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When making a pot of chili, it’s the easiest thing to accidentally make too much. Sometimes it’s best to make a huge pot that you can then reheat over the week. This way, you have dinner sorted for a few days.
But, there is only so long chili can keep in the refrigerator. There are also only so many nights you can keep having chili. Eventually, you’re going to get sick of it. But it’s wasteful to throw it away and it will go bad if left in the refrigerator for too long.
So, can you freeze chili instead? Yes, you absolutely can! Due to its consistency, chili is super easy to freeze. Unlike some other foods, it’s also super easy to defrost. So freezing chili is one of the best things you can do to make sure none of it goes to waste.
To make sure you freeze your chili in the best way, check out our guide to freezing chili.
How to Freeze Chili
As we’ve already mentioned, freezing chili is very easy. Here are our simple steps for freezing chili:
Step One: Cool the Chili
This is a very important step. If you put the chili in the freezer when it is still hot, or even just a little warm, it won’t freeze properly. It will also change the temperature of your freezer. This will affect all of the other food in the freezer too.
Depending on how hot it is, the chili could also cause the food around it to defrost. So it’s really not worth the risk. The best thing to do is to leave it in the pot, with the lid on at an angle, and wait for it to cool down.
You could transfer it to another container if the pot is still very hot. This will cool it down more quickly but not by much. This just depends on whether you want to make extra dirty dishes.
Step Two: Place in a Container
Once the chili is completely cool, transfer it into an airtight container. Make sure it’s something that is safe to go in the freezer. Plastic tubs are the best option.
Once you have poured the chili in, make sure to secure the lid. If you don’t, the chili might not freeze properly and could spill out.
Depending on how much chili you have made, it’s a good idea to freeze it in portions. This will save you time in the long run and will be less wasteful.
Otherwise, you will have to defrost all of the chili. It’s not a good idea to refreeze something. So if you don’t eat it all, the rest will potentially be wasted.
Step Three: Freeze
Now it’s time to freeze the chili. Make space for it in the freezer. As it’s liable to spill, make sure the container sits at the bottom of the freezer.
This will stop it from spilling out and freezing to other food.
Check out whether or not you can freeze these other foods:
Can you freeze salsa?
Can you freeze tortillas?
Can you freeze rice?
Can you freeze cheese?
Can you freeze salmon?
Can you freeze shredded cheese?
How to Defrost Chili
Now you know how to freeze chili, you of course need to know how to defrost it. There are several ways to defrost chili. Here are the best options:
In the Refrigerator
The safest way to defrost chili is in the refrigerator. Simply take the container out of the freezer, lift the lid so there is less pressure inside, and place it in the refrigerator.
This method will be the slowest but this means that it will be the best. If you try to defrost the chili any faster, the texture and consistency could potentially change.
On the Countertop
If you don’t want to wait for the chili to defrost in the refrigerator, you can always leave it on the countertop. This isn’t great in terms of hygiene as you shouldn’t let food reach room temperature. But, it will still work.
To defrost it, simply remove the lid and leave it on top at a slight angle. Once it has defrosted, some of the water may have separated and there will likely be quite a lot on the inside of the lid.
Make sure to mix it a little and then heat it up. Heating the chili for long enough will cause the excess water to evaporate.
In the Microwave
The fastest way to defrost chili is in the microwave. Most microwave ovens have defrost settings. So make sure to always use this when defrosting.
If you just put the microwave on normally, it will just heat up and try to cook the chili. This will result in the chili being half frozen and half defrosted or even cooked more.
To avoid this, place it in the microwave on the defrost setting for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, take it out and stir it. Replace it for another 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat this until the chili is completely defrosted.
Factors to Consider Before Freezing Chili
- One of the most important things to remember before freezing food is that it never comes out the same as it went in. Freezing food can change its consistency and texture. Something thick and dense, such as chili, will usually be fine. You mostly just need to mix it up when you reheat it. But it’s worth considering.
- Depending on the kind of chili you make, you need to be careful with defrosting and reheating it. If your chili contains meat, then it is safest to defrost it in the refrigerator. Letting meat (even cooked beef) get to room temperature isn’t a good idea.
When you reheat a chili that contains meat, you should also make sure that you heat it all the way through. It should be piping hot when you serve it.
- In the refrigerator, chili will keep for around 2 or 3 days. But, in the freezer, your chili will keep for up to 3 months. So, if you’re wondering whether or not freezing chili is worth it, then this should definitely sway you. (That and how easy it is to freeze!)