Yes, if kept in the refrigerator for three to four days or frozen for a few months, beef broth can go bad.
I have to stay on top of food safety as a trained chef whether I’m using store-bought or homemade ingredients. So, I can answer your questions regarding beef broth.
In this article, I address the question of whether beef broth spoils and provide the best advice for keeping your broth fresh longer. Let’s begin!.
Does Beef Broth Go Bad?
Canned and boxed beef broth typically comes with a suggested shelf life of between six months and two years, but it usually keeps for at least another three months beyond the printed date. And if you store it in a cool and dark place away from heat sources and ensure the seal stays untouched, it’ll likely keep for much longer.
In other words, beef broth sold in commercial packaging typically keeps well after the expiration date.
Of course, most brands recommend using their beef broth within those two years of canning, but that printed date is only a best-by date. It basically means the seller guarantees quality up until the printed date, but that doesn’t mean the product will suddenly go bad a couple of days or weeks later.
Additionally, beef broth tends to remain fresh for months after its expiration date (as do canned and boxed foods in general).
That might make you start wondering:
Unfortunately, there’s no way to give you an exact period. Everything depends on how it is made, the ingredients it contains, how it is stored, and possibly even a little bit of luck.
Nevertheless, there is a straightforward method you can use that is effective almost always. Before checking the printed date, all you have to do is choose a timeframe that you feel comfortable with.
For instance, because canned food typically has a longer shelf life than boxed food, it might be three months for beef broth and six months for canned.
Then you add the time you calculated, read the date on the label, and determine whether the product is within the resulting date.
If it is, and there are no indications that the broth has spoiled (more on that later), you use it. Otherwise, you discard it.
By doing this, you make a decision about how to approach this in advance rather than debating with yourself for five minutes before coming to a decision that you’ll probably regret.
Let’s discuss what to do after opening the broth next.
How Long Does Beef Broth Last in the Fridge?
After opening the can or box, beef broth typically lasts 4 to 5 days if you seal it tightly in an airtight container or lidded pot and refrigerate it. If that’s not long enough, you can freeze the leftovers for later.
Regardless of the brand you choose to purchase from, you can rely on this 4- to 5-day window as a fairly safe estimate. That said, some brands recommend longer storage times.
However, I wouldn’t feel particularly comfortable storing a partially opened can of broth in the refrigerator for more than those four to five days. That’s why I suggest you freeze any leftovers instead.
(We’ll talk about freezing in a moment.)
What about homemade beef broth?
Homemade chicken broth keeps for 3 to 4 days of cooking if you refrigerate it sealed tightly in a lidded pot or airtight container. Let the broth cool to about room temperature before you place it in the fridge, but limit the cooldown period to two hours.
Online recipes might claim that homemade beef broth keeps for up to a week. Although your beef broth may remain in good condition for a full week, the 3- to 4-day window is much safer and reduces the likelihood of discovering spoiled broth in the fridge.
As I’ve said more than once, freezing the broth is a much better option than hoping it will keep for one or two more days.
Now, let’s talk about the spoilage signs.
How to Tell if Beef Broth Is Bad?
Discard your beef broth if:
- It’s unopened and the can or box is compromised. The broth is unsafe if the can is swollen or bulging, the seal is broken, or it is leaking. You can’t trust it even if it smells like the best broth you’ve ever had if the container has been tampered with.
- It smells bad. The good news is that spoiled beef broth, especially home-made versions, typically has an odd or sour odor. ” Remove the lid and take a deep whiff of the broth. If it doesn’t pass the sniff test, toss it.
- It sits in the fridge longer than suggested. Throw away any homemade beef broth that has been kept in the refrigerator for more than a week or any store-bought broth that has been kept for a few extra days.
- It tastes bad. Take a sip of the broth before using it if it has been sitting in the refrigerator for a few days or if you opened a can that has been “expired” for a few months. If there’s anything wrong with the flavor, discard it.
Those are the typical spoilage signs for beef broth. But err on the side of caution and discard the broth if you discover anything else that doesn’t seem right. Better safe than sorry.
