How Long Can Chili Sit Out And Does It Go Bad?

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Chili or chili con carne is named after its favorite ingredients – the chili and Carne (meat). It was originally invented in Mexico or Texas, but now you can find versions all over North America. It is a delicious stew containing chili peppers and meat, tomatoes, spices, and kidney beans.

You can make various delicious dishes out of chili, including chili cheese fries, canned vegetarian chili, and hot dog chili. Unfortunately, chili doesn’t have a long shelf life like many other meat products. It goes bad if not stored properly. In this article, we will discuss in detail how long chili can sit out.

How Long Can Chili Sit Out?

To maximize your chili’s shelf life, you must store the leftovers properly. Chili can stay fresh for 3-4 days when refrigerated. The optimal cooking temperature for chili is between 400°F and 450 ° F. If you plan on storing the cooked chili after it has cooled down, then make sure to consume it within two hours as it will be safe to eat within 2 hours.

Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40° Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. It means any food left out longer than this period may cause illness or death due to bacteria overgrowth. So don’t risk yourself by forgetting about these tips.

What Happens if Chili Sits Out Too Long?

The chili you made last night was a good one, but its smell makes you feel sick the other day if it is left out. It’s not safe to eat chili after being left out longer than two or three hours without protection from bacteria that could grow in it.

This period could be increased when the weather is cold but still stored in the refrigerator after the dish cools down is preferable. Leaving chili out for too long can make you ill even though it still smells fine since bacteria can grow at harmful levels.

What Should You Do If Chili Is Left Out Too Long?

When you think of hot, spicy foods, what comes to mind? Chances are it’s chili. Here is an important thing you need to know: if this spicy stew is left out too long, you have to look for the signs of chili going bad. The appearance, smell and taste will tell you whether the fish is fresh or spoilt.

The appearance of spoiled chili is not very tasty. And when you warm the dish up, you will see a pale liquid leaking out from it into the pan. A foul smell of vegetables and meat will also start coming. In that case, discard the chili immediately!

How Long Can Chili Be In The Car For?

If you are transporting chili by car for a long drive, then how long it would stay fresh in the car is the point to consider. The car is often our go-to for mealtime during trips and picnics. But how long should you keep food in there? Well, not more than two hours at 90 degrees Fahrenheit or one hour if the temperature exceeds this limit.

Does Chili Go Bad If Not Refrigerated?

It’s always a good idea to keep your chili safe and sound. If the temperature is too low for long periods, it can harm how well preserved that particular flavor will be. Chili can go bad once it enters the “danger zone.” The same would be applied to chili sauce.

It is about 2 hours at room temperature. Therefore, refrigerate it within this two-hour window. If it is left out for more than 3-4 hours, make sure to keep it hot on the stove. Heat prevents bacteria from growing and ultimately increases your food’s shelf life.

Do Chili Go Bad If You Lose Power?

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that your fridge will keep the items safe for up to 4 hours in case of a power outage. However, make sure to keep your fridge well-iced in such a case. Food will stay fresh for 4 hours with no worries about spoilage with the door closed.

What Temperature Is Safe For Chili?

It is best to keep chili hotter than 140 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent spoiling. It is important to cool down chili once you are done serving to keep away bacterial growth. Let it cool for 15-20 minutes, and make sure to cover the bowl before refrigerating it.

You can cover with a layer of aluminum foil or other suitable material that won’t allow any air in.

How To Store Chili

Chili Con Carne is a dish made with meat as the main ingredient, due to which it has a low shelf life. To store chili, different methods are used around the world depending on the region its weather conditions.

Room Temperature

Chili Con Carne is eaten as it is made, but if you want to eat it later in that day, you should contain it in an airtight container. You have to cover the dish at room temperature so the moisture from the surround may not spoil it. If you do have to consume after a few hours, then you can also cover the dish with plastic wrap.

It is suggested that you consume it right after cooking it, but in any case, 24 hours have passed by, then dispose of the dish.


Placing your dish in the refrigerator is another most preferred method to store Chili Con Carne. To place it in the refrigerator, make sure to place it in a dry airtight container. Do not place the freshly cooked meal in the fridge; wait for it to cool down at room temperature first.

If you do not have an airtight container, you can put your meal in a bowl and then cover it tightly using plastic wrapping.


If you want to freeze your meal for a longer time, you can freeze it. The meal can last longer in commercial freezers. Just cool down the freshly cooked meal and then place it in an airtight container or bowl with plastic wrapping.

It is preferred to freeze in different quantities; you may not need to freeze and leftover meal, which will result in taste loss. Chili Con Carne will be rock hard and will need to be thawed to reuse it.

Can You Freeze Chili

You can freeze Chili Con Carne in an airtight container. Do not place warm chili in the freezer, or sudden cooling down of the temperature will affect the meal’s taste. You can store the dish for 2-3 months in domestic freezers, but in commercial freezers, the dish can stay up to 3-4 months.

Chili Con Carne is easy to make, so it is consumed fresh; however, in areas where natural gas issues or markets are very far away, people there prefer to freeze the meal and later enjoy it as they like.

How Long Does Chili Last

Chili’s survival depends on the environment and the storage used to store it. In areas where the standard room temperature is about 25°C, the dish lasts for a day. In cold regions, the dish can easily last for two days, provided that it is stored in a closed, airtight container.

On a domestic level, Chili Con Carne is usually stored in the refrigerator because it is easy to use the dish more often. In the refrigerator, if contained properly, then Chili Con Carne can last for a week.

Freezing the dish can make it last for 2-4 months, depending on the temperature it is stored in. The lesser the temperature, the more it can last longer. It is preferred to discard the dish if it has been kept for around three months.

How To Tell If Chili Is Bad

You can easily tell if your chili has gone bad by its appearance, smell, and taste. A rogue chili will have obvious signs of expiry from which you can save your stomach. Following are the traits of a bad, spoiled chili.

  • Appearance: Spoiled chili won’t have any effect on the appearance. However, on warming the dish, you will see pale liquid along with the dish. Also, look for mold development on your dish cause by natural moisture if stored in the refrigerator for a long time.
  • Smell: A spoiled chili will have a foul rotting smell of meat and vegetables. You won’t be able to smell when the dish is cold. On warming the dish, the smell will be evident.
  • Taste: If you failed to identify a spoiled chili using appearance and smell, you would identify one by tasting it. A spoiled chili will taste like rotten meat and vegetables.