Is There A Substitute For Butterscotch Chips?

Finding new ways to make your favorite desserts can change your cooking. For example, do you want to make cookies or brownies with butterscotch chips only to realize you're out? What are some good substitutes for butterscotch chips? Are there any?

Luckily, we've done plenty of research and have the answers to these questions!

The closest substitute for butterscotch chips is caramel chips. Since caramel shares a sweet taste and similar appearance/texture to butterscotch, this would be a pretty easy swap. Additionally, some bakers use chocolate chips when they run low on butterscotch, as they're sweet and easy to cook with.

Of course, if you can try and make your own butterscotch chips rather than substitute, that will be your best option.

As we start this post, we will cover all things butterscotch chips and discuss what you can use to substitute them. Whether you're making cookies, need new ideas for butterscotch chip recipe alternatives, or have additional questions, we're here to help. With that said, let's dive in below!

What Is The Best Substitute For Butterscotch Chips?

Most times, you want to use caramel chips in leu of butterscotch ones. Since these two share many similarities, swapping butterscotch for caramel wouldn't dramatically alter the flavor of your dessert.

Bowl of butterscotch chips

For example, if you want to make blondies, substituting caramel chips for butterscotch wouldn't make too much of a difference. Butterscotch does have a thicker, richer taste than caramel: but it's not noticeable enough in chip form to most people.

Caramel and butterscotch have similar coloring, so your dessert won't need to look totally different. Since both butterscotch and caramel are made by melting sugar (brown for butterscotch, white for caramel), the two are very close in taste.

Of course, you can also make butterscotch chips from scratch instead of finding a substitute, which we will cover later in this article. Regardless, your sweet treats will taste amazing!

Can I Substitute Chocolate Chips For Butterscotch Chips?

Although butterscotch doesn't taste like chocolate, you can substitute it out for one in your recipe. Since there won't usually be a strict requirement for butterscotch chips in your cookies or brownies, you have more room to experiment.

That said, chocolate chips will change your recipe if you make certain desserts. For example, if you want to make blondies and use chocolate chips in lieu of butterscotch: they're no longer technical blondies.

Again, not the end of the world, but still something you want to think about. Unlike caramel, chocolate is made with cocoa, so it will have a different taste, texture, and color than caramel or butterscotch.

Chocolate is very popular among most people, so this swap may go unnoticed. You're more likely to see chocolate recipes between chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.

Butterscotch is richer and more creamy, however, so in that way, you might prefer them.

Can You Use Peanut Butter Chips Instead Of Butterscotch Chips?

Peanut butter chips

Moving to a peanut butter chip substitution, you can use these instead of butterscotch for a recipe. Again, peanut butter chips taste different than butterscotch and have a nuttier flavoring.

One of the drawbacks of using peanut butter chips in cookies is that they open the door to allergic reactions for many. So, this substitution may be tricky if anyone in your household or the one you want to bake for is allergic to peanuts.

With that said, peanut butter chips overall are pretty easy to use for cookies and brownies. Like chocolate chips, peanut butter ones also work in various desserts and won't be an issue for most people.

Especially if your original recipe calls for butterscotch, but you're making a simple cookie, swapping them for peanut butter chips may be a hit.

Sometimes, making the swap can be the best mistake ever.

Why Are Butterscotch Chips Hard To Find?

Butterscotch chips in white bowl

Depending on the time of year, finding butterscotch chips at your local store can be tricky. For example, earlier in 2021, Hershey's made a statement about their shortage of butterscotch chips, claiming it was due to supply chain issues.

Since people have come around to the idea of butterscotch more recently, many brands find themselves not being able to produce enough for the demand.

Especially since the pandemic, people have been baking and trying new recipes more than ever, which puts additional pressure on manufacturers to produce more ingredients.

Whether it's butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, etc., you need to have a plan B while baking. Luckily, most substitutes for butterscotch will taste just fine in your recipe.

As we covered above, caramel is our top pick and should not be as tricky to locate. Worst case, you can always prepare butterscotch chips at home yourself, as this process isn't as hard as you'd think.

We recommend shopping early if it's a holiday and you need butterscotch chips: so plan ahead!

Is It Hard To Make Your Own Butterscotch Chips?

No. Overall, we don't think making butterscotch chips yourself will be difficult. Since butterscotch is essentially melted sugar and butter, creating chips for another dessert won't take too much time or effort.

