Whether you’ve made too much chili or want to batch it on purpose, this guide to how to freeze chili will teach you everything you need to know about correctly freezing chili! Read on to learn all the tips for how to save chili, reheat it, and enjoy it months later.
Chili is a quintessential recipe for fall and winter. It’s easy to throw together and can be customized to use whatever you have in the pantry, but is super hearty and will fuel you through life’s adventures!
So you’ve decided to make chili because I’ve convinced you (I know, my marketing skills are top-notch). You’ve made 20 Minute Vegetarian Chili or Healthy White Bean Chili and you’ve also decided you have too much to eat this week, or month for that matter, so now what?
Sounds like it’s time to learn to freeze chili! And you’re in luck because this helpful post will teach you exactly how to freeze chili. It’ll go even a step further, and teach you the best way to reheat or defrost chili.
Why You need to learn to freeze chili
- Budget Saving: Freezing chili is a great way to extend the life of your meals with no extra cost.
- Reduce Food Waste: Reducing food waste and spending less money go hand in hand. And freezing leftover chili that you know you won’t eat is the best way to do both!
- Fast & Easy: Freezing chili takes the same amount of time and energy as storing it in the fridge. But, it lasts SO much longer!
- A Great Way To Meal Prep: Because of how easy it is to freeze chili and then use it, it’s a great way to prep food to grab when you don’t feel like making anything. This can be awesome for giving to a friend who just had a baby or when you just know you have a busy season of life coming up.
- No Change In Texture: If you’ve wondered if freezing changes the texture of chili rest assured it doesn’t. As long as you use the chili within a few months, the original texture is maintained even in the freezer!
How to Freeze Chili
While it may be difficult to make it through the freezing chilly winter, freezing chili to enjoy all winter is not!
- Portion your favorite chili into whatever serving size you like in a plastic bag.
- Freeze the chili lying flat for easier storage.
- Use that chili up however you like!
How Reheart Frozen Chili
Reheating this is very easy to do. Just follow these steps to quickly defrost your chili.
the first step
Let the chili sit on the counter for a few minutes or in warm water when you first remove it from the freezer. This allows it to release from the bag, making it easier to remove from the bag and reheat.
Option 1: in the microwave
To reheat in the microwave, place the chili into a microwave-safe bowl (not in the plastic bag) and heat in short bursts or on low power.
Option 2: On the stove
The chili can be transfered to a pot or sauce pan on the stove and heated on low until warmed through.
Option 3: In the slow cooker
This is probably the easiest way to reheat. Simply transfer to a slow cooker and turn to low heat for 4-6 hours or to medium heat for 2-3 hours. This time will vary based on your slow cooker.
Why this Method Works
Freezing chili this way is the best method, in my opinion, for a few reasons.
- Letting the chili cool before putting it in the bags ensures you are not generating steam that will get trapped in the plastic bag while freezing.
- Freezing the chili flat might sound like a small detail, but it really does help to keep your freezer more organized and free up space, therefore making you more likely to use the chili.
- The type of chili doesn’t matter for this method of freezing. Whether you are using vegetarian, black bean chili, chili with lots of jalapenos and bell peppers, homemade chili, store-bought chili, turkey chili, lentil chili, tempeh chili, or sweet potato chili, this process remains the same.
how long does chili last in the freezer?
Once cooked, cooled, and frozen, chili will last for 3 months in the freezer. It will last a little longer but the texture begins to decline quickly after 3 months.
What Should I do with leftover chili?
Leftover chili can be enjoyed on its own or any way you would use fresh chili. Some ideas are:
- On a Microwave Baked Potato
- As loaded Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- On a Carrot Hot Dog
- On top of Truffle Mac and Cheese with White Cheddar
what to serve with chili
So many things go great with chili and if you want a full list, check out our post on What to Serve with Chili. Here are a few favorites:
- Portion: Portion chili into your desired serving size (I prefer single servings, but large families may prefer 4 or 6 serving portions), transferring your desired portion into a freezer safe bag. Always label your bag with the contents and date!
- Freeze: Transfer to the freezer and store for up to 3 months.
- Usage: When ready to enjoy, thaw chili briefly on the counter or under warm water to help loosen it from the bag. From there, it can be heated in the microwave in short bursts, on the stove, or in the slow cooker!