What is White Chocolate?

Mary McMahon

White chocolate is technically not chocolate at all, since it does not contain chocolate liquor or cocoa solids, the two primary ingredients in chocolate. It does, however, contain cocoa butter, which is a product of the cacao plant, and it has a delicate flavor in which hints of chocolate certainly play a role. This product is processed and made much like chocolate, and it can also be used just as regular chocolate is in an assortment of foods.

White chocolate chips may be used to make cookies.
White chocolate chips may be used to make cookies.

To make chocolate, the seeds of the cacao plant are harvested and allowed to ferment slightly. The outer casing of the seeds is cracked, revealing an inner core that is ground into chocolate liquor. This substance is the base of most chocolates, but it can also be separated to yield cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is the fat of the chocolate, and it is rich, creamy, and very stable when processed well. Cocoa solids are mixed in with more chocolate liquor for intense chocolates, or sold separately. Cocoa butter can be processed to make a variety of products, including cosmetic creams.

A selection of dark, milk, and white chocolate candies.
A selection of dark, milk, and white chocolate candies.

When white chocolate is made, the separated cocoa butter is mixed with milk and a sweetener, and it is also frequently flavored with vanilla. The mixture is poured into molds that take a variety of forms, from chocolate bars to baking blocks, and packaged for sale after it solidifies and cools. The resulting product has an ivory color and a creamy flavor. It is also a very fragile chocolate that needs to be handled with care in baking.

Cocoa butter is used to make white chocolate.
Cocoa butter is used to make white chocolate.

Several nations have established labeling standards for white chocolate to ensure that it contains cocoa butter rather than vegetable oil or another fat. As a general rule, it must contain 20% cocoa butter. A high quality product made with good ingredients will have a cream to ivory color, whereas one made with substitute fats will be truly white. This type has an inferior flavor and texture, and most consumers and confectioners avoid it.

The delicate flavor can be used in a number of desserts or blended with conventional chocolate for a contrast. It can also be used in savory dishes, especially spicy foods, which interact delightfully with the sweet, creamy flavor. White chocolate is also available in bars that can be enjoyed plain, although it tends to be very rich, so it should not be consumed in large amounts.

Milk is used to create white chocolate.
Milk is used to create white chocolate.

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Discussion Comments


@alisha-- White chocolate is not that bad! It does have saturated fat and should not be eaten all the time. But it also has calcium and some other vitamins and minerals. I personally like white chocolate more than regular chocolate. I love its creamy texture.

If you have not tried gourmet white chocolate, then you need to. The white chocolate sold at groceries are no good. I don't even consider those white chocolate. Real white chocolate is amazing. And white chocolate cake is out of this world.


The day I found out that white chocolate is not really chocolate, I was so disappointed. I actually stopped eating white chocolate since then because I just consider it to be a sugar candy.

I love cocoa and I love eating chocolate because it has caffeine and antioxidants. I eat dark chocolate and I don't consider it to be candy. I think dark chocolate, which has little sugar, is not an unhealthy food. The antioxidants are beneficial and it gives me an energy boost and makes me happy. A small piece gets rid of my sugar craving. Even some doctors allow a piece or two of dark chocolate to their patients who are dieting.

But the same is not true for white chocolate -- it's just fat and a lot of sugar. White chocolate is candy.


@anon23741-- Pure white chocolate (not mixed with regular chocolate) doesn't have cocoa, so no, it doesn't have caffeine. Caffeine is found in cocoa. So you can have white chocolate!


I'm pretty sure that it doesn't have it.


I am not allowed to have caffeine, due to a heart condition I have. Does white chocolate have caffeine? I have read that it does and I have read that it does not.

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