Should You Refrigerate Chocolate Syrup?

Chocolate syrup is a versatile dessert accessory. Use a drizzle to elevate a scoop of ice cream into the ultimate ice cream sundae or mix up a diner-worthy New York egg cream. If you'd rather keep things simple, squeeze a dollop of syrup into milk for a refreshing glass of chocolate milk. The sweet syrup can enhance all kinds of desserts and drinks, adding a burst of chocolate flavor to any base.

According to Hershey's, however, chocolate syrup has a shelf life. Once opened, chocolate syrup can last for about a year, so as soon as you first use a bottle, you'll want to make as many treats as possible. And a year is only a rough estimate. Per CNET, an open bottle of chocolate syrup lasts for about six months in the refrigerator. So to play things safe, you can alternatively stick to the best-by date etched into the bottle. Just like anything else, chocolate syrup can go bad, and eating spoiled food is never worth the risk.

In addition to heeding chocolate syrup's timeline, you should also know if and when to refrigerate it. Luckily, there are a few rules of thumb that will tell you how best to store your syrup.

Refrigerate opened chocolate syrup, but leave unopened bottles in the pantry

Chocolate syrup can be stored in the pantry or the refrigerator — depending on whether you've opened the bottle. Per CNET, unopened chocolate syrup can be kept in a standard pantry for a couple of years before it goes bad. The syrup will be just fine at room temperature, though the second it's opened, you'll want to keep it cool.

Once your syrup reaches the refrigerator, you'll want to keep your eye — and nose — on your bottle. Much like opened maple syrup that hasn't been refrigerated, opened chocolate sauce can spoil. You'll know when maple syrup has gone bad based on the development of mold, which forms when the open container has exposed the syrupy contents to air, per PureWow. Similarly, you'll be able to recognize when your chocolate syrup has gone bad if it's begun to develop mold, or if it tastes, looks, and smells a little funky (via Still Tasty). 

If you're still in doubt about whether your syrup is safe to eat, however, it's better to be safe than sorry. Check that your syrup is edible — or pick up a new bottle — prior to making a dessert; there's nothing quite as disappointing as preparing a chocolatey treat, only to realize your topping has gone bad.