
What is cacao butter?
Cacao butter is a byproduct of processed raw cacao beans. These beans also produce cacao powder and cacao nibs, but the butter specifically comes from the cold-pressed oils in the beans. Cacao butter and cocoa butter keep candy bars perfectly melty, add smoothness and shelf life to skin care products and give recipes a deliciously mild chocolate flavor.
Unlike conventional grass-fed butter, this butter is completely dairy-free and considered a vegetable fat. While other vegetable-based oils (such as hydrogenated oils) contain inflammatory damaged fats, cacao butter is loaded with natural, stable saturated fats that may help support a healthy inflammation response.
Best of all, this butter delivers a rich, chocolatey flavor with no added sugar and fewer stimulating effects compared to cacao powder—making it the perfect keto-friendly fat to use wherever you’d find conventional chocolate.
Cacao butter versus cocoa butter: What’s the difference?
Cocoa butter and cacao butter share a similar flavor and texture, but cacao butter retains more quality fats, nutrients and chocolatey aroma. Here’s why:
During cocoa butter rendering, the cocoa beans roast in a hot room while the butter drips off separately. Raw cacao butter slows down the rendering process and cold presses beans so that the fats still get extracted, but temperatures remain below 115° Fahrenheit. Both processes produce edible, shelf-stable fats that you can use for cooking and beauty products.
Conventional cocoa butter is ideal if you only use it for cosmetic purposes. Choose raw cacao butter for cooking, though, since it delivers more flavor and nutrient-rich fats.
Cacao butter nutrition and health benefits
It’s called butter for a reason: Cacao butter is made entirely of powerful fats. Most of these fats are saturated, but this butter also contains monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid (which is found in olive oil) and palmitoleic acid (found in macadamia nuts). In addition to these quality fats, cacao butter also retains some antioxidants from cacao beans.
Cacao butter shares many health benefits with dark chocolate. Since processed chocolate bars contain cacao butter or cocoa butter, research supporting its nutritional benefits tends to focus on chocolate consumption. Studies link chocolate intake with supporting a healthy inflammation response. Based on such promising research, this is one fat worth including in a ketogenic diet.
Related: Is Fat Good For You? Everything You Need to Know About Dietary Fats
How to use cacao butter
Like most fats, you wouldn’t want to eat cacao butter straight from the bag. Instead, use it to enhance recipes to deepen their chocolatey flavor and aroma.
1. Add it to Bulletproof Coffee
Cacao butter can’t replace all the benefits of grass-fed butter in Bulletproof Coffee, but it makes a delicious enhancement. Add up to a tablespoon and blend alongside your butter and Brain Octane C8 MCT oil.
Get everything you need to make Bulletproof Coffee at home with a Bulletproof Coffee Kit.
2. Make rich sugar-free chocolates
Cacao butter and cacao powder combine to create store brands of chocolate. Make your own sugar-free recipe packed with quality fats and sweetness.
3. Add white chocolate flavor to desserts
Since conventional white chocolate mostly contains cacao butter and sweeteners, you can easily incorporate cacao butter into a white chocolate alternative in your own favorite recipes. Try it in this keto-friendly white chocolate and raspberry cake.
4. Supercharge your smoothies
Add an easy dose of fat and flavor to cold blended drinks: Just add a tablespoon or two of cacao butter to your blender. Try it in this luscious Chocolate Mint Avocado Mmoothie.
5. Give ice cream a chocolatey upgrade
This butter gives keto ice cream a rich flavor and smooth texture, all with no added junk. Try it in chocolate or vanilla ice cream recipes—and even fudge pops.
How to choose the best cacao butter
- Get it raw: Not all cacao butter is created equal. To get the full benefits of its quality fats and chocolatey flavor, choose raw cacao butter over heat-treated cocoa butter.
- Watch for mold: Look for butter with a clean, chocolatey aroma—not rancid.
- Avoid fillers: Some “chocolate-flavored” products do not contain 100% cacao butter, and replace it with coconut or palm oils. Read your chocolate labels carefully (or just make your own chocolate) to ensure you get the real deal.
Read next: Keto Diet for Beginners – Your Complete Guide
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