Chili is a staple comfort food in many households. This hearty, spiced stew is made with meat, beans, tomatoes, and chili peppers simmered together into a delicious bowl of warmth. With so many delicious flavors blended together, a pot of chili is great for leftovers too. But how long will it last? Let’s find out.
How Long Does Chili Last?
In the Fridge
Leftover chili will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container. The flavors will continue developing as it sits. Just remember to reheat thoroughly when ready to enjoy those leftovers.
At Room Temperature
You don’t want to leave chili out too long. It should only sit at room temperature for a maximum of 2 hours before refrigeration. After that, bacteria could start growing.
In the Freezer
For longer term storage, chili freezes very well. It will last 2-3 months in the freezer in an airtight container. Be sure to leave some headspace for expansion. Defrost in the refrigerator before reheating on the stove or in the microwave.
Signs of Spoilage
How can you tell when chili has gone bad? Signs include a change in texture, color, smell or flavor. chili that has spoiled may be crunchy or mushy, change to a dull color, give off a rancid or sour smell, or simply taste “off.” When in doubt, throw it out. Safety first!
To maximize chili’s shelf life, store it in shallow airtight containers in the back of the fridge where the temperature is coldest. Let cool completely before refrigerating. Chili also freezes well for longer term storage. Portion into freezer bags or containers, leaving headspace. Defrost in the refrigerator before reheating.
Is Chili Vegan?
Chili can certainly be made vegan by using plant-based proteins like beans or soy instead of meat. There are many delicious vegan chili recipes out there. Even meat based chilis can easily be adapted by simply substituting the meat for plant-based protein and using vegan Worcestershire sauce if the recipe calls for it. Vegetarians may also enjoy chili made with beans or textured vegetable protein instead of meat. With so many options, chili is a versatile dish for many diets.
Chili provides a boost of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Beans add a hefty dose of protein and fiber. Tomatoes offer vitamin C and lycopene. Chili peppers contain antioxidants like vitamin A. Meat versions also provide protein, iron, and B12. However, meat-based chilis tend to be higher in saturated fat. As with most foods, balance and moderation is key.
Q: Can you freeze leftover chili?
A: Yes! Chili freezes very well for 2-3 months in airtight containers. Leave headspace and defrost in the fridge before reheating.
Q: Can you reheat chili on the stove?
A: Absolutely. Reheat leftover chili slowly over low heat on the stovetop, stirring occasionally until hot throughout. Add a splash of water if needed to loosen the texture.
Q: How do you know if chili has gone bad?
A: Chili that has spoiled may smell sour or rancid, change color or texture, or simply taste “off.” When in doubt, throw it out.
Q: Does chili need to be refrigerated right away?
A: Yes, chili should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking. To be safe, put in the fridge once completely cooled. Leaving chili out too long could allow bacteria to grow.
With its hearty flavors and versatility, leftover chili can be safely enjoyed for up to 4 days when properly stored in the refrigerator. For longer term freezer storage, chili will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer. Follow basic food safety guidelines, label and date all containers, and use your senses to determine if leftovers have spoiled. Trust your eyes, nose and taste buds – when in doubt, throw it out! With proper care, chili leftovers can be safely savored.