Tempered vs. Untempered Chocolate: What Makes Them Different?

Who doesn’t love chocolates? Whether we are biting into a bar of chocolate or adding some to our baking, chocolate is something that indeed makes our lives much, much better.

Not just for eating in bars, chocolate is also a very important ingredient in baking and preparing food, in decorating and garnishing food.

Types of Chocolate

From the bars of milk chocolate we used to love as children to the intricate ones we use to decorate our desserts, to the kind we mix in our indulgent coffee drinks, we deal with different types of chocolate every day of our life.

Two such important types of chocolate most of us use regularly are:

  • Tempered and
  • Untempered Chocolate

Before we learn the differences between them, it is important that we understand what tempered and untempered chocolates are.

What are Tempered Chocolates? 

Most chocolate is solid at room temperature but immediately melts when it reaches body temperature, i.e. when we eat them or bite into them.

This is because the crystals present inside chocolate can take on different forms at different times.

Tempered chocolates, as the name suggests, are chocolate that has been tempered. The process of tempering chocolate means raising and lower the temperature of chocolate so that the crystal formulation inside the chocolate is altered.

Tempering chocolate doesn’t just change the crystal formation of chocolate but also gives it a more glossy look and a more snappy sound when broken down.

“Tempering chocolate” scientifically means to improve the hardness of chocolate by heating and cooling it. This is exactly what we do when we temper chocolate: we change and improve its hardness by first heating and then cooling it.

Tempering chocolate depends on the cocoa butter that has constituted the chocolate, which is the fat inside the cocoa beans that are used to make chocolate. Cocoa butter made from the fat of cocoa beans is known as “polymorphic”, which is crystalline in nature.

Why is Chocolate Tempered?

We temper chocolate to recrystallize the cocoa butter that’s present in the chocolate. It is an important step in preparing chocolate for processing.

When we temper chocolate, the cocoa butter present in the chocolate becomes more stable in its crystalline form. This is important because the tempered chocolate gets a more satin finish when added to cakes and other desserts.

What is Untempered Chocolate? 

Untempered chocolate is the chocolate we don’t make any changes to, i.e. chocolate that hasn’t been. heated to make changes to the crystals in it.

It’s usually the form that chocolate bars are sold in. That is, we buy untempered chocolate in bars or mounds that need to be tempered before adding to our desserts or as a coating to dates, fruits, and nuts.

Untempered chocolate is slow to dry and doesn’t automatically set at room temperature. Even when dry, they aren’t fully hardened. This is not the kind of chocolate to be used in making different shapes or patterns, or the kind of chocolate that is used as dips to cover around other desserts.

How is Untempered Chocolate Used?

Untempered chocolate can be eaten directly, but they are not the right kind of chocolate to melt for decorating desserts and cakes, or used as a dip for fruits or nuts.

Difference Between Tempered and Untempered Chocolate

Although they may look the same, tempered and untempered chocolates are not the same. There are some very acute differences between them. The main differences between tempered and untempered chocolates include the following aspects.

  1. Look. Tempered chocolate has a shiny and glossy look, while untempered chocolate has a more dull and blotchy finish. When we see shiny chocolate decorations on cakes and pastries or shiny chocolate-covered strawberries and nuts on display in shops, they have all been made from tempered chocolate. To make desserts more attractive and appetizing, only tempered chocolate is used to make them, giving everything a more shiny gloss.


  1. Tempered chocolate gets a hard shell after cooling down, which is absent in untempered chocolate. Even after cooling down completely, untempered chocolate doesn’t harden completely. This is why tempered chocolate is used in covering cakes in a hard chocolate shell or for dipping fruits and nuts instead of untempered chocolate.


  1. Tempered chocolate snaps with a sound when broken or bitten into, just like breaking into a wafer or a cookie. On the other hand, untempered chocolate doesn’t harden completely and gives a soft feeling in the mouth when bitten into, like biting into chocolate cake or room temperature chocolate.


  1. Drying Time. Tempered chocolate dries quickly, almost instantly as it cools down and creates a hard shell. Untempered chocolate takes much longer to dry and doesn’t even harden completely when dried.


  1. While tempered chocolate is smoother, untempered chocolate has a more chalky taste and texture when bitten into and eaten.


  1. Melting Point. After it dries and hardens, tempered chocolate requires a much higher temperature to melt again. This kind of chocolate doesn’t melt in normal room temperature, but only when the appropriate heat is applied to it. On the other hand, untempered chocolate melts at body temperature, i.e. just like when chocolate melts in our hand when we are eating it.
  2. Shelf Life. Tempered chocolate has a much longer shelf life than untempered chocolate.


  1. Removal Process. Another reason that tempered chocolate is used to make into different shapes is that it is much easier to remove from molds. Silicone, metal or plastic – whatever kind of mold is used to make chocolates in can be easily removed when tempered chocolate is used. Since untempered chocolate doesn’t harden completely when dried, it can’t be removed from the molds in a clean way.


  1. Tempered chocolate is used when deserts and cakes need to look more professional since they give a more shiny and glossy look and make the desserts look professional.


  1. Time. Untempered chocolate can be used when food is to be eaten directly and immediately, or if the chocolate is used for decorations and garnish. On the other hand, tempered chocolate can be used when the food will be eaten later, or when food needs to be completely covered or dipped in chocolate.


Although both tempered and untempered chocolate are absolutely delicious to eat and use in making desserts, there are a lot of differences between them.

Most importantly, both tempered and untempered chocolate needs to be used in specific kinds of food and for specific reasons.

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