Can You Freeze Chili? Everything You Need to Know About Keeping And Preserving This Food

All Handy Tips At One Place

Written by Elisa Chan. Updated on Can You Freeze Chili

Preserving food is a very convenient way of saving time in the kitchen and, at the same time, having a delicious meal on the table. However, to achieve that, we need to know how to prepare our foodstuff for freezing and how, in fact, it must be correctly chilled.

If you have ever wondered how to make your chili stay eatable longer, and whether it can be frozen at all, this article is exactly what you need!

What Is Chili?

Chili (or chili con carne, to be precise) is a well-known Mexican savory dish that became so popular due to the flexibility of the recipe. 

Indeed, unlike many hot foods, this meaty meal only requires meat and hot chili pepper as the major components. As for the rest, feel free to add whatever you like: sweet pepper, tomatoes, onions, beans, garlic, even mushrooms, or other veggies will be fine. 

Meat lovers definitely have this spicy food in their top list since chili con carne (which literally means “chili with meat”) allows adding any kind of poultry or red meat hanging on your taste and preferences. Minced, cut, or chopped – it doesn’t matter either.

Since this meal consists of meat and sauce, a question may appear about how to keep it. Is it safe to expose this chili to frost? And how long it lasts at all? Well, let’s see what can be done!

Chili Lifespan And Storage

In fact, despite the multiple doubts, chili con carne is pretty simple to keep. However, this foodstuff can hardly be called a long-living one. 

When kept refrigerated, this dish will last for several days only, but that’s only if you follow the major storage instructions.

  • Toss your chili con carne to the fridge within two hours after it was cooked, otherwise, the meaty food will start spoiling slowly due to the growth of harmful bacteria. So, unless you are absolutely sure that the whole dish will be eaten on the day you made it, refrigerate the rest.
  • For keeping it cool, go for the airtight tank with the tight lid.
  • Don’t put the dish to the fridge when it is still warm. It can speed up the process of spoilage.
  • Avoid leaving it unchilled for more than two hours, otherwise, the quality of your delicious meal will start degrading.

Can you freeze chili con carne?

Of course! For extending its shelf life, we highly recommend you freeze it. 

Heavy-duty frost-resistant bags or airtight tanks that can stand frost will be the perfect containers for this dish.

What Is Chili
Photo by Alexander Schimmeck

To make it simpler to figure out the duration of storage of this foodstuff, we prepared a simple chart with the main information you might need.

Fridge 3-4 days refrigerated
Frosting camera 4-6 months in a frozen state

Freezing Chili Handy Hints

So, what if you decided to save some chili for the future and freeze it? In this situation, keep in mind several essential hints that will help to preserve the foodstuff better.

  1. Use heavy-duty packets specifically meant for the frosting camera. They don’t let the air in, and the food remains of better quality than in the ordinary bags.
  2. Freeze chili flat since it will help the foodstuff to chill evenly, and it will keep its quality better. Besides, it will contribute greatly to the simpler defrosting!
  3. Let the chili cool to the room temperature before tossing it to freeze – like that, you will avoid fast spoilage.
  4. If you decide to defrost chili on the counter, put it into the aluminum tray – for some reason, it makes the process faster.

Be sure that these tips will help to keep your food both safe and tasty!

Defrosting Chili Safe And Fast

Naturally, every time we freeze food, there is an issue of unfreezing it. Quite many dishes can stand the freezer quite right, but they tend to degrade the quality after thawing.

Is it the same with chili?

Well, it hangs upon how we defrost it.

  • If we defrost this dish in a microwave or in cold water, it must be eaten instantly, otherwise, harmful bacteria will start developing pretty fast and the food will become unsafe to consume.
  • In case the foodstuff was defrosted in the fridge, it will be able to stay cool for 3-4 days more before we eat it.
  • No matter which way we use, remember that repeated freezing is prohibited since it badly influences the quality of the dish.

And if you sense the off odor or the appearance of the chili seems weird to you, don’t hesitate and toss that foodstuff away to avoid food poisoning!

Defrosting Chili Safe And Fast
Photo by Jackson David

Never Freeze Chilis. What Dishes Shall Not Be Preserved

Probably, not everyone knows but certain kinds of chili are better to never freeze. Let’s say at once that any meaty foods (no matter whether the meat is minced or chopped) are exposed to frost quite well, and they can be defrosted the same easily. The same goes for the tomato chili which is probably one of the best chilis to expose to frost!

But the following foodstuffs are better to be eaten while still warm

Never Freeze Chilis
Photo by Gabrielle Cepella
  • Vegetable chili. It is not meant for freezing at all since veggies will turn into a mushy substance mixed with the sauce. Not appetizing at all! So either eat it up at once if you can or refrigerate the rest.
  • Chili that contains milk, cream, or any sort of cheese (so-called “white chili”) is not meant for preserving either. When defrosted, they tend to change the smell dramatically and not in a good way. 

And remember that, if your chili con carne stays frozen for more than two months, it will definitely get freezer burn! Besides, its flavor and taste will be far from perfect. So make sure you tagged the packet with the date it was frozen.

Save this deliciously spicy dish properly, and you will be able to enjoy it later – a perfect option for cold days!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Can you freeze day-old chili?

No, only fresh chili can be exposed to frost to preserve it. If the dish is even one day old, refuse from freezing it.

⭐ Can I freeze chili in a Mason jar?

Yes, you can do that. Put cool chili inside and place the jars into the frosting camera with the lids off since glass can become fragile when cold and we need to avoid cracks.

⭐ Are Ziploc bags safe for freezing?

Absolutely, but only if they are specially made for the frosting cameras and they are frost-resistant.

⭐ Can you freeze and reheat chili?

Yes, it is possible, but this procedure can be done only once. Repeated heating makes the dish spoil faster, especially when accompanied by recurring freezing.
To reheat chili, wait until it’s defrosted, and warm it up in a pan.

⭐ Do kidney beans freeze well in chili?

Beans freeze quite well, so it’s ok to add them to chili if you’re going to freeze the dish later.

⭐ What is the best way to freeze chili?

To get the best result, preserve it in the packets or tanks specially made for freezers. Also, remove the air from the packet/tank to avoid freezer burn. Choose quart or gallon freezer packets to store the dish frozen flat since it helps it to chill faster and more even.

Written by
Elisa is a passionate cook who will advise you on healthy and delicious food topics! With her help, you will discover how to properly store and freeze food, as well as learn important nuances about preserving vitamins in your meals to make them stay nutritious.
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here.
How To Freeze Peppers (The Right Way) - Pepper GeekHow To Freeze Peppers (The Right Way) - Pepper Geek