For example, here's a list of common ingredients in butterscotch baking chips:

List of common ingredients in butterscotch baking chips, Is There A Substitute For Butterscotch Chips?

  • Brown/cane sugar
  • Palm kernel and oil
  • Nonfat milk
  • Whey
  • Vanilla
  • Butter

Therefore, creating your own butterscotch chips won't require endless ingredients. Moreover, you can follow an everyday butterscotch recipe up to the end, when you'll need to shape your mixture.

On top of that, butterscotch chips are also pretty easy to find online or in-store if you plan early, so you won't always need to resort to making them from scratch.

The key is figuring out what you have, need, or want for your dessert. The flavored chips in cookies do make up a lot of their overall taste, so choosing a compatible one is essential.

Even though they're tiny, your butterscotch chips can make or break certain desserts. Remember, baking won't always be sunshine and rainbows, so don't be afraid to make mistakes.

How To Make Butterscotch Chips At Home

For those of you wanting to make your own butterscotch chips at home, this shouldn't take more than 20 minutes. Whether you need to make multiple batches or just one, butterscotch rarely takes extended time and is a great project for the entire family.

According to a recipe we grabbed off of Go Dairy Free, you want to start with these ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of dairy-free butter
  • One cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • One teaspoon of vanilla extract

Of course, you can use dairy-based products if your diet allows that, so follow this same order but with the dairy of your choice.

Step-By-Step Guide For Making Butterscotch Chips

Now that you have your ingredients laid out:

  1. Put the coconut oil, margarine, and brown sugar into a medium stainless steel pan.
  2. Place the pan over medium-high heat, whisking your ingredients together.
  3. Continuing your mixing, allow the ingredients to come to a boiling point in the pan.
  4. Take a candy thermometer and keep your mixture at around 200 degrees.
  5. After a few minutes, bring down the stove's heat to 180-190 degrees, and continue whisking.
  6. Continue mixing until your ingredients form into a light brown, smooth substance.
  7. After 1-2 minutes, remove your pan from the stovetop and add your vanilla extract.
  8. Pour the melted butterscotch onto a parchment-paper-lined 9x13-inch pan.
  9. Place your butterscotch pan into the refrigerator for three hours.
  10. Remove the pan from the fridge and break the uniform butterscotch piece into tinier ones.
  11. You can also use a pizza cutter to do this or a butter knife: the chips don't need to be perfect.
  12. When you're done, store your butterscotch chips in an air-tight container in the fridge.

So, making your own butterscotch chips won't be too challenging. Try a candy thermometer or cooking-safe option to keep your mixture at the proper heat.

How Long Do Butterscotch Chips Last?

Bowl of butterscotch chips in a wooden table

Depending on if you make them or buy them at a store, keeping your butterscotch chips can be different for everyone. Let's start with store-bought chips.

Most companies recommend storing your butterscotch chips in a cool, dry place for up to six months. Again, this will be different by brand, so make sure to read the label on your product.

Keeping them out of warm conditions is crucial regardless of where you get your butterscotch chips. Like chocolate or peanut butter chips, your butterscotch will melt if you keep it in the heat.

Some brands recommend the pantry for storage, so that's a good place to keep yours.

Now, onto homemade butterscotch chips. You can usually expect your chips to do better in the fridge. When it comes to their timeline, you can generally expect homemade butterscotch to keep itself together for around 6-8 months.

So, the timeline for store-bought and homemade butterscotch chips will be around the same. Again, you might prefer to make a smaller batch and use it right away for cooking, but that's up to you.

To Wrap Things Up

Whether you ran out of butterscotch chips or want to try something different, it's always good to have a backup plan. From what we found, there are plenty of butterscotch substitutes, including caramel, chocolate, and even peanut butter.

The caramel will mimic butterscotch best, while the chocolate and peanut butter can change a recipe quite a bit. Of course, baking cookies shouldn't be too pressure-filled, so don't worry if you run out of your planned butterscotch.

We also learned that making butterscotch chips from scratch is easier than you'd think, so you might want to try taking on a mini-project with the whole family!

And while we have your attention, check out these helpful related kitchen posts:

Does Butterscotch Have Dairy? [With Ways To Make It Vegan]

What Can You Substitute For Butterscotch Schnapps?

Can You Melt Butterscotch Hard Candy?

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