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.
Table of Contents
How Long Does Beef Broth Last on the Counter?
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.
How Long Does Beef Broth Last in the Fridge?
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.
Can Beef Broth be Stored in the Freezer?
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.
How Long Does Beef Broth Last in the Freezer?
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.
As with most frozen foods, it is better to enjoy sooner rather than later.
What is the Best Way to Thaw Beef Broth?
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.
How to Tell if Beef Broth has Gone Bad
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.
Beef Broth Recipe
Beef Broth Recipe
- 1 Large pot
- 1 Roasting pan
- 3 to 4 Pounds Meaty Beef Soup Bones
- 2 Onions Quartered
- 4 Ribs Celery Cut into 3" pieces
- 4 Carrots Cut into 3" pieces
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Whole peppercorns
- 4 Cloves Fresh Garlic
- 4 Bay Leaves
- 5 Sprigs of Fresh Parsley
- 1 tsp Dried Thyme
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Paprika
- 1 cup Warm water
- Cold Water
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and arrange the soup bones into a roasting dish
- Roast soup bones for 30 minutes uncovered. After 30 minutes, add carrots, onion, and celery and roast for another 30 minutes uncovered.
- Once done roasting, transfer the bones and vegetables to a large pot. I like to use a large pasta pot with a built in strainer. This makes it easier to strain the broth when it's done simmering. I would use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the bones and vegetables first, then pour in the remaining liquids from the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Use the cup of warm water and a plastic spatula to scrape the beef bits off the bottom of the roasting pan and add to the pot with the bones and veggies. This adds a rich, beefy flavor to the broth.
- Fill the pot with just enough cold water to cover the bones and veggies and add the remaining seasonings. Once the water and seasonings are added, give the pot a good stir to mix everything together.
- Uncovered, bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer for 5 to 6 hours. Make sure the ingredients are covered when it starts to simmer. Add water if necessary in the beginning.
- Once done simmering, remove the pot from the heat and strain the broth. If you have a pot with a fitted strainer, this is as easy as lifting the strainer out of the pot. However, be sure to do so slowly to avoid splashing the hot broth onto yourself. If you don't have a strainer already in your pot, you can place a strainer over a new pot and strain the broth into this new pot. Discard all the bones and veggies.
- Transfer broth into a large bowl or two, cover, and chill in the fridge. Once chilled, skim the fat off the top of the broth before using.
- Beef broth will be good covered in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 6 months. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Can you get sick from eating expired beef broth?
Yes, like many foods, beef broth, if left out too long or consumed past its expiration date, can grow bacteria that will make you sick.
Does beef broth go bad?
Yes, beef broth can go bad. If left out for more than two hours at room temperature or left in the fridge for more than 4 days, you run the risk of beef broth growing bacteria that can make you sick.
Final Thoughts on How Long Beef Broth is Good in the Fridge
While admittedly less convenient, the noticeably deeper flavors of homemade beef broth is worth the effort if you have the time. For the sake of efficiency, I make beef broth in bulk and freeze it often, trying to always have a supply of broth or soup in my freezer for when I need it. Knowing how to properly store beef broth ensures you will be able to enjoy it for many meals. I hope you have found this information helpful and the recipe easy and delicious. Happy cooking!
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