How to Thaw Frozen Chili

If you’re looking for a quick, affordable, and satiating meal, chili is a top choice. You can make lots of chili at one time and save it to reheat later, too. Chili freezes great, which will make it an easy and nutritious meal for days to come. 

When you’re ready to reheat your chili, what is the best way to go about it? There are many ways to thaw frozen chili, which consist of using warm water, the stove, a slow cooker, or the microwave. You can also vary your method of thawing frozen chili based on how you initially froze it. 

When you thaw frozen chili, it doesn’t have to be eaten by itself, either. Frozen chili can make a great addition to many dishes, such as chili dogs, nachos, and Frito chili pie. It can be well worth it to freeze extra chili to thaw for use later. 

Storing Chili in the Freezer

Before you decide how to go about thawing your chili, you will need to take into consideration how you froze it, what you put it in, and when you need it thawed by. Proper preparation can set you up for success in thawing your chili the way you intended. 

  • Storage in Ziploc Bags: The most convenient way to freeze chili is to dole it out into individual plastic bags. These can be laid flat for freezing, which allows you to fit more chili leftovers in a small amount of space. 
  • Freezing in Individual Containers: This method is great for times when you may need a single portion of chili thawed at a later date. You can easily grab a container and take it to work or school. 
  • Freezing in Large Portions: If you plan on reheating a large amount of chili later on, you can store it in a bigger container. This allows you to have an entire meal ready to go after its been properly thawed. 
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Methods for Thawing Chili

In the last section, we talked about ways to store chili in the freezer. This comes into play when you are trying to decide how to thaw it. 

Take a look at these popular methods of thawing chili to decide which one may work best for your situation. Whether you have all day to thaw it or need your chili ready to go, there is a thawing method for every timeline. 

Warm Water

Using warm water can bring your chili to room temperature, or a warmer temperature, in no time. Although it may seem like thawing your chili in water would take a long time, the warmer your water the quicker your thawing. 

This method works best with chili that has been frozen in bags. Remember when we talked about laying your bags of chili flat to freeze? This also allows them to thaw faster in warm water, too. 

You could, possibly, use warm water to thaw chili in a container, but you would certainly want to make sure it was air-tight and leak-proof first. 

Pot on the Stove

You can also use a pot on the stove to thaw your chili. Although it will be a slower process, this method is acceptable for a larger amount of chili or chili that you plan to serve as a main dish. 

You’ll want to set your stove burner to low or medium-low, so you don’t scorch your chili on the outside while it’s still frozen on the inside. Stir it frequently and break apart chunks with a spoon as your chili begins to soften. 

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Slow Cooker

Thawing chili in a slow cooker is, perhaps, the most acceptable way of reheating chili to feed several people. You can put a lot of chili even in a standard-sized slow cooker, which makes it simple to make dinner for your family in a pinch. 

A slow cooker will take longer to get the job done, but when set on low, it will do so thoroughly. You could even set your slow cooker to the warm setting if you had plenty of time. 

Can I Set Chili Out on the Counter to Thaw? 

Everyone has to make their own decision on the risk they are willing to take by setting chili out on the counter to thaw. If your chili doesn’t have meat and only has beans, you will probably be okay to do so. 

However, if your chili has any meat in it, you won’t want to leave it out on the counter to thaw. The time it takes to thaw thoroughly could cause harmful bacteria to grow, which could cause food poisoning. 

Thawing chili is a simple way to make several meals in a short amount of time. People who live busy lifestyles will find that the ability to eat chili alone or use it in another dish is well worth the time spent freezing it ahead of time.