There are so many chocolate bars on the market these days; whether they’re uniquely flavored, boast eco-friendly or health certifications, or are great for baking, we’ve yet to meet one we didn’t like. Chocolate is so versatile too, lending itself to a myriad of possibilities, and it’s the perfect vehicle for tasty, textured mix-ins.
Thanks to the various degrees of bitterness and sweetness it can provide, chocolate can be used for different baking tasks as well enjoyed on its own, of course. When shopping for chocolate, look at its cacao percentage as well as the ingredient list to decide if it's the best choice for your use.
It’s a tricky list to narrow down, but here are some of the best chocolate bars available.
Godiva Chocolatier Solid Milk Chocolate
Rich and smooth flavor
Great for making sauces or fillings
Additional flavors available
Not ideal for most baking jobs
A box of Godiva truffles is hard to beat, but for the milk chocolate fanatics out there, you can’t go wrong with a solid bar of smooth, rich Godiva milk chocolate. In addition to just eating it straight from the bar, it's delicious for making sauces, fillings, and icings, too. However, it's not ideal for baking since milk chocolate burns easily. It comes in multiple sizes and if you can’t get enough of the plain milk chocolate bars, the brand offers plenty of other mouth-watering flavors to check out (milk chocolate hazelnut, chocolate popcorn, and more).
Price at time of publish: $4 for a 1.5-ounce bar
Size: 1.5- or 3.1-ounce bars | Cacao Percentage: Not indicated | Allergens: Contains soy and milk, may contain tree nuts
"When I check the ingredient list, I want to see cacao beans (or the combination of cocoa solids and cocoa butter), sugar, and lecithin. When seeking a milk or white chocolate bar, dairy/milk powder and flavorings such as vanilla are appropriate. Anything more than that, and I start to raise an eyebrow (unless we're talking inclusions like nuts and toffee, of course!)." — Anne Wolf, Head Chocolatier & Chef Instructor at EH Chocolatier
Scharffen Berger Bittersweet Fine Artisan Dark Chocolate
Rainforest Alliance Certified
Good for baking or eating plain
Great for baking and eating, this Scharffen Berger chocolate is the quintessential quality dark chocolate. Scharffen Berger was the first American "bean-to-bar" chocolate, leading what the brand refers to as the "craft chocolate movement." Though owned by Hershey for 15 years, they returned to private ownership in 2020.
At 70 percent cacao, its bittersweet flavor works great in baked goods but is also delicious when eaten plain, if you’re a fan of dark chocolate. It is also gluten-free, kosher, and Rainforest Alliance Certified. It comes in a variety of sizes and shapes, including 3- and 9.7-ounce bars, as well as in baking chip form. Breaking or biting into this chocolate bar is slightly difficult as the chocolate is thick and hefty, and it isn't as cheap as others but you're paying for quality.
Price at time of publish: $5 for 3 ounces, $10 for 9.7 ounces
Size: 3- or 9.7-ounce bars | Cacao Percentage: 70 percent | Allergens: Contains soy
"Avoid ingredients like castor oil, polyglycerol, or PGPR. These are added in place of some--if not all--the cocoa butter for easier and cheaper production and more shelf-stable final products. Cocoa butter is the expensive part of chocolate, but also the source of many production challenges. Emulsifiers like soy lecithin and sunflower lecithin are commonly used to help keep the fat from separating—and they are just fine if you ask me!" — Anne Wolf, Head Chocolatier & Chef Instructor at EH Chocolatier
Moonstruck Element Bars 3pc Gift Set
On the pricey side
Since 1993, Moonstruck chocolate, based in Portland, Oregon, has paired its "decadent chocolate with fresh flavors found in the Pacific Northwest, and hand-decorate them with intricate care," according to its website. And this is particularly evident in its Element Bars, which are not only delicious to eat but to look at...there’s a reason the packaging doesn’t fully cover the bar–so you can actually see the edible artwork!
