Is hot chocolate your favorite drink, but not sure if the one you have in your kitchen pantry has gone bad? In this detailed article, you will find out whether hot chocolate expires, how long it lasts, and the risk of consuming an expired hot chocolate.
Since every hot chocolate lover would like to extend the lifespan of this drink, we’ve also shared storage tips and how to tell it has gone bad.
Does Hot Chocolate Go Bad?
So does hot chocolate go bad? Sadly, the answer to this question is yes. Just like other things in the pantry, hot chocolate expires! The drink tends to spoil if you don’t handle it properly or if the best before date has surpassed. At this point, you might not enjoy its great taste.
While hot chocolate doesn’t have a specific expiry date, it has the best before the date written on the bottle. Therefore, for you to relish its full flavor and fresh taste you should consume it within this date.
How Long Does Hot Chocolate Last?
Since the hot chocolate texture may not change, you might be wondering how long it lasts. Even after storing the chocolate powder in your kitchen pantry, you’ll notice it looks just like you bought it. Now, how do you figure out its ideal conservation period?
As mentioned earlier, the lifespan of hot chocolate depends on the best before date indicated on the package. Your storage technique after purchase will also determine its validity. If you want to get the best taste and quality from your hot chocolate, it would be great to consume the drink within one year.
Although the hot chocolate may look fine after 1-2 years, its originality and excellence will not be the same. If the bottle of hot chocolate is opened, it can stay good for six months exceeding the given ‘best before’ date.
It is even possible to extend the hot chocolate’s shelf life by simply following proper storage techniques and food hygiene. Always seal your hot chocolate when you’re ready to store it in the pantry or fridge. The chart below shows the duration in which you can keep hot chocolate in different conditions.
|Fresh hot chocolate prepared from cocoa powder||3 days|
|Hot chocolate prepared from Choco bar|
|Hot chocolate powder mix (in powder form)|
|Hot chocolate (opened)|
|Hot chocolate (unopened)|
5 Tips to tell if Hot Chocolate has gone bad
Practicing the storage tips above will help you protect the hot chocolate from spoiling or going bad. In case it is not suitable for consumption, here’s how you can tell:
- The smell changes. A good quality hot chocolate has a fragrant cocoa butter smell, but if you leave it for too long, you’ll notice a savory whiff to it. Hot chocolate that has gone bad does not have its original sweet aroma.
- The hot chocolate turns lumpy due to the presence of water. Don’t use the hot chocolate powder if it seems wet. The existence of water means a signal of bacteria that could lead to food poisoning.
- Change in taste. If the overall taste of your hot chocolate is no longer the same, that’s a red alert! Unbearable bitterness is also an indicator it has gone bad.
- There is a grey or white hue to your hot chocolate. This happens if it had a fat bloom after passing its peak.
- You’ll see unusual discoloration, which may be a sign of reduced quality, especially if it had been stored over some time in the refrigerator.
There are several ways to tell whether your hot chocolate has expired, but the basic thing you need to know is that its rich brown color disappears and fades. Apart from that, the odor suddenly weakens and may taste nothing like chocolate. If you notice these changes, avoid drinking it anymore.
7 Tips to Store Hot Chocolate
Odors and fluctuations in temperature can affect the quality and taste of hot chocolate. To avoid that, reseal the bottle or container of hot chocolate that you had previously opened to prevent air from getting inside. If oxygen gets in, it will oxidize the chocolate, and you would not want that.
While the ideal place to store your hot chocolate is in the pantry or cupboard, placing in the fridge is also good, the taste and texture will change over time. The high temperature from the refrigerator exposes the chocolate to changes like fat and sugar blooms. These variations might freak you out, but they’re not a big concern because the safety of your hot chocolate is not compromised.
Since storing hot chocolate may seem like a big deal, here’re a few tips:
- After buying a new bottle of hot chocolate, store it in a cool and dry place. Ideally, keeping chocolate in a cool place between 65 and 68°F or below 70°F with a humidity of less than 55% will increase its longevity. The mixture of cocoa solids will hold steady for several months. Always remember stable temperatures are the best.
- Keep your hot chocolate away from direct sunlight or any artificial light to avoid bad-flavor. This way, the chocolate will not only maintain its delicious taste but also last a while.
- In case you damage the native packet of the hot chocolate while opening, don’t leave it like that. Reseal the container or find another empty tank with a tight lid and transfer the remaining content.
- Always take the hot chocolate powder using a clean spoon to avoid cross-contamination.
- Although it is not a great option to store hot chocolate in the fridge, sometimes it is essential, especially during summer. However, before you put it in the fridge, you need to wrap it up tightly to prevent condensation and odors. Having done that, use an airtight container to seal your drink.
- Don’t unwrap the chocolate immediately after taking it out of the fridge; give it time to warm up back to room temperature. In this way, you’ll get to enjoy the hot chocolate for 3-6 months.
- Want to store the hot chocolate longer? It is possible as well. You only need to move the container from the fridge to your freezer, but for a maximum of three days as both the fridge and freezer are very humid and could result in clumps. So, if it is unnecessary, don’t store the chocolate in the freezer.
If you follow these tips carefully, you’ll enjoy your hot chocolate for several years without any safety concerns.
The Risk of Consuming an Expired Hot Chocolate
Are you wondering what could happen if you took expired hot chocolate with or without your consciousness? Well, you won’t experience food poisoning or get sick because hot chocolate does not contain water, which is prone to bacteria.
As any food product causes harm as a result of bacteria, especially if it has been in contact with water, this does not happen with the hot chocolate. It is safe to drink even after best before date, but the taste will no longer be great. However, if you see little white spots on your hot chocolate, avoid it!
Can you freeze Hot Chocolate?
If freezing hot chocolate has never crossed your mind, it’s time to give it a shot. There are no health risks associated with it, so it’s a good option, especially if you have a lot of hot chocolate at hand. Aside from that, frozen hot chocolate is a yummy, icy treat during summer.
Here are simple steps to come up with an excellent frozen hot chocolate:
- Pour at least two cups of milk into your blender (any type of milk will work completely fine)
- Add two spoons of hot chocolate mix (instead if you have hot chocolate packets that are about 25 grams, add three packets for extra flavor)
- Add sugar (optional) then blend the mixture. For the sugar to dissolve completely, you can cook until heated
- Let it cool for a few minutes
- Transfer into a square dish and put in the freezer for 2 hours for the edges begins to firm.
- Stir and allow it to freeze for another more 4 hours or until it is firm.
That is a basic formula, but you can have a twist of taste by using flavored hot cocoa mix like raspberry or mint. For something extra, you can also put marshmallows in the mixture before freezing, and once ready, serve with a long spoon and a thick straw.
Most people are hot chocolate lovers, and that’s why questions like “Does Hot Chocolate Go Bad?” and “How Long Does Hot Chocolate Last?” will never miss. Knowing the safety of food products we consume is quite essential, and hot chocolate is not an exemption.
If stored properly, you can take your hot chocolate for years, but if it goes bad you can tell by the change of taste and flavor. Though, you cannot get ill for consuming the chocolate after its best before date.