How Long Can You Keep Baking Cocoa?

by Megan Bushree ; Updated September 28, 2017

Fresh baking cocoa is important for high-quality baked goods.

cacao image by Tatyana Gladskih from

When Unsure of Quality

The common phrase "When in doubt, throw it out" is relevant in most cases when dealing with food. For pantry items such as sugar, flour and baking cocoa, if an item has a strange smell or discoloration, or if you are unsure of its age, it is wisest to throw it away.

Unopened Packages Are Okay

For an unopened package of baking cocoa, there is no time limit. For a package that has been opened, expect to be able to keep it in your pantry for one year. According to Julie Garden-Robinson, a food and nutrition specialist at North Dakota University, it is still safe to eat baking cocoa after one year, but the quality greatly diminishes.

Bottom Line

Assuming the baking cocoa appears and smells fresh, it will remain so for about one year after opening. Unopened containers can be kept indefinitely.

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About the Author

Megan Bushree hails from California and has been writing professionally since 2007. Her articles have been featured in “The Hi-Desert Star” newspaper. She earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Redlands, where she also contributed to the university’s periodical. She is pursuing an Associate of Arts in business and accounting from Copper Mountain College.