Why is White Chocolate Called Chocolate?

If you sink your teeth into some white chocolate, you will notice something immediately – it doesn’t taste like “chocolate.” It doesn’t look like chocolate, either, begging the question, why is white chocolate called chocolate?

Hey, everyone! I’m Michelle, and I’ve spent the last ten-plus years learning to bake in my kitchen. I’ve conquered tons of recipes, from lemon loaves to Snickerdoodles and everything in between. One thing I love is white chocolate, and I wanted to learn the name behind the deliciousness.

What I found out is that white chocolate is given the name “chocolate” because of the main ingredient, cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is the fat derived from the cocoa bean. So, while it doesn’t taste or resemble “chocolate,” it’s still created from the root of all chocolate desserts.

Keep reading to learn more!

Why is White Chocolate Called Chocolate?

White chocolate is called “chocolate” because of its ingredients, which consist of cocoa butter, milk powder, and white powdered sugar. With cocoa butter being the main ingredient of white chocolate, it’s easy to see how this post-confectionary got its new name.

This wasn’t always the case, though. Prior to 2002, there was a significant upset about referring to white chocolate as actual chocolate. That’s because white chocolate does not contain any “cocoa solids,” rendering it a confectionary rather than chocolate.

However, things changed when Hershey and the Chocolate Manufacturers Association of the United States worked together to establish new requirements for white chocolate to be categorized as chocolate.

The new standards began in the United States and were eventually adopted in other countries, too, such as Europe. The new “rules” state that, in order for white chocolate to be considered “chocolate,” it must contain the following percentages:

  • 14% or more milk solids
  • 20% cocoa butter
  • 3.5% milkfat
  • Maximum 55% carbohydrate sweeteners

As long as the white chocolate (or dessert made with it) contains these amounts, it can be referred to as “chocolate.”

Is White Chocolate Real Chocolate?

Some will argue that white chocolate is not “real chocolate.” That’s because of the old-school requirements. However, in this day and age, there are new standards for what is constituted as “real” chocolate.

  • Dark chocolate – Two ingredients derived from the cocoa bean + sugar
  • Milk chocolate – Two ingredients derived from the cocoa bean + sugar and milk
  • White chocolate – At least 20% cocoa butter + milk powder and sugar 

As you can see, “real” chocolate requirements have been altered to ensure all three types of “chocolates” can be included in a single category.

That said, is white chocolate real chocolate? Yes, it’s real – it just doesn’t have the same flavor as milk or dark chocolate, which are created using two ingredients obtained from the cocoa bean. 


If you prefer white chocolate over other types of chocolate as I do, you will be pleased to know that it is considered “real chocolate.” Pretty cool, right? Well, if you want to keep learning about this topic, check out the commonly asked questions below.

How much chocolate is in white chocolate?

Since white chocolate requires 20% cocoa butter to be considered “chocolate,” it’s safe to say that an actual white chocolate product contains this amount. In fact, most white chocolates have up to 50% cocoa butter, enhancing the sweetness and velvety texture.

How is white chocolate different from chocolate?

White chocolate is different from regular chocolate because it does not contain any “cocoa solids.” That is why it has a paler color and tastes nothing like other types of chocolate, such as milk or dark chocolate. However, it has the same desirable consistency, thanks to cocoa butter.

Why is white chocolate not technically chocolate?

Many people do not consider white chocolate real chocolate because of the absence of cocoa solids. However, as mentioned above, the requirements have been altered to put white chocolate in a sub-category that falls under the umbrella of “chocolates.”

Final Words

White chocolate is called white chocolate because of the main ingredient, cocoa butter. The cocoa butter is what gives this chocolate its lovely, smooth texture that melts in your mouth. It is “real” as long as it contains at least 20% cocoa butter.

Do you love white chocolate? Do you consider white chocolate real chocolate? Share with us!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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