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How Long Is Tomato Soup Good For?

From pantry to icebox, we’re serving up the scoop on how to keep your tomato soup warm, rich, and ready for those cozy nights in.

Ah, the comforting warmth of tomato soup!

This heart-warming dish is the perfect remedy for a chilly winter evening.

Its blend of tomatoes, herbs, and sometimes cream delivers a rich and comforting flavor that’s not only delightful but also soothing.

However, as heartening as tomato soup is, you can’t always finish a whole pot in one sitting (although I wouldn’t blame you if you tried!). The question then comes up—how long does tomato soup last? Like, is it one of those soups that develops deeper flavors the next day, or does it lose its charm as soon as it cools?

And what about storage? Can you leave it on the stove, or should it go straight to the fridge or even dare to venture into the freezer? If you’ve been pondering these questions, then this post is for you.

The Shelf Life of Canned Tomato Soup

One of the charms of canned soup is its remarkable shelf life, making it a go-to choice for pantries worldwide.

Unopened canned tomato soup can last between 2-5 years stored in a cool, dry place. The actual ‘best by’ date on the can is typically a conservative estimate by the manufacturer for when the soup will be at its peak quality.

Even beyond this date, the soup is likely safe to eat, although its taste and texture may degrade over time. Opened canned tomato soup, on the other hand, follows similar guidelines to homemade soup; see below.

How Long Tomato Soup Lasts

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

Generally, if you leave tomato 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 tomato soup at room temperature, it can last for about 2 hours. However, on hot days when it’s 90°F (32°C) or higher, tomato 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 tomato 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: 3–4 Months

Technically speaking, you can keep frozen tomato 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 3 to 4 months to enjoy it at its freshest and highest quality.

How to Store Tomato Soup

Tomato soup should be cooled and then kept cold. If you’re not planning to serve your tomato soup right away, it’s important to store it correctly to maximize its freshness and taste.

Here are some simple steps to follow:

Refrigerating Tomato Soup

Start by cooling your tomato soup and then transferring it into a clean, air-tight container. Glass containers work great, but if you don’t have any handy, any tightly sealed food storage container will do. Then put it into the refrigerator.

Just remember to eat it within 3-4 days. The cold slows down bacteria growth and keeps your tomato soup tasting just-cooked fresh, but it won’t make it safe to eat forever.

Freezing Tomato Soup

If you made a large pot of tomato soup and can’t finish it in a few days, consider freezing it. Again, you’ll want to use a clean, air-tight container. Just make sure it’s freezer safe!

Leave about an inch of space at the top of the container because the soup will expand when it freezes. This can take up to a few hours. To thaw, place the frozen soup in the refrigerator for 24 hours before you’re planning to serve it.

And there you have it—tomato soup is easy to store and fabulous to have on hand for those cold winter nights when you just need something comforting.

A little bit of care in the storage process ensures that every bowl is as comforting as the first, so don’t skimp on these steps!

How to Tell If Your Tomato Soup Has Gone Bad

Alright, what if you overlooked that container of tomato soup in the back of your fridge?

Or maybe you’re just not sure if it’s still good to eat? Just like anything else, tomato soup can go bad if left for too long, and trust me, spoiled tomato soup is not something you want to taste.

Here are a few tell-tale signs your tomato soup might have turned:

  • Time: If you leave tomato soup sitting out for over 1-2 hours or keep it in the fridge for more than 3-4 days, you should discard it, even if it still seems fine. The bacteria that make us sick don’t change how our food looks, tastes, or feels.
  • Smell: Fresh tomato soup has a pleasant, savory smell. If you open your container and are greeted with a strong, unpleasant odor, it’s time to part ways with your soup.
  • Color: Healthy tomato soup usually boasts a vibrant red or orange color thanks to all the ripe tomatoes. If the color has darkened or looks off, it’s best to err on the side of caution and toss it out.
  • Texture: Tomato soup should have a smooth texture with a nice consistency. If it seems slimy or overly thick, your soup might be past its prime.
  • Taste: This should be your last resort. If your soup passes the previous tests but has a sour or off taste, it’s time for it to go.

Remember, when in doubt, throw it out! It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Tomato soup is quick and easy to make, so why risk it? Make a fresh pot and enjoy the rich, comforting flavors of this winter favorite.

Bottom Line

There we have it, tomato soup enthusiasts!

Your ultimate guide to not only relishing this comforting, rich soup but also ensuring it stays as fresh as the day it was made for every spoonful.

Remember, from the stovetop to the fridge, keeping your tomato soup fresh and ready for those chilly winter nights is a cinch if you follow the simple storage steps we’ve served up. And don’t forget, if your soup seems a little off—be it the 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.