how long does beef broth last

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.

Beef broth can sometimes be an overlooked component to a recipe or soup. However, when you have a great broth, it takes your dish or soup to a whole new level. I learned this when I first added soup bones to my favorite vegetable beef soup recipe and have never looked back.

However, making beef broth is a large time commitment that takes the better part of a day. Though most of the simmering time is fairly hands-off, making broth is still a large chunk of time to commit. As such, when I make broth I make a lot of it with the intention of using it for several meals.

In this article we will dive into all your questions on how long beef broth will last and how to store it properly to ensure you will be able to enjoy it for several meals as well. We then finish with my favorite beef broth recipe that is simple, yet delicious.

Beef broth, like most other foods, should not be left on the counter at room temperature for more than two hours. This refers to both homemade beef broth or store bought beef broth that has been opened. If you have store bought beef broth still in the original container, I would go by the expiration date on the package to determine its shelf life.

If you look at the expiration date on store bought beef broth and you are past it by a month or two, you are still probably ok. However, if you see any bulging of the box, rusting of the can or any other red flags, throw it out.

Provided you store your beef broth in a container with an air-tight covering, you can expect homemade beef broth to last around 3 days in the fridge before it starts to go bad. If you are saving store bought broth, it will likely last 4 days as it has extra preservatives meant to extend its shelf life. However, I would make sure to transfer your store bought beef broth to another container that has an air-tight lid.

Saving in the fridge is a great way to store beef broth that you anticipate using in the next few days. I would just make sure to give it a stir before using as settling does occur, especially in homemade beef broth.

Yes. Beef broth freezes very well with little to no impact to its quality. In fact, I make it a point to always have beef broth in my freezer for whenever the occasion calls for it. The important thing to remember, in addition to freezing it in freezer bags or containers that are air-tight, is to freeze it portions that will be convenient to thaw and use. This will assure none goes to waste.

Whether homemade or store bought, beef broth will be good in the freezer for around 6 months before its flavor may begin to be impacted. This of course assumes it’s stored properly in freezer bags or freezer containers with an air-tight lid. If using freezer bags, make sure you push as much air out as possible before freezing. I would also mark the date you put it in the freezer to make sure you can plan to use it within six months.

Beef broth is pretty easy to thaw as it doesn’t have a temperamental texture to worry about. If I have time, I will usually just stick it in the fridge for a day or so until thawed. If using freezer bags, make sure you put the whole bag in a bowl before putting in the fridge just in case there are any leaks in the bag. I’ve learned this the hard way on too many occasions.

However, if you have less time, you can run the freezer bag or container under water until it detaches from the sides and dump it into a sauce pan and finish defrosting on the stove. I usually use medium-low heat for this.

You can also pour it into a microwavable safe dish and defrost in the microwave as well. I would heat on high and stir every minute or so until completely thawed and warmed to your liking.

As I say with most foods, you can tell if beef broth is bad by using your senses. If you notice mold or anything else floating in your broth that shouldn’t be there, throw it out. Also, if you notice any off smells or oder, get rid of it.

If you don’t notice any oder or anything that looks off, I would taste your broth prior to using it in a recipe if you have any concerns whether it is bad. If it tastes off, throw it out. Bad beef broth can cause illness and ruin the rest of your dish if it is bad. It’s not worth keeping if you have any doubt whether it is still good. As I always say, when in doubt, throw it out.

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.

how long does beef broth last

Is beef broth good for you?

Yes. Beef broth contains protein from the beef and marrow from the bones that has been associated with reduced risks of diabetes, heart disease and other cancers.

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.

how long does beef broth last

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.

how long does beef broth last

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.


How long does broth last in the fridge?

How long does homemade chicken broth last? Homemade chicken broth is a laborious task but reaps delicious results. In the refrigerator, your homemade broth will last 3-4 days. To extend your broth’s freshness, store the broth in the freezer for up to 6 months.

What are the white specks in beef broth?

The little white dots in your canned Puritan beef stew are likely fat globules that have solidified. This is a common occurrence in canned stews and soups, especially those containing meat. While not harmful, some people prefer to remove these solidified fat globules before consuming the stew.

What is the difference between beef broth and beef stock?

Broth is stock’s cousin but has some key differences. Although both stock and broth involve simmering in water, broth uses meat while stock uses bones. As a result, broth contains very little protein, a key ingredient in building flavor.

What is the difference between broth and stock?

Stock is generally made from bones, and broth is generally made from flesh. In both cases, they are often supported with aromatic vegetables, but in the case of stock, left unseasoned for maximum flexibility in recipes, whereas broth will usually contain at least salt and pepper.

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