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How Long Is Chicken Soup Good For?

From fridge to freezer, we’re dishing up the lowdown on how to keep your chicken soup fresh and ready for those cold winter days.

Ah, the soothing warmth of chicken soup!

This comforting concoction is the perfect antidote for a chilly winter’s night, or when you’re simply feeling under the weather.

Its hearty combination of chicken, vegetables, and noodles offers a nourishing and savory delight that’s not only incredibly satisfying but also packed with health benefits.

However, as delectable as chicken soup is, you can’t always polish off an entire pot in one go (although, believe me, I’ve tried!). The question then emerges—how long does chicken soup last? Is it one of those comforting meals that only gets better with time, or does it lose its appeal once it has cooled down?

And what about storage? Can you safely stash it in the refrigerator or even venture to freeze it? If these thoughts are now simmering in your mind, then this article has been brewed especially for you.

How Long Chicken Soup Lasts

How long chicken soup lasts depends on how you store it.

Generally, if you leave chicken soup out, it will only stay good for 1 to 2 hours. When refrigerated, it can last for 3 to 4 days. And if you freeze it, it will maintain its quality for about 3 to 4 months.

Left Out: 1–2 Hours

If you leave chicken soup at room temperature, it can last for about 2 hours. However, on hot days when it’s 90°F (32°C) or higher, chicken soup only stays good for about 1 hour.1United States Department of Agriculture (2023, March 24). What is the “2 Hour Rule” with leaving food out? AskUSDA. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/What-is-the-2-Hour-Rule-with-leaving-food-out

Refrigerated: 3–4 Days

If you keep chicken soup in the fridge, at a temperature of 40°F (4.4°C) or below, and store it in a jar, food container, or the original bottle or carton in case you bought it from the store, it will last for about 3 to 4 days.2U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2021, September 20). Cold Food Storage Chart. FoodSafety.gov. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/cold-food-storage-charts

Frozen: 4–6 Months

Technically speaking, you can keep frozen chicken soup for as long as you want because freezing pauses the growth of bacteria.3U.S. Department of Agriculture (2013, June 15). Freezing and Food Safety. Food Safety & Inspection Service. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/freezing-and-food-safety With that being said, it is best to eat it within 4 to 6 months to enjoy it at its freshest and highest quality.

How to Store Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is best enjoyed hot and comforting. If you’re not going to serve your chicken soup right away, it’s crucial to store it properly to maintain its wholesomeness and flavor.

Here are some simple steps to follow:

Refrigerating Chicken Soup

Begin by transferring your chicken soup into a clean, air-tight container. Glass containers work excellently, but if you don’t have any available, any well-sealed food storage container will suffice. Then place it into the refrigerator.

Be sure to consume it within 3-4 days. The cool temperature slows down bacterial growth and preserves your soup’s heartiness, but it won’t make it safe to eat indefinitely.

Freezing Chicken Soup

If you prepared a large pot of chicken soup and can’t finish it within a few days, freezing is a practical option. Once more, you’ll want to use a clean, air-tight container that’s safe for the freezer.

Leave about an inch of space at the top of the container because the soup will expand as it freezes. This could take several hours. To thaw, relocate the frozen chicken soup into the refrigerator about 24 hours before you intend to serve it.

And there you have it—chicken soup is simple to store and wonderful to have at the ready for those cold winter evenings or when someone’s feeling a little unwell.

A smidge of attention during the storage process ensures that every bowl is as appetizing as the first, so don’t take shortcuts with these steps!

How to Tell If Your Chicken Soup Has Gone Bad

Alright, what if you overlooked that container of chicken soup in the corner of your fridge?

Or perhaps you’re just uncertain if it’s still okay to eat? Much like any food, chicken soup can spoil if left uneaten for too long, and believe me, rancid chicken soup is not something you want to encounter.

Here are a few unmistakable signs your chicken soup might have gone off:

  1. Time: If you leave chicken soup sitting out for over 1-2 hours or keep it in the fridge for more than 3-4 days, you should throw it away, even if it still seems fine. The bacteria that make us sick don’t change how our food looks, tastes, or feels.4Jarvie, M. (2015, October 22). Food spoilage and food pathogens, what’s the difference? MSU Extension. Retrieved July 20, 2023, from https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/food_spoilage_and_food_pathogens_whats_the_difference
  2. Smell: Fresh chicken soup has a pleasant, savory aroma. If you uncover your container and are met with a strong, foul smell, it’s time to bid farewell to your soup.
  3. Color: Healthy chicken soup usually maintains a warm, inviting hue thanks to the broth and vegetables. If the color has turned darker or appears unnatural, it’s wise to play it safe and discard it.
  4. Texture: Chicken soup should possess a smooth broth with chunks of chicken and vegetables. If it feels slimy or unusually thick, your soup might be beyond its best.
  5. Taste: This should be your last option. If your chicken soup passes the previous checks but exhibits a sour or unpleasant taste, it’s time to let it go.

Remember, when in doubt, throw it out! It’s always better to prioritize safety over regret.

Chicken soup is relatively straightforward to prepare, so why take the chance? Whip up a fresh batch and savor the warm, comforting flavors of this timeless classic.

Bottom Line

And there you have it, home cooks!

Your comprehensive guide to not only relishing this hearty, comforting soup but also ensuring it remains as wholesome as the day it was made for every ladleful.

Remember, from the refrigerator to the freezer, preserving your chicken soup’s freshness and readiness for those chilly winter nights is a cinch if you adhere to the straightforward storage steps we’ve ladled out. And don’t overlook, if your chicken soup appears a little off—whether in smell, color, texture, or taste—it’s always safer to bid it adieu.

Know your author

Written by

Dim is a food writer, cookbook author, and the editor of Home Cook World. His first book, Cooking Methods & Techniques, was published in 2022. He is a certified food handler with Level 1 and Level 2 Certificates in Food Hygiene and Safety for Catering, and a trained cook with a Level 3 Professional Chef Diploma.