How Long Does Chili Last In The Fridge?


How Long Does Chili Last In The Fridge?

Chili is an amazing stew – it’s hearty, filling, and totally flavorsome! It can be served with any number of brilliant sides and additions, from simple white rice to more complex options, like tamales.

However, after you’ve made a huge pot of chili, and you’re coming to store it to ensure that it doesn’t go to waste, you might wonder how long your chili lasts in the fridge. Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about here, to make sure that no food gets wasted in your house, and that you’re totally ready to go!

What determines how long food is safe to eat?

Food can be safe to eat for different lengths of time, depending upon what’s actually within the food that you’re eating. This depends on a number of things, including, but not limited to, the ingredients in your food, as well as the pH of the food itself. Those are the two main factors that manage how long food is safe to eat.


The pH of the food that you’re making certainly determines how long the food is safe to eat – it either allows bacteria to grow, or totally prevents it from occurring.

For example, a bowl of stock or similar soup is something that would have a fairly neutral pH of around 5 or 6 – this is because the stock is mostly water, which is totally neutral, at a pH of 6.

In a neutral fluid, bacteria can grow really quickly!

In tomato-based liquids like chili, marinara sauce, or similar items, the tomato lowers the pH more than you might think – bringing it down to around three or four. That might not sound like too huge a difference, but it’s enough of a difference that the bad bacteria cannot survive within the food. This massively extends how long the food can last in the fridge for.


The ingredients impact bacterial growth in that bacteria like to eat certain things more than others. For example, they love to eat calorie-dense items like sugar, since they can easily dissolve the sugar and use energy very quickly.

This can also apply to high-fat ingredients, which is a little more relevant for a meat-based meal like a chili. This is worth bearing in mind as, while the chili doesn’t contain a lot of sugar or carbohydrates, the amount of ground meat in the dish does make it less food-safe in the long run.

How can you make your food last longer?

A great way to ensure that your food lasts longer is to minimize the amount of contaminants in the food that you’re working with. By this, we mean that you should do your best to ensure that every container and utensil that you use is as clean as it can possibly be, and that the food reaches boiling point during the cooking process. This will ensure that the food is as free from any contaminants as possible, leading to a healthier, tastier meal overall.

You can also ensure that you avoid food unsafe conditions. A great example of this is when using plastic Tupperware. Add the chili to the Tupperware, and then leave the container open until the food has cooled to room temperature.

If you seal the container tightly while the food is still warm, then it will mean you get a lot of condensation in the container. This warm, humid environment will lead to a lot of bacterial growth, so it should be avoided at all costs. The best way to avoid this is to leave the container unsealed until the food is cooled to room temperature.

Clean Cooking Food

How long does chili last in the freezer?

Chili can last for quite a long time in the freezer, around three months. The reason for this is that once the chili has frozen solid, no bacterial growth can occur. Instead, the only form of spoilage will come in freezer burn.

After around three months, if freezer burn were to start to set in, you would see it in the meat and beans of the chili being degraded slightly – the protein content of the food would be damaged, leading to a lack of texture and a lack of fiber in the final dish. This would make the chili significantly worse.

On a less damaging note, freezer burn can also damage the flavor of the broth that your chili sits in: the aromatic compounds can be dissolved into ice crystals within the freezer bag or container that you use, which then evaporate into the freezer, leading to less flavor in your food – certainly not ideal!

How long does chili last in the fridge?

Chili can last for quite a long time in the fridge. The reason for this is largely the high pH that chili boasts – the citric acid within the tomatoes that go into chili means that it can be relied upon to last for a day or two more than you might expect.

Generally speaking, chili can last for three to four days in the fridge. After that, the food will certainly not be safe to eat!

Before that four-day timeline elapses, though, the food will be safe to eat, provided you reheat it very thoroughly and ensure that every single piece of the chili is steaming hot all the way through. In turn, the food will be sterilized as well as nice and hot to eat.

If your chili doesn’t contain any kind of meat, it can last for up to a week – the lack of meat lowers the fat content, meaning that it’s a less appealing destination for bacteria. In turn, the chili will last for longer while still being safe to eat. Of course, though, you should always reheat any chili that you’ve stored in the fridge until steaming hot all the way through – that will ensure that the food you’re eating is as safe as possible.


We hope that this short article has helped you to understand what makes your food safe to eat, and how long that chili in your fridge can be kept before you throw it out!