Do Chocolate Chips Go Bad? – Full Analysis

by Charlie
Chocolate chips expire

If everyone loves the taste of chocolate, then they will enjoy the taste of chocolate chips. Small enough to fit on your fingernail, chocolate chips are an excellent ingredient to add to your desserts.

With chocolate chips, you won’t have to make a mess by chopping up chocolate. Just open up the package of chips and pour out the amount you want. You can even have a midnight snack!

Do chocolate chips go bad? Yes, chocolate chips do go bad. If the chocolate chips are stored well, then they will last for about a year. But this time frame is average. They can be eaten 1-2 months past their expiration date as long as they don’t taste rancid, or their color isn’t beginning to turn white. 

Why Do Chocolate Chips Go Bad or Expire?

Chocolate chips do go bad, and the amount of time it takes for them to go bad depends on how they are stored. Chocolate chips often have milk as part of their ingredients, and it will cause the chips to expire faster than if they had no milk. But because of shelf stabilizers, they still last a very long time. 

How Long Do Chocolate Chips Last?

The amount of time it takes for chocolate chips to go bad depends on how they are stored. But because of all the preservatives and shelf stabilizers, the chips will last a long time as long as the chips stay at room temperature and bugs never get to them. 

If you place milk chocolate chips in an airtight container and store them in a cool, dry place, then the milk chocolate chips will last up to a year. So, this food does well with long-term storage. 

But the one-year-only shelf life applies to just milk chocolate chips. If you have dark chocolate chips or sugarless chips, then they can last up to two years. It is the milk inside the milk chocolate chips that causes them to get old faster. Since the sugarless and dark chocolate chips don’t have milk, they will last a much longer time. 

This timeframe is only if the bag of chips is not opened. Once you open a bag of delicious milk chocolate chips, they will only last two months. The bag contains a special gas that helps preserve the chips. So when you open the bag, the gas escapes, so it will go bad quicker. The shorter shelf life is why people should not eat food from punctured bags, as the gas that helps keep them preserved is no longer there. 

However, if the opened bag of chocolate chips is placed in the fridge, they will last 3-4 months. The refrigerator will keep the chips at a constant temperature and will prevent them from spoiling too soon. 

How Long Do Chocolate Chips Last? [Chart]

Type of Chocolate ChipsTime
Milk chocolate, unopened1 year
Milk chocolate, opened2 months
Chocolate chips, unopened2 years
Chocolate chips, opened2 months
Chocolate chips, opened, fridge3-4 months

How to Know if Chocolate Chips Have Gone Bad

There are two important signs to look for to see if your chocolate chips have gone bad.

If you just bought a bag of chocolate chips and see any of these signs when you first open the bag, then do not eat the chips. Even though they are new, something went wrong in the factory where the chips were made, and the chips are contaminated. If you still have the receipt, you can return the bag of chocolate for a fresh bag.

Chocolate is turning white – White spots on the chocolate are the most obvious sign that it is going bad. White spots mean the moisture in the chocolate is evaporating.

Chocolate tastes like it was fermented – Take a chocolate chip and pop it into your mouth. If you notice that the taste is vinegary and more fermented, then that means the chip is now past its expiration point.

Remember that the shelf life of chocolate chips is just a ballpark number. Always taste-test the chips whenever you are about to use them. 

Can You Eat Chocolate Chips After Their Expiration Date?

Yes, you can eat chocolate chips after they passed their expiration date. Just be sure to perform the smell and taste test before you add them to a dessert. No matter how a bag of chocolate chips is stored, they should be eaten within 4-6 weeks after they expire.

However, do not eat any chocolate chips if you know that the chips have melted and solidified over and over again. There’s an easy way to tell if it happens. When you open the bag, any of the chocolate chips will be fused. If the chocolate chips are stuck on each other and there are smears of chocolate around the back, then you should not eat those chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chips Have Gone Bad: What is a Good Substitute?

So, you’re in the middle of making chocolate chip cookies or chocolate chip pancakes, and you have just realized that your bag of chips looks weird and doesn’t taste as good. Don’t panic! There are a few substitutes you can fall back on. 

Although it is much more work, you can take a whole chocolate bar and dice it into small pieces. The smaller you slice the chocolate bits, the better. 

Another great substitute for chocolate chips is a chocolate bar with small squares. All you have to do is break off the small squares one by one and cut each one into four pieces. The mini squares should be excellent substitutes for your inedible chocolate chips. 

However, if you only have cacao powder and are thinking of turning the powder into chocolate chips or adding it to your recipe for a chocolate flavor, this might not be such a good idea. Cacao powder is pure chocolate without any milk or sugar. You should only add cacao powder to your desserts if you like the taste of 100% dark chocolate.

How to Store Chocolate Chips

There are two ways to store chocolate chips, and each way affects its shelf life. You can either store chocolate chips in the refrigerator or in the pantry. 

We recommend storing the chips in the fridge after you open them. When you bring the chips home from the store, place them in the pantry until you are ready to use them. When you finally open them, place the bag in an airtight container and store them in the fridge. The constant cold temperature will help preserve the chips. 

Final Thoughts

  • Chocolate chips are a convenient way to add little globs of chocolate into your meals and desserts.
  • An unopened bag of chocolate chips will last 2 to 4 months in the cupboard.
  • But that same bag will last 2 months in the cupboard once it is opened.
  • If you place a bag of chocolate chips in the refrigerator, it will last three to four months.
  • If the chocolate chips are turning white, then the chips are old, and they should be thrown away.
  • Chocolate chips are still edible 4-6 weeks after their expiration date.

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