does beef broth go bad after opening

Broth should be refrigerated and used within 7 days of opening. If you opened it more than 7 days ago, throw it out.

So your boxed beef broth has been opened for a couple of days already, and you’re wondering how long beef broth lasts in the fridge.

Or maybe you found an unopened can of beef broth that’s a few months past the printed date. And you started thinking: does beef broth go bad, and if so, how do you tell?

How Long Does Beef Broth Last?

Pantry Fridge
Canned beef broth (unopened) Best by + 3 – 6 months
Canned beef broth (opened) 4 – 7 days
Homemade beef broth 4 days

Beef broth has a shelf life of about 12 to 24 months and typically stays good for at least a couple of extra months. After opening, you can refrigerate it for 4 to 7 days, depending on the brand’s recommendation.

If that’s not long enough, you can easily freeze the leftovers, which I will cover in a minute.

That’s the overview of the shelf life of beef broth.

Next, let’s dive into details.

does beef broth go bad after opening

Open beef broth lasts 4 to 7 days in the fridge, depending on the seller’s recommendations. After that period, the broth is no longer safe to eat, and you should discard it.

Of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the broth is spoiled if stored for more than 4 to 7 days, but it’s no longer safe, and that’s a good enough reason to discard it.

When it comes to the storage period, go with whatever the label says. Usually, the recommendation will be four days, as that’s the official guideline for storing perishable leftovers.

But some brands sell their broth with a slightly longer storage time, and if that’s the case, enjoy those couple of extra days. Or play it safe and stick with the 4-day rule. Up to you.

Once again, instead of trying to squeeze the most out of refrigeration by storing the broth for an extra day or two, it’s better to freeze it. This way, the broth will last much longer, and you don’t have to rely on hope.

Homemade beef broth lasts about four days in the fridge. After that period, it won’t necessarily spoil, but you should consider it unsafe to eat and discard it for safety reasons.

If you’ve cooked a big pot of beef broth and don’t want the leftovers to go bad, it’s best to freeze them as soon as possible. That’s how I go about broth that I know I won’t use within the next couple of days.

Similarly, about four days is how long soup made with beef broth lasts.

Canned and boxed beef broth typically retains quality for at least three to six months beyond the date on the label. Of course, there’s no way to tell precisely how long an unopened beef broth lasts after the “expiration” date, but those three to six months are a reasonably safe assumption.

As you might imagine, every seller recommends using their broth before the printed date. But that doesn’t mean the product will go bad a day, a week, or even a month later. Canned goods tend to last months or even years beyond their dates, and beef broth is no different.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that in 3 years, the broth will be as good as it is today, but it most likely will be perfectly safe to eat. Assuming that the can or box is still intact and there’s no bulging, swelling, or rusting.

The easiest way to go about it is to check the printed date and ask yourself if you’re comfortable using that broth. If not, toss it and call it a day.

But if you are, examine the can or box carefully, and if there’s nothing suspicious going on, open it up and see what’s inside. Then check it against the spoilage signs I list in a later section of the article.

does beef broth go bad after opening

How To Tell if Beef Broth Is Bad?

Discard beef broth if:

  • There’s something wrong with the can or box. If it’s leaking, bulging, or the can has started to rust, assume the broth is no good. Of course, you cannot be sure that it has spoiled, but it’s better to err on the side of caution in this case.
  • It smells off. Beef broth has a pleasant, meaty aroma (combined with the aromatics and herbs used in making it) if it’s fresh. So if yours gives off a sour aroma or simply smells “funny,” it’s gone.
  • It’s opened for too long. If your beef broth is opened for longer than 4 to 7 days (depending on the brand’s recommendation), it’s no longer safe to drink. Again, it’s not necessarily spoiled, you can’t be sure it’s not, either. I sometimes store broth for an extra day or so, but that’s my limit.
  • The taste is off. If everything else is okay, it’s time to take a small sip and assess the flavor. If it has changed and is sour, “funny,” or otherwise off, the broth is spoiled. Broths tend to develop an off smell before their flavor changes, so it’s pretty unlikely to find one that tastes bad but smells alright.

Those are the typical spoilage signs for beef broth.

Now, what if there’s a white layer on the surface or some white particles floating in your broth?

In almost all cases, that will be fat separated from the broth and solidified. That’s a common occurrence and nothing to be worried about. You can skim it if you like, or leave it be – it’ll liquefy when heated.

For homemade beef broth, it’s also normal for the liquid to be cloudy and for some sediment to sit on the bottom. Unless you’ve filtered it using a cheesecloth or something similar, of course.

If it’s stored-bought, however, there most likely shouldn’t be any particles floating in the broth, so that might be a sign that something is wrong. But before you toss the broth, read the label to ensure the brand doesn’t say sediment is okay.

If you’d like to read more, check out my article on the spoilage signs of chicken broth. Both broths are quite similar in that manner.

does beef broth go bad after opening

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, commercially packaged beef broth usually lasts well past the date on the label.

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.

And in the case of beef broth (and canned and boxed foods in general), the product tends to keep for months beyond its date.

That might make you start wondering:

Unfortunately, there’s no way to give you an exact period. It all depends on the production process, the ingredients used, storage practices you follow, and probably even a bit of luck.

That said, there’s a simple approach you can take that works in almost all cases. All you need to do is pick a period you’re comfortable with before you check the printed date.

For instance, it might be three months for boxed beef broth and six months for canned, as canned tends to come with a longer storage time.

Then you read the date on the label, add the period you came up with, and check if the product is within the resulting date.

If it is, and the broth doesn’t show any signs of spoilage (more on that later), you use it. Otherwise, you discard it.

This way, you decide how to go about this upfront instead of bargaining with yourself for 5 minutes until you reach a conclusion that you’ll probably not be happy about.

Next, let’s talk about what to do after opening the broth.

Broth should be refrigerated and used within 7 days of opening. If you opened it more than 7 days ago, throw it out.


How long is beef broth good in fridge after opening?

Homemade chicken broth or beef broth can last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It’s important to store the broth in an airtight container to prevent contamination and ensure that it stays fresh. It’s also a good idea to check the broth for any signs of spoilage before using it, such as a strange odor or off-taste.

Is it OK to use expired beef broth?

It’s generally recommended to discard expired beef broth to avoid potential health issues. If you’re unsure about the safety of a specific product, it’s best to err on the side of caution and dispose of it.

How long is broth good for after opening?

An opened box of chicken broth has a limited amount of time when it is considered to be fresh and ready-to-use. A box of chicken broth is good for 4-5 days (after opening) when stored in the refrigerator.

How can you tell if beef bone broth is bad?

You can tell if bone broth has gone bad for looking at it and smelling it. If you smell anything off or if there is mold growing on your broth then it most certainly is off. A lot of the time these two things are not present, and you are still concerned. In this case you should take a tiny sip and see how it tastes.

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