What is white chocolate?

Technically, white chocolate isn't chocolate at all, because it's made using only the butter or fat from the cocoa bean, and contains none of the cocoa solids that give dark and milk chocolates their flavour and colour. White chocolate is believed to have been created in the 1930s, and is a pale, milky solid with light undertones of chocolate flavour.

White chocolate is commonly made with powdered or condensed milk and a lot of sugar (up to 55 per cent in some versions). Check the label for any other added ingredients or flavours. The texture of white chocolate is notably fattier than dark, and because it's essentially sweetened fat, it's often much higher in calories – sometimes up to three times higher, depending on which chocolate is being compared.

Watch our video tutorial on how to work with different types of chocolate:

How to cook white chocolate

White chocolate can be used in desserts and bakes, but due to its light flavour, it's often overwhelmed. This is particularly true when it's combined with cream, which can become the predominant flavour. Use white chocolate very simply, and don't add extra sugar – it is sweet enough on its own.

White chocolate desserts should always be served well chilled, as this reduces their inherent sweetness and fattiness. To use in bakes like muffins, chop into large chunks before folding into the batter.

It's quicker and easier to melt chocolate in the microwave instead of over simmering water. But, do this carefully – the chocolate will be molten even if it still holds its shape, so microwave in short bursts and stir often to prevent it burning.

Discover our white chocolate recipe collection.

How to store white chocolate

While chocolate does not need to be refrigerated, you may prefer to chill it slightly during hot weather. White chocolate will soften more quickly than milk or dark because of its high fat content.

At a cool, constant temperature, chocolate will keep for several months.

When is white chocolate available?

Widely available all year round.