Cocoa butter and cacao butter are names for the same thing. Even though both names use the word butter, there is no dairy in it and they are vegan friendly.
Cacao butter and cocoa butter are also known as thebroma oil and can be found in dessert and savory dishes as well as beauty products.
Do not be confused by the different terms, as they are all one and the same.
Cocoa butter and cacao butter are vegetable fat and provide a cocoa flavor and aroma. It is solid at room temperature and and when used for cooking, it is heated at which point in becomes a liquid.
Cacao butter is used in all types of recipes and it has a long shelf life making it a great item to keep stocked in your kitchen. Let’s dive into everything you need to know about cocoa or cacao butter.
Related: Cocoa Butter Substitutes
What is Cacao and Cocoa Butter?
Cacao and cocoa butter is created by grinding Theobroma cacao beans into powder. The beans are first roasted and the hulls removed, leaving just the cacao nibs.
These are what is ground, resulting in cocoa liquor. The cocoa liquor is then pressed to extract the fats. The fat of the theobroma beans is what we know as cocoa butter or cacao butter.
Cacao butter offers a subtle chocolate flavor that is prized for it’s cooking versatility as well as in beauty products.
But it’s most well known use is for making chocolate. Cacao butter is used as a base for all chocolate in the United States and a large portion of chocolate in European countries.
Related: Unsweetened Cocoa Powder Substitutes
Cooking with Cacao or Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is used in more than just making chocolate. It is a popular ingredient in all types of sweet and savory recipes.
Cacao butter offers fats that can be used in place of dairy fats or lard to make a recipe vegan friendly.
Cocoa butter also has a high smoke point making it suitable for roasting and other high temperature cooking.
What Does Cocoa and Cacao Butter Taste Like?
Cocoa butter has a milk flavor that is similar to chocolate. It offers a subtle flavor that makes it ideal for cooking. It also has a fairly strong chocolate like aroma.
Cacao butter is a fat that is solid at room temperature and melts when heated. It is not eaten alone and instead should be incorporated into dessert and savory recipes.
Where Can You Buy Cocoa or Cacao Butter?
Cocoa butter can be found at most grocery stores and specialty stores. If your local supermarket does not carry it, you can find it at numerous online retailers.
Be sure to select a high quality product, as price tends to correlate with the quality of the cocoa butter.
How to Store Cacao or Cocoa Butter
Cacao butter has a long shelf life when stored properly. You can maximize the shelf life of your cocoa butter by storing it in a cool dark location, such as the pantry or a cupboard.
Cacao butter should not be stored in extreme heat or in direct sunlight. Remember that cocoa butter is a solid at room temperature but will melt when exposed to heat.
Cacao Butter vs Cocoa Butter FAQ
Is cacao butter the same as cocoa butter?
Yes, cocoa butter and cacao butter are the same. The only time there is a difference, is sometimes cacao butter is used to note raw butter and cocoa is used for refined butter of the thebroma plant.
Can you eat cacao butter?
Yes, cacao butter is edible. It is not generally eaten alone though, it is more appropriate added to sweet and savory recipes.
Which is better cacao or cocoa?
Because cacao and cocoa refer to the same product, there is no difference between the two.
Does cacao butter need to be refrigerated?
No, cacao butter should be stored at room temperature in a cool dark spot.
The best place to store cacao butter is in the pantry or a cupboard. Be certain that it is out of direct sunlight and not exposed to heat or it will melt.