This 3-piece set is the perfect bundle to gift for a housewarming, as a holiday gift, or to simply treat yourself, although a bit pricey. However, within this set, you’ll receive one Dark Chocolate Strawberry Basil bar, one Dark Chocolate Raspberry and Fennel bar, and one Dark Chocolate Pecan Praline and Ginger bar–good luck picking a favorite, because each is unique and divine.
Price at time of publish: $45
Size: 9.3 ounces total | Cacao Percentage: Not indicated | Allergens: All three bars contain soy and the Dark Chocolate Praline Pecan & Ginger also contains milk and pecans
Theo Chocolate Organic Milk + Dark Chocolate Classic Sampler Variety Pack
Many unique flavors and cacao percentages
Better for eating plain than baking
Theo Chocolate, based in Seattle, was the first organic and fair-trade certified chocolate maker in North America. They offer dozens of different bar chocolates—from milk to dark to extra dark—all also non-GMO, kosher, and soy-free. For those searching for unique flavors, Theo has no shortage, and we appreciate the variety of options available.
This variety pack is a great option if you have a hard time choosing just one flavor; with offerings like coffee toffee and raspberry, picking just one seems impossible. Ranging from 45 percent cacao to 85 percent cacao, there is plenty of variety for those who like milkier chocolates and for those purists who want higher cacao percentages. If you’re a fan of this variety pack, there are even more flavors available, as well as other themed variety packs (vegan dark pack, milk chocolate pack, peanut butter cup variety pack, and many others).
Price at time of publish: $30 for a pack of 10
Size: 3-ounce bars | Cacao Percentage: Varies from 45-85 percent | Allergens: Varies
Chocolove XOXOX Raspberries In Dark Chocolate Bar
Contain actual pieces of raspberry
Pre-perforated squares for easy breaking apart
More bitter than others
Raspberries (and arguably all other fruits) pair with chocolate beautifully; there’s a reason most assorted truffle boxes on the market contain raspberry truffles so often. So it’s only natural to find raspberry in a chocolate bar, as well. These bars of rich Belgian dark chocolate contain actual pieces of freeze-dried raspberry. The bars, which are 55 percent cocoa, offer a delightful "contrast of flavors [that] harmonize with a light raspberry finish," according to the company’s website.
These bars are also Rainforest Alliance Certified and non-GMO. Each bar contains 18 perforated squares, so if you’re good at portion control, it’s easy to evenly break off one piece at a time (before you inevitably come back for more). These bars contain no dairy, gluten, nuts, or artificial preservatives. If you end up a fan of this flavor, be sure to check out some of their other similar varieties, such as Cherries & Almonds in Dark Chocolate or Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate.
Price at time of publish: $3 for a 3.1-ounce bar
Size: 3.1-ounce bars | Cacao Percentage: 55 percent | Allergens: Contains soy and made in a facility that also processes milk, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts
Best for Baking
Guittard Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars
Tasty enough to be eaten plain
A bit pricier than other baking chocolate
Guittard’s bittersweet baking bar is the perfect chocolate bar for all your baking needs. Containing 70 percent cacao, it has a rich dark chocolate flavor without being too overwhelmingly bitter. It blends in with other ingredients in things like brownies, cookies, cakes, tarts, and pastries well, without adding a lot of additional sugar. (One-fourth of the bar equals one serving and contains 5 grams of added sugar.) It also melts perfectly into a smooth, thick liquid that then mixes into batter nicely.
It’s also fair-trade certified, non-GMO, peanut-free, and gluten-free—and just because it says it’s a baking bar doesn’t mean it’s not delicious eaten plain, as well.
