How To Store Chocolate Long Term?

Although chocolate is something that can never be misplaced, consumers might find old chocolate bars that might have been forgotten or misplaced. When such a situation occurs, you might be tempted to surpass the expiration date. But how far can you go?


Well, in the article that follows, we will discuss several interesting facts about chocolate that will help you make an informed decision whenever you accidentally find one in your pantry.


Actual Shelf Life Of Chocolate

The actual shelf life of chocolate depends on the kind of chocolate, the type of storage, and the integrity of the package. Dark chocolate has the tendency to last for a longer duration as compared to white and milk chocolate. This is primarily because it doesn’t contain any dairy content.

Dark chocolate has an impressive shelf life because of its high antioxidant content. This protects the chocolate against any decay caused as a result of oxidation. If you keep your dark chocolate unopened and store it in ideal conditions, it will last for 2 years from the day it was manufactured. On the other hand, if you open it and store it properly, it is likely to last one year.

For white and milk chocolates, the shelf life comes down to half. If the chocolate is unopened, it will last for a year from the day it was made. However, if it is opened, it will last for merely 6 to 8 months. White chocolate doesn’t contain many potent and health-boosting properties and therefore, lasts for way shorter than dark chocolate does.
Chocolate with nuts in it has a shorter shelf life than plain chocolate.

You can in fact directly ask the chocolate manufacturer about the day the chocolate was made so you can easily calculate its date of expiration.

Ideal Storage Conditions For Chocolate

The ideal condition to store your chocolate is a dry and cool place that has a temperature of approximately 18-20 degrees Celsius. You must ensure minimum levels of humidity so that the sugar and the cocoa butter remain constant.

Make sure you store the chocolate in airtight containers so that there is no oxidation. The original wrapper and package will be the best choice for this. Storing your chocolate this way will also ensure that it doesn’t absorb any undesired odors.

If you were to ask what is the best place for you to store your chocolate, it would undoubtedly be the pantry. You should refrigerate only if you are not able to find any other cool and dry place. In such a situation, you can place your chocolate in the refrigerator.

Since the primary risks facing chocolate are absorption of odors and condensation, you should not only wrap your chocolate accurately but also position it in a plastic container. This in turn will prevent any unnecessary changes in texture, odor, flavor, or color. Before you consume the bar, make sure it is down to room temperature.

If you place your chocolate in the refrigerator, it has a higher chance of a longer shelf life than when it is stored in a pantry. However, it might undergo some undesired changes in its optimal conditions.

Note that if your chocolate melts at any time, it doesn’t compulsorily mean that your chocolate is unfit for consumption. Although melted chocolate is a mess, it still has the potential to be saved. Even if your chocolate loses shape, it will have the same taste once it cools down.

Improper Storage Conditions That Affect Chocolate

If chocolate is not stored properly, several types of bloom will form. If you refrigerate or store your chocolate without containment, it will absorb a sufficient amount of moisture which will result in a whitish discoloration. Furthermore, if you move your chocolate from one extreme temperature to another on a hot day, for instance, your chocolate will form an oily texture.

In more specific terms, the rearrangement of triglycerides in the chocolate can result in fat bloom. The primary reason behind the loss of good quality in the chocolate industry is fat bloom. Exposure to both humidity and heat works against the shelf life of chocolate. There are some following conditions that affect chocolate:

  1. Heat-Induced Bloom

    Heat-induced bloom, also known as fat bloom, takes place when chocolate is exposed to temperatures on the warmer end. The heat causes cocoa butter to soften. It, therefore, is segregated from other ingredients and thereafter, rises to the surface.

    When the re-solidification of this chocolate takes place, there will be a bloom of cocoa butter crystals. If you observe white steaks or a grey cast on your chocolate, know that it is a heat-induced bloom. The fat bloom is one of the most commonly found chocolate blooms.

  2. Humidity-Induced Bloom

    Humidity-induced bloom, also known as sugar bloom, takes place when you expose chocolate to a moist environment. Due to moisture, the sugar content evaporates which in turn leads to the formation of large sugar crystals on the chocolate surface. If there is humidity-induced bloom, it will either look dusty or crystallized.

  3. Cocoa Powder

    For long-term storage, you should undoubtedly opt for cocoa powder. Although the manufacturer-recommended shelf life of cocoa powder is only a few years, it has a shelf life of several years in reality. In fact, it is only after 6 years of age that there are noticeable differences in the taste of the cocoa powder. Therefore, if you are looking for a type of chocolate with a long shelf life, cocoa powder is your calling.

  4. Chocolate Chips

    Chocolate chips are primarily stored because of their versatility. You can use them when baking products, or you can even eat them straight out of the bag. You can store your chocolate chips inside their original bag shielded by a bucket to make them last longer.

  5. Chocolate Bars

    You can store chocolate bars in their original packaging itself. However, note that plain chocolate has a longer shelf life than chocolate with nuts. Therefore, a plain chocolate bar will undoubtedly go for a longer period of time than a Snickers would.


Therefore, it is evident that you ought to take care of your chocolate if you wish to store it for the long term. To meet your short-term storage needs, you can store the chocolate in a cool, dry place. Make sure the chocolate is kept away from any direct light, whether natural or artificial.

For mid-term storage, store your chocolate at a temperature between 40-68 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, ensure the consistency of the temperatures. Lastly, if you want to store your chocolate for the long term, make use of a wine fridge that is set to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Never choose to freeze your chocolate.

It is, therefore, important to follow the storage conditions if you want to enjoy your chocolate in the long term.

What Is The Best Way To Store Chocolate To Achieve The Longest Shelf Life?

You can safely store chocolate in an airtight container that is either vacuum-sealed or oxygen absorber to increase its shelf life. It is extremely crucial to maintain the temperature, so keep your chocolate frozen or cool.

What Is The Best Way To Preserve Chocolates?

The best way to preserve chocolate is to store it in a cool, dry place. Keep your chocolate at a temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit and at humidity levels below 55% to ensure the longevity of your chocolate. However, even in a cool and dry place, your chocolate can easily acquire the taste of its surrounding articles. Therefore, you need to place your chocolate in an airtight container or bag. Keep your chocolate away from sunlight as well as natural light because they will ruin the taste of your chocolate in the same way oxygen would. Although it is generally not recommended to store your chocolate in the refrigerator, you can do so if the situation calls for it.

Which Varieties Of Chocolate Have The Longest Shelf Life?

Dark chocolate has the longest shelf life. It can last for approximately two years when unopened and for one year when opened. This is primarily because dark chocolate not only lacks dairy content but also has antioxidant properties. On the other hand, white chocolate lasts for approximately 16 months.

Should You Vacuum Seal Chocolate?

Yes, you can vacuum seal your chocolate to increase its shelf life after consumption. All you need to do is pack your chocolate in a hard container. However, if your chocolate is more fragile like bonbons, the vacuum seal is likely to crush it. Therefore, the best option for bonbons is an air-tight wrap.

How Much Chocolate Should I Store?

The amount of chocolate that you store is simply a matter of personal choice. It is important for you to properly store your chocolate so that it doesn’t perish before you actually consume it. You can store as much or as little chocolate as you want to as long as you are ready to follow the dos and don’ts of storing chocolate.

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