All you need to know about white chocolate!

White chocolate has carved out a distinct niche in the world of confections with its popularity surging over the years, making it a favourite ingredient in a variety of desserts and snacks. But what is white chocolate? Unlike dark chocolate, white chocolate boasts a milder flavour and a smooth, velvety texture that many people find irresistible.

What sets white chocolate apart is its unique composition, leading many people to ask does white chocolate have cocoa? Whilst it lacks the cocoa solids that give dark and milk chocolate their characteristic flavours and colours, white chocolate includes cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids, offering a sweet and delicate taste experience.

For many, understanding what is white chocolate enhances their appreciation of this delightful treat and allows them to effectively seek out the best white chocolate. However, one common question around white chocolate is, without the inclusion of cocoa solids, is white chocolate really chocolate? 

Understanding the Basics: What is White Chocolate? 

What is white chocolate? White chocolate is a confection made primarily from cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids. To answer the frequently asked question, does white chocolate have cocoa, it's important to note that unlike dark and milk chocolate, it does not contain cocoa solids, instead containing cocoa butter. This absence of cocoa solids means white chocolate lacks the deep brown colour and the robust, sometimes bitter flavour associated with other types of chocolate. But when defining is white chocolate really chocolate, due to the presence of cocoa butter in the recipe white chocolate is still categorised as chocolate.  

How is white chocolate made?

Step 1: Harvesting the Cocoa Beans 

The journey of white chocolate begins with the harvesting of cocoa beans from cacao trees. These trees thrive in tropical climates, primarily within 20 degrees of the equator. Regions renowned for producing high-quality cocoa beans include West Africa (particularly Ivory Coast and Ghana), South America (notably Brazil and Ecuador), and parts of Asia (such as Indonesia). Understanding what is white chocolate involves appreciating the origin of its main ingredient. For those wondering how is white chocolate made, growing and harvesting is the first essential step. 

The process starts with cacao farmers carefully selecting ripe cacao pods from the trees. These pods are then split open to reveal the cocoa beans encased in a sweet, pulpy mass. The beans, along with the pulp, are scooped out and placed in shallow containers to ferment for several days. This fermentation process is crucial as it develops the beans' flavour.  

How is white chocolate made? Step 2: Extracting Cocoa Butter 

After fermentation, the cocoa beans are spread out to dry under the sun for about a week. Once dried, the beans are cleaned and roasted to enhance their flavour. The roasted beans are then cracked open to separate the nibs from the shells. The nibs are ground into a thick paste known as chocolate liquor, which contains both cocoa solids and cocoa butter. 

However White Chocolate only contains cocoa butter, which often leads to the question is white chocolate really chocolate without the inclusion of cocoa solids. To extract the cocoa butter, the chocolate liquor is pressed, separating the fatty cocoa butter from the dry cocoa solids.  

The cocoa butter is then filtered and sometimes deodorized to remove any strong flavours, ensuring a neutral base for white chocolate. And what is white chocolate without its creamy texture? In this sense the extraction process is vital as cocoa butter is the key ingredient that gives white chocolate its creamy texture. This also addresses the question, does white chocolate have cocoa, by explaining the presence of cocoa butter but not cocoa solids in white chocolate. Learning how is white chocolate made involves understanding the crucial growing and harvesting process described above and the measures taken to refine, mix and temper the white chocolate.  

How is white chocolate made? Step 3: Refining and Mixing Ingredients 

The next step involves refining the ingredients to achieve a smooth texture, the best white chocolate often stands out due to meticulous refinement. The cocoa butter is blended with sugar and milk solids and passed through refining rollers to break down the particles to a fine, smooth consistency. The result is a blend that forms the base of white chocolate. 

In addition to the primary ingredients, optional additives like vanilla or lecithin are sometimes included. Vanilla adds a subtle flavour, while lecithin, an emulsifier, helps improve the texture and blend of the ingredients. The refining process ensures that the mixture is free of any graininess, contributing to the silky feel of the final product. Understanding what is white chocolate means recognizing the importance of this refining step. This step also raises the question for some, is white chocolate really chocolate without the addition of cocoa solids. 

How is white chocolate made? Step 4: Conching: Developing Favour and Texture 

Conching is a critical step in the production of white chocolate. During this process, the refined mixture is continuously mixed and aerated in a conche machine, which can last from a few hours to several days. This continuous mixing helps to develop the flavour and texture of the chocolate. 

