The simple, step-by-step guide on how to freeze chili and reheat it for future delicious meals.
Freezing chili is a terrific way to cook once and eat twice (or more) and in this video, learn how that’s done!
Does Chili Freeze Well?
Chili is a crowd-pleaser, but we don’t always have a crowd to feed nor know what to do with all those leftovers. We also know chili tastes better the next day but did you know you can freeze it and enjoy those same delicious results later?
Freezing works whether you are making all meat or vegetarian chili. While the texture might change slightly due to the veggies and beans, everything still reheats in one cohesive, delicious lunch or dinner that you can serve with your favorite toppings and add-ins or pack into a thermos container for a hot lunch. I use the freezing method in this post whenever I make a double batch of my famous Paleo Chili.
Best Way to Freeze Chili & Soup
There is a protocol to follow when it comes to freezing chili, soups, or any prepared food for that matter. Now the vessel you desire to freeze foods in is entirely up to you. Freezer-safe bags, as well as glass and plastic airtight containers, will work.
How to Freeze Chili
Allow to cool down to room temperature
Placing hot food in the freezer can cause surrounding items to partially thaw and refreeze, altering the taste and texture of some foods.
Use thick, durable, freezer bags or airtight containers
There’s a reason heavy-duty freezer bags are saved for this one use! They are easy to fill with your favorite liquid-based meals or cooked ingredients and safely freeze for 2 to 3 months.
Freezer bags also offer the ability to freeze foods like chili, soups, and stews flat, making them easier to stack and store. Place the filled bags on a sheet pan, freeze for 2 hours or until frozen solid, remove the baking sheet, and stack the meals how you like.
I recommend storing the chili in two-serving portions this reduces the amount of time you’ll need for it to defrost.
How Long Does Chili Last in the Freezer?
Once cooked, chili lasts up to 3 days in the fridge, anything longer than that, and it’s time to move it to the freezer.
Chili will stay good in the freezer for 4 to 6 months! So when I plan to make a batch, I’ll double the recipe, use ½ for dinners that week, and freeze the extra that day.
Whenever I’m in a pinch or know a day out my upcoming week will be extra busy, I have a delicious dinner waiting to be defrosted and reheated.
How to Defrost Frozen Chili
Just like thawing chicken, chili can be thawed in the refrigerator, cold water, or microwave. Out of all the freezing methods, I prefer overnight and in the sink. But I can’t deny, when you’re in a pinch, a microwave is super handy!
Defrost in the fridge overnight
Place a container or two of frozen chili in a large bowl and refrigerate overnight. The next day it should be softer and ready to heat up on the stove or microwave.
Defrost in water
Place the container of chili in a sink full of room temperature water. Check and flip the container of chili until it’s defrosted.
Defrost in the microwave
In a rush? Run the pack or container of frozen chili under hot water so the frozen block detaches from the surface of the container. Transfer to a large bowl and heat on high for 5 minutes, stirring often until the chili is heated through.
Best Chili and Soup Recipes
Now that we’ve talked about how to freeze chilis and soups, let’s practice with a few of my favorite hearty recipes.
Christopher T Gonzales
Thank you so much Laura! This was really helpful.
Not sure if I can refreeze home made chili two times. I made some ahead of a party last weekend. I thawed and cooked it then froze it again so this made two times for freezing it. Is this ok since I have always heard you can’t refreeze things once they are thawed. What do you think?
I don’t recommend refreezing chili since it will make the texture very mushy. Next time, you can try freezing a large batch in smaller portions.
Once anything has been unshaved, it’s never good to refreeze it a 2nd time.
I came across this post because I’ve always frozen soups in containers. The problem: I can’t figure out what’s inside and they take up so much room in the freezer! Yes, I’m not stupid, I knew I could freeze chili (or any soup) in zip bags but I’ve always wondered how to freeze them flat since my freezer is full and therefore they usually take a weird shape. I can’t believe I missed the placing it on a sheet pan (or plate) first. Hello! Great tip. Thanks!
I know your comment is 2 years old but one suggestion could be using a container to save a specific space to chili depending on the size of zip locks, it’s an idea because that’s what my grandma does for cooked hamburger for chili. She cooks the hamburger separates it into zip locks. And has a Tupperware container without a lid left in the freezer for the hamburger I plan on using the same idea for soups and hamburger when I make meals.