Can You Freeze Chilli Con Carne?

Chilli con carne really does lend itself to being cooked in bulk. You can knock up a huge batch in a large casserole pot in the space of an hour or two over the weekend to give yourself potentially 4, 5 or more meals but can you freeze chilli con carne and does it freze well?

The Quick Answer

Can You Freeze Chilli Con Carne?

You can freeze chilli con carne for around 3 months. Cool your chilli, portion into bags, seal them up and then freeze. When you’re ready to eat it, simply defrost in the fridge overnight for the following day.

You can use the links below to skip through this article if you need help with how to go about freezing chilli con carne, how to defrost it or whether it’s actually worth doing in the first place:

How To Freeze Chilli Con Carne

But first, you need to know how to actually freeze your chilli so here goes:

  1. Cool
    Make your batch of chilli and then allow it to cool to room temperature as quickly as possible. You want it to have cooled down within 2 hours of cooking.
  2. Portion into Bags
    Once cooled, portion the chilli into bags. Try to portion it into servings, so it’s easier to manage when defrosting. Generally speaking, one serving for an adult is around 250g of chilli con carne. You can, of course, portion it into 500g servings. We recommend using bags as the tomato and paprika in the chilli con carne can stain plastic Tupperware.
  3. Seal
    Seal the bags up, trying to remove as much as possible. The best way to do this is to seal the bag up 90% of the way before squeezing the air out from the bottom to the top before finally sealing.
  4. Freeze
    Place in the freezer.

How to Freeze Vegetarian Chilli

Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan or meat-eater, vegetarian chilli is still packed full of flavour and nutrients which can make for a great midweek meal without loading up the calories. But can you freeze a vegetarian chilli you ask?

Well, yes, you can! It’ll come as no surprise that you can use the same method for freezing vegetarian chilli as you would use when freezing chilli con carne.

These instructions are identical to the instructions above, so we’ve summarised them a little:

  1. Cool
    Make your vegetarian chilli and then allow it to cool to room temperature.
  2. Bag Up
    Portion into freezer bags. We would advise 250g servings per person so use this as a guide for the amount to freeze in each bag.
  3. Seal
    Seal the bag up, removing as much air as possible then seal.
  4. Freeze
    Place in the freezer.

3 Tips for Freezing Chilli Con Carne

Now you know how to freeze chilli con carne, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing them to have the best results:

  • Portion It – Make sure you freeze chilli in portions to make it far easier to grab a suitable amount every time you fancy chilli for dinner.
  • Use Bags – Chilli con carne tends to be full of bright, strong colours. Those colours can easily stain Tupperware containers. Instead, use freezer bags.
  • Thaw then Reheat – You’ll need to give chilli con carne ample time to thaw overnight. The following day, tip the contents into a large pan and warm over a low heat until piping hot. It’s ready to serve without any faff and very little washing up.

How Long Can You Freeze Chilli Con Carne?

Because chilli con carne (and vegetarian chilli) contains various ingredients and spices, we would recommend freezing for up to 3 months. Beyond this point, there is a chance that the flavours will become a little more subdued, and it might not pack the punch it once did.

Beyond the 3 month period, it should remain safe to eat, but it might not be quite as tasty. As you probably know, the longer you leave anything in the freezer, the greater the risk that the texture changes, so this is worth bearing in mind.

You Can Freeze Chilli Con Carne for Around 3 Months

How Do You Defrost Chilli Con Carne?

Unfortunately, there aren’t really any short cuts or tricks for defrosting chilli con carne. Instead, you need to take the planned, slow and steady approach. Yes, that means getting it out of the freezer the night before and placing it in a bowl in the fridge to thaw overnight slowly.

Once it has thawed overnight, you need to warm it up over a low heat in a pan until it is piping hot through. Don’t use a high heat as you risk burning the outside of the meat and vegetables before the inside has had time to warm through.

Taking the slow and steady approach to defrosting and reheating your chilli con carne will pay dividends when you come to eat it.

Can You Refreeze Chilli Con Carne?

Refreezing most food is advised against, and this is no different for chilli con carne. Unfortunately, you’re likely to change the texture dramatically when refreezing it. Instead, try to only defrost a portion at a time when you know you’re going to consume it.

It’s imperative to avoid refreezing chilli because of its meat content which can quickly spoil if left at room temperature for extended periods of time.

Does Chilli Con Carne Freeze Well?

Chilli con carne freezes remarkably well – that’s why it makes for one of the best batch-cooked meals you can make.

Provided that you freeze it as soon after making as possible (once cooled, of course), you freeze it for a maximum of 3 months, and you thaw then reheat it slowly, you’ll be hard pushed to tell the difference between a chilli con carne from the freezer and one you have knocked together fresh.

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing chilli con carne or chilli in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Chilli Con Carne with Rice?

Both chilli con carne and rice can be frozen – however, we would avoid freezing them together. Instead, follow our instructions above for free chilli con carne and then head over to our dedicated page about freezing cooked rice here. This will then give you the option of defrosting just the chilli con carne if you decide you don’t need to defrost the rice.

Can You Freeze Chilli Con Carne with Kidney Beans?

Generally speaking, you can freeze chilli that has been made with any ingredients, including kidney beans. The process is the same, and you’re unlikely to alter the texture of the kidney beans significantly when freezing it.

Freeze Cooked Rice

Can You Freeze Quorn Chilli Con Carne?

The good news is that if you have made a meat-free version with Quorn, this can also be frozen. The only difference is that Quorn recommends that you only freeze their product for up to a month so you’ll want to use it a little quicker than the meat version above.

Leave a Comment