Can You Freeze Chili? Plus More!

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Can You Freeze Chili

Chili is the perfect meal on a cool day. But can you freeze chili? We are going to look at the answer to this question in addition to the best practices for freezing and storing chili. You won’t want to miss out on any of the details that follow! 

bowl of chili on the picnic table

What is Chili?

The kind of chili we are going to discuss today is a type of soup. This soup, commonly known as chili, is a tomato-based soup, or stew-like food. It is commonly made of tomatoes, beans, and ground meat. There are many other ingredients that could be added such as celery, corn, peppers, garlic, seasonings, and more! 

Can Chili be Frozen

Can chili be frozen? Chili is a great make ahead food which is typically enjoyed during the colder months of fall and winter. Chili is delicious because no matter if you like it mild or spicy, it can warm you all the way through on a chilly day. 

But can you freeze chili? Yes, absolutely. Chili is a delicious soup that you can make in large quantities and freeze your leftovers for another day. This makes for an easy meal you can pull from your freezer. Let’s look at specifically how to freeze chili and have it still be delicious the second time around. 

How to Freeze Chili

Cool. After your chili has been fully prepared, you are going to want to allow it to cool off before freezing.  

Label and Date. While your soup is cooling off, take the container or plastic freezer bag that you were going to use. If using a container, write on a piece of tape, or directly on the plastic bag. Write a description, and today’s date, or the date that you are freezing the soup. 

Transfer to Container. When the chili has cooled so that it is no longer steaming hot, you can transfer the chili to an airtight container, or seal it securely in a plastic freezer bag. If you are using a freezer bag, make sure that the lock is sealed tightly so that the soup does not leak. 

Freeze. Now it’s time to freeze. If you’re using a plastic freezer bag, we recommend placing it so that your chili is flat. Otherwise, simply place it into the freezer, and allow your chili to freeze between 3 and 6 months at 0°F or below. 

can you freeze chili chili in a freezer bag

Tips for Freezing Chili

Label and Date. When freezing chili, or anything for that matter, we strongly recommend that you label and date the container of your food so that you know what it is, and when it was frozen.

This will help you determine how long it has been there, and keep track of what it is, since foods look different when frozen. 

Freeze Flat. We have found that it works best when your chili is frozen flat. This means if you are using a plastic freezer bag to freeze your chili in, place it on a flat surface when it is in the freezing process.

This will help you to have more space in your freezer, and it will allow your chili to thaw faster. 

Cool First. As mentioned above, we greatly encourage you to allow your chili to cool first before transferring it to the container to freeze.

This will prevent the chili from getting freezer burnt, and possibly prevent your container from breaking due to the temperature change. 

How Long Is Chili Good For

Determining how long chili can last will depend on how it is stored. There are three main storage methods you can use for chili, those include room temperature, storing chili in the fridge, and freezing chili. 

Chili Left Out Overnight

Chili can last at room temperature for up to two hours if your room temperature is between 40°F and 90°F. If your room temperature is 90°F or above, the time drops to one hour that your chili can sit at room temperature.

Chili that has been left out overnight should not be eaten, as it could cause health issues, and make you very sick. 

chili in a bowl

How long does chili last in the fridge?

If you are going to eat your chili right away, the best way to store it is in the fridge. Transfer it to an airtight container once your chili has cooled, then refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.

When the chili is stored in an airtight container, at 40°F or below it will last for 3 to 4 days in the fridge. After that, your chili should either be thrown away or frozen. 

How long does chili last in the freezer?

Chili can last between three and six months when stored properly in the freezer. First, make sure that your chili cools then transfer it to an airtight container or seal it in a plastic freezer bag.

Label and date your container, then freeze your chili at 0°F for 3 to 6 months.

How to Thaw Frozen Chili

After your chili has been frozen, there are a few different methods you could use to thaw your chili. If you choose to thaw your chili in the refrigerator, please note that it can last for a few days in the fridge, otherwise it needs to be cooked right away. 

In the Fridge

The easiest way to thaw frozen chili is by moving it from the freezer to your fridge and allowing it to sit in the fridge overnight or for a couple of days. 

