An empiric study of Nutella Alternatives


Nutella is easily one of the most popular bread spreads in Europe. Anecdotic evidence suggests that France's crêpe business also heavily relies on it. And yet, Nutella has a number of drawbacks:

Hence the idea to produce one's own chocolate spread.

Design alternatives

I made 10 kg of chocolate spread.
Any chocolate spread revolves somehow around the following 4 components:
  1. Nuts.
  2. Cocoa.
  3. Fat. Fat is needed to hold the chocolate spread together, and to give it its creamy consistence.
  4. Sugar. Sugar is needed to make the chocolate spread sweet, because the other components are neutral or bitter.
These ingredients allow for quite some variations. I have conducted a systematic scientific study of design alternatives, in which human guinea pigs were subjected to half a dozen variations of the recipe. I report the results here.

  1. Hazelnuts
    Hazelnuts are the main advertised ingredient of Nutella. You need them if you want something similar.
    1. Roasted hazelnuts give a Nutella-specific aftertaste. I recommend them.
    2. Non-roasted hazelnuts do not have this property, and I recommend against them.
    It is difficult to find roasted hazelnuts in powder form. You have two options:
    1. Buy roasted hazelnuts, and grind them to powder in a blender. This works only if you have a blender that is strong enough to grind them to powder. A weak blender will merely make small pieces.
    2. Buy grind hazelnuts, and roast them in the oven. I recommend 140°C for about 10 minutes.
  2. Walnuts
    Walnuts can supplement hazelnuts, see below. I did not try using them alone.
  3. Coconuts
    Coconuts, likewise, can supplement hazelnuts. Taken alone, without the hazelnuts, they will give a very strong taste.
  4. Almonds
    Almonds can substitute the hazelnuts.
  1. 100% Cocoa seems the most natural choice here. It can be bought in the baking ressort of supermarkets.
  1. Colza oil is the oil with least self-taste. It is the safest alternative. It also has virtually no saturated fat, if this is something you care about.
  2. Coconut oil also works well. However, it gives a supplementary taste of coconuts, which not everybody likes. I personally like it. Apart from that, it is consists nearly exclusively of saturated fat, which is considered unhealthy.
  3. Butter gives an additional buttery taste. Crucially, it may spoil. I recommend against it.
  4. The fatty component can also be replaced by a combination of chocolate bars + butter + milk. This combination gives the best consistency. However, it has two problems: First, it requires an additional step of heating the mixture. Second, it leaves an empty aftertaste. I thus recommend against it.
  1. Real sugar leaves crystals in the cream. This is an interesting effect, but ultimately rather distracting. I recommend against it.
  2. Stevia is a sugar alternative. It is currently under investigation, and I decided against it until it is known to be safe.
  3. Ice sugar is fine-grained sugar with 4% starch in order to avoid blobs. It is the easiest alternative.
Optional supplementary ingredients:
  1. Vanilla: not tested

In all of the following, the recipe consists of throwing all components into a blender and mixing them for a few seconds. If you open the blender too early, the mixture will still be much like power. Have faith, blend a bit more, until it melds into a creamy mass. No other intervention is needed. Weights are given for 400g.

You find here a spreadshit with the quantities.

Coconut oil recipe

  1. Cocoa powder: 15% (60g)
    More cocoa makes the result too bitter for my taste. Less than 10% makes the chocolate spread taste more like nut cream.
  2. Coconut oil: 25% (100g)
    20% is too few, and the chocolate spread becomes crumbly. 30% is too much, and the chocolate spread becomes too fatty.
  3. Ice sugar: 30% (120g)
    25% does not make it sweet enough. 30% was considered an upper bound for health reasons.
  4. Hazelnuts (roasted and rasped): 30% (120g)
    The rest...

This recipe uses coconut oil, and thus gives a chocolate spread with coconut flavor. The result is tasty, but also fatty and sugary.

Walnut recipe

If you want to reduce sugar, you have to increase the other ingredients. However, increasing the hazelnuts makes the chocolate spread too nutty, increasing cocoa makes it too bitter, and increasing fat makes it too fatty. Hence, add walnuts. Also, replace coconut oil by the more healthy colza oil. This yields:
  1. Hazelnut (roasted and rasped): 30% (120g)
  2. Cocoa powder: 10% (40g)
  3. Colza oil: 20% (80g)
  4. Ice sugar: 20% (80g)
  5. Walnuts: 20% (80g)

This recipe yields a chocolate spread with a pleasant walnut aftertaste.

Almond recipe

  1. Rasped almonds: 50% (200g)
  2. Cocoa powder: 10% (40g)
  3. Colza oil: 20% (80g)
  4. Ice sugar: 20% (80g)

This recipe yields an almond-chocolate spread. Surprisingly, it tastes not much different from the walnut recipe — but it is easier to make because it has one less ingredient.

Coconut recipe

  1. Hazelnut (roasted and rasped): 30% (120g)
  2. Cocoa powder: 10% (40g)
  3. Colza oil: 20% (80g)
  4. Ice sugar: 20% (80g)
  5. Coconut rasps: 20% (80g)

This recipe yields a chocolate spread with a strong coconut taste. It tastes very rich, but is also quite heavy.

Cocoa-Coconut recipe

  1. Hazelnut (roasted and rasped): 30% (120g)
  2. Cocoa powder: 20% (80g)
  3. Colza oil: 20% (80g)
  4. Ice sugar: 20% (80g)
  5. Coconut rasps: 10% (80g)

This recipe yields a chocolate spread with a strong chocolate taste.


This chocolate spread (in all variants) has the following properties:
  1. It can live for several weeks on a shelf without spoiling.
  2. It can be produced without any oven, pan, or manual labor.
  3. It does not have to be stored in a fridge (in fact, storing it in a fridge makes it too hard).