Whether you’re feeling under the weather or not, chicken soup is a delicious and comforting meal to eat. It’s also a great quick food to store and reheat as needed, especially in the colder winter months. But how long does it last in the fridge? And can you freeze it? In this article, we will look at how long different types of chicken soup last once refrigerated, how to tell if your soup has gone bad, and how you can extend the shelf life of your chicken soup once cooked.
How long does chicken soup last in the fridge? As long as you store your chicken soup properly and safely, you can expect it to last around 3-4 days in the fridge. Both store-bought canned and homemade soups should last this long refrigerated. Store your soup safely by keeping it in the refrigerator in an airtight, covered container after cooking.
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How long does canned chicken soup last in the fridge?
Canned chicken soup from the grocery store should last around three to four days in the fridge once the can is opened and the leftover soup is stored safely.
Note though that store-bought cans are likely to be labeled with a ‘best before’ date, which should indicate when it should be eaten by for best quality and safety. Ideally, you will open the can the eat the soup before the best-before date. But the best-before date is not an expiration date, and the shelf life of soup in a can is much longer.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture food safety information, low-acid commercial canned food such as vegetable soup and chicken soup can be stored safely for 2-5 years.
If your soup is store-bought, look out for dents in the cans, which could allow bacteria to grow inside and ruin the soup prior to the best-by date. Avoid dented and damaged cans while shopping.
If you have chicken soup in undamaged cans and you’re looking to save money, first check the best-before date on the can and then consider eating it.
Now once the can of soup is open, follow the general rule of thumb of refrigerating and consuming the soup within 3-4 days. Some soups may last beyond the 4-day mark when refrigerated.
However, as you are dealing with meat, it is important to exercise caution. After around a week, your soup will likely begin to go bad and it will become inedible beyond this point, even if it was refrigerated.
It is also important to be mindful of leaving your soup out of the fridge for any length of time. After around two hours out of the fridge, your soup may grow bacteria which makes it dangerous to eat.
You definitely don’t want to consume soup left out overnight as it may have dangerous levels of active bacteria that won’t be killed even with reheating. In this case, the best thing to do is discard your soup.
How long can I expect homemade chicken soup to last in the fridge?
Similarly, homemade chicken soup will typically last around 3-4 days after cooking if stored safely in the fridge. The same timeframe is true for homemade chicken broth as well.
Use airtight containers with a tight cover to ensure no bacteria grows in your soup and keep it free from other food particles and debris.
No matter how many days have passed since you cooked the soup, you will still need to check your soup before eating it. This is especially true if you used old chicken or other ingredients that were not fresh.
How do you know when chicken soup has gone bad?
You will usually be able to tell if your chicken soup has gone bad by the smell or appearance of the soup. You may find that the soup smells sour or rancid or seems cloudy in appearance.
Even if it doesn’t have a sour smell or obvious odor, your soup may even have developed some mold, which should be visible as small spots of colored growth.
If you don’t see or smell any signs that your soup has gone bad, a quick taste test will tell you whether your soup is still safe to eat. If your soup has an unpleasant smell or odd appearance, do not taste any of it and discard it right away. You don’t want to get food poisoning!
The container you keep your soup in can also give you a clue as to whether it has gone bad. Check the cover and sides of the container for mold growth.
Also look for signs of the container swelling or bulging, which can occur when yeast or bacteria infect your soup and cause gases to be released.
How can I store my chicken soup safely?
Speed and storage conditions are the most important factors in safely storing your chicken soup.
Your soup can be easily spoiled if you try to refrigerate too much of it at once. It’s best to store soup in small portions. Storing soup in smaller containers enables it to cool faster or freeze faster if you put it in the freezer. It will also reheat faster and more evenly if you happen to reheat it in the same container.
You’re also less likely to contaminate a small individual portion of soup than a big pot of soup. You’re only opening the cover of one portion and reheating what you will eat, not opening and repeatedly reheating the same big batch.
It’s also important to allow soup to cool before being put into the fridge. Don’t be quick to put the soup straight in the fridge after cooking. Instead, allow it to cool slightly. Your soup should be at room temperature before you refrigerate it.
Another way to make sure you store your soup as safely as possible is to label and date your leftovers. This way, you can be sure of when your soup was cooked and how long you have left before it may start to go bad.
How long does chicken soup last in the freezer?
To make your chicken soup last considerably longer, try freezing it instead of keeping it in the refrigerator. Most soups are fine to be frozen unless they are creamy soups or contain noodles, in which case refrigerating is best and consuming it within 3-4 days.
You can refrigerate your soup for 3-4 days before putting it in the freezer, but it’s good to freeze your soup the day that you cook it for the best results.
Typically, cooked chicken soup will last up to 6 months in the freezer if properly stored in an air-tight freezer-safe container. You’ll want freezer-specific containers such as heavy-duty freezer bags because they are made to withstand the cold, reducing cracking of containers and freezer burn on your food.
A 6-month storage life doesn’t mean you should wait for 6 months to pass before eating the soup though. Freezing food for a long time can promote the growth of freezer burn. While it’s not bad for you, it can change the texture and taste of your soup.
What is the best container for storing soup?
You can use plastic containers, glass containers, jars, and storage bags to store soup. If you’re freezing soup, you can use the same storage containers as long as they are freezer-safe.
If you use a plastic container that is not meant for the freezer, it may develop cracks that will promote the development of freezer burn on your soup or leak chemicals that may transfer to your food, so don’t use just any container.
Most plastic containers that are freezer-safe will state it on their packaging when you purchase it new or have an icon such as a snowflake on it to indicate its ability. Glass containers and jars will be freezer-safe but check that the covers fit well and are freezer-safe too.
Then leave about an inch between the top of the soup and the container lid. This will allow the soup to expand if necessary because it’s frozen.
What’s the trick to freezing chicken noodle soup?
If you’ve ever consumed homemade chicken noodle soup that has been stored in the freezer, you might have noticed that the noodles broke apart upon reheating. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to freeze your chicken soup without the noodles. Then add the noodles when you’ve thawed and reheated the soup.
You can do this by keeping the chicken soup and the noodles separate during the cooking process. You may know ahead of time that you’re going to freeze your leftover soup. So prepare for this by cooking the soup and the noodles separately.
How can I safely reheat my chicken soup?
Whether reheating your soup in the microwave or on the stovetop, it is important that you reheat it properly and safely. You should only reheat your soup once – any more will invite harmful bacteria that will ruin your food.
It is also important to reheat the correct way so your food is not wasted. When it comes to reheating your soup for eating, remember to defrost only the amount you will need and make sure the rest is kept cold.
Don’t forget to check your soup is still safe for eating when you remove it from the fridge. Make sure you are happy with its appearance and it has not developed any unpleasant smells while frozen.
What are the benefits of freezing soup?
Storing your soup in the freezer is a great way to safely save your leftovers. You can cut down on waste and save money by buying and cooking in bulk. You also have access to a quick and easy meal whenever you want it. Just spend a few minutes reheating your soup and you have your meal!
Whether you’re having canned soup or homemade soup, your chicken soup should be good to eat for around 3-4 days if stored properly and safely. You may be surprised by the short lifespan of chicken soup only lasting a couple of days, but cooked chicken soup and its ingredients are perishable foods and you don’t want to risk getting a foodborne illness from eating stale old soup.
Now you know the best way to store your chicken soup so you can store it safely the next time you make it. Now, don’t you want to go enjoy a nice bowl of soup?