The Step You Shouldn't Forget When Reheating Frozen Chili

There's something that's just so soothing about a bowl of homemade chili. Warm and comforting, with a hearty mix of ingredients that you can fully customize, it's the perfect meal on a cold winter day. Whether your go-to dish is a variation on the classic recipe of beef, beans, and spices cooked in a tomato base, like a bold beef chili with pancetta, ancho, and chocolate, a vegetarian or vegan version, or somewhere in between, chances are, you're going to make a big batch of it. After all, making great tasting chili takes time and effort. You might as well make a lot of it.

Chili is a great dish to make ahead to serve later, and will generally last three to four days in the fridge, according to Still Tasty. Chili also freezes well, so you can enjoy it much later — properly stored, chili will maintain its quality in the freezer for four to six months. When freezing chili, let it cool to room temperature first, then transfer it to an airtight container. Portion it out for easier reheating later on. It's best to freeze the chili the same day it's made rather than waiting a few days — as Cooks Illustrated confirmed, the improvements to the flavor of the chili will have already taken place during the cooling down period.

How to reheat frozen chili

For the best results, it's just as important to take the right steps to reheat the chili properly. First step is to defrost the chili, and the best way to do that is to plan ahead and put the frozen chili in the fridge overnight to thaw out. Otherwise, you can also submerge the container in cold water or use the microwave.

Once defrosted, you can then reheat the chili in a pot or pan on the stove, in the microwave, in the oven, or in a slow cooker. In all cases, don't forget to add a little bit of water — MasterClass recommends half a cup if you're reheating an entire pot — to the chili and stirring it before you reheat it, to prevent the chili from drying out.  If you're concerned about diluting the flavor of the chili with the water, you can use some chicken stock or tomato sauce as the liquid instead.