Does Hot Chocolate Powder Expire?

Hot chocolate is a classic winter treat by the fireplace. But making it from scratch isn’t always the greatest idea, especially when there’s a blizzard outside and you only want to wrap yourself in a blanket and sip on something warm. 

Enter: hot chocolate powder. Hot chocolate powder is an easy-peasy way to get your hands on a warming cup of cocoa – without any hassle. Does it expire, though? How long does hot chocolate powder last?

Hot chocolate powder expires, but not in a traditional sense. Over time, it will lose potency and quality, leaving you with a mediocre and bland cup of cocoa. That said, don’t use hot cocoa beyond the one-year mark. Ensure it’s properly stored and check for signs of spoilage before making it.

Hey! My name’s Michelle, and I am a self-taught baker with an affinity for hot chocolate. I use hot chocolate powder from time to time, and I know how long it lasts before it goes bad.

Let’s talk about hot chocolate powder longevity!

Does Hot Chocolate Powder Expire?

When it comes to whether or not hot chocolate actually expires, some say yes, while others say no

It really comes down to the ingredients of your hot chocolate powder.

If it contains powdered milk, then yes, it will expire a year after the best-by date, and consuming it may leave you with food poisoning.

If it does not contain powdered milk, it technically won’t “expire” in a traditional sense. Instead, it will lose its quality, tremendously affecting the texture and flavor.

How Long Does Hot Chocolate Powder Last?

As a general rule of thumb, hot chocolate powder lasts a year after the best-by date as long as it is properly stored.

Technically, hot chocolate powders that do not contain powdered milk (or other dairy products) can last up to two years beyond the best-by date. However, I wouldn’t use it unless you really have to. It will have deteriorated quite a bit at this point, and you may not enjoy the results.

How to Store Hot Chocolate Powder

Like any other ingredient in your kitchen, proper storage is vital to extending the longevity of your hot chocolate powder. 

Here’s how to correctly store hot chocolate powder.

1. Store in Original Packaging or Airtight Container or Resealable Freezer Bag

If your hot chocolate powder isn’t opened yet, you can keep it safe and sound in its original packaging.

If the hot chocolate powder has been opened or the packaging has been compromised in any way, opt for an airtight container or resealable freezer bag instead.

2. Place in a Cool and Dry Area

After ensuring that your hot chocolate powder has been properly sealed, you’ll need to store it until you’re ready to use it. 

Find a spot that is cool and dry. Sunlight and moisture are like kryptonite for your pressure hot chocolate powder. Too much sunlight and any contact with moisture will render your hot chocolate powder inedible and destined for the trash can.

Not sure where to place it? The pantry or kitchen cabinet is a great idea!

Signs of Spoiled Hot Chocolate Powder

Even if you think your hot chocolate powder is a-okay, I still highly recommend checking for signs of spoilage. After all, you don’t want to end up with a disgusting cup of cocoa and a bellyache!

Here are the top five signs it’s time to get rid of your hot chocolate powder.

1. Infestation

Some pantry pests love hot chocolate powder – almost as much as you do.

If you open your container and find little bugs hanging around inside, get rid of them ASAP. 

(A buggy mug of hot chocolate doesn’t sound good anyway, right?)

2. Clumps

Remember when I said moisture was the enemy of hot chocolate powder?

I wasn’t lying.

When moisture comes in contact with hot chocolate powder, it creates very undesirable clumps. These wet clumps eventually turn into mold, which is something you definitely want to avoid.

See clumps? Toss immediately!

3. Smells Odd/No Smell

Hot chocolate powder typically smells sweet, rich, and indulgent.

If you sniff your hot chocolate powder and it smells disgusting and off-putting, it’s time to throw it out.

If it has no scent whatsoever, it’s also a good time to get rid of it. While it might not have gone “bad,” it will lack that decadent chocolatey flavor you’re craving. And who wants that?

4. Weird Flavor

Hot chocolate powder should taste, well, like chocolate.

Don’t hesitate to grab a teaspoon of the powder and give it a taste. Does it taste weird? Then don’t bother making the cocoa.

If you’re unsure, try making the hot chocolate powder as usual. Give the final product a taste. If you notice a distinct, displeasing flavor, pour it down the drain and get a fresh package of hot chocolate powder.


The great news is that hot chocolate powder has a relatively long shelf life, and you don’t need to toss it the moment it hits its “expiration date” (which is typically a best-by date). If you want to learn more about this topic, here are some FAQs to check out.

Can you use hot chocolate after the expiration date?

You can use hot chocolate after its expiration (best-by) date as long as it does not show any signs of spoilage, such as a rancid odor, clumps, disgusting flavor, or infestation. Most hot chocolate powders are good for at least a year beyond the best-by date listed on the packaging.

Can Swiss Miss hot chocolate powder expire?

Swiss Miss hot chocolate powder expires because it contains powdered milk, which is a dairy product. That said, it’s best not to consume this hot chocolate powder beyond a year past the best-by date. Double-check for signs of spoilage before making it.

What happens if I drink expired hot chocolate powder?

If you drink expired hot chocolate powder containing dairy products, you may have a bellyache and other undesirable side effects. If the hot chocolate powder does not contain dairy products, nothing terrible will happen – the hot chocolate might taste sub-par or bad.

Hot Chocolate Powder Does Expire, But Not Very Quickly

When it comes to hot chocolate powder, most last about a year beyond the best-by date. Those without dairy products never “expire,” but they lose quality and may taste gross. Products containing dairy will expire and can make you sick if consumed. Always check for signs of spoilage!

Have you ever made hot chocolate powder beyond the best-by date? What did you think of it? Do you have any stories or thoughts you’d like to share? Comment below!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *