How Long Does Chili Last in the Fridge?

How Long Does Chili Last in the Fridge?

It’s Saturday night. Your friends were over watching the big game and to celebrate, you made a big batch of chili.

Easy to make and a fan favorite among guests, once the night is over, you might be wondering how long does chili last in the fridge? Generally speaking, about three to four days. However, this time frame may vary based on several factors (all of which we describe below):

Chili is one of those meals that not only taste great the first time you make it, but each spoonful still packs a punch even when enjoyed as leftovers. Furthermore, this meal is very versatile, allowing you to add your favorite type of beans, meat, and spices.

If you’re planning on making a hot bowl of chili soon, but have questions like can you freeze chili and how long do beans last in the fridge, you’ve come to the right place.

We will answer these questions and more, including how to tell when it’s no longer safe to eat, how to store it, and of course, how to make it for your next party or special gathering.

Though you don’t even need a special occasion to enjoy a bowl of chili, it’s a dish I highly recommend when you’re trying to feed a lot of mouths at once.

How Long Does Chili Last in the Fridge?

How long is chili good for in the fridge? As briefly mentioned above, leftover chili typically lasts between three and four days when refrigerated.

However, this will depend on a few key things.

First and foremost, leftover chili will only be safe to eat after three or four days in the fridge if it’s properly stored. This means you’re putting it in an airtight container no later than two hours after it finishes cooking.

Why two hours? Like many other types of food products, chili will begin growing bacteria if left at room temperature for more than two hours after cooking.

Second, the shelf life will depend on what kind of chili you’re using. For example, leftover canned chili can usually last for about seven days if refrigerated.

How Long Does Chili Last in the Fridge?
How Long Does Chili Last in the Fridge?

How to Tell Chili Has Gone Bad

So, you already know that chili can gain a lot of bacteria in as little as two hours after being left on the stovetop or kitchen counter.

But, did you know that this bacteria can grow in a wide range of temperatures, starting as low as 40 degrees F and as high as 140 degrees F?

Though you may mistakenly think that your chili is safe from bacterial contamination if left on the stove for a little while, think again.

Like most expired foods that are no longer safe to eat, chili will have a foul odor to it once it goes bad. To determine whether or not your chili is bad, you should also identify its texture. Expired chili will usually feel slimy to the touch.

Last, look for signs of mold. Mold will usually be green or black and have a fuzzy texture to it. If you see this, do not eat the chili, promptly throw it out and wash the container it was in. Mold’s not a thing to mess around with.

 Does Refrigerating Your Chili Change Its Flavor?

This is a common question, but thankfully, the answer is no. At least, not in a bad way, anyway.

Though some foods may lose a little flavor, moisture, or its texture once it goes in the refrigerator (here’s looking at your spaghetti), chili sometimes tastes better the next day.

See, chili uses a lot of bold spices like cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. In fact, cayenne pepper is the secret ingredient because it creates heat. If you don’t like spicy chili, avoid this seasoning and opt for the other ones mentioned above.

All of the aforementioned seasonings are bold flavors, so the more time they have to spend together, the more time they have to marinate the meat and develop a stronger flavor.

Refrigerated, leftover chili may also taste different the next day depending on the types of ingredients you use. For example, jalapenos will keep everything super spicy the next day you eat, but the spiciness will calm down by day three or four.

So, while it won’t taste drastically different, you can certainly expect your leftover chili to be more flavorful the next day, which is pretty cool.

How Long Does Chili Last in the Fridge?
How Long Does Chili Last in the Fridge?

Tips to Maximize the Shelf Life of Chili?

The easiest and most recommended way to maximize the shelf life of chili is to store it in an airtight container that way no air can get through to the ingredients.

However, another trick is to skip the fridge and put your leftover chili in the freezer instead. Freezing leftover foods tends to extend their shelf life by weeks, if not months at a time. In fact, frozen chili can be safe to eat for up to six months after being cooked.

Keep your leftover chili in an airtight container, regardless of whether you’re storing it in the fridge or freezer.

Is it Good to Keep Your Chili in the Fridge?

Yes, especially if you don’t plan on eating it right away. Though you may want to eat chili the day after you make it, sometimes the large quantities may make you in the mood for something else.

