Dark chocolate and white chocolate both contain cocoa butter and are eaten as dessert or used in confectionery.

Chocolate is derived from the bean of the cocao (cocoa) plant which breaks down in to chocolate liquor (the ground or melted state of the nib of the bean), cocoa butter (the fat component) and cocoa powder (the non-fat part of the cocoa bean ground into a powder). Dark chocolate is produced by adding cocoa butter to sugar and cocoa powder. Unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate does not contain any milk solids.

White chocolate contains only cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids and no chocolate liquor or cocoa powder. So technically, white chocolate is not really chocolate at all.

Comparison chart

Dark Chocolate versus White Chocolate comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartDark ChocolateWhite Chocolate
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Dark ChocolateWhite Chocolate
Taste A more chocolate-like taste, and a bitter aftertaste. White chocolate does not really taste like chocolate since it has no cocoa, but it is sweeter, and richer.
Texture Dry and chalky, because of the lack of milk solids. Smoother and more buttery than dark chocolate.
Uses Sold in bars or chips with different grades of chocolate content. Used in making sauces and chocolate drinks. Sold in bars or chips and used in dessert or candy making. Used in desserts and baking.
Ingredients Derived from the ground cacao bean it contains cacao or cocoa bean powder, cocoa butter and sugar but no added milk solids. Contains sugar, cocoa butter and milk solids but no cocoa powder.
Health benefits High cocoa content has been associated with positive health benefits, especially cardiovascular health, from flavonol antioxidants. Does not offer the same health benefits as dark chocolate and has more sugar and fat
Strawberries dipped in dark and white chocolate
Strawberries dipped in dark and white chocolate

Proportion of components

The cocoa content of commercial dark chocolate can vary from 90% to 30% (sweet-dark). Common terms used to distinguish different grades or content of dark chocolate bars are bittersweet, semi-sweet, and sweet dark chocolate.

White chocolate typically contains 20% cocoa butter (by weight) at least 14% total milk solids, at least 3.5% milk fat, and less than 55% sugar or other sweetener.

Taste and texture

Since dark chocolate does not contain milk solids it has a more pronounced chocolate taste. However, the lack of milk additives means that the chocolate is more prone to a dry, chalky texture with a bitter aftertaste. Flavors like vanilla are often added to dark chocolate.

White chocolate has more fat, milk and sugar it as a creamy, buttery milky taste with no real taste of chocolate at all.


Both dark and white chocolate are sold in bars either plain or with added flavors such as vanilla, orange, mint and nuts. For professional candy making, chocolate has to be tempered first (heated, chilled then reheated briefly). Both types of chocolate are used in desserts either melted or as chips, to flavor coffee and other beverages, in sauces and dips, although white chocolate is used less so.

Health benefits

Eating dark chocolate has well known positive effects on health. Studies show that eating a single 1.4 ounce bar of dark chocolate can lower hormone levels that cause emotional stress and anxiety. Due to the high contents of flavanol antioxidants in the cocao bean, dark chocolate has benefits for cardiovascular health and lowers blood pressure.

White chocolate on the other hand does not have the same health benefits. It is a source of empty calories with a standard 1.4 ounce bar having 225 calories and lots of sugar and saturated fast. However, as it does not contain chocolate it is caffeine free so ideal for those who are sensitive to caffeine.


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