How Long can you Freeze Chili?

If you are preparing chili to freeze for a future meal, you may wonder how long it will take to thaw and reheat the dish. We will walk you through all the steps, from putting the chili in the freezer to cooking and reheating it.

The straightforward, step-by-step instructions for freezing chili and reheating it for future delectable meals.

Learn how to freeze chili in this video to cook it just once and have it for two or more meals!

What is Chili?

Chili, commonly referred to as chili con carne, is a hot sauce or stew usually cooked with beef, tomatoes, and various spices and herbs. Although the dish is now well-known worldwide, its origins are in the southwest of the United States. Chili can be prepared in various ways, and the flavor and consistency will vary greatly depending on the cook and the recipe. Beans and veggies are also included in some variants.

Chili is typically made with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and ground chili peppers. Onions, bell peppers, and other kinds of beans are additional items that are frequently utilized. Some individuals also like to add sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, or grated cheese to their chili. The meal can be eaten with bread or over rice.

Chili has a long history in the United States, and classic versions of chili con carne, where meat was a mainstay, were prepared by cowboys and vaqueros in the American West. As time went on, the chili recipe changed as people added beans, tomatoes, and other ingredients to make the dish saucier. There are also various variations of the chili recipe, which has led to many regions having their distinct chili.

How Long can you Freeze Chili?

For maximum quality, chili can be frozen for up to four months. Chili will preserve flavor and freshness when properly stored in an airtight container or freezer bag. Before freezing anything, make careful to let it cool to room temperature.

When you’re ready to dine, let the chili defrost overnight in the fridge. To kill any potential bacteria, avoid reheating chili more than once and ensure it reaches 165°F all the way through.

How Long will Chili Keep in the Refrigerator?

The fridge is ideal for storing chili if you intend to consume it immediately. Once the chili has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container, then store it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

Chili can be kept in the refrigerator for three to four days if it is sealed tightly and kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Your chili should then be either frozen or thrown away.

Chili that has been Left out Overnight

If your room is between 40°F and 90°F, chili will keep for up to two hours at room temperature. The maximum time your chili can sit at room temperature is one hour if your room is 90°F or above.

It would be best if you did not consume chili left out overnight because it may create health problems and make you very ill.

Does Chili Freeze Well?

Yes, in most cases. But it does depend on the kind of chili. Any creamy chili may suffer significantly when frozen, but tomato-based chili recipes freeze extremely well.

Chili made with ground beef and other types of meat freeze nicely. Some bean-based and vegetarian chillis might not taste as good or have a smooth texture.

The freezing process greatly affects product quality. Follow the instructions below to preserve your chili’s flavor, texture, and shelf life while preventing hazardous bacteria growth.

How long you wait before freezing is a significant additional factor. The easiest method to preserve that flavor and quality is to freeze your chili the same day you make it.

How to Freeze Chili?

  • Cool. It would be best if you let your chili cool completely before freezing it after it has been thoroughly prepared.
  • Date and Label. Take the container or plastic freezer bag you intend to use while your soup is chilling. If using a container, write on some tape or a plastic bag. Include a description and the date or the day you will freeze the soup.
  • Move to a container. The chili can be transferred to an airtight container or tightly sealed in a plastic freezer bag once it has cooled enough to be no longer scalding hot. To prevent the soup from leaking, use a freezer bag and ensure the lock is well closed.
  • Freeze. The time has come to freeze. We advise placing the plastic freezer bag over your chili so that it is flat if you use one. If not, just put it in the freezer and let your chili stay there for 3 to 6 months at or below 0°F.

Suggestions for Freezing Chili

  • Chili should be allowed to cool before freezing.
  • The day before you cook the chili, freeze it. Let’s review some key guidelines for freezing chili:
  • Ground beef chili with tomatoes and other meat Compared to creamy or vegetable-based chili, chili freezes better.
  • Ensure that the container or freezer bag has a space at the top.
  • Chili should be frozen in manageable volumes so you can only defrost what you need.

Which Container is Best for Freezing Chili?