Using Cold Water

You can also thaw frozen chili in a bowl of cold water. To do this the cold water should be changed every 30 minutes so that the water stays cold. Once your chili is thawed it should be heated and served right away. 

In the Microwave

Another way you can defrost chili is by using the defrost function on your microwave. To do this you first want to transfer your chili to a microwave safe container.

Then using the defrost function on your microwave, defrost your chili according to the weight, until it is thawed. Then, cook your chili right away, serve and enjoy.

chili in a freezer bag

How to Reheat Frozen Chili

Microwave

You can reheat one bowl of chili at a time by microwaving it. To do this, run your freezer bag of frozen chili under warm water to thaw it then transfer your frozen chili to the microwave-safe bowl.

Cover your bowl with a paper towel, and microwave for a few minutes until your chili is thawed and warmed through. Then serve right away and enjoy.

Stovetop

Our favorite way, however, to reheat frozen chili is on the stovetop. First, run your frozen chili under warm water to be able to easily remove it from your freezer container or plastic bag.

Place your frozen chili into a pot and place your hot on the stovetop over medium heat. Heat your chili until it is warmed through. Once preheated, serve and enjoy your delicious, reheated chili.

Please note that while it is tempting to reheat frozen chili in a crockpot, it is not recommended. When you reheat frozen chili in a crockpot, it allows your food to stay at the danger point for too long, and your chili may run the risk of growing unwanted bacteria. 

FAQ

How long is homemade chili good for?

Homemade chili cans last at room temperature for two hours if your room temperature is between 40°F and 90°F. When stored in an airtight container your homemade chili can also last in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. If desired homemade chili can also be frozen, for up to 3 to 6 months if stored properly. 

Can you freeze chili with beans?

Yes, most types of chili with beans may be frozen.

Can you refreeze chili?

Although you’ve technically can refreeze chili, we do not recommend it. Chili that has already been frozen once, tends to not turn out nearly as good once it is refrozen. We recommend only freezing your chili once.

Can you eat chili after 5 days?

Although there’s a slight chance that you could eat chili after five days if it has been stored properly, we do not recommend it. Typically chili only lasts between three and four days when stored properly in the fridge. 

chili in a crockpot

How to make Crockpot Chili

Now that you know all about chili and its proper storage, let’s look at how you can easily make homemade chili in your crockpot. Below we’re going to show you our favorite recipe using fresh tomatoes. 

You Will Need:

Roma Tomatoes

Ground beef, ground turkey, ground pork, or ground venison

Kidney beans

Tomato paste

Chili powder

Corn (optional)

Celery (optional)

Onion (optional)

How To Make Homemade Crockpot Chili With Fresh Tomatoes

To begin by cutting your tomatoes, and removing any stems. You can also remove the peeling at this point if desired. 

Transfer the tomatoes to a blender and blend until smooth, then pour your blended tomatoes into your crockpot to cook. 

Place your tomatoes in the crockpot on high. Cook your blended tomatoes on high until they turn into a soup-like consistency.

In a skillet over medium heat cook your ground meat. Once cooked, add onions, celery, and any other ingredients you desire. 

Sauté your meat, celery, and onion mixture for a few minutes, drain the grease from your meat and dispose of it, and then transfer the mixture to your chili. 

Open your canned kidney beans, drain the liquid, then add your kidney beans to the crockpot with your tomato, meat, celery, and onion mixture. If desired, add a can of corn, or fresh sweet corn. Also at this point, you can season your chili as desired, and add tomato paste. Feel free to get creative and add your favorite ingredients to the chili as well. 

Allow your chili to continue simmering over high heat for another hour or two. Then ladle the chili into bowls, top with a scoop of sour cream, and shredded cheese. Then serve right away and enjoy! 

chili with toppings

The Best Way to Freeze Chili

Freezing chili is easy to do whether using a plastic freezer bag, or a freezer-appropriate airtight container. Freezing chili is a great way to preserve leftover chili or prepare meals ahead of time they are easy and ready to go. Now, let’s get making your favorite chili!

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