The 9 Best Dark Chocolate Bars of 2020

Indulge your sweet tooth with the very best

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Our Top Picks
"Convenient single-serve tablets that are enough to taste and savor."
"Mildly sweet and have 45 percent cacao, so they’re not as assertive as some."
"Unlike other bars that are scored into squares but tend to break randomly, these actually break neatly."
"Each break-apart square has a heart filled with chocolate ganache."
"The chocolate is organic, the sugar is organic cane sugar, and the bars are made in Iceland."
"Made of 70 percent cacao and sprinkled with fleur de sel by hand, enhancing the flavor of the chocolate."
"Have guajillo chilies for a spicy bite along with the dark chocolate."
"They’re 70 percent bittersweet chocolate so they’re not too sweet."
"This 100 percent cacao bar is a great way to savor the unique chocolate without the distraction of added flavors."
01
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Best Singles: Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate Variety Pack

This intense collection includes three different versions of dark chocolate: 60 percent, 72 percent, and one with sea salt and almonds. These aren’t full-sized bars but are convenient single-serve tablets that are enough to taste and savor, but small enough that they won’t break the calorie budget for the day.

The small size is also great for tucking into a lunch box or to keep a few on hand in the office desk drawer. At just under a pound in the bag, there’s plenty to eat and to share.

What do the percentages on chocolate mean?

"It’s not a good indicator of how the chocolate will taste, but it might give you an idea of how bitter the chocolate will be and how much sugar is in the bar," Kjartan Gíslason, chocolate maker and co-founder of Omnom Chocolate, explains. "Dark chocolate is usually made from two ingredients: cocoa bean and sugar. Semi-sweet chocolate is an old-fashioned term to describe a sweeter version of dark chocolate. For example, if a 70 percent dark chocolate bar has 30 percent sugar, then a semi-sweet chocolate might have 40 percent cocoa solids and anywhere up to 60 percent sugar."

02
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Best Budget: HERSHEY'S Special Dark Chocolate Candy Bars

Hershey might best be known for its classic milk chocolate bar, but it also make tasty dark chocolate bars, at a price that’s quite affordable compared to the boutique brands. This is a box of 36 bars, so there’s plenty to eat, share, and tuck away for later. While these aren’t sold as baking bars, they can be chopped to use in cookies if you’re out of chocolate chips. These are also great for people who don’t care for super-dark chocolate—they’re mildly sweet and have 45 percent cacao, so they’re not as assertive as some. Each bar is 1.45 ounces.

03
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Best Break-Apart Bars: Dove Dark Chocolate Candy Bars, Single Size

Dove got its start as a mom-and-pop candy store in Chicago and gained a wider following with its decadent ice cream bars that featured a thick coating of chocolate that made them different from standard ice cream bars. Now, Dove is a large company with products in stores and online, and it has products with a wide variety of flavors. These “singles” bars are 1.44 ounces each and are designed to break apart easily when you just need a nibble.

Unlike other bars that are scored into squares but tend to break randomly, these actually break neatly. The chocolate in these bars is sourced from Rainforest Alliance certified farms. The manufacturer calls these "dark chocolate" but doesn’t disclose the percentage of cacao, saying it’s proprietary. However, this chocolate is definitely darker than the brand's milk chocolate offerings.

04
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Best Ganache Filled: GODIVA Chocolatier Masterpiece Dark Chocolate Ganache Hearts Bar

Godiva was known as a high-end chocolate before small chocolatiers started selling their wares nationally, and the brand still has a solid following. These bars are unique since each break-apart square has a heart filled with chocolate ganache. Each bar weighs a generous 3 ounces, and there are 20 bars in this pack, so that’s nearly 5 pounds of chocolate to share or to squirrel away for later.

If ganache isn’t your favorite, there are other fillings available in the Godiva Masterpieces bars, like milk chocolate with caramel or hazelnut. There are also packs of different sizes available, if 20 bars is too many.

