Chili is a warming stew that often tastes better the day after it is made when the flavors have had time to meld. Don’t make the mistake, however, of thinking that because stored chili smells fine, it is safe to eat. Many food-borne pathogens do not create a noticeable smell or appearance. While following proper food handling procedures is the safest way to avoid suffering a food-borne illness, knowing when chili is spoiled is also key to prevention.
Look, Smell, Calculate
Before reheating chili, inspect it to ensure there is no mold or slimy texture to it, as these are classic signs of food spoilage. If the chili looks and smells fine, calculate how long it has been stored. Homemade chili containing meat should be stored for just one to two days in the refrigerator, while canned chili can be stored refrigerated for up to one week, according to the website Shelf Life Advice. Chili made without meat can be stored refrigerated for three to four days. Rapidly cool and refrigerate cooked chili to get it within a safe temperature range of 40 F or below within two hours of cooking. Store chili in shallow containers to allow for quicker cooling.
References and ResourcesOregon State University: Spoiled Foods
What's Cooking America: Food Storage Guidelines, Refrigerator and Freezer Storage Chart
Shelf Life Advice: Beef Shelf Life
Food Safety: The Good, The Bad and The Reheated: Cooking and Handling Leftovers