We live in a divided house. Kristin loves the colder weather and Justin (me) hates it; both with fiery passion. However, the thing we can both agree on is when the weather gets a little cooler in the Fall and we can make chili. So much chili, in fact, that we had to figure out if you can freeze chili or not.
Do you want to make your chili once and then have it for the entirety of the cold season? Keep on reading to find out how!
Can You Freeze Chili?
Yes, you can easily freeze chili. All you need to do to freeze chili is wait for it to cool, portion it according to your needs into a freezer safe container, and stick it in the freezer. Make sure you freeze it on the day it was made so it is as fresh as possible.
Frozen chili will keep for up to 9 months but is best within the first 4 months. You can thaw it on your stove top, in the microwave, make it a crock-pot meal, or in the fridge overnight or under cool running water.
In fact, it's one of the easier things to freeze. Freezing works well with most chilis, especially thicker chili; the heartier the better, like a good old Texas chili con carne. The only chili you should avoid freezing are, usually dairy based, white chilis; as they do not freeze well at all.
|Time To Freeze||24-48 hous|
|Time to Thaw||overnight in fridge or crock-pot|
A couple of minutes in the microwave or stovetop
|Freezer Life||6 to 9 months|
Why should you freeze it?
Whenever we make chili we always make a lot. For one reason, we prefer to use our slow cooker and it takes a while to cook. So we always make extra so we don't have to cook very often. The other reason is sorta connected. Chili can only stay good in the fridge for a few days; like 3 or 4 tops.
So we freeze for both the convenience of cooking less often and to extend the life of the chili when we make it.
Need to get all your food preserved easily? Check out the Ultimate Guide To Freezing Food so that you can fill your freezer without in minimal time.
Frozen Vs Non-frozen
|Freezer Life||Fridge Life|
|up to 9 months||up to 4 days|
You are going to need the following supplies:
How To Freeze Chili
We assume you already have chili and are wanting to freeze it. So, the first thing you need to do is let your chili cool down before trying to freeze it.
Food safety danger zone
Why do you want to let your chili cool a bit before freezing it? There is a temperature range between 40° and 140° Fahreinheit that the USDA refers to as the "Food Safety Danger Zone". This danger zone is the prime temperature for nasty bacteria (like E.Coli, Staph, and Salmonella, to name a few) to thrive. In fact, bacteria can "[double] in number in as little as 20 minutes" if food is not handled and stored appropriately. Here are some tips to keep your food as safe as possible:
- Do not let hot food dip below 140°F for very long
- Do not let cold food get above 40°F for very long
- Refrigerated food should not be left out for more than 2 hours or just 1 hour if hotter than 90°F
- Cool hot foods as quickly as possible so they do not stay in the danger zone long enough to grow bacteria
- Store small portions of hot foods in shallow containers so they cool more quickly
- Hot food needs to be under 40°F in less than 2 hours when storing in the fridge or freezer
- When reheating, bring the internal temperature of the food up to at least 165°F
Allow your chili to cool. While it is cooling get together your supplies. If you are using freezer bags, label them with the contents, freeze date, and use by date.
Take out your measuring cup and scoop about a cup into each bag (or container, depending on which you use).
Lay the bags out flat and squeeze as much air out of them as possible. An easy way to do this is to seal all but the corner of the bag and slowly dip the bag into a sink or bowl of water. The water pressure will push all of the air up and out of the small hole in the top.
Just be careful to not get water in the bag and also to not let the chili get too cold during this time.
We flatten the bags of chili so that they will be very thin and freeze quickly. Find a space with a lot of room in your freezer and start putting your chili in there. You don't want to stack too much as you want everything to freeze quickly and evenly.
How do you defrost it?
The quickest and safest way is to use the microwave. Depending on your serving size sut it in for a minute or so. Once it beeps, stir it and, if still not hot enough, put it back in and try another minute or so.
Remember, you want a temperature of 165°F.
That's all the info you need to safely freeze chili so it will last you all season long!
If you need more help getting your foods frozen, check out the Ultimate Freezing Food Guide for a complete quick start reference so that you can have a well-stocked freezer.