Ingredient Intelligence

The Important Difference Between Chocolate Chips and Baking Chocolate (and Why It Matters!)

published Jul 12, 2022
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Diptych of chocolate chip cookies
Credit: Left: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell; Right: Emma Christensen
Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies (made with baking chocolate)(left) & Standard Chocolate Chip Cookies (made with chocolate chips) (right)

Every passionate baker, whether professional or not, knows that chocolate is one of the best ingredients to use when making delicious desserts and treats. Whether in the form of chocolate chip cookies, fudgy brownies, or a rich chocolate cake, different types of chocolate products work wonders in the kitchen.

A couple of the most common types of chocolate you’ll run into when baking are regular or mini-sized chocolate chips (available in white, milk, dark, or semi-sweet) and bars of baking chocolate, which you can find in unsweetened, semi-sweet, dark, and white versions.

Food influencer and baker Sarah Crawford of Broma Bakery, recently responded to a follower’s question about what exactly makes chocolate chips and baking chocolate different from one another.

Crawford explains that the main difference between chocolate chips and baking chocolate is that chocolate chips contain added stabilizers. These stabilizers, often in the form of soy lecithin, help the chocolate chips keep their shape when they are heated. Although you can technically melt chocolate chips either on the stove or the microwave, they often take a little bit longer to melt compared to traditional baking chocolate.

Additionally, Crawford notes that if you’ve ever melted chocolate chips at home, then you’ve probably noticed that the end product is typically a bit thicker in texture compared to baking chocolate.

Can You Use Chocolate Chips and Baking Chocolate Interchangeably?

If you are wondering if you can substitute chocolate chips for baking chocolate, it really depends on what you’re making. If you plan on drizzling or pouring melted chocolate over a dessert, baking chocolate would definitely be the right choice in this case, as it has a thinner, smoother consistency when melted.

In the case of chocolate chip cookies, though, you can definitely use them interchangeably. You’ll notice the chocolate chips will be mostly be intact, while the chopped baking chocolate often melts into lovely little puddles of chocolate onto the cookie. Either way, you will almost always end up with a tasty treat!