Nothing like a big pot of beef stew on a cold winter day, whether you’ve made a big batch of beef stew to last you through the week or bought one from your favorite restaurant.
And you’re probably wondering how long it will stay fresh or how long beef stew last in the fridge. And is there a way to make it last longer? This blog post will answer those questions and provide tips for extending the life of your beef stew.
- The beef stew will last for 3-4 days in the fridge with proper storage. However, it is always best to consume it sooner rather than later for optimal flavor and quality.
- To reheat, bring it back up to temperature slowly over low heat. This will help preserve the flavors and prevent the meat from drying.
- Discard the stew immediately if you see any spoilage, such as mold or an off-odor. Do not attempt to salvage it, as it could pose a serious health risk.
How long does beef stew last in the fridge?
Beef stew is a hearty dish that can be made ahead of time and reheated, so it’s great for meal prep. After making a big batch of beef stew, you may wonder how long it will last in the fridge.
Beef stew will last in the fridge for 3-4 days. Because it is a thick dish, it may take a little longer to heat up through. When reheating, be sure to simmer on low until heated all the way through. Make sure you store beef stew in an airtight container in the fridge. Doing this can keep it fresher for longer and prevent it from drying out.
Proven tips to keep your stew tasting great
Keeping it from going bad is essential regardless of how you’ve prepared your beef stew. These nine tips ensure that your stew will last for days and still taste great.
1 Always refrigerate beef stew.
If you prepare beef stew for meal prep, let it cool at room temperature, and be sure to refrigerate it as soon as possible. Bacteria thrive in warm temperatures, so getting your stew into the fridge right away is crucial. It’s best to store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will help to keep the bacteria from growing and prevent your stew from going bad.
2 Don’t leave beef stew out for more than two hours.
If you’re serving beef stew at a party or potluck, refrigerate it until serving time. And don’t leave it out for more than two hours. Why is that? The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that cooked food be left out no more than two hours before it should be refrigerated. After that, bacteria can start to grow, and the food can become unsafe to eat.
3 Don’t reheat beef stew more than once.
Don’t reheat beef stew more than once. Why is that? Reheating any food multiple times can decrease its quality, make it more susceptible to bacterial growth, and cause the meat to dry out and make the vegetables mushy. Since food gets reheated, the temperature doesn’t always get hot enough to kill bacteria. So, if you’re going to reheat your beef stew, only do it once.
4 Reheat the beef stew over low heat.
When it comes to reheating beef stew, low and slow is the way to go. This will help to ensure that the beef stew is heated evenly and doesn’t dry out.
It will also change the flavor and texture of the dish after reheating. If you reheat beef stew too quickly, the beef will become tough. The vegetables will also lose their flavor and become mushy.
So, when reheating beef stew, be sure to do so over low heat and take your time. Preparing your beef stew this way ensures it will taste just as good (if not better) the second time around.
- If you’re reheating beef stew on the stovetop, place it in a pot over low heat and occasionally stir until it’s heated. You may need a little water if the beef stew seems too thick.
- If you’re reheating beef stew in the microwave, place it in a microwave-safe dish and heat it on low power for 1-2 minutes. Again, you may need to add a little water to the dish if the beef stew seems too thick.
Once the beef stew is heated, you can serve it as is or with other side dishes.
5 Serve beef stew hot with a side of bread or over mashed potatoes.
Beef stew is best served hot with a side of bread or over mashed potatoes (recipe here). This will help soak up all beef stew’s delicious gravy and flavors. Check my post here to learn more about what goes well with beef stew.
6 Don’t let the beef stew come to a boil when reheating it.
The best way to reheat beef stew is on the stovetop over low heat; allowing it to come to a boil can make the meat tough.
- A high temperature denatures and unravels the proteins in meat. It makes chewing them more difficult.
- The connective tissue in the meat breaks down, making it less tender.
So, if you want your beef stew to be as delicious as possible, reheat it slowly! If you’re in a hurry, you can reheat beef stew in the microwave, but it won’t be as good as if you took your time.
7 Label the container with the date
Protein, vitamins, and minerals make beef stew an extremely nutrient-rich dish. However, like all cooked food, it will eventually go bad.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends eating beef stew within three to four days of cooking it. If you keep it in the fridge for longer, you might risk food poisoning.
However, if you freeze beef stew, it can last for up to six months. Meal prep or leftovers are made easy because of this. When ready to eat, simply thaw it in the fridge overnight and reheat it on the stove.
8 Add a little water or broth
As you reheat the beef stew, add some water or broth to the pot if the stew looks too thick. You can also add some more liquid when you’re reheating individual portions. Once your beef stew is heated, let it sit for a few minutes before serving. This will help the flavors to meld together and make the stew even more delicious.
9 If you have leftovers, freeze them
The beef stew will last in the fridge for three to four days if you have leftovers. But, if you want it to last longer, you can freeze it. Just be sure to store it in an airtight container, so it doesn’t get a freezer burn. It last in the freezer for six to eight months.
Common mistakes that make beef stew go bad in the fridge
Many people make mistakes when storing beef stew in the fridge, which causes it to go bad quickly. Let’s take a look at the most common mistakes:
1 Not sealing the beef stew properly
One of the biggest mistakes people make is not sealing their beef stew properly before putting it in the fridge. If there is even a tiny opening in the container, air will get in and dry out the stew, causing it to spoil. Keeping beef stew fresh in the refrigerator requires a tightly-sealed container.