However, before I conclude this section, allow me to bring up two points:
- It’s normal for fat to accumulate on top. After a few hours of refrigeration, there may be a thin, white layer of fat on top when you open the container or pot. That’s especially common for homemade broth. Depending on your tastes, you could either use it or scrape it off. I always use it.
- Broth can get a bit cloudy in the fridge. Additionally, if the broth is homemade, you might notice some sediment on the bottom if you didn’t properly filter it before storing it. Store-bought broth is typically filtered, but if in doubt, read the label.
Next up, let’s talk about storage.
Does Beef Broth Need to Be Refrigerated?
You must store any leftover beef broth in the refrigerator after opening the can or box. Within two hours of cooking or opening, allow the broth to cool to about room temperature before transferring it to a sealed container or lidded pot.
(That’s the 2-hour rule in practice.)
Of course, you can choose to adhere to that rule to the letter. If the broth remains on the counter for an additional 15 to 60 minutes, I don’t see a problem. But if I ever did leave beef broth at room temperature, I would throw it out as soon as I woke up.
The issue of perishable food storage being limited to room temperature has to do with how quickly bacteria multiply at various temperatures.
At cold temperatures, say in the fridge, they multiply very slowly. Then, when the temperature is between 40°F – 140°F (about 5°C – 60°C), they grow much faster and, given enough time, can get to levels that will cause food poisoning.
Because of this, it is only safe to leave perishable foods at room temperature for a very short time—about two hours.
Finally, let’s talk about freezing beef broth.
Can You Freeze Beef Broth?
It is simple to freeze beef broth by portioning it out, pouring it into freezer containers or ice cube trays, and then putting them in the freezer. The broth should taste okay for much longer than that, but it should maintain quality for at least two to three months.
Plan your use for the broth in general before you freeze it. You’ll learn how to portion it this way, making it simple to use in the future.
I like to freeze broths in freezer-safe airtight containers, but some people prefer to freeze broth portions flat in freezer bags.
Place the freezer bag in a bowl before adding the broth. This minimizes cleanup in the event that the bag leaks.
But regardless of whether you use bags or containers, leave room for the broth to expand.
You can also freeze the liquid in a muffin tin or an ice cube tray. If you use beef broth sparingly, such as to boost the flavor of a pan sauce or salad dressing, either choice works well.
Beef Broth Shelf Life and Spoilage Summary
Thanks for reading this primer on beef broth. Here are the key takeaways:
- Beef broth that has not been opened usually remains fresh for months after its expiration date. You should throw away the can or box if it has leaks, bulges, swelling, or a broken seal. The same applies if it has been printed after the date but not by as much as you are comfortable.
- Beef broth typically keeps in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days after opening. Some brands let you keep their partially opened broth for a few days longer, but those 4 to 5 days are a reasonable estimate that you should stick to. If you require more time, beef broth can always be frozen.
- Beef broth requires refrigeration after opening. Within two hours of cooking or opening the can, place it in the refrigerator in a covered pot or airtight container.
What products are still good to use after its expiration date?
Is it OK to use expired beef broth?
Yes, beef broth that has passed its expiration date can make you sick. Because of this, it is best to avoid taking a chance with canned or boxed broth. It is best to throw away the broth if the expiration date on the packaging is more than a week past due.
How long is boxed beef broth good past date?
The suggested shelf life for canned and boxed beef broth is typically between six months and two years, but it typically lasts at least another three months after the printed date.
Can you eat broth after expiration date?
Unopened chicken broth keeps for up to a year after the printed date, making it a popular pantry staple. Cook away if the chicken broth’s sell-by date is within a year and you’ve stored it correctly, in a dry and cool place.
When has beef broth gone bad?
The best way to determine whether opened beef broth is bad or spoiled is to smell it and examine it: if the beef broth develops an off flavor, odor, or appearance, or if mold appears, it should be thrown away. Any cans or packages of beef broth that are leaking, rusting, bulging, or severely dented should be thrown away.