I live in the UK and am having trouble obtaining semi-sweet chocolate chips in grocery stores. Today I spotted De.Oetker (brand) plain chocolate chips. Would that be the same as semi-sweet, say Nestle' or Hershey's? Package states Cocoa solids 44% minimum.

5 Answers 5


Yes, dark chocolate of around 35-60% cocoa is essentially semisweet. Higher cocoa percentages are bittersweet.


Not to reduce Elendi's answer, which I am sure is fine, as I am not familiar with UK products:

There is no standardization of the terms like "semi-sweet" or "bittersweet" in the US, either informal or regulatory. The sweetness level is not the only thing that varies with chocolate (or chocolate chips). One of the most important variables is whether or not some or all of the cocoa butter has been replaced with other, less expensive fats, either to change the melting properties, or for economy by the manufacturer. Additionally, there may or may not be emulsifiers or other flavorings.

However, unless you are melting down the chips, they aren't going to participate in the chemistry of the recipe. They are just solid chunks floating in the batter, much like a nut would be. So you can freely use whatever chocolate chip you like--or buy a locally available chocolate bar and chop it up.

Of course, if the question is really regarding what is closest in flavor from your locally available brands, that I could not say.

  • Agreed on using whatever chocolate you want: I'm not a fan of darker chocolate so I usually just use milk chocolate chips. Dec 17, 2012 at 13:21

I've used the Dr. Oetker ones, they aren't as good as US semi-sweet morsels IMHO although they qualify as semi-sweet, and they are ok. If you are willing to splash out a bit more cash Hotel Chocolat ones are much better.

  • A lot more cash, though hot damn, is that some good chocolate. Dec 18, 2012 at 11:05
  • Well, ok. A lot more cash, but it's still only chocolate chips so it won't break the bank. Some of the grocery store brand chocolate is not bad at all, and it is a lot cheaper, I haven't seen store brand chocolate chips though.
    – GdD
    Dec 18, 2012 at 11:57
  • Oh, there are plenty. You are right; in my opinion Asda's own chocolate is better than Dr. Oetker's for example. Dec 18, 2012 at 13:59
  • I haven't tried those, I have tried Tesco own brand chocolate in several recipes. It's as good as anything else out there IMHO.
    – GdD
    Dec 18, 2012 at 14:08

You can usually tell the difference by the amount of added sugar the chocolate chips have -

  • Bitter or unsweetened dark chocolate has high cocoa solid percentage and little to no sugar added.

  • Semi-sweet has about 50/50 cocoa solid/butter to sugar ratio.

  • Bitter-sweet has about 70/30 cocoa solid/butter to sugar ratio.


When in doubt, I say to perform a taste-test.

  • 1
    Normally this would be good advice. Here the OP states they are having trouble getting hold of semi-sweet chocolate which ought to preclude taste-testing. Dec 18, 2012 at 12:32

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