The conching process affects the final product in several ways: 

  • Flavour Development: It helps to mellow out any harsh flavors and allows the ingredients to blend harmoniously. 
  • Texture Improvement: It breaks down any remaining particles, contributing to the smoothness of the chocolate. 
  • Aromatics Enhancement: The aeration helps to release volatile compounds, enhancing the overall aroma. 

How is white chocolate made? Step 5: Tempering: Achieving the Perfect Consistency 

Tempering is the process of cooling and reheating the chocolate to stabilize it, ensuring a glossy finish and a firm snap when broken. Proper tempering is crucial for the final appearance and texture of white chocolate. 

During tempering, the white chocolate is first heated to a specific temperature to melt all the fat crystals. It is then cooled to a lower temperature to form stable crystals, before being gently reheated to working temperature. This careful manipulation of temperature ensures that the cocoa butter forms a stable crystalline structure, which gives the chocolate its desirable qualities. Knowing what is white chocolate includes understanding why tempering is essential and how crucial this step is for creating the best white chocolate.  

How is white chocolate made? Step 6: Molding and Cooling 

Understanding what is white chocolate means appreciating the craftsmanship involved in molding and cooling.  

Once tempered, the white chocolate is ready to be shaped. It is poured into moulds to create bars, chips, or other shapes. The moulds are often vibrated to remove any air bubbles and ensure an even distribution of the chocolate. 

The moulded chocolate is then cooled to solidify it. This cooling process is carefully controlled to maintain the integrity of the tempered chocolate, ensuring it retains its glossy finish and smooth texture.  The best white chocolate always undergoes meticulous moulding and cooling and for those curious about how is white chocolate made, moulding and cooling are critical steps to be aware of. 

For those debating is white chocolate really chocolate due to its lack of cocoa solids, the conching, tempering and moulding process for white chocolate is very similar to its milk and dark chocolate counterparts, this alongside the addition of cocoa butter means white chocolate is defined as chocolate. 


Understanding what is white chocolate, and the meticulous journey of white chocolate from cocoa bean to finished product, will no doubt enhance your enjoyment of this sweet treat. From the initial harvesting of cocoa beans to the delicate art of tempering, each step is crucial in creating the creamy, smooth, and delicious white chocolate that many people love. Next time you enjoy a piece of the best white chocolate, take a moment to appreciate the intricate process and the skill that goes into making this delightful treat. And now you know the answer to the most commonly asked questions, does white chocolate have cocoa and is white chocolate really chocolate?  

Want to try some of our white chocolate products:

Frequently Asked Questions about White Chocolate Production 

1) Q: Is white chocolate really chocolate?  

In other words, does white chocolate have cocoa? Yes it does, white chocolate is considered chocolate because it contains cocoa butter, a key component of cocoa beans. However, it does not contain cocoa solids, which are present in dark and milk chocolate. Understanding what is white chocolate helps to clarify this distinction and Step 2 of the above article (How is white chocolate made? Step 2: Extracting Cocoa Butter) is the perfect place to start in understanding the differences between white and other chocolate types. But in short, is white chocolate really chocolate? Yes it is. 

2) Q: Why is white chocolate sweeter than dark chocolate?  

White chocolate tends to be sweeter because it lacks the cocoa solids that contribute to the bitterness in dark chocolate. It primarily contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids, resulting in a milder, sweeter flavour. 

3) Q: Can I make white chocolate at home?   

Yes, you can make white chocolate at home using cocoa butter, powdered sugar, and milk powder. The process involves melting and mixing these ingredients, followed by tempering and moulding. Knowing what is white chocolate can help you replicate the process at home and we would recommend reading the above article to fully understand this. If you're curious how is white chocolate made at home, this provides a simplified version of the process. 

4) Q: How do I make White Chocolate at home? 

For those interested in making white chocolate at home, here are some simple tips to make the best white chocolate in your kitchen: 

  • Ingredients: Use high-quality cocoa butter, powdered sugar, and milk powder for the best results. 
  • Melting: Melt the cocoa butter gently using a double boiler to prevent overheating. 
  • Mixing: Combine the melted cocoa butter with powdered sugar and milk powder, stirring until smooth. 
  • Tempering: Follow a tempering process to achieve a glossy finish and proper snap. 
  • Molding: Pour the tempered mixture into molds and allow it to set in a cool place.  

  5) Q: How should white chocolate be stored?  

White chocolate should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and strong odors. Ideally, it should be kept at a temperature between 60-70°F (15-21°C) to prevent melting or blooming.