How Long Does Chili Last? Does Chili Go Bad?

Chili is a spicy stew that is a favorite of many people in the south and beyond. The stew owes its beginnings to Texas, where it was made famous by Mexican women.

The name chili comes from ‘chili con carne’ or ‘chili con carne’ which means chili with meat in Spanish.

The main ingredient of chili is typically beef, but other types of meat may also be used. It is cooked with chili powder, beans, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and also cumin.

Other common seasonings include jalapeños and cinnamon. However, the ingredients vary according to personal tastes and location.

Because the stew is cooked with a number of seasonings, you might ask, does chili go bad?

In this post, we will find everything you need to know about the shelf life of this delicious and versatile dish. Let’s dig deeper.

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Does Chili Go Bad? How Long Does Chili Last?

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The shelf life of chili depends on two primary factors:

  • How you store it and
  • When you store it

The best way to store leftover chili is to store them in an airtight container. Cooked chili lasts the longest when it is cooled and stored within two hours of cooking.

This is essential to keep the chili fresh without spoiling it. If you did not store the chili within two hours of cooking, it is better to discard it.

Bacteria and mold will start growing in the dish if left at room temperature for longer than this. It is especially true if you live in a place that is about 140o F or more.

When stored in the freezer, cooked chili will last longer. In temperatures below 0o F, chili can last up to 6 months without any problem. However, the freezer must be on all the time.

Frozen chili can last indefinitely without getting spoiled. However, unless you run a business or cook chili for commercial purposes, it is always great to prepare chili and eat it fresh. Freezing, of course, does not compromise taste in any way.

The best way to freeze cooked chili is to put them in heavy-duty freezer bags. Additionally, you can also store them in airtight containers as well.

Freezing your food is an excellent option if you love to cook your food in bulk. It is also a great help for those who are crunched for time.

How to Tell if Chili is Bad? Chili Shelf Life!

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Similar to other food items, chili will eventually go bad. It is important to know when the food is unsafe for consumption. But how do you know when this happens?

Below are some of the signs to watch out for bad chili.

  • Smell the chili. One of the most common signs of spoiled food is a musty or funky smell.

    However, it is essential to know that all spoilt food does not give out a bad smell. If this happens to you, proceed to the next sign.
  • Check the consistency of the stew. Before you re-warm the chili, take a small portion of it and feel its texture. If it feels slimy, it is a sure sign that the stew is unsafe to eat.
  • If your refrigerated dish feels good and does not have a bad smell, you still need to make sure it is safe to eat. Check back to the time you cooked the dish. If your leftover chili has been in the fridge for more than three days, discard it. If it is a canned chili, however, you can safely consume it up to a week.

The primary reason why chili becomes unsafe for consumption is the growth of microorganisms.

To check if your food is safe for eating or not, you can also consider using apps. One of the best apps is FoodKeeper from the USDA.

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Conclusion

While it is important to use leftover food, it is equally essential that it is unspoiled. No food in the world is worth compromising your health, however tasty it may be.

Chili is a nutritious and comforting dish that comes with a lot of health benefits.

Just remember to keep it fresh by storing it correctly and within two hours of cooking.

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