Can hot chocolate go bad? (3 ways to spot)

In this article, we will share knowledge on the storage and shelf life of hot chocolate and ways you can tell when your hot chocolate is not drinkable anymore.

Can hot chocolate go bad?

Yes, hot chocolate can go bad when it is kept for longer durations in the pantry or kitchen. Most commercially available hot chocolates do come with a best before date, so one must take that date into consideration before consumption or using it in a particular dish. The exact expiry date is usually not given because it varies with the storage conditions.

Next time you buy your favorite hot chocolate mix, follow the safe storage methods described below to avoid any discomfort.

Does hot chocolate mix expire?

Yes, the hot chocolate mix expires. The hot chocolate mix is usually a combination of cocoa powder and dried milk powder, thus it can easily go bad and become spoiled. To avoid quick spoilage you can store the powder in air tight container somewhere cool.

Can hot chocolate powder go bad? 

Yes, hot chocolate powder can go bad. This is exactly why hot chocolate powders come with an expiry or best before date labelled on their packaging. Hot chocolate powder and other instant mixes contain dairy products that eventually make them go bad.

The shelf-life of hot chocolate

Homemade fresh hot chocolate will stay fresh and flavorful for 3 days in the pantry and can last 3-5 days at the refrigeration temperature. The one you prepare with a chocolate bar has almost the same shelf life as the homemade one.

The store-bought hot chocolate bottle will last 6 months in the fridge if opened. If kept unopened, its freshness is preserved for almost a year in the pantry.

How chocolate mix in powder form is the most shelf-stable and will retain its flavor for 6-12 months in the pantry when handled with care.

How can you tell if your hot chocolate has gone bad?

Store-bought hot chocolate mix or bottle usually has a ‘best by’ or ‘Best before’ or a ‘Use by’ date. This is helpful in gauging the approximate time within which the hot chocolate retains a prime quality.

But hot chocolate can go bad even before its ‘Use by’ date. If you suspect that your hot chocolate has gone bad, then, let your senses and taste buds be the judge.

  • If your hot chocolate loses its luster and appears dull and drab, or, if you see patches or spots of moldy areas on the surface, discard it.
  • A spoiled hot chocolate mix loses its pleasant chocolaty flavor. If the dry mix had been exposed to water/moisture, the powder develops clumps in it.
  • If your hot chocolate appears fine but tastes extremely bitter or sour instead of chocolaty sweet, this is a sure sign of spoilage.

How to store hot chocolate?

  • Always store your hot chocolate in a cool and dry place preferably at a temperature anywhere between 18-20 degrees Celsius is fine. In summers, you can shift your hot chocolate from the pantry to the fridge. Always store in an airtight container.
  • Keep the hot chocolate away from the stovetop or windows to avoid direct sunlight. Heat and temperature fluctuations will deteriorate the quality rapidly. Maintaining a stable temperature is important to avoid fat and sugar blooms in your chocolate.
  • Protect your hot chocolate from moisture. Do not use wet spoons to scoop out your hot chocolate.
  • Freeze your hot chocolate by adding the liquid to an ice tray and wrap it up with plastic. Take out one or two cubes whenever you want.

How to make the perfect hot chocolate?

  1. Pour half a cup of milk into a saucepan. Add 1 ounce of 70% dark chocolate, 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder.
  2. Stir and melt the chocolate.
  3. Add ½ cup milk again with a pinch of salt. Add sugar.
  4. Pour into a cup and enjoy!!

What happens if you drink expired hot chocolate?

Unless the chocolate was moldy, drinking expired chocolate will not cause you any harm. However, it will taste very bland and no fun at all. 

Health benefits of hot chocolate

  • Hot chocolate made from cocoa powder and dark chocolate has enormous health benefits. But if it is made from the store-bought dry mixes or if taken regularly with added sugars, it can damage your health as well. However, some benefits that hot chocolate provides are listed below.
  • The caffeine, tryptophan, and phenylethylamine present in dark chocolate trigger the release of serotonin from your brain. This helps you relax and you feel happy.
  • Coco is known to improve memory and promote psychological health. This is thought to play an important part in the health of Alzheimer’s patients.
  • The flavanols present in cocoa have been associated to improve cardiovascular health due to their antioxidant functions.
  • Cocoa in a pure form, contrary to the dutch processed cocoa powder, has excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 
  • Cocoa also has anti-cancerous properties and boosts immunity.
  • Dark chocolate with 70% cocoa is rich in minerals like Iron, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin A and K.

Other FAQs about Chocolate that you may be interested in.

Why is chocolate so addictive?

Why is chocolate so good?

Does hot chocolate have caffeine?


In this article, we shared knowledge on the storage and shelf life of hot chocolate and ways you can tell when your hot chocolate is not drinkable anymore.