Chili is one of those dishes made with many different ingredients, and it’s always a favorite among everyone. But, how long does chili last? Is there a specific shelf life for chili? How do you know if your chili has gone bad? Today, we’re going to answer all of those questions and more. We’ll also provide some tips on storing your chili so that it lasts as long as possible.
According to Kansas State University, chili con carne can last 3-4 days in a refrigerator and 2-3 months in a freezer. Vegan chili can last 2-3 days in a fridge and 4-6 months in a freezer. Read on to find out how to keep your chili fresh, whether you are vegan or non-vegan.
What’s The Difference Between Chili and Chili Con Carne?
For the most part, chili and chili con carne are pretty much the same dish. The main difference is that chili con carne typically includes meat, while regular chili doesn’t necessarily have to contain meat.
The Spanish expression, “Con Carne” literally translates to “with meat.”
What Makes Food Go Bad?
Before we get into how long chili lasts, let’s first talk about what makes food spoil.
A few things can cause food to go bad, including bacteria, yeast, and mold. These microorganisms need certain conditions to grow – moisture, warmth, and oxygen.
When they grow, they produce toxins that can make you sick. It’s essential to understand how these organisms work to keep your food from spoiling.
How Long Does Chili Last?
Now that we know what makes food spoil, let’s look at how long chili lasts. The general rule of thumb is that cooked foods will last for about four days in the fridge and six months in the freezer.
However, a few factors can affect how long your chili lasts.
- The type of chili – the shelf life of chili will vary depending on the ingredients used. For example, vegan chili will last longer than meat-based chili because there is no meat to spoil.
- The storage method – how you store your chili also affects how long it will last. If you keep it in an airtight container in the fridge, it will last for four days. However, if you leave it out in the open or store it in a non-airtight container, it will only last for a day or so.
According to Kansas State University, chili con carne can last 3-4 days in a refrigerator and 2-3 months in a freezer. Vegan chili can last 2-3 days in a fridge and 4-6 months in a freezer.
How to Know if Chili Is Spoiled
As mentioned earlier, the general rule for how long chili will last in the fridge is three to four days. But, you should take that with a grain of salt (no pun intended!).
Instead of guessing whether your chili has gone bad, there are a few tell-tale signs to keep in mind.
- Mold is one of the most common ways to tell if food has gone bad. If you see any mold on your chili, it’s best to throw it out.
- Give your chili a smell. If it smells sour or “off,” it’s probably time to ditch it.
- Finally, take a look at the texture. If your chili is lumpy or slimy, it’s likely spoiled, and you should throw it away.
If you’re ever in doubt about whether your chili is still good, err on the side of caution and throw it out. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to foodborne illness!
Tips for Keeping Chili Fresh Longer
Now that we know how long chili generally lasts, let’s take a look at some specific tips on how to extend the life of your leftovers.
If you’re making chili con carne, it’s important to remember that the beef will need to be cooked separately from the beans and tomatoes. It is possible to become seriously ill or even die from bacteria species like E. coli in meat.
Therefore, beef needs to be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any harmful bacteria. You can either cook the meat in a separate pan or use a slow cooker.
Once your beef is cooked, add the beans and tomatoes and let everything simmer for about an hour. This will help ensure that your chili is nice and hot all the way through!
How to Store Chili
The best way to store chili is in an airtight container in the fridge. This will help prevent any bacteria from getting in and causing your chili to spoil quickly.
If you’re not planning on eating your chili within four days, it’s best to freeze it. Freezing your chili is a great way to extend its shelf life and make sure you have a delicious meal on hand for those busy weeknights!
When storing chili in the freezer, be sure to use a freezer-safe container or bag. It’s also important to leave some headspace at the top of the container so that your chili has room to expand as it freezes.
Once your chili is frozen, be sure to label it with the date so that you know how long it’s been in the freezer. Chili can be stored in the freezer for up to four months.
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Keeping Your Chili Safe to Consume
How long chili lasts will depend on the ingredients used, how it’s stored, and how spicy it is. If you’re ever in doubt about whether your chili has gone bad, be sure to throw it out.
If you know you’ll want leftovers later, freezing your chili is one of the best ways to extend its shelf-life and keep things safe.
More reading: How Long Does Potato Soup Last? Fridge and Freezer
- About the Author
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Dena Haines is a co-founder and blogger on Tasty Plate – and is working to make it the best food blog in the world.
Dena also blogs about coffee at Enjoy Java and travel at Storyteller.Travel
Dena is a partner at Storyteller Media, a publishing company she started with her husband, Bryan.