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Do Chocolate Chips Go Bad? – Storing Chocolate Chips

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If you do any baking there’s a good chance you like to stock up on chocolate chips. They bring a truly enjoyable experience to everything from banana bread to oatmeal.

As with most things, buying in bulk helps to offset costs. If you buy more than you can use immediately, you’ll probably be left wondering how long they will keep for.

Do chocolate chips go bad? Chocolate chips can last up to 2 years if they’re stored correctly. The higher the cocoa percentage, the longer the chocolate will stay fresh. Milk chocolate chips will start to go stale after 8 months, whereas chocolate that is 80% dark chocolate may last up to 2 years without going stale. Chocolate chips with nuts or fruit will spoil quicker, so you might taste a rancid flavor after 8-10 months.

In the following article, we’ll discuss how to tell if your chocolate has gone bad, how to properly store your chocolate chips so they stay fresh for as long as possible, and what to do if your chocolate does get a little white around the edges.

How to Tell if Chocolate is Bad

Chocolate will last a long time, especially if it’s properly stored, but it can go bad. The likelihood of chocolate going bad increases with the number of additives that go into the chocolate, specifically ingredients that are more prone to spoiling like fruits, dairy, and even nuts. 

Simple chocolate chips can go bad in the sense of going stale and losing their sweetness. The most obvious signs of stale chocolate are a musty smell when you open their container or cracks in the chocolate. 

Chocolate cracks when it dries out, and if it’s drying out significantly, it will be losing flavor as well. Stale chocolate won’t hurt you, so you can taste test it to decide if it’s appropriate for baking or snacking.

Think you’re seeing mold on your chocolate? Mold will not grow on chocolate. If you’re seeing white or grey streaks or spots, your chocolate has experienced what is called a fat bloom or a sugar bloom.

This is not the most enticing look for chocolate, but it is not mold and it isn’t dangerous or even a sign that your chocolate has gone bad.

We’ll talk about white spots on chocolate and chocolate blooms in more depth later in the article.

Do White Chocolate Chips Go Bad?

Many connoisseurs will argue that white chocolate isn’t technically chocolate at all, but it is made with cocoa butter, so it does have its roots in the cocoa bean.

The other ingredients, however, are primarily sugar and milk products. The sugar will keep the chocolate chips from spoiling for a long time, but white chocolate will start to develop an off-flavor after about 8-10 months, even if it’s stored carefully.

Is It Safe to Eat Expired Chocolate Chips?

In most instances, it is safe to eat chocolate chips that have been carefully stored, even if they’ve passed their best before date.

This recommendation is set by the manufacturer to reflect an assumed amount of time before the chocolate loses flavor or goes stale.

If you follow the storage directions below, your chocolate chips should last between 1-2 years without going stale, depending on the variety.

How to Store Chocolate Chips

As a general rule, you want to make sure your chocolate chips are kept in a cool, dry location. The ideal temperature is between 60-75F and they need to be in an airtight bag or container.

You want to protect your chocolate chips from temperature fluctuations and moisture.

If your chocolate is stored in a cupboard near your oven, for example, the rising and falling temperatures will cause condensation on and around the chocolate chips, which can lead to a sugar bloom. It also puts your chocolate chips at risk for melting accidentally. 

The best location would be a pantry in a temperature-controlled space.

How Long Do Chocolate Chips Last After Opening?

There is a difference in the lifespan of chocolate chips based on the percentage of the chocolate that comes straight from the cocoa bean. The more milk in your chocolate, the shorter the lifespan. 

If stored properly, milk chocolate chips will stay fresh for approximately 1 year after opening the bag. 

Chips with a higher concentration of dark chocolate, 60% or higher, will last longer. If they’re carefully stored, semi-sweet, bittersweet or dark chocolate chips will last for up to 2 years

How Long Does Chocolate Last in the Fridge?

Storing your chocolate or chocolate chips in the fridge won’t necessarily extend their lifespan unless they’re exposed to temperature fluctuations in your home.

For example, if it’s the middle of the summer and your home regularly gets above 75F, your chocolate may melt if kept in the cupboard or pantry. 

If this is the case, storing chocolate in your fridge is a good idea.

Try to reduce the temperature fluctuation as much as possible when you’re putting the chocolate chips in your fridge. This will help prevent condensation from forming on your chocolate. It may still bloom, but it should retain its delicious taste.

Chocolate will pick up strong flavors from other items stored in your fridge, so make sure that it’s well protected within an airtight Ziploc bag and, if possible, an airtight Tupperware container as well. 

If stored like this, your milk or white chocolate chips will stay fresh for up to a year, and dark chocolate chips should be safe for up to 2 years.

Can You Freeze Chocolate Chips?

Yes, you can freeze chocolate chips, however, it will affect the visual appeal of your chocolate and it won’t significantly change the lifespan of your chocolate.

Putting chocolate chips in the freezer makes them much more likely to experience a sugar bloom, and they’ll come out of your freezer covered in white. This is crystallized sugar and, if you melt your chocolate, it will dissolve back into darkness. 

Chocolate that has been frozen will also have a brittle texture, even upon thawing it won’t be the same consistency as it was fresh.

The flavor should stay consistent, as long as it’s carefully sealed and protected against picking up odors and flavors from other items in your freezer.

Frozen dark chocolate chips will stay relatively fresh for up to 2 years and milk or white chocolate will be good for approximately 1 year. This is the same length of time they would stay fresh in your cupboard, sealed well, and they wouldn’t be at risk for a sugar bloom there.

Freezing chocolate chips is an option, but it’s not ideal.

How to Store Chocolate Chips [Chart]

Type of Chocolate Chip How to Store How Long They’ll Last
Dark, Bittersweet,
and Semisweet Chocolate
In a sealed, air-tight container in a dark location with a consistent temperature of 60-75F Up to 2 years
Milk Chocolate 8 months to 1 year
White Chocolate 8 to 10 months

Related Questions

Do chocolate bars expire?

Yes, most chocolate bars will have an expiry date or a “best before” date. This does not mean the chocolate itself will be bad after this date, but it is the longest that the manufacturer believes the chocolate will retain its freshness or quality.

If you have a chocolate bar that has been stored in its original packaging in a cool, dark pantry beyond its expiry date, there’s a good chance it will still be safe and sound to eat.

If there are additives like fruit, nuts, or caramel, they might change the quality as well, and every brand or bar will be slightly different.

How to fix chocolate bloom?

If you’re trying to cook with or serve chocolate that has bloomed and you want to be rid of the unsightly white or grey swirls, the best way to fix the bloom is to melt and temper your chocolate.

If you’ve had a sugar bloom problem, no amount of tempering is going to give you the near-perfect results needed for fine candy making, but it will certainly disguise the white or grey streaks.

What are vegan chocolate chips?

Chocolate is naturally plant-based, made from cocoa beans. Many people assume that “cocoa butter” is a milk product, but it is actually the fat from the cocoa plant.

Chocolate becomes non-vegan when other ingredients, such as milk for milk chocolate, are added. Some sugar is also not strictly vegan-friendly because it’s filtered using bone charcoal. 

Check out the list of our favorite vegan chocolates.

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