There are many ways to make chili with a variety of ingredients. It’s a classic American comfort food perfect for when the weather turns “chilly.” It’s a favorite for lazy nights in as well as cook-offs and fundraisers. Typically, chili is prepared in large batches, so you should store leftover chili properly to prevent it from spoiling.
The fridge is one way to make sure it won’t go bad, but how long can you keep it there? Chili can stay fresh in the fridge for 3–4 days if stored properly. Meatless chili can last for up to a week if refrigerated properly. The best way to store homemade chili in the fridge, how to tell if it’s gone bad, and more information about how long homemade chili lasts in the fridge!
Storing Homemade Chili In The Fridge
It is a type of spicy stew made with beans, meat, vegetables, herbs, spices, and seasonings. A variety of regional recipes can be found for this dish, and it can be made either with or without meat. As with many foods, chili tastes better the day after it is made, when the ingredients and flavors have had time to meld together. The key to enjoying leftover chili is to store it properly so that it is safe to consume!
To keep leftover homemade chili fresh and free of contaminants, keep it in the fridge. Keeping the refrigerator at a low temperature prevents bacteria and microorganisms from attacking food.
As an example, you would most definitely walk in on a bacteria-infested chili if you left it at room temperature overnight on your kitchen counter. If you have leftover chili, store it in the fridge, but it won’t stay fresh indefinitely. After three to four days, it loses its freshness and must not be consumed.
Factors Affecting How Long Homemade Chili Lasts In The Fridge
Let’s examine a few factors that affect how long homemade chili lasts in the fridge.
A wide variety of ingredients can be used to make chili to suit different tastes and diets. While some people prefer a meatless chili made from three beans, others prefer to use ground meat. Due to the nature of meat, chili with meat, also known as chili con carne, lasts shorter than chili without meat. A properly refrigerated meatless chili is expected to last up to 1 week if properly stored, but chili with meat can last up to 3–4 days.
2. Total Time It Was Left Out
Apart from the ingredients used, the time the chili is left at room temperature before being refrigerated is also important. The maximum time you can leave your chili out is two hours – after that, it is more prone to bacterial contamination. Chili that is left out at room temperature for too long will spoil faster – even if properly stored in the refrigerator – and no longer remain fresh.
Tips For Storing Homemade Chili In The Fridge
To keep homemade chili fresh for as long as possible in the fridge, there are a few best practices that you can follow. When storing homemade chili, these are the best steps you can take!
1. Reduce Moisture
Bacteria thrive in moisture, so the more water your chili contains, the higher the chances of contamination and spoilage. Chili is a stew with a high water content. To store it in the fridge, reduce its water content by thickening it. Cook it longer so that the excess moisture evaporates, and it lasts longer.
2. Store In Airtight, Shallow Containers
You should use airtight containers to store chili in order to prevent air and moisture from getting inside. As well, make sure that the containers are shallow so that they have a larger surface area that will allow the chili to cool more rapidly and prevent bacteria from growing.
3. Set The Fridge At The Right Temperature
The temperature in your refrigerator must be kept below 40°F when storing chili or any perishable food item for that matter. Bacteria multiply at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F.
4. Add Meat Later
When making chili for future use, it is best not to add the meat while making it – instead, add it when you are ready to eat it. Chili without meat lasts longer than chili with meat, so this is a good way to store leftover chili.
How To Tell If Chili Has Gone Bad
It is possible for chili to go bad over time depending on the storage conditions and how well it has been handled. Leaving it out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours and not storing it properly in the fridge are all factors that can cause spoilage.
Even in the refrigerator, chili will only retain its freshness for a limited time before it goes bad, no matter how well you store it. You can spot bad chili by looking for these signs.
If your leftover chili smells pungent, rancid, or just a little off, throw it out immediately. Rotten food has a distinct smell, and it can indicate if it’s edible.
Mold and bacteria will alter the consistency of the chili and make it slimy. If you notice fused bits or fuzzy growth on it, toss it out before it contaminates other food items nearby.
Depending on the ingredients and preparation method, chili is mostly red and brown with flecks of green and white. The darker color of spoiled chili may change into greenish or whitish spots over time, signs of mold infestation. Ensure that you check the sides and underside of the container as mold spores can fly and land at distances from the chili.
In the refrigerator, homemade chili made with meat lasts about three to four days, while chili made without meat can last up to one week. Don’t even check for signs of spoilage if your chili has been in the fridge longer than the above-mentioned period.
How To Extend The Shelf Life Of Homemade Chili
You can freeze homemade chili if you make a large batch and want to keep it longer. It can be stored at room temperature for up to two hours and in the fridge for three to four days. You can freeze leftover chili and use it in 4–6 months if stored properly. Freezing temperatures can kill or stop bacterial growth, so your leftover chili is safe to use.
Transfer the chili into airtight containers or freezer-safe bags once it has cooled completely, but not for more than two hours. By portioning the chili and freezing it in separate freezer-safe containers or bags, you can thaw only what you need at once.
Now that you know how long homemade chili lasts in the fridge, here are a few more questions we thought you’d have!
How long does canned chili last in the fridge?
Since canned chili undergoes steaming to prevent bacteria growth, it can last 3–5 years once unopened. Once opened, it should be kept in the refrigerator and consumed within a few days.
Is canned chili safe to eat after the “best-by” date?
Commercially packaged chili can be used past its “best-by” date as it is simply an indication of how long it will remain at peak quality if properly stored.
How to reheat chili?
To reheat leftover chili, place it in a slow cooker on low heat for a few hours until it reaches 165°F.