Let me give you a great piece of advice. I always use ice cube trays to freeze my chili. Look for trays with big cubes. When completely frozen, remove the frozen chili cubes from the tray and put them in ziplock bags. As much air as possible should be squeezed out before sealing the bag.

The frozen cubes can also be placed in an airtight plastic freezer storage container.

The frozen cubes can be added immediately to your boiling saucepan on the stove after removing your required chili sauce.

How is Chili Defrosted?

Chili can be thawed in 3 different ways:

Overnight in the refrigerator

Transferring chili from the freezer to the refrigerator and letting it sit there overnight is the ideal method for defrosting it. The best way to preserve the flavor and texture of the chili is to cook it slowly and steadily.

You can reheat the chili in a pan on medium heat once it has been defrosted.

In the water

The chili can be quickly defrosted in water. Submerge the chili in a sizable bowl of room-temperature water. Fresh water should be added hourly until the ice has thawed, which should take two to three hours.

At the Microwave

In order to preserve taste and texture, it is not the best approach to utilize. However, the microwave can quickly defrost chili if time is of the essence. Put the chili in a microwave-safe container and heat it on the defrost.

Until completely defrosted, stir every several minutes.

Can Chili be Refrozen?

No, it is preferable to avoid refreezing chili.

The chili’s texture and flavor can change due to frequent freezing and thawing.

The chili loses flavor with each freezing and may become unpleasant to eat.

Additionally, bacterial growth is highly likely if it has been kept out for a long time.

You can always portion the chili in advance into serving sizes you know you will finish in one sitting if you want to avoid refreezing it.

How should Frozen Chili be Stored?

Chili that has been frozen can be kept in Ziploc bags or any freezer-safe airtight container.

If they are freezer-safe, you might also be able to keep them in mason jars. Keep an inch of space at the top of containers or Mason jars you use to store chili.

This will allow for any expansion of the chili while freezing.

If the container is overstuffed, it may crack and leak, ruining the chili. Ziploc bags are the best choice if you need to freeze large quantities of chili.

You can lay them out on a baking sheet to maintain their flatness. Stacked one on top of the other can neatly store them.

How should Frozen Chili be Reheated?


One bowl of chili can be reheated in the microwave at a time. To achieve this, thaw your frozen chili in the freezer bag by running it under warm water, then move it to a bowl that can be heated in the microwave.

Once your chili is thawed and thoroughly heated in the microwave, cover your bowl with a paper towel. Then serve immediately and savor.


However, we like to reheat frozen chili over a burner. To make removing your frozen chili from your freezer container or plastic bag easier, run it under warm water.

Put your frozen chili in a pot, then cook it over medium-low heat. Chili should be heated all the way through. Serve and savor your delectable, reheated chili after it has been heated.

Note: Please be aware that it is not advised to reheat frozen chili in a crockpot, even though it may be tempting. When you reheat frozen chili in a crockpot, it prolongs the danger period, increasing the possibility of unwelcome bacteria developing.

How to Know if Chili has Gone Bad?

Effects of Consuming Spoiled Chili

Food poisoning, which can result from consuming tainted chili, can produce a variety of symptoms, such as:

  • Nausea and diarrhea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Headaches
  • Fever \Weakness

The severity of these symptoms can vary based on the person, how much bad chili was ingested, and the sort of bacteria or other toxins in the chili. Food poisoning can, in extreme circumstances, result in hospitalization or even death.

Also worth mentioning is the possibility of an allergic reaction, ranging in severity from moderate to severe, if the faulty chili contains any food allergens. These symptoms include hives, swelling, breathing problems, and anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction.

It’s critical to seek medical treatment as soon as you have symptoms after consuming questionable chili.


Chili leftovers can be safely frozen by scooping them into tiny portion freezer containers and freezing them right away. After a day, leftover chili should never be frozen.

When you have leftovers in the future, freeze them right away. You can have chili later when you need something warm, spicy, and soothing on a chilly, rainy day since you know how to freeze chili.

You should now be able to freeze and keep your best chili.

It would be nice to hear from you if you have any questions or would like to offer your freezing advice.

Please feel free to forward this information to your loved ones.