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The Difference Between Jimmies vs Sprinkles

Hand holding a dripping ice cream cone with colorful sprinkles

Take a lovely trip through the world of dessert toppings as we solve the delicious puzzle of Jimmies vs Sprinkles. These little confectionery miracles have the ability to transform even the most basic delicacies into artistic and elegant works of art. Beneath their vibrant exterior is a story of flavor, texture, and local tastes. In this investigation, we explore the history and cultural significance of Sprinkles and Jimmies, analyzing the minute details that contribute to each sprinkle’s individuality. Therefore, join me in appreciating the subtleties of these little toppings and learning about the artistry they contribute to our favorite sugary treats, whether you’re a devoted follower of one camp or an inquisitive connoisseur.


What Are Jimmies?

What Are Jimmies?
Source: Instagram

For those that believe jimmies and sprinkles are not equivalent, there are three distinctions one can argue. Those three differences are color, use, and texture.

Color

Color
Source: Instagram

The most common belief is that jimmies are chocolate. So there is no such thing as “rainbow jimmies” because they have to be chocolate. This belief is the most common among people from the Northeast of America, specifically New England. Many people in Northeast America wholly subscribe to this notion, but many beliefs are a bit more specific on what jimmies are. 

Use

sprinkles
Source: Instagram

Another argument is that the name changes depending on the use. Many people in Boston say that jimmies are the correct name when they are a topping for ice cream. These people often say that the color doesn’t matter; it only matters what you use the topping for. If you are decorating a cake or another dessert, then you could call them sprinkles by this logic.

Texture

jimmies
Source: Instagram

Most people are familiar with “jimmies” as the topping with a chunky rod shape and a waxy texture. But in the eyes of many, these are not real jimmies. Real jimmies are made from high-quality chocolate and do not have this waxy outer layer. Instead, they have a much thinner rod shape and are also smaller. They have a crunchy texture and have a bolder chocolate flavor. Sometimes people call these skinny jimmies or thin jimmies, but in local ice cream shops in Boston, these are considered the “good” kind of jimmies. A lot of people seem to subscribe to this rule and write off the chocolate waxy ones as fake jimmies. 


What Are Sprinkles? 

What Are Sprinkles
Source: Pinterest

Based on the definitions of jimmies above, you can guess what people consider to be sprinkles. Some people say the rainbow color is what defines them as sprinkles. Others say sprinkles are exclusively for decorating treats other than ice cream. So the topping used on cookies, cupcakes, donuts, or cake is deemed sprinkles, even if they’re the same topping you just put on your ice cream cone and called jimmies. Many people believe the true essence of jimmies is the texture. Sprinkles have that waxy, soft texture and are thicker and more rounded. To be clear, many New Englanders are a big fan of both of these sugary toppings but refuse to let anyone tell them they are interchangeable. To many other people around the US and the world, however, there may not be any difference between the two.

See also  16 Best Pizza Topping to Order

How Are Sprinkles and Jimmies Different? 

Sprinkles and Jimmies Different
Source: Pinterest

It’s hard to say definitively what differentiates sprinkles from jimmies other than regional dialect. It can be determined by the color, use, texture, or just the location in the US. The most common differentiation is the color. In the end, the terms sprinkles and jimmies are used interchangeably by most, with the universal word being sprinkles. But if you visit Boston or Philly, ask for jimmies to blend in with the locals. 

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  1. I’m from New England and now living in England. Jimmies are coated chocolate sprinkles and can be in a rainbow of colours. They’re used on donuts and ice cream. I have yet to find them here in the UK. Anything that is rainbow coloured for sprinkles are hard candy that you’d use for cake decorating or baking.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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