Does Chocolate Go Bad?

Chocolate is one of the most popular food items worldwide. It can be found in all sorts of recipes, whether they are desserts or simple, small snacks.

One thing is for sure, though – chocolate can make everything better.

Does Chocolate Go Bad?

Sometimes, you need to treat yourself to something sweet to lift your mood. You go through your cupboards only to find no chocolate in your house!

But, hidden in the dark recesses of your kitchen cupboard is a sole chocolate bar.

You may want to rejoice but, if you’re unsure how long it’s been there, you should ask yourself, “can chocolate go bad?”

Well, if you’re in a rush, the short answer to this is, yes, chocolate can go bad. But, the good news is that the chocolate you have in your home is probably still okay. 

There are a few surprises when it comes to eating chocolate and its lifespan.

So, before you eat that old stash of Halloween candy, or try that Easter Egg that’s been sitting in your room for five months, you should find out if it is safe to do so.

Read on as we discuss if chocolate can go bad and, if so, how to find out if it’s still in its prime, or past its “best by” date. 

Chocolate – Can It Go Bad?

Generally speaking, chocolate doesn’t really go bad very quickly. Theoretically, chocolate should go bad because it contains fat, but the fat of the cocoa bean has a very long shelf life.

So, if you store chocolate in a dry, cool space, a chocolate bar can last for a decade, or even longer. 

However, that’s not to say chocolate does not spoil. There are certain factors and ingredients that can result in chocolate going bad.

These are the chocolate fat bloom, its sugar bloom, the flavors or ingredients infused with the chocolate, and the milk.

If the flavors, ingredients, and/or milk are expired (or the milk has overheated), the chocolate will go off sooner. 

Examples of ingredients or flavors in plain chocolate bars that can spoil include caramels, nuts, and wet fillings.

Baked goods and chocolate confectionery tend to have much shorter life spans because of perishable ingredients added to their mix, such as butter and cream.

Check your chocolate bar for any ingredients that may have a shorter shelf life, such as butter oil. 

How Long Does It Take For Chocolate To Spoil?

How Long Does It Take For Chocolate To Spoil?

So, chocolate can go bad, but how long does this take? Typically, dark chocolate can stay good for two years or more, if stored correctly. White chocolate is typically good for at least a year.

You’re probably wondering why the “best of” dates on chocolate bars are always shorter than this time frame.

This is simply because the chocolate contains milk powder, which is perishable if it is exposed to high heat or water. 

In general, however, both white and milk chocolates rarely go bad unless they have been exposed to high temperatures.

This is because the powdered milk within them tends to have a long shelf life, too. 

If chocolate seems to have gone bad sooner than expected, this is typically because of something called “bloom.” Altogether, there are two variations of chocolate bloom:

  • Fat bloom
  • Sugar bloom 

Fat bloom occurs when the lipid structure of chocolate becomes unstable. Therefore, the fat moves to the chocolate’s surface, giving it a gray appearance.

Even at this point, though, the chocolate is still edible, and in some cultures, such as Spain, this type of chocolate is considered the best. 

Sugar bloom occurs due to the destabilization of sugar inside the chocolate. The main cause of this is water.

Just a little condensation can result in sugar bloom, where the sugar crystals are dissolved across the whole piece of chocolate.

Rather than turning gray, sugar bloom is distinguished by a dusty, white hue that forms on the chocolate’s surface. This can also happen with milk and white chocolate. 

Can You Eat “Bloomed” Chocolate?

It is indeed safe to consume bloomed chocolate, but don’t expect the same taste. Eventually, all chocolate will bloom, but it’s only under specific conditions that chocolate will no longer be safe to eat.

If you have found a bloomed chocolate bar in your house, you should only discard it if it no longer smells “chocolatey” or it has signs of mold. Also, if it smells a little musty, it’s best to get rid of it. 

If you find bloomed chocolate, you can use it to make delicious hot chocolate! You can also use it to bake cakes and brownies, too!

As long as you store chocolate correctly, and it is kept away from high heat and water, it should last a long time, certainly much longer than its “best of” date. 

Does Chocolate Go Bad In The Freezer?

The short answer is, yes. Chocolate can go through “freezer burn” when stored in such a cold environment.

Yes, it may extend the shelf life of cheaper chocolate brands, but the fat stability (temper) of the chocolate will be severely affected.

This will give it a white hue and make it more crumbly than it should be. 

Do Chocolate Chips Spoil?

In the end, all chocolate will go bad, and the same applies to chocolate chips. However, this process will take quite a long time.

If you store your chocolate chips in a dry, cool space, it should last for over two years, whether it’s milk or white chocolate.

Dark chocolate should last even longer (at least three years). If you keep your chocolate chips in the freezer, though, they may last for a year longer! 

In Summary

Leave chocolate long enough and it will go bad. But, if you store it in cool, dry conditions, your chocolate should still be edible after a few years.

Just inspect it first before treating yourself.

Rebecca Holmes