What happens if you eat expired chocolate? 

In this brief guide, we will provide an answer to the question, “What happens if you eat expired chocolate?”. We will further elaborate on the shelf life of different types of chocolate and how to know if chocolate has gone bad.


What happens if you eat expired chocolate? 

If you eat expired chocolate, you will be fine. Expired chocolate is completely safe to eat unless it has gone bad. It might not taste the best, but it is harmless. 

If after the expiry date, the quality of the chocolate has not been altered, that means there are no prominent changes in odor or flavor, it can be consumed without posing any harmful effect. However, if the chocolate has spoiled, it will most likely result in mild and temporary stomach disturbance.

Take a small bite of the expired chocolate and if you feel the chocolate has an off-flavor, just discard the rest. You might have to deal with slight stomach problems at most, but that would be likely from the other components, rather than the chocolate itself.


How long can you eat chocolate past the expiry date?

It all relies on the type of chocolate. Different types of chocolates and producers will have distinct policies about the way to store chocolate, the required time for storage, and the time you can and should eat it. 

However, there are some basic policies you can consider when deciding whether you should eat chocolate beyond the expiry date or not. We have shared them in the table down below.

Types of chocolateQuality remains safe past the best before dateQuality may be compromised past the best before date
Milk chocolate2-4 months5-8 months
White chocolate2-4 months5-8 months
Dark chocolate1 year2-3 years
Chocolate bar with nuts and/or fruits2-4 months5-8 months
Chocolate bar with nougat/caramel/waffle 2-4 months5-8 months
Hot chocolate1 year1-2 years


How to tell if the chocolate has spoiled?

The only way to tell if your chocolate has spoiled is to try a little piece of it. If it feels somewhat waxy and putrid, it means the milk powders and cocoa butter have spoiled. The texture may also alter and the chocolate may feel extra dry and gritty.

The gritty texture may also be partly due to sugar blooming, which causes the sugar crystals to get more notable. You would not get any foodborne illness after eating such chocolate, but it will not taste very good.

Thoroughly examine the packing and inspect that the chocolate does not have any mold growth on it. 

Even if the chocolate was packed, it can always bloom. The bloom is characterized by white spots or bubbles over the chocolate. 

This does not happen because of mold growth, instead it is a breakdown of the cocoa butter and the cocoa mass, usually developed by improper storage conditions. For instance, if you keep your chocolate bar in a kitchen cabinet that becomes hot and cold day and night. 

The bloom can occur even if the chocolate has still not passed the expiration date.


What is the shelf life of different types of chocolates?

Dark chocolate has the most prolonged shelf life since it does not have any dairy ingredients. A sealed bar of dark chocolate remains safe for almost two years under proper storage conditions while the unsealed bar of chocolate remains safe for nearly one year. 

White chocolate is made up of milk, sugar as well as cocoa butter, among other ingredients. A sealed bar of white chocolate remains safe for almost one year whereas the unpacked white chocolate kept in an air-tight box remains safe for around 6-8 months.  

Milk chocolate is composed of cocoa butter, cocoa solids, milk and sugar, among other ingredients and it lasts for the same time as white chocolate. Therefore, a packed bar of milk chocolate remains safe for almost one year while the unpacked bar of milk chocolate remains safe for about 6-8 months provided proper storage is ensured. 


How to properly store chocolates?

To ensure the safety of chocolates and to increase their shelf life, certain points should be kept in mind while storing them. 

Store your chocolates at a low temperature to maintain their freshness and quality for a prolonged period. 

Store them in a cool, dry, and dark area away from direct sun rays and heat for instance, in your pantry where there is no exposure to heat and sun rays. 


Other FAQs about Chocolate that you may be interested in.

Can chocolate go bad?

Can you freeze chocolate syrup?

How does chocolate melt?


In this brief guide, we have provided an answer to the question, “What happens if you eat expired chocolate?”. We have further elaborated on the shelf life of different types of chocolate and how to know if chocolate has gone bad.



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.