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Jul 15, 2007 04:51 AM

Cocoa Powder

I have some that I know must be a few years old...It has been in the closed tin, and it looks and smells fine, but does anyone know the shelf life for cocoa powder? Should I toss it?

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  1. The concern with cocoa powder, I think, is that the fats would have turned rancid. I'd be tempted to make a very small cup of hot cocoa or something similar, to taste it. Our noses and tongues are the best judge of that.


    5 Replies
    1. re: violabratsche

      Does cocoa powder have fats? I always thought all the cocoa butter was removed during the process of creating cocoa powder, thus would there still be fats?

      1. re: digkv

        I ended up looking on the "Hershey" website, and it appears as though the expiration is endless, unless you store it in a warm place...No, it does not contain fats...

        1. re: jinet12

          Hmmm, isn't that interesting, because the cocoa powder I buy, at the Bulk Barn, claims to have higher amount of fats in it than the usual cocoa from the grocery store. Legally, they cannot make false claims.

          Does anyone from Canada who might buy this have any remarks?


          1. re: jinet12

            Anyone who tells you cocoa is 100% fat free is lying through their teeth.

            Despite the fact that most of the cocoa butter is extracted during the cocoa manufacturing process, there is still a small amount of fat that remains - in fact, cocoa powder has a fat content of approximately 10-12 percent. (

            Hence the recommendation by Hershey to store in a cool place - exposure to heat will increase the odds of that small amount of fat going rancid.

            1. re: tartiflette

              If you want to "see" the fat in cocoa powder, just make a cup and look sideways at the top-the unmistakeable iridescent gloss across the top...and that is the way it is supposed to be.

      2. Well, I just made some chocolate peanut drops using cocoa powder that is probably 20 years old! The powder had no rancid smell. Cookies turned out fine. Had a few to eat. I'm still alive!!! The cocoa container had a special offer on the container that said the offer expired Dec 31, 1992!!!!!! Yikes, I'm such a risk taker!

        1. It's fine. The flavor notes will not be as complex as fresh powder, but it's not rancid and if you are mixing it with other flavors, no one would notice.