Semi-Sweet Vs Bittersweet Chocolate – What’s the Difference? (Fun Facts)

Recently, most people have embraced the option of using chocolate for baking, especially bitter sweet chocolate. However, can you tell the difference between semi-sweet chocolate and bitter-sweet chocolate?

bitter sweet chocolate

The main ingredient you need to produce a dessert that will please everyone is chocolate.

It is used to make ice cream, milkshake powder, Sunday syrup, cake frosting, and shaved into ice cream. 

Nowadays,  in the food world, when compared to ancient foods like butter, chocolate has swept the globe in recent decades.

So, is there a difference between dark chocolate and semisweet chocolate? 

Dark chocolate has a subcategory called semisweet chocolate. A dark chocolate bar must include at least 35% cocoa solids. 

The bitterness of the chocolate increases with the number of solids. The percentage of cocoa solids in semisweet chocolate ranges from 35 to 65%.

If you’re interested in learning more, keep reading as we examine what chocolate is, describe their differences(fun facts), and several types of dark chocolate.

Everything you Need to Know About Chocolate

We need to look at how chocolate came to exist in order to grasp everything about it, notably its makeup.

Cocoa beans grown in cocoa plantations are used to make chocolate. The three main types are Trinitario, Criollo, and Forastero.

The most widely used and accessible variety is forastero. Criollo-bean-based chocolates are significantly more scarce and prized as a delicacy.

The Process of Making Chocolate

The cocoa beans are first collected, cleaned, and sun-dried. They go through many processes, including roasting, to have the cocoa nibs removed.

Then a cocoa mass made from these nibs is crushed and melted. 

This liquid, commonly referred to as chocolate liquor, is chocolate in its purest form, free of any stabilizers, colorants, or preservatives.

Every type of chocolate starts with cocoa butter, a white cocoa substance. Certain chocolates have a dark brown hue and a bitter flavor because of the cocoa solids in them.

What is Semi-Sweet Chocolate?


You are probably most familiar with milk chocolate if you are one of those people who likes to go down the candy aisle at the grocery store to grab a chocolate bar. 

What about semi-sweet though? There is no set amount of sugar in semi-sweet chocolate, though it frequently has vanilla added. 

Semi-sweet chocolate is a type of dark chocolate, but there is no set amount because of the market’s wide variation in flavor and quality.

Interesting Truth About Semi-Sweet Chocolate

You would probably detect a difference in sweetness and cocoa content if you picked up a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and compared it with others.

Semi-sweet chocolate should have a balance between the natural bitterness of cocoa and sugary sweetness. It should not include more than 50% sugar. 

More so, semi-sweet chocolate is simple to utilize in any recipe because of its mellow flavor. 

It is the ideal middle ground to fill in the gaps where milk chocolate can be too sweet and dark chocolate can be too hefty.

What is Bittersweet Chocolate?


Bittersweet chocolate, as its name suggests, is on the darker end of the flavor spectrum. 

Compared to semi-sweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate has a significantly higher cocoa content (about 70%).

It also has relatively little sugar added to lessen the natural astringency of the cocoa liquor. 

If you’ve ever taken a bite off of a piece of bittersweet chocolate, you’ve probably noticed that it is slightly less sweet and gritty than regular chocolate. 

Your mouth was probably a little bit dry as well. However, it is difficult to confuse bittersweet chocolate with real dark chocolate, which contains at least 75% cocoa.

More Truths About Bittersweet Chocolate

Bittersweet chocolate is thought to be a step up in chocolate intensity from semi-sweet chocolate.

However, Cake and Chip Bakers warn that sometimes it can be challenging to distinguish between the two.

This is because chocolate brands on the market can list bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolates with cacao contents ranging from 54% to more than 70%. 

This implies that a bittersweet chocolate bar from one brand may be as intense as a semi-sweet chocolate bar from another, and vice versa.

What is the Difference? (Fun Facts)

It would be more appropriate to contrast bittersweet and semisweet dark chocolate since semisweet chocolate is a variety of dark chocolate.

These serve as indicators of the amount of sugar in the dark chocolate; the higher the solids content, the less sugar there is.

Compared to milk chocolate, which is a light brown, semisweet chocolate is slightly darker in color and, depending on the solids content, has a slightly bitter flavor.

Even if the chocolate has a 35% solid content, it will still be quite delicious and have no bitter taste. 

More Differences to Note

You won’t notice a bitter flavor until the chocolate has melted approximately halfway through because there will be a lot less sugar and a lot more solids in it.

Semisweet chocolate is particularly adaptable because milk chocolate and bittersweet black chocolate are both simple substitutes.

Semisweet chocolate is available in a variety of shapes, including chips, discs, bars, slabs, and blocks, like other types of chocolate. 

They are all the same; only their shapes and intended applications differ. The amount of cocoa solids in bittersweet chocolate ranges from 65 to 80%. 

Taste Differences

This indicates that they are far lower in sugar and higher in solids than white, milk, or semisweet chocolate.

In addition to tasting significantly more bitter, bittersweet dark chocolates will typically be substantially deeper in color than some semisweet dark chocolates.

Depending on your taste preferences, 80% bittersweet chocolate is very bitter and you’ll notice that the sweetness is almost completely undetectable.

It is available in a variety of forms with various purposes, just like semisweet chocolate.


In most recipes, bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate can be used interchangeably, which is especially convenient for home cooks and casual bakers. 

The flavor profiles of the various types of chocolate are slightly varied, so one may work better than the other in some recipes.

Brownies, chocolate chip cookies, truffles, hot chocolate, chocolate mousse, and chocolate cake are a few recipes that benefit from using dark chocolate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dark Chocolate.

Yes, it is.

Semisweet chocolate has 60% cacao, while bittersweet chocolate has 70% cacao and less sugar.

Cocoa solids content ranges from 65 to 80%.

Semisweet chocolate

You can use semi-sweet chocolate.

Chocolate cake, snacking, and chocolate chip cookies.

Yes, you can.

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