How Long Is Cocoa Powder Fresh?

by Andrea Cespedes ; Updated September 28, 2017

Cocoa powder lasts many years.

Yulia Krushelnitskaya/iStock/Getty Images

Cocoa powder has a low moisture content and thus stays fresh indefinitely when properly stored. Keep it out of the moist environment of the refrigerator, which will hasten spoilage. All types of cocoa powder, including natural process and alkalized cocoa, have similar shelf lives.

Proper Storage

Cocoa should be shielded from light and oxygen to stay its freshest. Keep cocoa in opaque tins or cans. If you purchase it in bulk, transfer it to a dark, tightly sealed container before putting it in the pantry.


If cocoa has obvious signs of mold, toss it; otherwise, it's unlikely to spoil. Old cocoa may lose some of its flavor, however. Check to see if your canister of cocoa has an expiration date, which reflects when the cocoa is no longer at its best for cooking and baking. Quality cocoa tastes naturally sweet, with a slight acidity, and smells lightly of chocolate.

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About the Author

Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.