How long can you keep chocolate?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can you keep chocolate?”, and how long do the chocolate chips last?

How long can you keep chocolate?

How long a certain type of chocolate lasts, depends on its composition. The shelf-life is shorter for chocolates with a higher milk content. After the best before date, there are visible changes in the appearance and detectable changes in the taste of the chocolate.

White chocolate

White chocolate has a lot of milk and cocoa butter making it susceptible to spoilage. So white chocolate will last about 6 months in the pantry if unopened. If placed in the fridge, it will last longer. An opened package will be good for about 4 months in the pantry.

Milk chocolate

Milk chocolate has a very silky and rich texture due to all that milk. An opened bar of milk chocolate will last 1 year in the pantry and longer if kept in the fridge. If opened, milk chocolate can only stay for 8-10 months in the pantry.

Bittersweet chocolate

Bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate has about 70% cocoa. Less amount of milk allows it to stay as long as 2 years in the pantry or longer in the fridge if unopened. 

Belgian chocolate

This fudgy treat has about 35% cocoa and will stay good for a week or two in the pantry if unopened. Putting it in the fridge will extend its shelf life to about 4-5 weeks. Freeze the Belgian chocolate to keep it around for 2 months.

Chocolate chips

If unopened, chocolate chips will be good in the pantry for about 2-4 months. Keeping it in the fridge will extend its shelf life to about 6-8 months. Frozen chocolate chips will last for 2-3 years in the freezer.

Handmade chocolates or truffles

It is not recommended to put these delicate truffles in the fridge or freezer. They are to be consumed within hours of purchasing for optimum taste. However, they will last for a week or two in the pantry if unopened.

Cocoa powder

Cocoa powder is quite a shelf-stable product. It will only gradually lose its strength of flavor over time it will be good for about 3 years in the pantry if left unopened.

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 long do chocolate chips last?

Dark chocolate chips with 70-80% cocoa will be good in the pantry(sealed) or in the freezer for about 2 years. Milk chocolate chips will stay fresh in the freezer or pantry(sealed) for 8 months to 1 year. 

However, freezing sealed chocolate chips will not have any considerable effect on the shelf life. It rather significantly decreases the quality of your chocolate chips in terms of texture and visual appeal.

Type of Chocolate ChipHow to StoreHow Long They’ll Last
Dark, Bittersweet,and Semisweet ChocolateIn a sealed, air-tight container in a dark location with a consistent temperature of 60-75FUp to 2 years 
Milk Chocolate8 months to 1 year
White chocolate 8-10 months 

How to store chocolate to prevent spoilage?

Keep the chocolate away from moisture, high temperature, temperature fluctuations, or unwanted odors. The temperature fluctuations and humidity will crystallize the sugar resulting in sugar bloom. It ruins the silky texture of the chocolate.

Similarly, exposing the chocolate to high temperatures will result in fat blooms that happen when cocoa butter/fats separate from the sugar and crystallize.

In the fridge

Whenever you are refrigerating your chocolate, make sure it is wrapped up tightly. It is recommended to place it in an air-tight container to prevent the humid environment of the fridge from damaging its quality. It will also protect the chocolate from absorbing undesirable odors from the fridge.

In the freezer

Before freezing the chocolate, refrigerate it first. Temperature shock will damage the quality of your chocolate. Keep the chocolate in a freezer bag when storing it in the freezer.


In this article, we answered the question “How long can you keep chocolate?”, and how long do the chocolate chips last?


Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.