How Long Does Chocolate Last?
Chocolate takes quite a lot of time to go bad but that also depends on the type of chocolate. You should, however, keep an eye on the expiry date on the packet. Milk chocolate will last up to six months after its expiry date while dark chocolate will last for a year.
In general, the best time to consume a bar of chocolate is prior to its indicated shelf life on the package, though remember it is still perfectly safe for consumption much longer. Aside from those two reasons mentioned above, although refrigerating and freezing chocolate may extend its shelf life, you do not necessarily want to have your chocolate bars last more than one year. If you want to keep your chocolate bars in their best form, do not keep them in a cool storeroom for longer than about a year.
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If you are worried about keeping your chocolate bars in the fridge, and trust more in the freezer method, you can keep your chocolate bars in the freezer for around a year. You can also keep chocolate chips in the fridge for six to eight months, or the freezer for two to three years, as long as they are bound to be used for a future batch of cookie dough. Chocolate chips, like other chocolate products, last for long periods (2-4 months in the pantry) when stored correctly.
Bittersweet, semisweet, and baking chocolates can last two years, either at regular room temperature or kept refrigerated. If you keep your chocolate in a fairly cool environment, such as your pantry, it is sure to last much longer. Handmade chocolate will last for around one month at room temperature, as long as you store it somewhere that does not have any light or humidity.
|In refrigerator||2 years|
|At room temperature||2-3 weeks|
Dark chocolate has more cocoa and less dairy, which makes it last about five years if stored at room temperature. Dark Chocolate, when frozen, tastes less bitter, much like iced candy with chocolate tastes less sweet. White and milk chocolate, as you can probably guess by their names, has high milk content, so it is naturally shakier than darker chocolates such as semisweet, bittersweet, or black chocolate. Milk and white chocolate do not last as long as (cut into two pieces) dark chocolate, as they contain more ingredients susceptible to spoilage and bacterial growth (milk, cream, dried fruits…).
Containing mostly milk and butter, white chocolate, even from the most reputable brands, definitely cannot last any longer than the other two. Milk Chocolate, or white chocolate, contains milk, which can stay at the best of quality for one year when stored in the fridge. Milk Chocolate may stay in peak quality for up to a year at room temperature, or longer in a fridge, when not opened.
Once opened, plain chocolate lasts about 6-12 months, although will last several months longer when stored correctly in the refrigerator. The clearer your chocolate, the longer it will last — provided that it is sealed well and kept somewhere cool and dry. Based on my own research, it is generally agreed that unopened, unadulterated, pure dark chocolate is still good for eating for anywhere between six months to one year after its expiration date (as long as it has been stored correctly in a cool dry place). As long as a package of chocolate is not opened, then the dark chocolate should still be good for at least two years, the white chocolate and the milk chocolate one a year.
Once the package is opened, the quality of dark chocolate should remain excellent for one year, and the white and milk ones should last for perhaps 8-10 months. Well, generally, dark chocolate is good for at least two years (three, if stored correctly), and every chocolate, milk, ruby, and white, is good for at least a year (two, if stored correctly). With proper storage (a sealed container in a cool area), milk and white chocolates, as well as other chocolate treats that have added ingredients such as cream, dried fruits, nuts…should all be eaten within a couple of weeks.
While pure chocolate will last for a very long time, the shelf life starts to decrease when you add other ingredients such as milk, cream, nuts, dried fruits, oils, flavourings… to it. Keep in mind we are only talking about simple chocolate bars here; chocolate-based desserts and baked goods have a much shorter shelf life because of added perishable ingredients such as cream and butter.
Properly tempered chocolate bars will last longer than most foods because they do not contain any water activities. Chocolate bars, solid chocolate bonbons, filled chocolate bonbons, and dipped truffles should never be refrigerated because temperature changes and moisture affect chocolates structure, leading to chocolate blooms (a mottled, striped white color caused by the splitting of cocoa butter or sugar, which is safe for eating, but may alter the chocolates shelf life, texture, and taste), and cracking in chocolate truffles and filled chocolates because the centers expand and contract differently from their chocolate coatings. Keeping chocolates refrigerated or frozen prevents the heat from melting the chocolate and destroying the tempered chocolate (that white, white coating that appears when chocolate is melting and hardening is cocoa butter coming to the surface). Keep your chocolate somewhere dark and far from any heat sources, as light and heat will destroy the quality.
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It is tempting to store your chocolate in a fridge, but unless you live in an extremely warm place, you are better off without one. If you live in an area that gets hot temperatures and high humidity, it is fine to keep your chocolate in the fridge, provided that you keep it in a heavy-duty plastic bag that is sealed tight. Some sources say unopened dark chocolate, such as our favorite Amazon Dark Chocolate, has a 2-year shelf life when you keep your unopened dark chocolate out of the sun and moisture, and keep it at an appropriate temperature.
The good news is you can almost tell by looking at the chocolate if it is safe or not, just by looking, but you need to know the candy is going to be the best within weeks of the package date. Generally, chocolate tastes best well before the best-by date (and a bit after, too), but is safer to eat much longer. Chocolate can be stored for long periods because it contains flavonoids, which prevent the fats from turning into oxidation. The higher content of fat and sugar makes it harder for milk chocolate to retain its good form when frozen and defrosted.
How long is chocolate good for?
Chocolate typically lasts for a few months beyond the expiration date. Dark chocolate can retain its quality for the longest period of time, even up to a year past the date on the label. Milk chocolate can last for up to five to six months, while white chocolate can be stored for only a couple of months.
How can you tell if chocolate has gone bad?
If cracks or dots start appearing on the surface of the chocolate, there is a chance that the chocolate is dried out quite a bit since its days as fresh chocolate. Though it will have a stale taste, it would still be safe to consume. However, if a mold develops on the chocolate, you should not eat it and immediately discard it.