Price at time of publish: $6 for 3 2-ounce bars
Size: 2-ounce bars | Cacao Percentage: 70 percent | Allergens: Molded on equipment also used for milk chocolate, but made in a peanut-free, tree nut-free, and gluten-free facility
"Bar chocolate producers are becoming increasingly transparent about their sourcing practices, from efforts to protect forests to supporting farming communities with fair wages and professional development programs. This is typically something the producer is proud of and will denote on their packaging with a label or logo, such as the World Cocoa Foundation, Fair Trade, B Corp, or company-specific initiatives like Callebaut's Forever Chocolate." — Anne Wolf, Head Chocolatier & Chef Instructor at EH Chocolatier
Ghirardelli Premium Baking White Chocolate
Super sweet flavor
Versatile for baking
May be too vanilla-forward for some
Ghirardelli is a brand that is known and loved, so you know you're getting a high-quality chocolate product. White chocolate does not get nearly enough appreciation, but it’s a delicious addition to so many baked goods and is great plain-eating chocolate for those with a serious sweet tooth. This one is thin and easy to bite into but might be too heavy on the vanilla for die-hard chocolate fans. There are other uses for it besides eating plain—this sweet, creamy white chocolate bar is great for baking, as it melts smoothly and can be stirred easily into batters or frostings, or used for toffees or barks.
Price at time of publish: $4 for a 4-ounce bar
Size: 4-ounce bars | Cacao Percentage: Not applicable | Allergens: Contains milk and soy, may contain tree nuts
The Good Chocolate Himalayan Salt Dark Chocolate Bar
Balanced yet complex sweet and salty flavor
Lower end of cacao percentage for dark chocolate
Dessert can be tricky for those who are watching their carbohydrate and sugar intake, but this vegan and keto-friendly chocolate bar might be an exception. This bar is 65 percent cacao, so it is on the dark/bittersweet end of the spectrum, but it is not the most bitter of chocolate bars out there. The organic pink Himalayan salt helps balance the sweetness, making for a complex, sweet-salty flavor. Even better: These bars are organic and contain 0 grams of sugar, plus only 2 net carbs, making them a great option for those who are carb-counting.
Price at time of publish: $5 for a 2.5-ounce bar
Size: 2.5-ounce bars | Cacao Percentage: 65 percent | Allergens: Contains almonds and produced in a facility that also processes tree nuts and milk
Hu Kitchen Almond Butter & Puffed Quinoa Chocolate Bar
Unique flavors that emphasize texture
Appealing, easily resealable packaging
Not for those with nut allergies
Hu has a large variety of vegan chocolate bar options, so it’s hard to pick a favorite, but we can’t get enough of this almond butter & puffed quinoa variety, one of their most popular flavors. In addition to being vegan, organic, and gluten-free, the bar contains no emulsifiers, refined sugar, or sugar alcohol. It’s paleo-friendly, non-GMO, and uses fair-trade ingredients. The chocolate itself is house-ground 70 percent cacao, and the crisp puffed quinoa offers a nice crunch not usually found in a chocolate bar. This crunch provides the perfect textural contrast to the softer almond butter filling, which is made from custom dry-roasted almonds.
According to the company’s website, Hu’s goal is "replacing weird, industrial ingredients with simple, healthier ones" and it is setting "out to create a food brand that [brings] to life their newfound passion and human-centric philosophy." If you like exploring other nut butter varieties, be sure to check out the hazelnut butter and cashew butter flavors.
Price at time of publish: $30 for 6 2.1-ounce bars
Size: 2.1-ounce bars | Cacao Percentage: 70 percent | Allergens: Contains almonds
Pocket Latte HAZELNUT
Good energy-boosting, on-the-go option
Several flavor options to cater to chocolate (and coffee) preferences
Strong coffee flavor
Caffeine’s effect will vary from person to person
Sure, you could get that jolt of midday energy you need from a cup of coffee, but doesn’t a chocolate bar sound more delicious? Rest assured, Pocket Latte has you covered; these chocolate bars look like a tasty standard bar, but each square equals a cup of coffee (100-120 milligrams of caffeine). According to the company’s website, "we wanted to make an energy product that’s powered by nature, the way it should be. We skipped all of the synthetic and artificial additives, so you can kick butt guilt-free."
The bars are made with medium roast 100 percent arabica Colombian coffee and are made with responsibly-sourced ingredients. They are also non-GMO, vegan, all-natural, gluten-free, soy-free, palm oil free, and Kosher certified. We love the hazelnut variety that provides "subtly sweet notes of hazelnut," according to the company’s website, but if hazelnut coffee isn’t your favorite, check out the lavender vanilla or cream+sugar options.
