Cocoa powder is a staple in my kitchen. The bitter, rich, and slight chocolatey taste is the perfect addition to just about everything. Smoothies — add cocoa powder. Homemade cookies — add cocoa powder. Fresh strawberries? Sprinkle some cocoa powder over them. But before you get carried away putting this antioxidant-rich and high fiber ingredient on every meal you eat, you might want to know the answer to does cocoa powder go bad? 

Yes and No

Cocoa powder doesn't necessarily go bad, but it does lose its original flavor over time. Typically, cocoa powder has a shelf life of three years if unopened. An opened container, if it's stored properly, has a shelf life of one year. Like most baking essentials, it needs to be in a cool, dry area with a tightly sealed lid. If not, cocoa powder will begin to clump and expire sooner. 

The best way to tell if it's time to toss the container of cocoa powder is if it has developed an off smell or if you can no longer breathe in a chocolate vibe. The flavor also should still have a chocolate taste. You'll be able to tell if it has gone bad if the flavor is bland or starts to take the taste of the products around it.

Ways to Use Cocoa Powder

Make some of these recipes to make sure your cocoa powder doesn't go to waste! For an early morning treat before class, mix cocoa powder into your oatmeal. Or meal prep some homemade granola bars early in the week for a grab-and-go breakfast; either way consuming chocolate in the AM is a recipe for a good day. Cocoa powder isn't just for the sweet recipes — add it as a dry rub to a fancy pot roast to really show off your kitchen skills. Then, clean your pallet with a simple banana nice cream.

#SpoonTip: Still unsure how to use up your cocoa powder? Here are 13 unique ways to put it to good use. 

So no, you probably don't need to get rid of that cocoa powder sitting in your cabinet unless it's been there a couple of years. But think of all the ways you can incorporate cocoa powder into your favorite recipes.