There are few things more uncomfortable and frustrating than melted chocolate. Even though the storage method is quite straightforward, it still isn’t always possible to keep it in a “cool, dry place.”
So if you cannot store it at room temperature, how do you keep chocolate from melting? Our best trick is to store it in the fridge, cooler bags, or boxes with ice packs. You can also use melt-proof chocolate if you know you’re headed to a warm area that doesn’t have proper storage facilities. This will raise the melting temperature of the chocolate and delay the effects of the heat.
These are only a few methods we will discuss in today’s article! We’ll also look at the best ways to store chocolate and chocolate-containing products, plus what to do in various scenarios where you aren’t able to keep it from melting!
When Does Chocolate Melt?
Chocolate is a surprisingly delicate ingredient.
If you understand how chocolate is made, you’ll know that it is ultimately an emulsion that is held together by very specific bonds and often chemical stabilizers — which means that the bonds can also be broken.
With fat water bonds, it is quite easy to do so. When that happens, the structure of the chocolate changes completely. The most common example of this is melting chocolate!
When chocolate melts, the fats inside the ingredient have been heated too much. These melt and separate from the rest of the cocoa solids. This ultimately causes a smooth liquid chocolate product.
Now, when exactly does the melting process start? Chocolate has a melting point between 86-90ºF (30-32.2ºC).
Anything above room temperature (72ºF / 22ºC) and below the melting point will just result in soft chocolate. Above 90ºF, your chocolate will start changing its crystal structure — this is ultimately what eventually causes chocolate to seize.
Will Chocolate Desserts Melt As Well?
Many people think that just because chocolate starts to soften and melt above 72ºF (22ºC), desserts containing it will too.
At the end of the day, it depends completely on what dessert the chocolate has been incorporated into.
For example, a cake made with melted chocolate or chocolate pieces won’t melt when stored at room temperature. Sure, the chocolate pieces may soften a little (depending on the temperature), but they won’t cause the entire cake to fall apart.
However, something like a chocolate custard will completely lose its semi-solid jelly-like consistency when stored above room temperature for too long.
Other examples of desserts made with chocolate that won’t hold their shape are ice cream, panna cotta, no-bake cheesecake, and puddings.
Essentially, anything that needs to be stored in the fridge won’t hold up to heat above room temperature.
Anything that can be stored at room temperature (like brownies, cookies, rusks, and bread) won’t be as affected by slightly higher temperatures.
Best Way To Keep Chocolate From Melting
Now, just because an item won’t melt slightly above room temperature doesn’t mean that you should test the limits.
There is always an optimal way to store chocolate bars and other chocolate products.
When storing pure chocolate bars, you can keep them in a cool, dark area. A cool area is usually considered to be anywhere between 50-66.2ºF (10-19ºC).
Anything higher and you are reaching room temperature, which will cause chocolate to soften. Anything lower and your chocolate may change its crystal structure, causing sugar bloom on the chocolate.
So, the best areas would be a pantry or food cupboard — do not store chocolate in the fridge or freezer. You can, but it isn’t ideal.
Then, you should also ensure the storage space isn’t humid. This means that you shouldn’t store the chocolate underneath the sink where there usually is a lot of moisture.
That can cause bacteria to grow and the chocolate to spoil. It also may cause fat bloom (when fat streaks form on chocolate that has started melting).
If you are storing products that have chocolate inside them, always check the recipe for storage instructions.
Generally, baked products are stored at room temperature. Desserts that need to be set in the fridge usually need to stay in the fridge for storage.
Alternative Ways To Keep Chocolate From Melting
Unfortunately, there are some times when you cannot store chocolate or chocolate products under optimal conditions.
This could be during moving while transporting the ingredient somewhere else, or when you’re on a picnic or out camping.
Luckily, we have compiled a list of wonderful alternative methods you can try that will help prevent the chocolate from melting.
Keep in mind that some of these methods will work better for some products.
For example, it’s perfectly fine keeping chocolate bars in a fridge. They will develop sugar bloom, but their flavor won’t change. However, keeping a chocolate cake in the fridge can cause it to go stale and dry.
Have a look at our comprehensive list that will also help you determine which method will work best for your chocolate product!
1. Store It In The Fridge
Now, we know we just mentioned a downside to this method, but it’s honestly the best way to prevent chocolate from melting in any situation.
When storing chocolate in the fridge, the sugar crystals inside the chocolate react with the moisture in the fridge. Then, they come to the surface and form a white layer (sugar bloom) on the chocolate.
While this may not be visually appealing, neither the texture nor flavor of the chocolate changes instantly. Only after days or weeks of storing it in the fridge will actually cause more major changes in the quality of the chocolate.
So, you’ll still be able to eat the chocolate, use it in baked recipes, or melt it for other reasons.
As we’ve mentioned before, most baked items with chocolate in them are perfectly fine when stored at room temperature.
It’s only at very high temperatures (above 77ºF / 25ºC) that the baked goods will actually become unpleasantly soft to eat (or just more difficult).
And again, all fridge recipes should be stored in the fridge — without exception! Otherwise, they will melt and go off.
2. Use Melt-Proof Chocolate
This is a preventative measure you can take if you know you’re going somewhere where you cannot store chocolate products at low temperatures.
Using melt-proof chocolate or chocolate-flavored candy melts will allow you to better transport certain products.
Let’s say that you made chocolate cookies for an outdoor wedding party in the middle of summer. Using fake chocolate with a higher melting temperature will allow them to maintain a better shape and structure for a while.
This is also a great chocolate alternative to use on camping trips for making s’mores or a romantic picnic with chocolate-covered strawberries.
3. Seal With Cooler Packs
This trick is one we use very frequently. If you have an insulated cooler bag, you can temporarily store your chocolate inside with ice packs. The ice packs will help keep the entire bag cool and prevent the chocolate from melting.
This method only really works for small items and chocolate bars. You can also use cooler boxes, but they aren’t exactly suitable for taking on a hike.
To transport a 3-tier, chocolate-ruffled wedding cake is obviously an example of something that won’t work for this method.
4. Store In The Freezer
If you have a space issue in the fridge at home or reach your destination and there isn’t a fridge at all, the freezer is your new best friend. But again, only if the general room temperature is too high!
This is a great short-term storage solution for chocolate products that can melt. Only keep them inside the freezer for about 45 minutes at the most.
But, when it comes to chocolate bars, you can store them for much longer. You can store chocolate bars inside the freezer indefinitely!
Keep in mind that once you’ve frozen the chocolate bars, they are best eaten as-is or used in recipes — they will not be good for tempering.
5. Blast The AC
Here is another technique we’ve had to resort to a couple of times. Caterers, bakers, and chefs have been using this trick for decades! And it really is a lifesaver!
We once had a birthday party with an elaborate sculptured chocolate piece. When we reached the venue, we immediately noticed the general temperature is far too hot for the sculpture to survive.
So, we found a room, set the temperature to 60.8ºF (16ºC), and left it there without any issues.
This technique will also work if you have to transport chocolate goods in a car on a hot day. And, it obviously works for larger items as well as short ones.