Can you eat chocolate 2 years out of date?

Eating chocolate that is past its best before date is generally safe, but the quality and taste can start to deteriorate after around 1-2 years. Chocolate contains cocoa butter, cocoa solids, sugar, milk solids, and emulsifiers. The ingredients interact differently as the chocolate ages, leading to texture, taste, and appearance changes.

Quick answers

– Chocolate can be safely consumed past its best before date, but quality declines over time.

– Milk chocolate tends to expire quicker than dark chocolate due to the milk content.

– Store-bought foil wrapped chocolate bars can last 1-2 years past the best before date if stored properly.

– Boxes of chocolates have a shorter shelf life of around 6-12 months past the date.

– Homemade chocolate can last around 4-6 months stored properly in an airtight container.

– Look out for sugar bloom, fat bloom, dried out chocolate, mold growth, and rancid odors as signs of expired chocolate.

– Expired chocolate may taste stale, have a gritty texture, lose its shine, or turn a light brown color.

– Eating very expired chocolate can cause digestive upset in some people due to the higher cadmium levels.

How to tell if chocolate has expired

There are several signs that indicate chocolate has expired and declined in quality:

Sugar bloom

This appears as white powdery blotches on the surface. It is caused by moisture penetrating the chocolate and causing the sugar to crystallize.

Fat bloom

This looks like grayish-white film or streaks. It happens when the cocoa butter separates due to temperature fluctuations and rises to the surface.

Hard, dried out or crumbly texture

Chocolate that is very old will become hard and dried out. It will not melt smoothly in your mouth and the texture will be gritty instead of creamy.

Light brown color

As it ages, chocolate will slowly turn from a rich dark brown to a lighter, duller shade of brown.

Mold growth

Check closely for visible mold, which looks like fuzzy patches of white, green, or black. Discard the chocolate immediately if you see this.

Rancid smell

Chocolate that has gone rancid will have an unpleasant bitter, sour, or chemical type of odor.

How long does chocolate last past the best before date?

The shelf life depends on the type of chocolate product:

Chocolate bars

Most store-bought chocolate bars wrapped in foil can last 8 months to 1 year past the printed date, if stored properly. Gourmet single-origin bars with higher cacao content can last up to 2 years due to less milk content.

Boxes of chocolates

Chocolates sold in heart-shaped boxes for gifts tend to have a shorter shelf life of around 4-6 months past the best before date before quality declines. They are not fully sealed.

Homemade chocolate

Chocolate you make at home should be consumed within 4-6 months for best flavor. Store in an airtight container in a cool environment.

Chocolate Type Shelf Life Past Printed Date
Foil-wrapped bars 8 months – 2 years
Boxed chocolates 4-6 months
Homemade chocolate 4-6 months

How to extend the shelf life of chocolate

Follow these tips to keep chocolate fresh for longer:

Cool storage

Store chocolate in a dry area away from direct light at temperatures below 68°F for optimal shelf life.

Air-tight packaging

After opening, rewrap bars tightly in plastic wrap or place in resealable plastic bags squeezing out excess air.

Humidity control

Keep relative humidity below 50% as moisture causes sugar bloom. Use a dehumidifier if needed.

Avoid temperature fluctuations

Changes in temperature encourage bloom formation. Don’t store chocolate near heating vents or hot appliances.

Signs of unsafe expired chocolate

Discard chocolate immediately if you notice any of these signs of spoilage:


Visibility mold or black dot on the chocolate’s surface.

Unusual discolorations

Odd colors like blue, green, or black streaks.

Strong bitter taste

Extreme bitterness or sourness can indicate rancidity.

Off odors

Smells like chemicals, vinegar, ammonia, rotting, or anything unpleasant.

What makes chocolate expire faster?

Certain factors can accelerate the expiration process of chocolate:


Heat causes the cocoa butter to soften and leads to bloom formation. Storing chocolate above 75°F dramatically shortens shelf life.

Direct sunlight

Light damages chocolate over time, causing discoloration and off-flavors. Keep chocolate wrapped and away from windows.

Oxygen exposure

When chocolate is exposed to excess air, oxidative reactions occur leading to blooming and rancidity.