This allows air to enter and speeds up oxidation, which will cause your beef stew to go bad quicker. Exposure to oxygen causes the meat to turn brown and dry out.
2 Storing beef stew in a warm place
The ideal temperature for storing beef stew is below 40°F. Keeping it on a warm surface, such as a countertop, will cause bacteria to grow and spoil the stew. Moreover, beef and vegetables release moisture in a warmer environment. Bacteria thrive in this environment and will likely multiply rapidly and spoil the beef stew. So, if you must store beef stew in a warm place, it should be consumed within 2 hours.
3 Not eating beef stew within three days.
Beef stew is a dish of various ingredients, including beef, vegetables, and other liquids. These ingredients can go bad quickly if they are not stored properly.
The long-simmering process of beef stew also results in a lot of moisture, accelerating spoilage.
So, it is best to eat beef stew within three days of making it. If you don’t think you’ll be able to eat it all within three days, you can freeze the beef stew. It will last for up to six months in the freezer.
4 Storing beef stew in a container that’s too big
Another mistake people make is storing beef stew in an oversized container. Therefore, the container has a lot of space, allowing air to get in and speeding up the oxidation process.
This might seem like a minor mistake, but it can significantly impact the beef stew’s shelf life. When there’s too much air in the container, it can cause the beef stew to go rancid more quickly. The best way to avoid this mistake is to store the beef stew in a container that’s just big enough for it.
5 Not refrigerating beef stew immediately.
Another mistake people make is not refrigerating their beef stew immediately after cooking it. What I meant by “immediately” is within 2 hours. Leaving beef stew at room temperature for too long would be a mistake because the longer it sits at room temperature, the more time bacteria have to grow. And once bacteria start growing, it can cause the beef stew to go bad quickly. So, it’s important to refrigerate beef stew as soon as it cools down.
6 Not using an appropriate storage container.
Another mistake is not using an appropriate storage container for beef stew. The best container type is made from glass or ceramic, as these materials won’t allow air to pass through them. Plastic containers are also a good option, but choose one that’s airtight.
How long does beef stew last in the fridge?
If you have stored your beef stew correctly in the fridge, it should last 3-4 days. However, if you notice that the beef stew has changed color or texture or has developed a sour smell, dump it.
How to store beef stew in the freezer?
Beef stew can last in the freezer for up to six months. When ready to eat, thaw the beef stew in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it on the stovetop over low heat until warm. To prevent freezer burn, wrap the beef stew tightly in plastic or aluminum foil.
Let the stew cool completely. You don’t want to add hot food to your freezer as it will raise the temperature and potentially cause other items in the freezer to thaw.
Portion the stew into airtight containers. You could use freezer-safe bags, plastic wrap, or aluminum foil. If you are using bags, make sure to press as much air out as possible before sealing. Portioning the stew into individual servings or meal-sized portions will make it easier to thaw and reheat later.
Label and date the containers. Keeping track of the date you froze the beef stew is essential. By labeling and dating your containers, you’ll know precisely how long the beef stew has been in the freezer and can plan accordingly. The general rule of thumb is frozen food can last up to six months before it starts to deteriorate.
Place the containers in the freezer and enjoy them within six months! Arrange the containers in the freezer, so they are easy to find and grab when you’re ready to eat them. Do not overlap them. Spread them out so that they do not touch. This will help them freeze quicker and prevent them from sticking together.
When ready to eat the beef stew, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it on the stovetop over low heat until warm.
How long does beef stew last in the freezer?
Beef stew can last in the freezer for up to six months. When ready to eat, simply thaw it in the fridge overnight and reheat it on the stove. To ensure optimal quality, wrap it tightly in freezer-safe packaging.
How to thaw frozen beef stew
The best way to thaw frozen beef stew is in the refrigerator. Take it out of the freezer and place it in the fridge for about 24 hours. Beef stew will remain moist by doing this. You can also cook frozen beef stew in a slow cooker on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
How to reheat the beef stew
Reheating the beef stew is pretty simple. Then, after removing it from the fridge, heat it in a pot over low heat. You’ll want to stir it occasionally to ensure that all the stew heats evenly. Once it’s heated, you can serve it up and enjoy it!
How to tell if beef stew goes bad?
You know, you’ve been storing beef stew in the fridge for a couple of days now, and you’re wondering if it’s still safe to eat. If these things happen, the beef stew has gone bad, and it is no longer safe to eat. After all, you don’t want to get sick.
Here are a few ways to tell if beef stew has gone bad:
1 Change of texture:
If the beef stew changes its texture and becomes mushy or slimy, it is no longer safe to consume. If the texture of beef stew changes, it means that the meat has started to decompose.
If the beef stew changes color, it is another sign that it has gone bad. The color change is usually from the brownish color of the beef stew to a greenish or grayish color. Likewise, this occurs because of the breakdown of the meat.
3 The smell is off:
If the beef stew starts to smell bad, it is yet another sign that it has gone bad. The smell is usually a sour or rotting smell. Color and texture are affected by the same phenomenon, namely the breakdown of proteins.
4 Mold growth:
Mold can grow on bad food because the conditions are right for it to grow. If there is mold growing on the beef stew, you should discard it. A warm, moist, and dark environment is necessary for mold to grow.
With proper storage, beef stew can last in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-6 months. Use these guidelines to help you determine how long your beef stew will last.