After all, when you make chili, you’re usually making it for your entire family, a potluck at work, or some type of friendly gathering. Simply put, you may get sick of eating chili day after day until the leftovers run out.

This is why storing it in the freezer is such a good idea, because it gives you options. Plus, it’ll still keep in the fridge for a few days after being thawed.

When storing leftover chili inside your fridge, always put it in an airtight container in the deepest part of your freezer. This ensures freshness, especially since it won’t be attacked by the warm air brought on by opening your freezer for other treats.

Storing Chili in the Freezer

So, you made leftover chili and want to store it in your freezer, right? You might have a few questions about what to expect.

Generally speaking, leftover chili will be good for at least three months when stored in the freezer, however, it can be safely consumed for up to six months if properly stored.

While it’s recommended that you store leftover chili in an airtight container, you may also use gallon-size freezer bags. It’s totally your preference.

Before storing chili in the freezer, give all the ingredients a good stir beforehand. This helps all the ingredients mix together so you get an even flavor whenever you decide to take it out of the freezer and thaw.

And speaking of thawing, don’t expect to simply remove the chili from its freezer bag and eat it. To enjoy the best results, it’s recommended that you take the frozen chili out the night to thaw and then add it to your slow cooker to reinvigorate all the flavors.

How Long Does Chili Last in the Fridge?
How Long Does Chili Last in the Fridge?

 Is Chili Good After 5 Days?

Can you eat chili after 5 days? Well, the answer to that question is that it depends.

Chili that has meat in it such as turkey, pork, or beef, should not be eaten after five days because by then, the meat could be unsafe to eat.

However, chili that doesn’t have meat and instead just has beans or other veggies may be safe to eat after five days. The same goes for canned chili you buy from a store.

Perhaps this isn’t too surprising considering the shelf life of unopened, canned chili is about three years. This is because foods that are high in acid (such as chili because it contains acidic fruits like tomatoes) typically last longer than canned foods with meat.

Making Easy Chili Recipe

This recipe is the champ among chili recipes. Easy to make and chock full of flavor, the secret ingredient is chili powder.

Not only does this create some much-needed heat, but it gives a jolt of flavor to all the other ingredients, such as the onions, ground beef, and peppers.

If you don’t have chili powder, don’t worry. There are plenty of substitutes you can use such as cumin, cayenne pepper, or paprika.

Keep in mind that the amount you’ll have to use will vary. For example, you’ll only have to use one teaspoon of cumin and two teaspoons of paprika for every tablespoon of chili powder.

Cayenne pepper is a little bit of an odd one out, as you’ll only need ¼ teaspoon of it for every tablespoon of chili powder. Mmm, I’m hungry already!

Check also:

How Long Does Chili Last in the Fridge?

How Long Does Chili Last in the Fridge?

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1/2 c chopped celery
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 c water
  • 2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 to 2 tbsps chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • Tortilla chips, optional


  1. In a Dutch oven, saute your onions, celery, and peppers for five minutes, or until tender. Once tender, add in your ground beef and cook until brown.
  2. Once your meat is browned, drain it and put it back into the pot along with your seasonings, water, tomato sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
  3. Cover with a lid and let simmer for about 2 hours, stirring every now and then.
  4. Then, add in your beans. Simmer, uncovered, for another 10 minutes.
    All in all, the process of making chili shouldn’t take you more than two and a half hours from start to finish. Best of all, this recipe can easily feed up to 12 people.

Did you make this recipe?

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There’s nothing quite as fun to make for dinner or a special gathering as a bowl of chili!

Perfect for watching the game or while watching your favorite Christmas movie as the snow falls gently outside, a bowl of warm, flavorful chili is a fan favorite meal that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

If you’re looking for a secret ingredient to add to your chili recipe, look no further than some tasty Worcestershire sauce. Made from malt vinegar, garlic, and chili pepper extract, a few drops of this is enough to completely enhance the flavor of your chili.

If you don’t like Worcestershire sauce, you can go ahead and just swap it out with a similar ingredient such as chili pepper extract. This will give your chili a little burst of heat. Or, if you prefer, just add a little dollop of soy sauce since it tastes pretty similar.

Now that you know where and how to store your chili, you’re ready to make it yourself. If you’re ready to make your bowl of chili, we have the perfect recipe for you.

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