How Long is Beef Stew Good For in the Refrigerator?

Beef stew is the ultimate comforting food. Full of tender flavourful beef and vegetables simmered in a rich sauce it’s a dish everyone loves. But like any leftover, you may wonder – how long does beef stew last in the fridge?

Here’s a complete guide to maximizing the shelf life and safety of beef stew stored in the refrigerator

Overview of Beef Stew

Beef stew is a classic one-pot dish made by braising beef and vegetables in broth until fall-apart tender. Traditional ingredients include:

  • Beef – chuck, round, or rump roast cut into cubes
  • Onions, carrots, celery
  • Potatoes or other starchy veggies
  • Stock or broth
  • Tomato paste, red wine, soy sauce, etc. for flavour
  • Herbs and seasonings like thyme, rosemary, bay leaves

The long, moist cooking method turns the beef incredibly tender while melding the flavours. Leftover stew can be frozen or refrigerated and makes an easy, hearty meal.

How Long Does Beef Stew Last in the Fridge?

When properly stored, beef stew will keep well in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

To maximize fridge life:

  • Let stew cool completely before refrigerating.
  • Divide into shallow containers to cool quickly.
  • Cover tightly or transfer to airtight containers.
  • Use oldest leftovers within 3 days.
  • Freeze if won’t be consumed within 4 days.

If it has been handled and refrigerated correctly, beef stew should stay fresh for a 3-4 day window, even if leftovers remain.

Signs Beef Stew Has Spoiled

Check leftover beef stew carefully before eating. If it shows any of the following signs, it has spoiled and should be discarded:

  • Sour, unpleasant odour
  • Weird mold or fuzzy bacterial growth
  • Drastically changed colour or consistency
  • Off tastes and textures

Trust your senses – if beef stew smells or tastes unpleasant in any way, play it safe and throw it out. Don’t risk eating spoiled food.

Does Acidity Affect Beef Stew’s Fridge Life?

The level of acidity in beef stew can impact how long it lasts refrigerated. Acids help inhibit bacterial growth.

Stews made with tomato sauce, red wine, vinegar, citrus tend to be more acidic. These can keep slightly longer – up to 5 days.

Non-acidic stews made without these ingredients have a shorter shelf life of only 3-4 days.

When in doubt, stick to the 3-4 day guideline for non-acidic stews to be safe. Use acidified stew within 5 days.

Storing Beef Stew Safely

To help beef stew last as long as possible:

  • Allow to cool completely before refrigerating.
  • Divide into shallow containers for fast cooling.
  • Cover tightly or transfer to airtight containers.
  • Never leave stew at room temperature longer than 2 hours.
  • Use clean utensils each time to avoid contamination.
  • Don’t return previously served portions to the leftovers.

Proper cooling and air-tight storage are vital for maximizing refrigerated life.

Freezing Leftover Beef Stew

For longer term storage, freeze beef stew in airtight containers. It will keep for 2-3 months frozen.

Let stew cool completely before freezing. Portion into reusable containers leaving 1-inch headspace. Seal tightly.

Thaw stew overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Avoid refreezing previously thawed stew. Cook within 3-4 days or discard.

Reheating Beef Stew Safely

When reheating beef stew:

  • Only reheat once – don’t keep reheating leftovers.
  • Heat thoroughly until piping hot – at least 165°F.
  • Bring gravy or sauce to a boil.
  • Use a cooking thermometer to check temperature.
  • Stir occasionally for even heating.
  • Don’t microwave in metal containers.

Properly reheated beef stew should be hot and steaming throughout. Discard if it stays cold in the center after reheating.

Food Safety Tips

To prevent bacteria growth and foodborne illness:

  • Refrigerate beef stew within 2 hours of cooking.
  • Never leave stew at room temperature overnight.
  • Don’t cross-contaminate by returning served portions to the leftovers. Use clean utensils.
  • Divide into shallow portions to allow for rapid cooling.
  • Only reheat leftovers once. Discard after reheating.
  • Look for signs of spoilage before consuming leftovers. When in doubt, throw it out!

Practice good food safety habits when preparing, handling and storing beef stew to maximize freshness and avoid foodborne illnesses.

The Bottom Line

When properly stored, cooked beef stew keeps well for 3 to 4 days refrigerated. Acidic stews with tomato or wine can keep for 5 days. Freeze beef stew in airtight containers for 2-3 months to extend the shelf life.

Monitor for any signs of spoilage and don’t risk eating stew that smells, looks, or tastes off. Follow food safety best practices and trust your judgment! With proper handling, beef stew will keep safely in the fridge to be enjoyed all week long.

Ask the Test Kitchen: How Long Will Meat Last in the Fridge?


Can you eat 5 day old beef stew?

USDA recommends using cooked beef within 3 to 4 days, kept refrigerated (40°F or less). Refrigeration slows but does not stop bacterial growth. USDA recommends using cooked leftovers within 3 to 4 days.

How long is homemade stew good for in the fridge?

Storing & Reheating Stews Follow these guidelines to keep stew fresh and ready for reheating: Cover tightly when completely cool and refrigerate up to 3 days. Stew made with fish or shellfish should be refrigerated for no more than 1 day. Thaw in refrigerator if frozen and use promptly.

Can I eat stew after a week?

How long do leftovers last? According to the FDA Food Code, all perishable foods that are opened or prepared should be thrown out after 7 days, maximum. No leftovers should survive in your fridge for longer than that.

Is 6 day old soup ok?

Most soups can only last in a refrigerator for 3 to 4 days until they risk going bad, so make sure you place your cooled vegetable soup promptly in the freezer before this point. Make sure your soup lasts well by placing it in an airtight freezer-safe container.

How long does beef stew last in the fridge?

It’s also a good idea to divide the stew into smaller portions before refrigerating it, as this will help it to cool down more quickly and evenly. Once it’s properly stored in the fridge, beef stew can last for several days while maintaining its quality and safety. How Long Can You Keep Beef Stew in the Fridge?

Can you leave beef stew out before putting it in the fridge?

Yes, you can leave beef stew out to cool before putting it in the fridge. Just be sure to do so within 2 hours of cooking to prevent bacterial growth. Home » Learn » How long does beef stew last in the fridge?

Does stew need to be refrigerated?

There is no compromise to texture when the stew is refrigerated and then warmed up again, making it perfect for making ahead of time. The longer the stew rests, the more depth the flavors will have and the better it will taste. You’ll find that stew tastes better on the second or third day in the fridge.

How long do you let stew cool before putting it in the fridge?

It’s important to allow it to cool before putting it in the fridge so that it doesn’t make your refrigerator work extra hard at keeping the temperature inside cool enough to keep your other food at the appropriate temperature. It’s best to allow the stew to cool on the counter for up to two hours, but no more.

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