What’s the Difference Between White and Milk Chocolate?

White vs Milk Chocolate on grey background

Those with a sweet tooth know how totally divine chocolate is. And the beauty of it all is that it comes in a variety of different flavors. There is milk, dark, and white chocolate and the different added variations and hints of spices and all things nice in them, too.

White chocolate is instantly recognizable by its sweet and buttery flavor. It also has hints of vanilla, sweet cream, and fresh milk. And its smooth and melty texture is a complete melt-in-your-mouth experience. But for those who haven’t really stopped to think about the difference between milk and white chocolate, this post is for you.

What is milk chocolate?

Milk chocolate. Where do we begin? We recognize it by its color and flavor. It is light brown and is milky, smooth chocolate. However, it can be combined with ingredients such as peanuts, almonds, or raisins.

But in essence, to let you know what milk chocolate is made of, it mainly consists of chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, milk, and sugar. It’s also possible for some chocolatiers to substitute the primary ingredients with alternatives. One example is using condensed milk instead of milk for greater fat content. In addition, soy lecithin (an emulsifier) is added for that extra smoothness.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, there are set criteria for determining milk chocolate as such. It needs to contain a minimum of 10% chocolate liquor (made of cocoa solids and cocoa butter) and 12% milk solids. As such, to answer the question of what percentage of cocoa is in milk chocolate, the answer is at least 10%.

How is white chocolate made?

If milk chocolate is made of chocolate liquor and milk solids, we now turn to the next big questions: what is white chocolate and how is it made?

Starting with the ingredients, white chocolate contains only milk, cocoa butter, vanilla, sugar, and lecithin.

It is identified by its creamy, ivory color – hence the name “white” chocolate. And as for how it’s made, the primary ingredients are mixed together to give its unique flavor and texture.

The higher the cocoa butter, sugar, and milk content, the more decadent the flavor.

But is there a defining characteristic of white chocolate? The answer is “yes”! Given that white chocolate does not contain any cocoa solids or cacao nibs (chocolate liquor), the US FDA classifies it as such with a minimum of 20% cocoa butter content, 14% milk, and a maximum of 55% sugar.

What is the difference between white chocolate and milk chocolate?

Having covered the primary ingredients of both white chocolate and milk chocolate, let’s also take a look at the differences between them. There are a few, but the main one is the fact that they differ in terms of cocoa content. As such, milk chocolate contains fewer ingredients, but it doesn’t mean it’s less caloric.

Instead, milk chocolate comes out as the winner here because it not only has fewer calories than white chocolate but it also contains a greater amount of nutrients which are essential for bone health (calcium, for example).

But that’s not all. Milk chocolate also has more antioxidants, less fat, and less sugar than its white cousin. It’s therefore a healthier option owing to its lower amounts of sugar. But if you have a sweet tooth, white chocolate should be your best friend because it has a really rich, sweet taste.

It also offers a more luxurious and delicate flavor that can better emphasize other added ingredients. These may include flavors that are floral, citrus, berry, and others.

And if you would like to know more about the different types of chocolate, we recommend checking our recent article “Milk vs. Dark Chocolate: What’s The Difference?“.

Is white chocolate, chocolate?

With all of the above information, you may be wondering if white chocolate can even be considered chocolate at all. If we look at the technicalities and ingredients, it’s easy to think that it isn’t and can’t be considered chocolate. But that’s just not the case. Why? Because the FDA explicitly mentions that real white chocolate must contain at least 20% cocoa butter.

This cocoa butter is derived from the cocoa bean, which dark and milk chocolate are made of as well. Cocoa butter does not come cheap but that doesn’t mean that every white chocolate is real white chocolate. As such, if you want to make sure that you’re eating real white chocolate and not an imitation, it’s recommended that you check the ingredients and the cocoa butter content.

Concluding remarks

And there you have it! The myths, the mysteries, and the whole shebang surrounding white and milk chocolate. Of course, no one is “better” than the other. It all depends on your individual preferences. Who knows, you might like all types of chocolate. Alternatively, as a chocolate connoisseur, you might enjoy one flavor more than the other.

Regardless of which category you fall into, we at Totally Chocolate have a chocolate type for every taste bud. Why not take a look at our wide selection of chocolates, chocolate boxes and towers, chocolate bars, and a whole lot more to satisfy your sweet tooth? We promise you won’t be disappointed!

So, go on and take a look. You’ll be impressed and nicely surprised at all the chocolate varieties we have on offer.

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