18 Easy Dinner Ideas Using Leftover Chili

18 Easy Dinner Ideas Using Leftover Chili
This post probably contains affiliate links. You can read the details about what that means here.

Sharing is caring!

I’m sure that you know how smart it is to made a huge batch of something when you cook. After doubling a recipe is much easier and much less work than cooking the same meal twice.

The problem with leftovers is that … sometimes they don’t sound very exciting.

The good news is that there are lots of easy and creative ways to repurpose leftover chili. (This is also true about leftover spaghetti.)

Below you’ll find 18 dinner recipes for what to do with all that leftover chili — from chili polenta skillet pie to sheet pan chili nachos to chili cheese dogs.

At the end of the post you’ll find answers to some common questions about storing and re-using leftover chili.


Click here to see Jamie Deen’s award-winning recipe.


What to do with leftover chili


Leftover Chili Recipes


Recipes using leftover chili


Leftover Chili FAQs

Can you freeze leftover chili?

Yes, you can freeze leftover chili. In fact, chili is a great dish to freeze because it often tastes even better after it has been frozen and reheated.

To freeze leftover chili, let it cool down to room temperature and then transfer it to an airtight container or freezer bag.(These cool little gadgets lets you pour chili into a freezer bag without making a huge mess.)

Don’t forget to label it with the date and contents so that two months from now you’re not staring at a brown lump that you discovered in the back of the freezer, wondering what it it.

When you’re ready to eat the chili, thaw it in the refrigerator for several hours (overnight is ideal) until it’s fully thawed. Once it’s thawed, you can reheat it on the stove, in the microwave, or in the oven until it’s heated through to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

It’s important to note that while chili can be frozen for up to three months, the longer it’s frozen, the more its quality and texture may suffer. Ideally, you want to eat the frozen leftover within a month or two.


How long is leftover chili good for?

Leftover chili can last for up to four days in the refrigerator if stored properly in an airtight container.

If you need to store it for longer, you can freeze it for up to three months (see above).


Is it safe to eat leftover chili that has been left out overnight?

I’m not the only one who’s had this happen, right? You think your husband packed up the leftovers, he thinks you did it … Or maybe you just got so caught up in re-watching Arrested Development (as I’m currently doing) that you forgot all about the big pot of chili that’s still on the stovetop.

But sadly, it’s not safe to eat leftover chili that’s been left out at room temperature for more than two hours. Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature and can cause foodborne illness.

So yeah, if you wake up and discover chili still on the stove or in your crockpot, scrape it into the trash and promise to do better next time.


Can I store leftover chili in the same pot I cooked it in?

That would make life easier, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s not a good idea to store leftover chili in the same pot you cooked it in. The pot might not be airtight and can allow air and moisture to get in, which can cause the chili to spoil more quickly.


How can I prevent freezer burn on frozen chili?

Freezer burn is caused by moisture loss from food when it’s exposed to air in the freezer. To prevent freezer burn on frozen chili, you can take the following steps:

  • Use airtight containers that are specifically designed for freezer storage. (This one was on Shark Tank and lets you easily freeze your soup or chili into serving-size portions.)
  • Use freezer bags that are designed to prevent freezer burn. Make sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing the bag.
  • Leave some space at the top of the container or bag to allow for expansion as the chili freezes. That’ll help prevent the container or bag from bursting.
  • Freeze the chili as quickly as possible after it has cooled down to room temperature. That’ll keep ice crystals from forming on the surface of the chili, which can lead to freezer burn.


How can I tell if leftover chili has gone bad?

  • Smell: If the chili has a sour or “off” odor
  • Appearance: If the chili has mold on it, or if it appears slimy or discolored
  • Texture: If the chili has a slimy or mushy texture
  • Taste: If the chili tastes sour or weird


Dinner Recipes Using Leftover Chili.
Includes taco chili frito pie, homemade chili cheese nachos, chili cheese omelette, and chili stuffed peppers


Dinner ideas with leftover chili

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *