Who doesn’t love a good chili? It’s pure comfort food and can immediately lift the spirits. Have you ever made too much though? What then?
Well, you may have wondered “can you freeze chili?” I’ve got the answer for you!
So… can you freeze chili?
The good news is that YES… you can freeze chili. It’s a simple stress-free way to preserve this delicious dish. So, read on to find out how to go about it.
Like most of your favorite recipes, freezing chili needs to be done in a certain way to best preserve the taste and texture of the dish.
These little details really matter – there’s no point going to a lot of effort to create a great tasting chili, only to let it go to waste during the freezing process.
So, let’s get it right and make sure your leftover chili tastes as good as it can possibly taste!
Products you need to freeze chili
Here are a few key items you’ll need to properly freeze your chili
- Freezer-safe container – make sure you go for good quality airtight containers
- Ziploc freezer bag – if you prefer to freeze your chili in smaller portions, freezer bags might be the way to go
- Marker pen – don’t forgot to mark down the date of freezing, so you know when to use your chili by
- Freezer labels – often overlooked, but very important when freezing food
Does chili freeze well?
In general, yes. It does, however, depend on the type of chili. Any creamy chili will suffer quite a lot during the freezing process, whereas tomato-based chili recipes will freeze very well.
Beef chili and other ground meat chili will also freeze well. Some vegetarian chilis and bean-based chilis might suffer a little, in terms of taste and texture.
A lot of the quality depends on the freezing method. So, make sure you follow the step-by-step guide below to ensure your chili retains its delicious taste and texture, while keeping out harmful bacteria and extending its shelf life.
Another big factor is how long you wait before freezing. Freezing your chili on the day you made it is the best way to lock in that flavor and quality.
How long is chili good for in the refrigerator?
When stored in an airtight container, chili will keep fresh for 3–4 days in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze chili with meat and beans?
Yes, you can. Meat chilis like ground beef and pork freeze well, especially if you freeze it on the day you made it.
Beans stand up less well to the freezing process. You might find they lose a bit of their texture when frozen and thawed.
Can you freeze chilli with kidney beans?
Yes! Again, kidney beans may well lose some taste and texture. If the kidney beans are mixed in with ground beef, for example, this will be less of a problem.
Can you freeze chili with noodles?
Cooked noodles have a tendency to turn soggy once defrosted. You can freeze them, but just be aware that they won’t taste like freshly cooked noodles.
One way to get better tasting noodles once defrosted is to cook them al dente. The noodles will hold together better when defrosted.
How long can you freeze chili?
If frozen on the day you cooked it and stored in an airtight container, chili will last up to 6 months.
Still, I recommend you use it within 3 months to best preserve the taste and texture.
How do you defrost chili?
There are 3 ways to defrost chili:
In the refrigerator overnight
The best way to defrost chili is to transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator, then leave it to defrost overnight. This slow and steady method is the best way to keep the taste and texture of the chili.
Once defrosted, you can reheat the chili in a saucepan on a medium heat.
A quicker method is to defrost the chili in water. Fill a large bowl of water with room temperature water and submerge the chili. Replace the water with fresh water every hour until defrosted, which should take 2–3 hours.
In a microwave
It’s not the method to use in terms of keeping the taste and texture. However, if you’re pressed for time, you can defrost chili in the microwave. Transfer the chili to a microwavable dish and heat on the defrost function.
Stir every minute or so until fully defrosted.
Can you refreeze chili?
While it’s safe to refreeze chili, I wouldn’t recommend it. Your leftover chili will lose too much taste and texture.
Instead, freeze chili in smaller portions. Then you can thaw the amount you need each time.
Tips for freezing chili
Let’s recap some important points on how to freeze chili:
- Allow the chili to cool before freezing
- Freeze the chili on the day you cook it
- Tomato-based ground beef chili and other meat chili freezes better than vegetable based or creamy chili
- Leave a gap at the top of the container or freezer bag
- Freeze chili in small portions so that you only have to defrost the amount you need each time
- Airtight freezer-safe container or freezer bag
- Freezer labels
- Marker pen
- Allow chili to cool completely. Remember, only freeze chili on the day you cook it.
- Transfer chili into airtight containers or freezer bags. Leave a small gap at the top of the container or bag. It’s best to freeze chili in several smaller portions.
- Label the container with the contents and date of freezing and place in the freezer.
Need some chili inspiration? Here are a few delicious recipes, all of which freeze well.
- Venison chili – an alternative to the traditional types of chili, this is one you have to try. Hearty, rich and totally different to any other chili you may have tried
- Burnt aubergine chili – smoky, spicy and simple to put together, this vegan dish packs some serious flavor
If you've got any leftover peppers you didn't use in your chili, you can follow my guide on how to freeze peppers to keep them for another day.