Whether you’re feeling under the weather or just fancy a delicious and hearty meal, there’s nothing quite like digging into a hot bowl of chicken soup. Whether you’ve lovingly made it yourself or been given some of your Gran’s famous homemade chicken soup, you might be wondering how long you can safely keep it in the fridge. How long can you preserve this family favorite? How long does chicken soup last in the fridge?
The answer depends on a few different factors, but on average, chicken soup can last for up to 3 or 4 days if the ingredients are fresh and it is handled and stored properly. Soups with dairy may shorten the shelf life.
Chicken soup is often made using delicious and heartwarming ingredients such as chicken, vegetables, herbs and spices and sometimes even noodles for an extra layer of deliciousness all simmered together to create a hearty broth. It’s understandable that you’ll want to prolong how long you can keep it in the fridge.
Whether you’re an avid home cook looking to make your chicken soup last as long as possible, or simply love your chicken soup, this blog is for you. Today we’re going to talk about how long chicken soup lasts in the fridge as well as factors that may affect its shelf life, tips for storing chicken soup in the fridge, and also signs of spoilage you should look out for so that you can make it last as long as possible.
Factors that affect the shelf life of chicken soup
As mentioned above, there are many factors that could affect the shelf life of your chicken soup. Knowing how to avoid the factors that could affect its shelf life and safety will help you store it for as long as possible.
The quality and age of the ingredients used will have a significant impact on how long the chicken soup will last in the fridge. If any of the ingredients were nearing their expiration date, the chicken soup would spoil faster. Using fresh vegetables, a freshly cooked chicken, herbs and spices will significantly prolong its shelf life.
It’s also important to look into each ingredient to see the role it plays and why your soup may spoil faster:
Soups that contain proteins like chicken are more perishable. Bacteria grows quickly on protein, which means your soup may spoil faster if there’s lots of chicken in your soup which in a chicken soup, there will be.
If you’ve added any acidic ingredients such as tomato or a squeeze of lemon your soup may actually last longer as the acid can slow down the growth of bacteria.
If you’ve finished off your soup with a swirl of cream or milk, your soup may be susceptible to spoiling faster. Dairy products perish very quickly and will shorten the fridge life your chicken soup has.
If you’ve added salt or other types of preservatives to your soup it might last a bit longer because salt can help slow the growth of bacteria.
The type of storage containers you use can and will impact how long your chicken soup will last in the fridge. Your best bet is to go for air-tight containers made of glass or BPA-free plastic. If they are warped in anyway, they may no longer be completely air-tight, despite the lid still fitting on. These types of containers help preserve the food and because of their air-tight qualities, help prevent other foods in your fridge from contaminating what’s inside.
Temperature its stored at
If your fridge temperature is above 40°F or 4°C, it might not be safe to store your chicken soup. Like most foods, chicken soup needs to be stored at or below 40°F or 4°C to stop bacteria growing, so the temperature of your fridge is another factor to take into consideration.
When cooling the soup after cooking, avoid leaving it out at room temperature for too long. Being sat at room temperature puts it at a higher risk of bacterial growth and therefore, spoiling faster.
How long ago the soup was made
You need to take into consideration how long ago the soup was made. If you’ve received your delicious soup from a friend or family member, it’s worth asking when it was made so you can assess when you need to use it up by.
Not only that, the longer it sits in your fridge, the more chance you have of it losing its quality and eventually spoils. You’d be better off enjoying the soup within the first few days to enjoy the taste and quality.
If you are constantly opening the storage containers to take a portion out, you could be inadvertently contaminating your soup. Make sure to wash your hands before handling the soup, and only use clean utensils when serving yourself a portion. To avoid any cross contamination, you could divide the soup into portioned containers, meaning you won’t risk contaminating your soup.
Tips for Properly Storing Chicken Soup in the Fridge
Prolonging the shelf life of your chicken soup can boil down to the way you handle it before storing it. Ensuring you properly store your chicken soup will help keep its freshness, taste and safety. Let’s take a look at some all-important tops so you can store your chicken soup safely:
- Cool it down properly – it’s important to let your soup cool down to room temperature before putting it in the fridge. Failure to do so could mean you raise the internal temperature of the fridge, which could lead to bacterial growth not only on your soup, but the other food in your fridge too.
- Properly label and date your containers – regardless of whether you’re a home chef or not, it’s always a good idea to label your food. This will help remind you when you need to use the soup by, and can help with stock rotation if you have made another batch.
- Use air-tight containers – as mentioned above, using air-tight containers prevents air, bacteria and moisture from getting in, which could cause the soup to lose shelf life.
- Don’t leave the soup out for too long – as soon as your soup has cooled down it’s important to get it into air-tight containers and into the fridge. Try to get it in the fridge within 2 hours of cooking to minimize the risk of bacteria growing.
- Consume it in a reasonable timeframe – while you’ve got up to 4 days to consume your soup, it’s going to taste better the fresher it is. As time goes on, the flavor and quality will begin to diminish.
- Store it in the right place in the fridge – the best place is usually the middle or lower shelves of your fridge because the temperature is more consistent. Don’t store it in the door as this is a place in the fridge that experiences fluctuating temperatures when it’s opened and closed.
How to Spot Spoiled Chicken Soup
It’s important to know what to look for when it comes to spoiled chicken soup. After all, you don’t want to risk it and end up getting sick. Let’s take a look at some of the signs to look out for in spoiled chicken soup.
An off smell
One of the first tell-tale signs chicken soup has gone off is an unpleasant odor. If it smells off or anything other than what you’d expect for chicken soup, you’re better off throwing it away.
If you notice any mold on the surface of the soup, it’s gone bad. Mold can be anything from black spots to fuzzy green patches. Regardless of what it looks like, if there’s anything on your soup that wasn’t there before, it’s now spoiled.
If your chicken soup has spoiled you may notice it has changed color slightly or even gone a much darker color. Don’t risk it and bin the soup.
A weird texture
If you notice that the soup has changed in texture, perhaps now slimy or gritty, then it’s probably gone bad. Use your gut feeling and avoid eating the soup.
If you notice any bubbles or gas on the surface of your soup, there’s a good chance it’s because there has been some bacterial growth. You’ll often find this if you’ve left the soup for a little bit too long. Don’t risk it!
If there are no other signs but you’re not sure if your soup is spoiled, taste a small amount on the end of a spoon. If it tastes bitter or any different than a chicken soup should, then there’s a chance it has spoiled. Avoid eating it and make a new batch instead.
So, how long does chicken soup last in the fridge? We’ve learned that 3-4 days is the safest time frame. Being aware of the factors that can affect the shelf life of chicken soup and storing it properly helps prolong the life of your chicken soup. Remember to look out for the signs of spoilage to avoid getting sick!