Can You Freeze Chili?

By Charlotte King

Homemade chili is a hearty meal that can satisfy any comfort craving, and it makes delicious leftovers. Luckily, you can freeze chili easily and enjoy it for many more months! When you are short on time, a batch of frozen chili will be a lifesaver. So, how can you freeze chili?

Freezing chili is easy and only takes a few hours. To freeze chili, start by cooling the chili down to room temperature. Next, portion the chili into freezer-safe bags and remove all air inside. Finally, load the bags into a baking tray and place them in the freezer for 2-3 hours.

Homemade chili is a hearty meal that can satisfy any comfort craving, and it makes delicious leftovers. Luckily, you can freeze chili easily and enjoy it for many more months! When you are short on time, a batch of frozen chili will be a lifesaver.
bean chili with cilantro

Preparing to Freeze Chili

chili in white bowl

Tips Before Freezing Chili

Tip #1: Freeze chili in meal-sized portions that you can quickly reheat. You can do this when portioning your chili into freezer bags.

Tip #2: Avoid freezing vegetable chili because it can get mushy after freezing.

Tip #3: Label and date your freezer bags and containers to avoid any mix-ups.

Supplies You Need

Freezer Bags

When storing chili in the freezer, you should use freezer-safe containers, such as freezer bags or freezer-safe jars. You may also want to consider your freezer space and portion sizes. It is easier to portion your chili into stackable freezer-safe bags rather than freezer jars.

Marker Pen and Freezer Labels

You should always label and date your frozen chili to avoid unsafe consumption. Marker pens and freezer labels are cheap, simple, and work best!

How to Freeze Chili

chili and beans on cutting board

1. Cool the Chili

If you are freezing freshly prepared chili, let it cool down to room temperature before freezing it. You may also cool the chili in the fridge for a few hours. Freezing hot chili can build condensation in containers, leading to freezer burn and mold. The hot chili may even thaw other frozen food in your freezer!

2. Store the Chili

Divide your chili into portions to make it more convenient to defrost later. You can base portion sizes on freezer bag or freezer-safe jar sizes, but stackable freezer bags save the most freezer space.

After filling the containers with chili, you should remove as much air as possible from the bag. A vacuum sealer works best, but a straw can work if you put in some effort. To use a straw, seal the bag almost entirely but leave just enough space for a straw to pass through. Poke the straw through the opening and suck out as much air as possible to create a vacuum. Finally, you can remove the straw and completely seal the freezer-safe bag.

3. Freeze the Chili

Flatten, label, and date your freezer bags before placing them on a baking tray. Place the baking tray in the freezer for 2-3 hours until it has frozen solid. Finally, you can remove the baking tray and stack the frozen chili as you need in the freezer!

How to Defrost Frozen Chili

bean chili and bread on bowl

There are a few different ways to thaw your chili when you need to use it. You can choose the method that works best for you, depending on how much time you have on your hands.

Thaw in the Fridge

It is best to thaw frozen chili in the fridge to preserve its texture and taste. However, it will take the longest. To defrost frozen chili in the refrigerator, transfer your frozen chili from the freezer to the fridge and leave it overnight. By morning, your chili will have thawed, and you can heat it on a saucepan with a low flame.

Thaw Using Cold Water

Another convenient way to defrost chili is to use water if you lack equipment. After filling a large bowl with room temperature water, immerse your frozen chili bag in it for 2-3 hours until it has completely thawed.

Thaw in the Microwave

Although it is quick to use, defrosting frozen chili in the microwave will lose a lot of its texture and flavor. Transfer your chili to a microwave-safe container and select the defrost setting to thaw your frozen chili. It will only take a few minutes for your chili to thaw, but you should still stir it occasionally.

How to Make Homemade Chili

homemade mexican chili

Chili is a one-pot dish that satisfies your craving for comfort food. You can serve the chili over rice, use it as a topping on hot dogs or sloppy joes, and serve it with tortilla chips! To make delicious homemade chili, follow these simple steps.


  • 1 tbsp oil or butter
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced to ½ inch
  • 1 small white onion, diced to ½ inch
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Salt and black pepper for seasoning
  • 3 diced tomatoes or 1 can of diced tomatoes (10 oz)
  • 15 ounces red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  •  2 cups of beef or vegetable broth


  1. In a large saucepan, add one tablespoon of olive oil or butter. Once heated, add the bell peppers and onions, and cook until they are translucent.
  1. Next, add the ground beef and use a spoon to break it into smaller chunks. Mix in the beef until thoroughly mixed with the peppers and onions.
  2. Season using salt and black pepper, mix again and let the beef cook until brown.
  3. If you notice a lot of grease coming from the beef, drain the grease from the saucepan before returning to the stove.
  4. Add the tomatoes and beans. Then, add the chili powder, cumin powder, and garlic powder before pouring in the broth. Stir all ingredients until the chili has a liquid consistency, and add tomato paste if you want to thicken the mix.
  5. Once mixed and cooked, cover the pan and let the chili simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Finally, you can ladle the chili into serving bowls and even top it off with red onion and cilantro.

Frequently Asked Questions

vegetarian chili and bread

How Long Does Chili Last in the Freezer?

Frozen chili will last in the freezer for up to 6 months. However, the taste and texture of the chili will start to diminish after a few months, especially vegetable chili that contains beans. As a result, you should store chili in the freezer for up to 2 months to enjoy its fresh flavor and texture.

When Should You Freeze Chili?

It is best to freeze chili when it has cooled to room temperature after cooking. If you cook chili and store it in the fridge, you have up to three days before you need to freeze it. Otherwise, your frozen chili will lose its flavor and texture after thawing.

Can You Freeze Chili with Meat and Beans?

Yes, you can freeze chili with meat and beans. Meats such as beef and pork freeze well, and they maintain their taste and texture after being frozen. However, beans will lose their texture fast, so you should use frozen chili with beans within two months.

Does Chili Taste Good After Being Frozen?

Frozen chili maintains its taste well, especially if you freeze it soon after cooking. If you want your frozen chili to retain its full flavor and texture, you should use it within two months. You can still eat it months after, but you may notice a change in its taste and texture.

Can You Freeze Chili in Ziploc Bags?

Ziploc bags are thin and prone to tearing, so you should not use them to freeze chili. Instead, you can use freezer-safe bags or jars. They are thicker and more resistant to tears and punctures.


Making frozen chili is a convenient way to prepare meals for busy weeks, and it only takes a few hours for a large batch. The next time you cook chili, double your batch and freeze them to enjoy for many more months!

If you enjoyed this guide on freezing chili, you could also learn how to preserve peppers without canning!

bean chili with cilantro

Frozen Chili

Homemade chili is a hearty meal that can satisfy any comfort craving, and it makes delicious leftovers. Luckily, you can freeze chili easily and enjoy it for many more months! When you are short on time, a batch of frozen chili will be a lifesaver.
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Total Time 3 hours
Course Preparation


  • chili


  • Start by cooling your chili down to room temperature.
  • Once cooled, divide the chili into portions and transfer them to freezer-safe bags.
  • Seal the bags by removing as much air from them. Label and date each bag with the freezing date.
  • Place the bags flat on a baking tray and load them into the freezer for 2-3 hours until frozen solid.
  • Finally, you can stack the freezer bags in the freezer for long-term storage.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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