Often after a party or get-together, you might have leftover chili also known as chili con carne. The most common approach is to refrigerate chili. However, before doing so, it is time to find out how long does chili last in the fridge?
The post below also covers the best practices for storing chili in the fridge and the mistakes you should avoid.
How long does chili last in the fridge?
Chili can last in the fridge anywhere from 1 day to 1 week.
Wondering why such a broad range?
That is because chili can be of different types. I will share the types, and their shelf lives in the fridge below.
|Types of chili 🌶||Time|
|Homemade chili||1-3 days|
|Canned chili||up to 1 week|
|Chili without meat||3-4 days|
How long does homemade chili last in the fridge?
Chili usually consists of meat. It can be stored for 1 to 3 days in the refrigerator. The shelf life is low because, when you make it at home, you don’t add any preservatives, and the meat is highly perishable.
How long does canned chili last in the fridge?
Canned chili, on the other hand, can be stored in the fridge for up to one week, even after opening it.
How long does Chili without meat last in the fridge?
Usually, chili is made with meat, you can avoid meat if you want to. In that case, it lasts for 3 to 4 days.
Conditions in which chili can last for the above-mentioned time frames
You need to fulfill a few requirements for chili to last for that long period of time.
1. Store it within 2 hours
After cooking chili or opening its can, store it in the fridge within two hours. If it is already kept for more than two hours at room temperature, bacteria would have started growing in it, and storing it will not save it either.
2. Uninterrupted refrigeration
Chili is a spicy stew. The bacteria will multiply when stored above 40°F due to water content. Because of the same, it requires constant and uninterrupted refrigeration.
In case refrigeration is interrupted, bacteria and other microorganisms might foster, making it unfit for consumption.
3. Airtight container
The rule of thumb to follow when storing anything in the refrigerator is to use an airtight sealed container or freezer bags. It is the secret to freeze chili for the time mentioned above.
How to know if chili is bad?
In addition to knowing how to store chili, it is equally important to know how to detect bad chili.
1. Slimy texture
A slimy texture is the first sign that chili has gone bad. Apart from that, any appearance of mold growing on top indicates that chili is not safe for consumption.
2. Foul smell
Another easy way to check it is to sniff it. If you notice any foul smell, dispose it.
What will happen if you eat expired chili?
Unfortunately, most people aren’t able to detect foul smell.
To avoid these issues, it is best to discard chili instead of consuming it accidentally. It can lead to nausea or vomiting if it is just beyond its shelf life.
If the bacteria and other microorganisms have been allowed to grow exponentially, it can also lead to food poisoning. WHO states that consuming such food can lead to diarrhea, stomach pain, and even dehydration.
If you have even little doubt that it might get spoilt, it is best to discard it.
What are the best methods to store chili in the fridge?
Storing chili in the fridge in an airtight container is the best way to store it. However, once you follow the four tips below, you can slow down bacterial growth and preserve chili in edible form for a long time.
1. Reduce the water content
According to the University of Iowa, bacteria need moisture to grow. The more water in the food, the higher is the probability of bacterial contamination.
The problem is that chili is more like a stew. Consequently, the amount of water is high. The best way to store it is to thicken the chili before putting it in the container. Once you thicken it, the water content reduces, resulting in slower bacterial growth.
2. Store in shallow containers
An airtight container is enough to store chili in the fridge. In my personal opinion, however, if you’re buying a new airtight container, get a shallow one like Zilpoo Plastic Food Storage Container. Such a container has a larger surface area and, therefore, will rapidly cool down the contents inside, giving little time for the bacteria to grow.
3. Set the temperature below 40°F
According to The University of Iowa, the temperature range in which bacteria multiplies is 40°F to 140°F. To combat this, ensure that the temperature of your refrigerator is set below 40°F.
Mistakes to avoid while storing chili
If you make mistakes while storing chili, it can drastically reduce its shelf life even in the fridge. Check out these mistakes below to avoid them.
1. Do not add meat
If you are explicitly making chili for future use, it is best not to add meat while making it. This will increase its life span. Meat is highly perishable and susceptible to microorganism growth because of the moisture content. Once you eliminate it, chili will remain safe for longer.