05
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Best Single Source: Omnom Chocolate 73% Nicaragua Icelandic Bean To Bar Chocolate

When you really want to savor chocolate’s terrior, you need to find a single-source chocolate, like this Nicaraguan 73 percent bar from Omnom. The chocolate is organic, the sugar is organic cane sugar, and the bars are made in Iceland. Wait, Iceland? While that’s not the first place you’d think of for chocolate making, Omnon has been making bean-to-bar chocolates there since 2013; many including Icelandic milk powder.

"Origin matters, especially in terms of flavor profile for dark chocolate," Kjartan Gíslason, chocolate maker and co-founder of Omnom Chocolate, tells us. "In my opinion, single-origin chocolate is a far better indicator of the quality and social impact the chocolate has on the farming societies."

The packaging is worth noting, with fanciful origami-like animals on the cardboard wrap, and even the bars are scored whimsically. The company’s website lists taste notes for the bars much like wine descriptions; this is said to have flavors of mushroom, red wine, and rye bread. This is a single bar of 60 grams, which is about 2 ounces. Since this chocolate has wine-like flavor, we’re guessing it would pair well with wine.

06
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Best Vegan: Hu Salty Chocolate Bars

This Hu chocolate bar is fair trade, vegan, paleo, and free of palm oil, refined sugar, dairy, and other ingredients sometimes found in commercial chocolates. These Salty Dark Chocolate bars are 70 percent cacao and sprinkled with fleur de sel by hand, enhancing the flavor of the chocolate. The company’s tag line is “get back to human,” which involves clean eating, natural ingredients, and a healthy lifestyle. These are made with fair-trade cacao, unrefined organic coconut sugar, organic fair-trade cocoa butter, and of course the salt. This is a pack of four 2.1 ounce bars.

07
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Best Mexican Dark Chocolate: Taza Chocolate Guajillo Chili Mexicano Dark Chocolate Discs

Mexican chocolate is a special category, with bars usually being round, and breakable into wedges. The chocolate is often flavored, and in this case, the bars have guajillo chilies for a spicy bite along with the dark chocolate. These disks are often used for traditional Mexican hot chocolate, but they’re also good for nibbling.

This is a box of 12 2.7 ounce disks of 50 percent dark chocolate. If you haven’t yet embraced spicy chocolate, the company has a wide range of options including cinnamon, coffee, and salted almond, along with plain and super-dark chocolate. There are also variety packs, for those who want to taste more than one. These are made in the United States, using Mexican stone mills to grind the cacao. They are vegan, organic, direct trade, and kosher.

08
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Best for Baking: Guittard 70% Bittersweet Cocoa Baking Bars

When it’s time to make chocolate mousse, chocolate ice cream, chocolate fondue, or baked goods that require melted or chunked chocolate, these baking bars give an excellent result. They’re 70 percent bittersweet chocolate so they’re not too sweet when added to a cookie recipe that requires sugar, and they’re not too assertive for ganache or mousse. While the boxes look substantial, they each contain three 2-ounce bars, so they’re easy to cut, chop, or break. This is a pack of four boxes, making a total of 12 bars of chocolate, so there’s plenty for making tasty desserts. And they’re also great for a little nibble.

Working with chocolate can be a little tricky. We’ve got tips and trick to make it easier.

09
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Best Unroasted: Raaka 100% Cacao Chocolate Bar

Most chocolate starts with roasting the beans, but Raaka is unique since its chocolates are made from unroasted beans. This 100 percent cacao bar is a great way to savor the unique chocolate without the distraction of added flavors. Despite the ultimate cacao percentage, the company notes that this chocolate is not bitter, but rather it is creamy, bright, and fruity.

This bar is made from organic Tanzanian cocoa beans and organic cocoa butter with no added sugar. If 100 percent cacao is too much, the company also produces a wide range of chocolate bars with interesting add-ins and different chocolate percentages. 

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

While she doesn’t have any degrees in chocolate lore, Donna Currie has sampled her way through plenty of chocolate in her lifetime, from the lightest white chocolate to the darkest of the dark. She’s pleased to say that she hasn’t sampled them all, so she looks forward to even more important research in the future.

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