Who doesn’t love biting into the sweet chunks of chocolate chips when eating a cookie?
If you enjoy baking, these add-ons are probably a staple in your kitchen cabinet. And rightly so.
First off, they taste good.
Secondly, they are versatile and can be sprinkled on all kinds of dessert items. Anyone who loves these little treats will most likely stock up on them.
It’s a convenient thing to do. However, there may be times when you don’t bake as often and therefore neglect your stock of confectionery.
Which brings us to the question, how long do chocolate chips last? Should you toss out the old stock if it’s been sitting in the cabinet for months, or is it still usable?
It can be tricky because chocolate chips don’t show any obvious signs of damage.
Additionally, different types of chocolate chips have varying shelf lives. We’re here to break it all down for you.
How Long Do Chocolate Chips Last? Do Chocolate Chips Go Bad?
The longevity of chocolate chips depends on three things - quality, type, and storage. Generally speaking, they remain at their best form for up to two years.
Every packet has a ‘use by’ date printed on it. The chocolate chips in the pack taste best before that set date.
However, they are still edible if the packet/bottle is unopened. Even better if it’s been refrigerated. The only catch is that the chocolate chips’ taste may be watered down.
The content of chocolate chips also affects their shelf life. For instance, chocolate chips with high milk content spoil faster, and ones with high cocoa percentage stay fresh longer.
Dark chocolate chips normally stay at their prime for up to two years, while milk chocolate chips stay fresh for about eight months.
Chocolate chips with dried fruits and nuts in them may be just the thing you need to fancy up your desserts.
But you may want to go through your stock of them quickly because they spoil the fastest of the three and develop a rancid taste once they go bad.
Sweet treats may not be the healthiest, but they have long shelf lives, and that’s a good thing, especially for people who like to shop in bulk. Chocolate chips are no different.
They remain edible even months after their ‘use by’ dates. Nonetheless, if a batch tastes funky, don’t take your chances.
Because although chocolate chips may not look or smell any differently when they cross their prime date, they can cause bodily discomfort if you consume ones that are bad.
How To Tell If Chocolate Chips Are Bad?
Whether you’ve recently discovered a pack of forgotten chocolate chips in your kitchen cabinet or whether you’ve overstocked, there comes a time when you wonder, “are these bags of chocolate chips still edible?”
The logical thing to do first is to check the ‘best by’ date. It indicates the timeframe within which the contents of the pack are at their best.
However, if the chocolate chips don’t look or smell suspicious, you can still consume them. A few tell-tale signs of bad chocolate chips are:
- When chocolate is left on its own for a long time, the butter fats and chocolate separate. This leads to the chocolate chips rising (AKA fat bloom). It may look unnatural, but the chocolate chips are still edible at this stage.
- The other thing with chocolate is that if you move it from take it out from the refrigerator and store it at room temperature (or vice versa), the sugar in it crystalizes. Chocolate develops a grainy texture, which results in the loss of its original taste.
- Chocolate is one of the foods that absorb the odor of other foods or the scent of the environment it is in. This can cause it to lose its original taste and smell. To prevent this, wrap the chocolate chips tightly before storing them.
- If your chocolate chips contain a lot of artificial preservatives, they can spoil faster than those with high flavanol content.
- The best way to know if chocolate chips are bad is to taste one of them. If it tastes funky, discard the whole batch.
Chocolate chips can remain fresh if stored correctly. That being said, if your pack of chocolate chips has a lot of additives, it can go bad faster.
Be cautious about eating those that are cracked or smell funny. They also tend to lose their sweetness when they’re stale.
To ensure that your pack of chocolate chips remain fresh, store them in a cool and dry place.
Also, make sure that you properly seal them in an airtight container or bag. Temperature changes and moisture are chocolate’s worst enemies.
Worried about chocolate chips melting in your cabinet during the summer?
Refrigerate them. Keeping them in the fridge will not extend the timeline of their freshness, but they prevent them from melting.