What Are Cacao Nibs—and 10 Tasty Ways to Use Them


Have you ever wondered why dark chocolate is bitter and where it came from? Dark chocolate is recommended to eat by nutritionists because it is beneficial for the health and is truly nutritious. It is a product of fermented cacao beans coming from the Cacao tree. You can read here the reasons why it is a must to eat dark chocolate.

Anyway, cacao nibs come from the same tree and the same bean except that the nibs involve less processing and it is chopped into smaller pieces. They say that cacao nibs are more nutritious than dark chocolate – well, of course! Dark chocolate already contains additional ingredients while the cacao nibs are in its purest form. It is by far the healthier food.

Now, where have you seen cacao nibs? You may have seen a post by your friend on the internet – she prepared a Chocolate Almond Butter smoothie bowl with the cacao nibs as toppings. Good for her to serve cacao nibs since it is bursting with antioxidants and it does have that cacao bean taste. But what is it really?

Well, as I have mentioned earlier, cacao nibs are less processed meaning don’t expect it to taste close to dark chocolate, ok?

What is Cacao


It all starts with the cacao tree. This tree grows in tropical areas and bear fruits which are called cacao, of course. The fruit, when you break it open, it will display a cluster of white seeds and you can eat the white meat of those seeds. It has a sweet-sour tangy taste and is really good. Don’t swallow the seeds though.

Those seeds are precious and it must not be thrown to the garbage. This is where dark chocolate and cacao nibs come from. The seeds will be shelled and the inside will have to be dried, roasted and/or fermented. Some beans turn to dark chocolate ingredients, cocoa powder or other cocoa based products. The smaller ones become the unprocessed cacao nibs.

Is it bitter? Of course it is – what do you think? But the taste of the cacao nibs is a positive attribute since it has a crunchy texture. If you chew on a cacao nib, the feeling in your mouth is like that of chewing a cashew nut. It is advised not to chew it directly if you are a first-timer to this food since you may grow a dislike for it.

You can use cacao nibs on many different ways though and here are 12 ways to do so.

Cacao Fruit

1. It would be delightful to add cacao nibs on your brownies as a topper. Put it in before you bake the brownies. The flavor of the nibs will be infused with the brownies.

2. You can also use it as a substitute for chocolate chips in your favorite baked goods.

3. Speaking of baked goods, how about cocoa nibs cookies instead of chocolate chips?

4. Now if you are fond of making homemade ice cream, you can add cacao nibs to the mix.

5. For a more nutritious granola bar, sprinkle some of the cacao nibs.

6. Some people add the cacao nibs in their banana bread before putting inside the oven.

7. It is also a great addition to any oatmeal breakfast bowl – rolled oats, almonds, berries and cacao nibs.

8. If it will be a great breakfast bowl, it can also be a wonderful fresh fruit salad bowl. This would be a first for some – chocolate on fruit salad.

9. Now, for snacks purposes, cacao nibs can be sprinkled on Greek yogurt. Yummy!

10. Aside from baked goods and meal bowls, cacao nibs can be used as meat crusts. Rub it on steak before grilling. The nibs need grinding before dusting it on the meat, though.