Price at time of publish: $24 for a pack of 12 0.92-ounce bars
Size: 0.92-ounce bars | Cacao Percentage: Not indicated | Allergens: Contains cashew and made on equipment that processes milk
If you are looking for a well-rounded and delicious chocolate bar, it’s hard to pass up the Scharffen Berger Bittersweet Fine Artisan Dark Chocolate. If you’re looking for a chocolate bar with less sugar, the vegan and keto-friendly Good Chocolate Himalayan Salt Bar is a great option, containing only 2 net carbs.
What to Look for in Chocolate Bars
Type and Intensity
Most of us are familiar with the three main, broad types of chocolate—milk, dark, and white—but there are also percentages to take into account that further sub-divide those categories. You will often see a cocoa percentage listed on bars of chocolate or powders, and this captures how much of the product is actual cocoa mass, as opposed to other added ingredients (sugar, vanilla, etc.). So, if a product is labeled 70 percent dark chocolate, that means its cocoa mass is 70 percent, and 30 percent of the product is made up of other ingredients.
Like all products, you always want to pay careful attention to ingredient lists. While this is especially important to those with food allergies or sensitivities, it’s also simply a good habit to be aware of what’s in your products. Generally speaking, the shorter the list, the better; as ingredient lists grow longer and fill up with more difficult-to-pronounce, mysterious ingredients, you end up with more additives and artificial flavors. With a short, concise list, it’s easy to see and understand exactly what you’re getting in your product. Milk chocolate will usually contain more ingredients, as it has a smaller cocoa mass and therefore relies on a greater number of other added ingredients.
Is chocolate gluten-free?
Pure chocolate itself is gluten-free; however, as with any food allergy or sensitivity, it’s still always important to check the label to be extra cautious. Many chocolate bars are not pure chocolate and have additional ingredients mixed in, and those ingredients may not be gluten-free (or could be produced in a facility where gluten is present).
How much caffeine is in a chocolate bar?
Caffeine is not required to be listed on food labels, so it’s often tricky to know how much caffeine you’re getting. The number will also vary depending on the brand and type of chocolate. In general, darker chocolates will contain more caffeine, as it’s derived from the cacao beans and those darker chocolates have a higher percentage of cacao.
According to FoodInsight.org, 1 ounce of solid bar dark chocolate contains about 5 to 35 milligrams of caffeine; 1 ounce of solid bar milk chocolate contains about 1 to 15 milligrams of caffeine (for context, 8 ounces of drip coffee typically contains around 75 to 165 milligrams). If you’re concerned about a specific brand of chocolate you love, try reaching out to the company to inquire directly.
How We Researched
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best chocolate bars on the market, evaluating their key features—like the type of chocolate, ingredients, and price—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Writer Alyssa Langer is a registered dietitian and foodie, always curious about the next food or ingredient craze and hungry to learn and try more. Having worked in cookbook publishing, CPG label data, nutrition writing, and meal kits, her diverse background and varied interests provide a unique perspective that fosters clear, well-researched, and trustworthy reviews. A self-proclaimed chocoholic, she’s always seeking out new chocolate shops and stocking up on bars, truffles, and baking supplies. She wrote this story and also updated it with the most accurate information.
Allison Wignall, who updated this roundup, is a writer who focuses on food and travel. During her globetrotting, she has tasted some of the sweetest confections, from macarons in Paris to fresh gourmet chocolates in Ecuador. Her work has been featured in publications such as Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Southern Living.
Amanda McDonald is an editor at The Spruce Eats and has over seven years of experience researching, writing, and editing about all things food — from what new products are at the grocery store to chef-approved hacks that keep tricky leftovers fresh for days. She also updated this article to include the most up-to-date information.
- Anne Wolf, Head Chocolatier & Chef Instructor at EH Chocolatier
Food and Drug Administration. Gluten-free labeling of foods. Updated August 12, 2020.
Food and Drug Administration. How GMOs are regulated for food and plant safety in the United States. Updated April 22, 2020.