Can You Use Ground Coffee instead of Instant Coffee in Recipes? – 9 Basic Differences Between The Two

Preparing delicious baking recipes is a lot of fun and I really enjoy making yummy cakes at home.

To enhance its chocolate flavor, I usually add either espresso powder or instant coffee powder in those recipes.

But recently I was wondering whether I can use ground coffee instead of instant coffee in these baking recipes.

For this purpose, I searched about it online and this is what I found.

So, the answer is “Yes”. Yes, you can use the ground coffee as a substitute for instant coffee powder in your baking recipes.

But the condition is it should be finely ground so that it will not create any kind of crusty texture in your cake.

I highly recommend to use finely ground espresso powder for this purpose if you don’t want to use instant coffee powder.

But if you don’t have espresso powder, then I suggest you to use only finely ground coffee powder and that too just the half quantity in comparison to instant coffee quantity you use in your recipes.

Ground coffee must be used in moderation in your baking recipes.

But to learn how to use it efficiently, you need to read this article till the end.

So, without further delay; we will now learn the basic differences between ground coffee and instant coffee as well as how to efficiently use them in your recipes.

Table of Contents

Is Ground Coffee the Same as Instant Coffee?

No, ground coffee is slightly different than instant coffee powder.

Ground coffee is simply a certain amount of coffee beans that are finely grounded to make them of certain sizes.

On the other side, instant coffee powder is just another ground coffee which is brewed, processed to remove the water and then remaining granules are sold in separate package.

In terms of taste and flavor, ground coffee provides much better aroma and depth to your daily coffee.

On the other hand, instant coffee powder has a weak and flat taste in comparison to a finely grounded coffee.

It also tastes bitter as compared to a ground coffee.

Therefore, ground coffee is not same as instant coffee powder as both of them have slightly different properties and procedures.

9 Differences Between Ground Coffee vs Instant Coffee

I will try to provide few important differences between instant coffee and ground coffee that will help you to decide which one to use in your baking recipes.

Instant CoffeeGround CoffeeInstant coffee is derived from ground coffee that is brewed and reprocessed to remove the water and store the remaining granules in the package.Ground coffee is derived by grinding regular coffee beans and making a fine powder out of it. No further processing is done.
It easily dissolves in water and other liquids. Ground coffee does not dissolve in the water or any other liquid.
With instant coffee powder, you can quickly make few cups of coffee at home by just adding water to it.Ground coffee requires time to pour over and brew the extracts from the coffee beans.
Taste and flavor wise, instant coffee powder is inferior to ground coffee.The taste, aroma, flavor and depth wise, ground coffee powder is always the best option.
Instant coffee has less caffeine content.Ground coffee releases more caffeine in the water and therefore the coffee made from finely grounded beans has a higher caffeine content.
Instant coffee produces no waste and therefore is eco-friendly in some manner.Ground coffee produces unwanted coffee beans powder as a waste which needs to be dumped and therefore it is not entirely environment friendly.
If you are in a hurry and don’t have much time, then instant coffee is your best option.You need to spend more time brewing the ground coffee and preparing it for final serving as compared to instant coffee.
Instant coffee price is lower than ground coffee.The cost of a premium ground coffee is much higher than the instant coffee powder.
In baking recipes, instant coffee is the best option as it dissolves easily in the liquids.Ground coffee must be used in little quantity and should be your last option in baking recipes because it does not dissolve in your recipes and creates a crusty texture.

Does Ground Coffee Dissolve in Water?

The straightforward answer to this question is “No”.

Ground coffee does not dissolve in the water because it does contain insoluble woody part, called as cellulose.

The part of ground coffee which contains flavors and coffee oils from coffee beans are completely soluble in the water.

But the cellulose part does not get dissolved in any kind of liquid including water.

On the other side, instant coffee only contains easily dissolvable coffee granules.

Therefore, instant coffee easily dissolves into any type of liquid which includes water too.

What are the Best Substitutes for Instant Coffee in Recipes?

If you are looking for viable alternatives or substitutes for instant coffee to add in your baking recipes, then I am providing few good options below.

1. Espresso Powder: The first and the best option to use is a good quality espresso powder such as King Arthur Espresso Powder.

The espresso powder also easily dissolves in liquids. It is very easy to mix and bake your recipes with this type of coffee powder.

2. Finely Ground Coffee: A well balanced and full bodied medium roasted ground coffee such as AmazonFresh Decaf Columbia Ground Coffee can be used for baking recipes.

However, as per my recommendation above; use it half the amount of instant coffee in the recipes. And try not to make it crunchy texture.

3. Ovaltine Chocolate Mix: A good quality chocolate mix such as Nestle Ovaltine Chocolate Mix can enhance the overall taste and flavor of your cake or other baking recipes.

The best thing about this chocolate mix is it does not contain any artificial flavor or sweetener which is good for your health.

When to Use Instant Coffee in Baking Recipes?

Instant coffee is a great option to enhance the overall flavor and taste of your baking recipes.

It easily dissolves in all types of liquids and therefore is the best choice to make smoothies and milk shakes.

You can also sprinkle it on your ice creams and add it to your cake recipes to enhance their flavor.

You can add instant coffee while making cookies which will improve its nuttiness and depth.

Similarly, you can mix instant coffee in your brownies, tiramisu, tagine, Porchetta and ice cream sundaes to improve their flavor and overall taste.

When to Use Ground Coffee in Baking Recipes?

If you plan to make some coffee based recipes then you can definitely think of adding quality coffee grounds in those recipes.

Some of the best coffee based recipes where you can add your ground coffee are provided as follows.

  1. Coffee sugar cookies
  2. Coffee chocolate brownies
  3. Coffee rub
  4. Gluten free coffee granola
  5. Chocolate chip mocha cookies
  6. Coffee cake muffins
  7. Turkish shortbread cookies
  8. Sweet potato fries with roasted coffee beans
  9. Coffee chocolate glazed donuts
  10. Coffee ice cream

For more information on these recipes, kindly check out this article.

Final Thoughts

Instant coffee is a great option to use in your baking recipes as it enhances the overall taste and flavor of your recipe.

But when you don’t have instant coffee, you can also use some limited amount of ground coffee powder in your recipe.

Just remember to add more liquid in the recipe and try to avoid making a crunchy texture.

Finally, you can also make use of either espresso powder or Ovaltine chocolate mix instead of instant coffee in your recipes.


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