Can Hot Chocolate Go Out of Date?

Can Hot Chocolate Go Out of Date

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means that Buzzy Kitchen earns commission from purchases made – at absolutely no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting Buzzy Kitchen!

The seasons are changing, and cool evenings call for warming drinks, such as hot chocolate. If, like me, you’ve gone to the cupboard, reached for the tub of hot chocolate, and realised, it was out of date – fear not. Can hot chocolate go out of date? The answer is both good and bad. Let’s jump in and find out, so you can get hot chocolate-making as soon as possible.

Can Hot Chocolate Go Out of Date?

Yes, hot chocolate can go out of date.

Powdered hot chocolate usually has a longer lifespan than other types.

Hot chocolate made with fresh milk will go out of date in just a few days, because of the fresh dairy content. If you have a slow cooker full of the stuff, you’re going to want to consume it relatively quickly. It can be refrigerated once the beverage cools, but it will still only be safe to consume for a few hours.

Hot chocolate made with water instead of milk lasts longer because of the lack of fresh dairy. You can actually keep it in an airtight container and reheat, for up to 2 or 3 weeks after it has been made or mixed.

Can Hot Chocolate Powder Go Out of Date?

Yes, hot chocolate powder can go out of date.

This type (powder) of hot chocolate has the longest lifespan of all hot chocolate types, and it’s often fine to use for quite a bit longer than that – especially if it has been stored in an airtight container, or the packaging is still unopened/sealed.

I bought a tub of hot chocolate from Aldi in August of 2023, and the ‘ Best Before End’ is listed as Jan 2025. This isn’t an expiry date; it is solely a ‘use before’ date. There is no expiration date because, technically, it doesn’t expire. The manufacturers recommend using it before the Best Before End date. They can’t guarantee its quality after that date.

Can Hot Chocolate Powder Go Out of Date

Most experts would recommend using it within the recommended time, but you’ll probably find that it’s still safe to consume (and still delicious) many months and even after a year past the expiry date.

Will Hot Chocolate Flakes Go Out of date?

Yes, hot chocolate flakes will go out of date.

Hotel Chocolat’s Velvetiser uses hot chocolate flakes rather than powder-based mixes. The flakes are also sometimes known as shaved chocolate or hot chocolate shavings. They contain ingredients other than just chocolate (cocoa), such as milk – which, as we all know, goes out of date quite quickly.

Despite the inclusion of dairy products, sugar, and other ingredients, chocolate doesn’t actually turn bad in terms of mould growth. It’s not a welcoming home for the types of teeny-tiny organisms that turn food bad, especially due to the low moisture/water content.

Will Hot Chocolate Flakes Go Out of date

Chocolate flakes can experience white spots, known as white bloom, but these are not a sign that the chocolate itself has gone bad. It’s simply a crystallisation process that happens to the fat or sugar (or both) content, which Hotel Chocolat has actually explained quite well.

You can still eat chocolate with white bloom, although it might feel a little different in your mouth. You can solve it by melting the chocolate down. The bloom (fat/sugar/both) will re-mix with the rest of the chocolate, resulting in ‘normal’ looking chocolate at the end.

What Happens to Hot Chocolate When It’s Out of Date?

Honestly, not very much happens when the hot chocolate first surpasses its sell-by or expiry date. It won’t turn mouldy or bad overnight, as if by magic. In fact, it won’t change in appearance, smell, taste, texture, or anything else – not for a while, at least.

Over time, hot chocolate powder will degrade in terms of quality, taste, and more. The longer you leave it, the more it will degrade. It might clump together into hard masses that you can’t break apart, or taste less like hot chocolate than it did before it past the expiry date.

When to Throw Hot Chocolate Out

If you’re talking about hot chocolate powder, you should throw it out once the quality has deteriorated to the point where it is no longer safe to drink. Of course, I don’t recommend taste-testing it if you don’t think it’s safe, but you can always dunk your finger in and give it a taste.

If you notice the following, throw the hot chocolate out:

  • Hard clumps and lumps
  • Bugs (such as weevils in flour)
  • Moisture (that isn’t from you dunking a wet spoon in)
  • Fluffiness (indicates mould)
  • Weird, unusual, or different smell
  • Discolouration of the powder (lightening and darkening)
  • Odd, different, or unusual taste to the finished beverage
  • Lumps that won’t go away

Chocolate flakes or shavings for hot chocolate will change in similar ways as hot chocolate powder, but in a quicker timeframe. You can also grab a small pinch of the flakes and give them a sniff and/or taste before deciding.

It’s generally understood that, in terms of actual chocolate shavings, dark chocolate lasts the longest before it turns bad. The fastest-turning chocolate is white, which doesn’t last very long at all when compared to dark.

If you have any doubt whatsoever, don’t use the hot chocolate and throw it away instead. It’s much better to be safe rather than sorry.

Join the Newsletter

Get the latest deals, discounts, offers, recipes, and foodie/cooking tips - right to your email! (No spam, I promise.)

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Hot Chocolate Storage Tips

    You should always store hot chocolate (and other food/drink items) exactly as stated on the packaging. The quality of the item can only be guaranteed when the instructions are followed, and it is stored appropriately.

    Never leave hot chocolate powder or flakes out on the counter, uncovered. They will absorb all the other smells and flavours in the room, so that super-quick pasta dish might turn your hot drink into a garlic-tasting vom-fest. Also, flies can get to them. (If you don’t know what flies do to your food, I highly recommend that you look it up. Don’t make me tell you.)  

    Best Way to Store Hot Chocolate Powder

    You can leave hot chocolate powder in the tub or packet it came in, provided it has a lid and is airtight. Just make sure you don’t dunk a wet/dirty spoon into the powder, as this can leave bacteria behind and cause it to spoil quicker.

    Hot chocolate powder can be transferred to a more aesthetic container, but you must ensure it is airtight. It’s also a good idea to label the beverage and add a best before date. This allows you to use it up in a timely manner and prevent wastage.

    Best Way to Store Hot Chocolate Flakes or Shavings

    Hotel Chocolat hot chocolate flakes come in a resealable bag, so you can simply close it and create an airtight container after each use. Again, just remember not to dunk a dirty spoon in there.

    If you want to transfer the flakes or shavings to a more aesthetic container, once again, you’ll need to ensure that it is airtight, labelled, and kept in a cool, dark, and dry place. Direct sunlight and heat will cause the flakes to melt and the colour to fade. It can also cause early fat or sugar blooms.

    Can Hot Chocolate Go Out of Date

    Conclusion: Can Hot Chocolate Go Out of Date?

    Yes, hot chocolate can go out of date.

    The shelf life, however, will be affected by several factors, including type, quality, and storage. And that’s not all.

    Always look at the use-by and best-before dates on food packaging before you throw it away. The sniff/see tests can also pinpoint problems before you start consuming poor-quality food and drink products.

    As always: if in doubt, throw it out.

    It really is as simple as that!

    You might also like:

    By Kim L

    Kim has over a decade of experience in content marketing and specializes in combining reader-focused content with SEO. When she’s not spending her time hanging out on Twitter, you can find her on Pinterest or hanging out in the cake aisle of her local supermarket.