Any moisture introduced to chocolate will make it seize and crystallize. High humidity above 55% also reduces shelf life.


Eating directly from a chocolate bar or using dirty utensils introduces bacteria and mold spores that can grow.

Can you eat chocolate 2 years out of date?

Most chocolate bars and candies are still safe to eat up to 2 years past the printed date, but the quality declines over time. What happens is the ingredients slowly start to break down:

1-2 years past date

– Texture becomes drier and grittier

– Loses luster and turns lighter brown

– Loses aroma, tastes stale

– Sugar bloom appears on surface

2-3 years past date

– Distinct waxy or chalky mouthfeel

– Unpleasant bitter, sour, or chemical taste

– Increased risk of fat and sugar bloom

– Higher cadmium levels – limit consumption

3+ years past date

– Very dried out crumbly texture

– High risk of rancidity with unpleasant odors

– Mold growth more likely

– Consume only very small portions if at all

Nutritional changes in expired chocolate

Here are some of the nutritional changes that happen to chocolate over time past its expiry date:

Increased cadmium levels

Cadmium is a heavy metal found in cocoa beans that can accumulate as chocolate ages. Eating high amounts can cause health issues, so limit intake of very old chocolate.

Loss of antioxidants

Cocoa’s polyphenol antioxidants degrade over time. 2 year old chocolate will have lower levels compared to fresh chocolate.

Lower energy

Energy values can decrease slightly as the oils in chocolate start to oxidize into free fatty acids over long storage periods.

Higher saturated fat

The saturated fat content can rise as the unstable unsaturated fats convert into saturated fats during extended storage.

Who is most at risk from consuming expired chocolate?

The following groups have a higher risk of illness from eating expired chocolate:


Children are more susceptible to foodborne pathogens. Their lower body weight also puts them at greater risk from higher heavy metal exposure when eating very old chocolate.

Pregnant women

Harmful bacteria, molds, and metals can affect development of the fetus. Pregnant women should avoid chocolate more than 1 year expired.

People with allergies

Those allergic to mold, dairy, nuts, soy lecithin, and other ingredients may have severe reactions if their allergen grows mold or bacteria.

People with weak immune systems

Anyone with a compromised immune system is less able to fight off pathogens from spoiled chocolate. This includes seniors, chemotherapy patients, etc.

Will expired chocolate make you sick?

In most healthy adults, eating chocolate up to 2 years past its best before date is unlikely to cause illness. However, there are some risks to be aware of:

Stomach upset

The high amounts of saturated fat in old chocolate can cause indigestion, cramps, and diarrhea in sensitive individuals.

Allergic reactions

Chocolate allergens like milk, nuts, wheat, and soy can trigger more severe immune reactions if they become cross contaminated from spoilage.

Heavy metal exposure

Old chocolate has higher concentrations of cadmium. Eating large amounts frequently may cause bone pain, liver disease, and kidney damage over time.

Foodborne illness

Moldy or bacteria-contaminated chocolate can potentially cause food poisoning. Symptoms include vomiting, fever, and stomach cramps.

How to store chocolate properly

Use these storage tips to extend the shelf life of your chocolate as long as possible:

Cool and dry place

Ideal storage temperature is between 60-70°F with humidity under 50%. Avoid warm spots near appliances or windows.

Opaque airtight container

Store opened packages in airtight plastic or glass containers rather than original packaging.

No refrigeration

The cold fridge temperature causes sugar bloom. Leave chocolate at room temperature.

Away from strong odors

Chocolate absorbs other food smells easily. Keep it away from strongly scented items.

Clean utensils

Use clean knives and spoons when portioning chocolate to prevent introducing bacteria or mold.


Chocolate that has passed its printed expiry date is generally still safe to consume, though the flavor and texture quality start to decline. Most chocolate bars and candies can last up to 1-2 years past the best before date if stored properly. However, boxes of chocolates may only last about 6 months. When evaluating old chocolate, check carefully for signs of bloom, drying, discoloration, molds, or rancid odors. The higher amounts of saturated fat and additives like soy lecithin in very out of date chocolate can cause digestive issues in sensitive individuals. Pregnant women, children, and those with allergies should be more cautious about consuming expired chocolate over 1-2 years old due to greater risks of foodborne illness.

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