How long does chili last in the fridge?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long does chili last in the fridge?”, how to tell if the chili has gone bad, what happens if you eat expired chili, and how to store chili to make it last longer.

How long does chili last in the fridge?

If correctly stored, chili will last 3-4 days in the fridge. Note that refrigeration does not prevent bacteria growth and quality degradation of food. It merely slows it down. If you want your chili to last longer than a few days, consider freezing it. Carefully frozen chili will last up to 4-6 months.

For the chili to last even 3-4 days in the fridge, it must be in the best health to start with. Expecting your chili to last 3-4 days in the fridge when you left it overnight after cooking is quite unfair.

What you should do instead is; let your child come down to room temperature after cooking. Then refrigerate it in a shallow air-tight container. Using a shallow container will minimize the volume of air trapped in the headspace of the container.

Note that you should not wait more than 2 hours, or one hour if the outside temperature is above 90F, before refrigerating chili. This is where the danger zone comes in. the danger zone defines a range of temperature from 40F-140F at which the bacteria grow exponentially. 

Leaving your food at this temperature range for several hours will deem the food unfit for consumption due to its compromised safety.

How to tell if the chili has gone bad?

Smell: A bad, rotten, or rancid smell is a reliable sign that the chili has turned. If you find your chili smelling off, discord it right away.

Consistency: Spoiled or bad chili will develop a slimy texture. The solid ingredients of the chili will turn mushy. In short, chili will look super unappetizing. This is when you need to get rid of the chili.

Color: Color plays an important look in determining how a certain type of food looks and appeals to you. If there is something off about the color of chili, you will naturally repulse it.

If all else looks good but the color of your chili is altered, throw it away. The color shift happens when the mold grows in the form of white, or green fuzz spots or patches over the surface of the chili or on the underside of the lid.

Consumption of moldy chili will lead to food poisoning. So, you need to immediately discard the chili If it turns moldy.

Prolonged storage: Save yourself the trouble of inspecting the chili for spoilage signs and just discard it if it has been refrigerated for more than 4 days. This is because the bacteria are not visible to the naked eye. When food is past its expiry, it is highly likely to make you sick even if it was stored correctly. 

What happens if you eat expired chili?

Eating expired chili causes food poisoning which is characterized by diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Cooked food like chili with meat and veggies can host pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter, and Staphylococcus. 

Under normal conditions, the symptoms of food poisoning recede after 3 days. During this period, you need to take plenty of fluid to prevent dehydration and eat bland food to keep you nourished. If the symptoms stay on for more than 3 days, seek medical help. 

How to store chili to make it last longer?

Once the chili has cooled down, pack it away in an air-tight container. Make sure the container has a sound seal. Put the container near the back, bottom, or top of the fridge, depending on where the ice tray is located.

This is the coldest spot inside a fridge with minimum temperature fluctuations or none at all. If you want to freeze your chili, we recommend freezing it. 

For freezing your chili, both an air-tight container and a freezer bag are viable options. Go with the former if you want to save space in your freezer. Squeeze out as much air as possible from the freezer bag after filling it with chili. 

If you opt for an air-tight container, make sure to leave a headspace of 1 inch so that the chili expands safely without breaking the container. If you want to avoid making a mess in your freezer due to a chili explosion, choose a freezer-safe container.


In this article, we answered the question “How long does chili last in the fridge?”, how to tell if the chili has gone bad, what happens if you eat expired chili, and how to store chili to make it last longer.


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