2. Do not store in a can
A can is perfect for storing the contents inside as long as it is sealed. Once you open it, the metal on the rim can contaminate the food and lead to a metallic taste.
Thus, if you want to store canned chili in the fridge, transfer it to a shallow airtight container instead of keeping it in an open can.
3. Do not store it in a single big container
If you have carefully gone through the guide above, you will notice that we recommend constant refrigeration of chili until consumption.
Constant refrigeration is usually impossible when storing it in a single big container. That is because even if you want to consume a single serving of chili, you will have to open the container and extract it. That might disturb the well-maintained temperature.
A much better approach is to store it in single-serve containers. Zilpoo Plastic Food Storage Container can serve this purpose as well. Single-serve containers ensure that the rest of the chili does not experience temperature change and therefore doesn’t get spoiled.
Additional factors that affect the shelf life of chili
Two other factors can impact the shelf life of refrigerated chili.
Refrigerating chili means refrigerating ingredients like tomatoes, onions, kidney beans, meat, etc. The ingredients also determine the shelf life of chili.
Acidic foodstuffs experience faster bacterial growth. For example, tomatoes are highly acidic. The point is if you use such ingredients excessively, the shelf life of chili will reduce further.
A better approach will be to limit the use of tomatoes and meat if you are surely going to refrigerate chili. That will reduce the probability of bacterial growth and increase the shelf life.
2. Spice level
A higher spice level per se won’t contaminate refrigerated chili. However, it has a different effect.
When you refrigerate chili, the ingredients will melt together and enhance the flavor. If you have made chili on the spicier side, with refrigeration and storage, the spice level of chili will increase further. It means that chili might get spicier with time, so you might not like its taste.
How to reheat refrigerated chili?
Unless and until you reheat refrigerated properly cooked chili, it won’t taste good. Fortunately, the procedure is simple.
Step 1- Reheat it to 165°F
Use a microwave, oven, or gas stove for reheating chili. The aim is to continue heating till the internal temperature of chili reaches 165°F.
I understand that it is not easy to judge the internal temperature of any stew. To do so, you can use the Yacumama Digital Thermometer for Liquid.
Step 2- Place it in a slow cooker until you consume it
Once you stop reheating, the temperature will start decreasing once again. If it goes below 140°F, the bacteria growth will resume.
A simple solution is to keep it in a slow cooker and maintain the temperature at 150°F.
When you want to consume it, extract it from the slow cooker.
Chili can last in the fridge for anywhere from one day up to a week. Once you follow the guide above, you will know how to maximize the shelf life of chili and which type of chili can last for how long. Using the guide above, you can quickly refrigerate leftover chili without any risk of spoiling it.
Can I eat 2-week old chili?
It is not advisable to eat 2-week-old chili unless you are speaking about canned chili while the can is sealed and refrigerated.
Is chili good after 5 days?
Only canned refrigerated chili can be consumed after five days. Its shelf life is up to 7 days if refrigerated within less than two hours of opening the can.
Is it safe to consume canned chili after the best-by date?
It is not advisable to eat canned chili after the best-by date. After this date, the taste might change due to preservatives or additives, and it is no longer delicious. In many cases, it might become stale, leading to digestive problems.
How many times can you reheat chili con carne?
Meat-based chili con carne should be reheated only once since exposure to a temperature between 40°F to 140°F more than once can lead to contamination. If you are speaking about chili without meat, you can reheat it 2 to 3 times, and it will remain safe. The only caveat is that its storage conditions in the fridge should be per the guidelines covered above.
Can you reheat kidney beans in chili?
You can reheat kidney beans in chili using a stovetop or microwave.
Can you eat chili cold?
Technically yes, eating cold chili is fine. However, it will not taste delicious. A better idea is to occasionally have a spoon or two of cold chili and not more.
Does refrigerating chili modify its nutritional value?
Usually, refrigerating chili doesn’t modify its nutritional value. The only change is that the starch content increases when you refrigerate it.