Chili is a favorite in cookoffs and fundraisers around the country. The sauce gets its name from the chili pepper used in the dish’s preparation.
Though the main ingredients may differ, there’s no denying that chili is a much-loved sauce and barely lasts long enough to be forgotten in the fridge!
However, you may have leftover chili in your house, or you may want to save some for a visiting guest. So, the question is, how long will the chili last in the fridge?
Generally, fresh chili lasts about 3 to 4 days in the fridge. The period depends on factors such as the kind of meat used in the sauce and how long it was at room temperature after preparation.
Read on for storage tips to help your chili last longer in the fridge and how to tell if your sauce is still safe to eat.
Does Chili Go Bad?
Chili goes bad after some time because it is made with organic ingredients. The time it takes for chili sauce to start spoiling depends on whether it is homemade or canned.
Store-bought chili tends to have more preservatives compared to homemade chili. It will therefore last longer than your stove-prepared sauce.
Additionally, how you store your chili matters. Store-bought chili can go bad faster than the homemade type if not stored properly.
How Long Does Chili Last In The Fridge?
Chili will last in the fridge for up to 7 days depending on toppings, main ingredients, and how long it was at room temperature.
Vegetarian chili tends to last longer than that made with meat. Chili with ingredients such as beans and corn carne does not break down as fast as varieties such as turkey chili.
Additionally, if you refrigerate your sauce as soon as it cools down as opposed to leaving it out on the counter for extended periods, you have a better chance of enjoying it for a few more days. Room temperature accelerates the breakdown of the ingredient in your chili.
How To Tell If Chili Is Bad
If you’ve had your chili in the fridge for several days, you may suspect that it has gone bad. Here’s how to tell if your chili is no longer safe to eat;
1. Change in Color
If your chili changes in color, it is probably bad. Most of the time, the change will not be dramatic. The sauce may lose its original vibrant color and get dull.
2. Slimy Texture
Once the mold takes hold of the sauce, it will start breaking down the ingredients, turning them slimy. Toss any slimy sauces, as they can adversely affect your health at this point.
3. Foul Smell
Chili sauces have their signature appetizing smell. If you notice any change in the smell of your sauce, it is best to investigate further before serving it. If unsure, you can stir it a little just to be sure. Any weird smell is bound to surface.
4. Use Heat
If your sauce gets frozen and you can barely tell the color or smell, you can use heat as the last resort to confirm validity. Use your microwave or a pan to warm your sauce. If it has gone bad, the foul smell will be overwhelming once the sauce is heated.
Can You Eat Leftover Chili After 5 Days?
No one likes throwing out chili, and if you found some leftovers in your kitchen, you may be torn between throwing it out or eating it!
There’s an easy way to tell whether chili is safe to consume after 5 days. First, if the chili was stored at room temperature, throw it out immediately. Whether it is homemade or canned, chili will go bad if left on the countertop for five days.
Second, was the sauce in the fridge or the freezer? If so, it could still be safe to eat.
Since chili sauce lasts 3 to 7 days in the fridge, you can warm it to check for any color or smell change. If there are none, you can safely eat your chili.
How To Store Leftover Chili Correctly
There are simple tips you can use to help your chili last longer. Here are a few;
1. Refrigerate As Soon As possible
One way to ensure your chili lasts longer and stays fresh is to take it off the counter as soon as it cools down. Do not leave it at room temperature for too long because that gives the bacteria time to grow.
2. Use Air Tight Containers
When storing chili in the fridge, pack it in airtight containers. This will protect your chili from contamination and protect your fridge from odors. I highly recommend these airtight glass jars for ease of cleaning and their extreme temperature tolerance
3. Use Shallow Containers
To ensure that your chili cools evenly, use spherical shallow airtight containers. These prevent hotspots on the container edges that can make your chili go bad quicker.
4. Decant Your Chili
This one is an additional tip that can help your chili stay edible for longer. Decanting your chili will give it a shot at keeping microorganisms at bay.
Can You Freeze Chili?
Yes, you can store your chili sauce in the freezer for longevity. It can stay fresh much longer than when in the fridge. The best tip to store chili in the freezer is to use a heavy-duty freezer bag. Push out as much air as possible from the bag and zip it tight.
Hefty Slider Freezer Storage Bags are some of the best reusable storage bags for chili. They come with an easy-to-use airtight zipper.
What Happens If You Eat Spoiled Chili?
If your chili shows signs of spoilage, you shouldn’t eat it. Eating bad chili can cause health issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach, and dehydration.
Can You Get Food Poisoning From Chili?
Just like any other food, spoiled chili has a high risk of causing food poisoning. Do not consume any chili that seems slimy or smelly. Also, avoid chili that has changed its original color at all cost.