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Fundraise a new way with Candy Bars. 3 Flavors to choose from. It is quick & easy. Learn more here.
Fundraise a new way with Candy Bars. 3 Flavors to choose from. It is quick & easy. Learn more here.
What Is the Difference Between Bittersweet and Semisweet?

What Is the Difference Between Bittersweet and Semisweet?

When it comes to chocolate, you are most likely familiar with three basic kinds known as milk, dark, and white chocolate. Milk chocolate has a sweet and creamy taste, dark chocolate has a richer flavor and white chocolate has a super sweet taste. Milk and dark chocolate are terms that are commonly used to describe the sweetness level of chocolate. 

However, when baking and cooking with chocolate, there may be some flavors and terms of chocolate you aren't as familiar with. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate are two types of chocolate classifications that have a key difference in the flavor and taste of the chocolate. Various factors can determine whether chocolate is considered bittersweet or semisweet, including how its made and how sweet it tastes. It is best to know about each type of chocolate when baking so you can choose the best ingredients to achieve your desired flavors and a delicious dish. 

In this post, we'll explain the difference between bittersweet and semisweet chocolate and how you can use them when baking delicious desserts and tasty treats.

What Is Bittersweet Chocolate?

Bittersweet chocolate has a lower percentage of sugar and a more considerable amount of cacao. Bittersweet chocolate still has a hint of sugar, making the chocolate taste a tad sweeter than the traditional unsweetened chocolate. However, there is still going to be more of that rich cocao taste than sweetness. Bittersweet chocolate also tends to appear darker in color. 

What Is Semisweet Chocolate? 

Semisweet chocolate is made with more sugar and cocoa butter during the production process. Vanilla and lecithin are also added to semisweet chocolate to enhance flavors. Even though there is more sugar added than in bittersweet, semisweet chocolate is still considered a darker type of chocolate. If you decide to try semisweet chocolate, you'll still enjoy a rich and traditional flavor of cocao with an added bonus of a hint of sweetness.

The Differences Between Bittersweet and Semisweet Chocolate?

.Now that you know a bit more about bittersweet and semisweet chocolate, let's discuss some of the key differences between these two types of chocolate. So, is semisweet chocolate the same as bittersweet chocolate? The short answer to this question is no. When comparing bittersweet vs. semisweet chocolate, there are two main distinctions between them — their ingredients and how they taste. 

Read more about the main differences between bittersweet vs. semisweet chocolate:


Let's begin by first identifying how these two types of chocolate are made. The chocolate flavor depends on the amount of cocoa butter and cocoa powder. These two combined are referred to as cacao liquor or unsweetened chocolate. Cacao liquor then has different added amounts of sugar. The amount of sugar can classify the chocolate as bittersweet or semisweet. 

While semisweet and bittersweet chocolate are made in a similar way, they both taste extremely different and can produce different flavors when using them in cooking and baking recipes. Semisweet chocolate goes through the same production process as bittersweet chocolate. However, there is one main difference that separates the two from being the exact same chocolate, which is how much sugar they contain. 

Semisweet chocolate usually contains less cocao and more sugar. Less cocao flavor means there's more room for sugar, making the chocolate taste sweeter. 


Due to their different ingredients and amounts of sugar, semisweet and bittersweet chocolate can taste slightly different and alter the flavors of your baking and cooking recipes. Semisweet and bittersweet chocolate are both considered types of dark chocolate. Yet semisweet chocolate contains less cacao than bittersweet, making it taste sweeter than bittersweet chocolate.

Well-known candy bars that you can often find at your local grocery store have a much higher sugar content than semisweet chocolate. However, you can still enjoy semisweet chocolate on its own if you want a less sugary option

When purchasing bittersweet chocolate, you might notice that it has a higher cocao percentage and less sugar. That means bittersweet chocolate tends to have a richer and more authentic flavor due to its lower sugar content.

Are Bittersweet and Semisweet Chocolate Interchangeable in Baking? 

You may be wondering whether bittersweet and semisweet chocolate can be interchangeable when baking. The answer to this question depends on what you're baking and which flavors you are trying to achieve. If your recipe doesn't call for a specific type of chocolate, you may be able to choose either of these options depending on your personal tastes. If your recipe requires either bittersweet or semisweet chocolate specifically, you may need to choose one or the other because it could affect the overall taste of your dish.

It's also important to note that the FDA classifies these chocolates in the same category. So,  bittersweet and semisweet chocolate can be interchangeable in baking depending on your dish. 

If you are attempting to make a recipe that calls for using bittersweet chocolate but you only have semisweet it is perfectly okay to swap that chocolate out. Now if you are baking something that you know you want to capture a more rich chocolate flavor in your baked good, it would be ideal to use bittersweet chocolate. 

Overall both bittersweet and semisweet are the perfect chocolates to add into your baked good as sweeter milk chocolate can become too sweet and unsweetened chocolate can make the flavors of the baked good overwhelming. You add either type of chocolate to baked goods in many different ways to create delicious treats and desserts.

Here are a few of the baked goods that you can use bittersweet and semisweet chocolate to create:

  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Mousse
  • Brownies
  • Cake
  • Frosting
  • Pudding 
  • Fondue
  • Truffles
  • Chocolate ganache
  • Fudge
  • Candy

Check Out Gourmet Chocolate From Bedford Candies

Now that you have learned about the difference between bittersweet and semisweet chocolate and how they can be interchangeable when baking, you can purchase delicious gourmet chocolates and chocolate treats at Bedford Candies. At Bedford Candies, since 1929 we have been making mouth-watering chocolates and treats from our classic family recipes. Our gourmet chocolates come in gift boxes and snack packs perfect to treat yourself or gift to someone special! If you have any questions you can contact us and we will get back to you within 24 business hours!

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