Does cocoa powder go bad?

In this article, we will answer the question “Does cocoa powder go bad?”, and how to tell If the cocoa powder has gone bad?

Does cocoa powder go bad?

Yes, cocoa powder can go bad if stored incorrectly. It can become contaminated with mold if exposed to moisture too often. Moreover, cocoa powder loses its intensity over time. 

How to tell If the cocoa powder has gone bad?

Though it is highly unlikely, cocoa powder can go rancid. Therefore, If the cocoa powder gives off a rancid odor, it has spoiled.

If the cocoa powder has been in contact with moisture, it can develop big moist clumps which can lead to mold growth. Cocoa powder that shows signs of organic growth should be discarded.

How to store cocoa powder?

  1. Like other dry goods, the cocoa powder should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. The pantry or a kitchen cabinet works fine.
  2. Once the package is opened, it must be tightly sealed to protect it from moisture and other contaminants. If the original packaging of the cocoa powder is not resealable, transfer its contents to an air-tight container.

The shelf-life of cocoa powder

The following table shows an estimated shelf-life of different types of cocoa powder in the pantry.

Unopened In the pantry
Past the printed date 
Cocoa 2 years 
Cocoa powder 2 years 
Nestle hot chocolate mix 6-12 months 
Swiss miss packages 6-12 months 
Dry K-cup hot chocolate 8-12 months 
Opened Pantry
Cocoa powder1 year

Quick Desserts to make with cocoa powder

Other than the recipes mentioned below, cocoa powder can be used to make Chocolate Cream Pie, Chocolate Buttermilk Square, Chocolate Cannoli Cake, Chocolate Macadamia Macarons, Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Truffle Cookies, Molten Mocha Cake, Fudgey brownies, and whatnot.

Muffin in a mug


  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 1 tsp of instant coffee grains
  • 2 tbsp of cocoa powder 
  • 2.5 tbsp of sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of baking powder
  • 2 tbsp of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla


Mix all the dry ingredients including cocoa powder, flour, instant coffee, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients. 

Fold the dry ingredients in the wet ingredients until just combined and pour the batter into a mug greased with butter.

Microwave it at high power for about 90 seconds.

Top the mug with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy.

Chocolate brownies 


  • 150 g of butter 
  • 65 g of unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 200g of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup or 100g of flour


Melt butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds. To the melted butter, add cocoa powder, sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine well.

Egg the eggs one by one. Whisk them into the mixture. Fold in the flour until just combined.

Grease a microwaveable baking tin with some butter. Pour the batter into it and microwave for 4-5 minutes at high power.

Chocolate cake


  • 1 cup or 100 g of flour
  • 100 g of chocolate
  • 100 g of sugar
  • 50 g of butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 jar of Nutella


In a double boiler, melt butter and chocolate. 

Beat the eggs with sugar until smooth.

Fold in the fold into the egg mixture. The batter should become light and fluffy.

When the chocolate has cooled down a bit, add it to the flour and egg mixture. Stir to make the mixture homogenous. 

Microwave the prepared batter at high power for 4-5 minutes.

Divide the prepared chocolate sponge into 3 portions and coat each one with a generous amount of Nutella. Add chocolate sprinkles if you like.

Chocolate potatoes


  • 300 g of cookies (preferably chocolate ones)
  • 2/3 glass of condensed milk
  • 100 g of butter
  • 3 tbsp of cocoa powder


In a food processor, grind the cookies coarsely.

In a bowl, mix cocoa powder, condensed milk, and butter until homogenous.

Add the cookie crumbs to the liquid mixture and combine well.

Knead the dough and make small round potato-shaped chocolate balls out of it. Sprinkle the potato balls with some cookie crumbs.

Chocolate fondue 


  • 200 g of chocolate
  • 100 ml of cream.
  • Mixed fruit


Add cream in melted chocolate and stir to combine.

Using a fork, dip the fruit of your choice in the chocolate mix.

If the fondue thickens, reheat it for a smooth coat.

Other FAQs about Cocoa Powder that you may be interested in.

Can I substitute chocolate chips for cocoa powder?

What happens when adding cocoa powder to cake mix?

How to make cocoa powder from chocolate chips?


In this article, we answered the question “Does cocoa powder go bad?”, and how to tell If the cocoa powder has gone bad?


Does Cocoa Powder Go Bad? [Shelf Life and Expiration]