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Confectionery vs. Pastry — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on November 2, 2023
Confectionery refers to sweet treats like candies; pastry is a baked item made from dough.
Confectionery vs. Pastry — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Confectionery and Pastry


Key Differences

Confectionery encompasses a broad range of sweet treats, from candies to chocolates. These items are primarily sugar-based and are designed to satisfy the sweet tooth. They can be commercially produced or homemade and are often colorful, rich in taste, and come in various textures. Confectioneries are generally eaten as snacks or after meals and are also popular as gifts or festive treats.
Pastry, on the other hand, refers specifically to a type of food made from a dough of flour, water, and shortening that may be savory or sweetened. Pastries are diverse, ranging from pies and tarts to quiches and croissants. They are typically associated with a flaky texture and are often served as part of a meal or as a dessert. The skill of pastry-making is a respected craft in the culinary world, often requiring training and precise technique.
In confectionery, the emphasis is on the flavor and decoration of the sweets. Artisans in the confectionery trade, like chocolatiers and candy makers, focus on the aesthetics and taste of their creations, utilizing various techniques to mold sugar into delightful forms. The art of making confectionery can include tempering chocolate, spinning sugar, and creating intricate designs with icing or fondant.
Pastry chefs, while they also concern themselves with flavor and presentation, must be adept in handling dough to achieve the desired texture and structure. Whether they are crafting a delicate puff pastry or a sturdy pie crust, their work is often judged by the quality of the pastry itself, which can range from light and airy to rich and crumbly.
While confectionery and pastry may sometimes overlap—such as in the case of sweetened pastries like Danish pastries or éclairs—the primary difference lies in the basic composition and the intended eating occasion. Confectionery is often a standalone treat, while pastry is frequently part of a larger meal.

Comparison Chart


Sweet treats primarily made of sugar and other flavorings.
Baked goods made from dough of flour, water, and fat.


Often smooth, chewy, or crystalline.
Typically flaky, airy, or crumbly.


Eaten as a snack or a treat.
Served as part of a meal or dessert.

Primary Ingredients

Sugar, chocolate, fruits, nuts.
Flour, butter, eggs, sugar (for sweetened varieties).


Cooking methods like boiling, cooling, and molding.
Baking, often involving rolling and folding dough.

Compare with Definitions


Confectionery is the art of making sweet items such as candies and chocolates.
The confectionery displayed a dazzling array of bonbons.


Pastry dough is often used for pies, tarts, and quiches.
The apple pie had the flakiest pastry crust.


Confectionery items are characterized by their high sugar content.
The confectionery aisle was filled with sugary delights.


Pastry is a baked good made from dough with a high-fat content.
She enjoyed a buttery croissant from the local pastry shop.


Confectionery includes desserts like candy, gum, and chocolate bars.
He had a penchant for confectionery, especially jelly beans.


Pastries can range from sweet to savory in flavor.
For breakfast, he chose a savory pastry filled with spinach and feta.


Confectionery is the art of making confections, which are food items that are rich in sugar and carbohydrates. Exact definitions are difficult.


A pastry chef specializes in making baked goods, including pastries.
The pastry chef decorated the tart with precision.


Confectioneries often serve as gift items due to their decorative and sweet nature.
She received a box of confectionery for her birthday.


Pastry-making is considered a culinary art that requires skill.
Her pastry-making skills were renowned in the culinary community.


Sweets and chocolates considered collectively
A confectionery company offering hand-made chocolates
Items of confectionery


Pastry is a dough of flour, water and shortening (solid fats, including butter or lard) that may be savoury or sweetened. Sweetened pastries are often described as bakers' confectionery.


Candies and other confections considered as a group.


Dough or paste consisting primarily of shortening or another fatty substance mixed with flour and water, often baked and used as a crust for sweet foods such as pies and tarts.


The skill or occupation of a confectioner.


Baked sweet foods made with pastry
Viennese pastry.


A confectioner's shop.


One of these baked foods.


(uncountable) Foodstuffs that taste very sweet, taken as a group; candies, sweetmeats and confections collectively.


(Informal) A sweet baked good.


(uncountable) The business or occupation of manufacturing confectionery; the skill or work of a confectioner.


(countable) A baked food item made from flour and fat pastes such as pie crust; also tarts, bear claws, napoleons, puff pastries, etc.
That pastry shop sells not just pastries, but all kinds of baked goods.


A store where confectionery is sold; a confectioner's shop.


(uncountable) The food group formed by the various kinds of pastries.
That pastry shop sells not just pastry, but all kinds of baked goods.


Sweetmeats, in general; things prepared and sold by a confectioner; confections; candies.


(uncountable) The type of light flour-based dough used in pastries.


A place where candies, sweetmeats, and similar things are made or sold.


A place where pastry is made.


A food rich in sugar


(uncountable) The act or art of making pastry.
He learned pastry from the great Gaston Lenôtre.


A confectioner's shop


Desserts of all kinds, whether or not these incorporate the baked item made from flour and fat, or that section of a kitchen that prepares these.
I used to work in the fish section, but now I've been moved to pastry.


A confectionery can also refer to a shop selling sweet treats.
They stopped by the confectionery to buy some fudge.


The place where pastry is made.


Articles of food made of paste, or having a crust made of paste, as pies, tarts, etc.


A dough of flour and water and shortening


Any of various baked foods made of dough or batter

Common Curiosities

Can pastries be filled with savory ingredients?

Yes, pastries can be either sweet or savory.

Is chocolate considered a confectionery?

Yes, chocolate is a type of confectionery.

What is the primary ingredient in confectionery?

Sugar is the primary ingredient in confectionery.

What makes a good pastry?

A good pastry is often judged by its texture, which should be flaky, tender, or crisp.

Can confectionery be part of a pastry?

Yes, pastries can incorporate confectionery elements like icing or chocolate.

Are confectioneries always sweet?

Yes, confectioneries are predominantly sweet treats.

Is ice cream a confectionery?

Ice cream is often classified as a frozen confectionery.

What’s the difference between a baker and a pastry chef?

A pastry chef typically specializes in pastries, while a baker may produce a wider range of baked goods.

Is it common for pastry to contain nuts or fruits?

Yes, nuts and fruits are common ingredients in both sweet and savory pastries.

Do all pastries require baking?

Most pastries are baked, but some can be fried or cooked by other methods.

Is candy making a type of confectionery?

Yes, candy making is a form of confectionery.

Can confectionery include baked goods?

While some baked goods can be confectioneries, not all are classified as such.

Are pastries considered a dessert?

Pastries can be a dessert but can also be served as part of the main meal or as a snack.

What is puff pastry?

Puff pastry is a light, flaky pastry made from layered dough and fat.

How is confectionery preserved?

Confectionery is preserved through methods like sugar crystallization or chocolate tempering.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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