How Long Does Bone Broth Last in the Fridge? Plus, Tips to Freeze & Use it Longer

How Long Does Bone Broth Last in the Fridge

Bone broth lasts for between 3-10 days in the fridge, but this depends on so many factors that we need to get into in this article.

If you're new to it, bone broth is a nutritional powerhouse that's fantastic for your skin health, digestion and joint pain.

This article will tell you how exactly long it lasts in the fridge based on the type and preparation methods. It will also give you tips to extend the freshness how to freeze it and how to use it for best results.

I should mention before we begin that my company: Bluebird Provisions, makes the highest quality and best tasting bone broth powder you'll find anywhere. If you're searching for something new that is convenient, give it a try.

Let's get into the article.

shot of man pouring broth into a pot

Does bone broth go bad in fridge?

Bone broth is a food that can go bad in the fridge. So make sure you pay attention to best buy dates and storage instructions if you have a store-bought product. For homemade, I will lay out specific recommendations based on the differences in storage and how you make it.

How long does homemade bone broth last in fridge?

If you follow a typical recipe, then bone broth will last around 5 days in the fridge and up to 12 months if stored in the freezer.

However, there are some things you can do to extend the best-buy date to 7-8 days in the fridge and 24 months in your freezer.

jar of beef bone broth jelly

How To Extend The Shelf Life of Homemade Bone Broth

1. Hot Fill or Pour

A hot fill technique naturally extends the shelf life because it reduces the time your liquid is in critical temperature zones for bacteria to form.

The goal is the minimize the time it is between 160 F (72 C) and 39 F (4 C) or at room temperature. You can do this by doing a hot fill, followed by immediately placing your containers in the freezer.

  1. Once you strain the bone broth (from bones, cartilage, etc). Reheat it on your stove or in your slow cooker to over 190 F (90 Celsius)
  2. Now you immediately pour it into your containers. Glass containers are recommended or other temperature safe materials. Avoid plastic as the hot broth will leach into it. Be careful not to burn your hands.
  3. Place containers in your freezer to get the temperature down to 39F or fridge temperature as quickly as possible, then place in your fridge.

Want a personalized bone broth recommendation?

2. Leave the Beef Fat Cap on and in Tact

The natural fat cap that forms as the bone broth cools acts as the best airtight preserver you've ever seen. If you use a hot fill technique, leave the fat cap on until you plan on drinking it. This cap is from poultry fat or beef.

It will help extend the the freshness by a couple of days and provides healing minerals and vitamins.

3.Add Some Acid Like Lemon Juice

Acid is another natural preservative. Once you're finished straining and seasoning your broth, add in the juice of one whole lemon. The acid helps to keep bacteria from building and will extend your use-buy date in the refrigerator to 7-9 days.

You can also add apple cider vinegar is you want, there is no difference between the two.

use lemon for long lasting shelf life of bone broth

These two strategies can get your bone broth up to 10 days in the fridge. I know this because my company uses a hot fill technique and gets very good results on our products.

Can expired bone broth make you sick?

Expired bone broth can make you sick because it builds bacteria that is bad for you. You may get some discomfort in your gut, get diarrhea and vomiting. These are not life-threatening but will make you feel awful for a bit.

Less than 1% of the population have a histamine sensitivity, and this may cause allergic reactions to some people who drink it, regardless of if it's expired or your diet.

If your chicken broth shows any signs of spoilage, I'd recommend that you get rid of it immediately. If these symptoms persist, it is important to see a doctor.

Bone Broth Shelf Life Notes

Best-by dates are typically printed on the product information section of packaging of beef or chicken broth so consumers know when the product will be at peak quality.

These dates depend on many factors like cooking techniques, preservatives used, what its packaged in and where you find it in the store (fresh vs frozen).

For example, unopened canned beef broth has a 3-5 year shelf life when kept in the kitchen cabinet or refrigerator. On the other hand, unopened fresh bone broth may only like 10 days or so.

instant bone broth from bluebird provisions

Frozen Liquids

Bone broth can be frozen without losing any of its nutritional value, it is a wonderful and natural means of preservation.

Most store bought bone stock have 6-12 months or shelf life. Bluebird Provisions has 24 months on their products because they use a hot fill technique.

Depending on what your purpose is, you can use the broth warm or start cooking right away after thawing it out.

Shelf Stable Beef Bone Broth

If you want to know how long bone broth is good for, check the packaging first. Shelf stable broths will have a best buy date on them. Many of them are in jars or canned. Canned bone broth has a multi year shelf life while jars may have 3-6 months.

Chicken Bone Broth Powders

Finally, there are many bone broth powders and proteins on the market. These are all shelf stable because of the manufacturing process.

These products typically have a shelf life of two years from the manufacturing date if kept at room temperature in a dry environment.

Can you refreeze after opening?

You can refreeze bone broth after opening, but it is not recommended and you must be careful when doing this.

Think of the shelf life as a clock. If you open it, the clock starts and you have 5-6 days at fridge temperature. Freezing it stops this clock temporarily, but you will not get the same 5-6 day when you thaw it.

When you thaw it again you might get 2-3 days when you account for time to refreeze and time to thaw the second time.

How can you tell if bone broth has gone 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.

You won't get sick with a tiny sip. If it tastes good, then drink it. If not then toss it. The issue we see is with first time drinkers. They are not used to the taste and may thing it is off.

Read this article on how to make bone broth taste better.

chicken broth with mold on it

What texture should bone broth be?

Home made bone broth should have a "jello like" consistency with a solid layer of fat goodness on top.

Store bought bone stock should be jelly when at fridge temperature. This is how to tell if it is a true bone broth or a fraudulent product mislabelled as such.

Gelatinous Bone Broth

The jello consistency you find in quality bone broth's tells you that there is natural gelatin / collagen from animal cartilage in the product.

A real bone broth will be full jello at fridge temperature. To get a gel, you need at least 7 g protein per 250 ml serving. Anything less and it will not.

If you have a store bought version that says it has more protein but does not gel, then you are being robbed of your protein and the brand is lying on the nutrition label.

It will turn back to liquid when reheated, but needs refrigeration in order to stay fresh.

What should I freeze it in?

The best option to freeze liquid is glass jars. When in the freezer, beef broth will last up to six months. Chicken broth can last for 6 months if it is stored properly.

You can also pour your leftovers into ice cube trays to freeze individual servings. This is how my mom does it and she love it! She pops one ice cube into her morning smoothie for a collagen boost in the morning.

You can freeze it in food grade zip pouches

How to thaw frozen bone broth

Bone broth must be heated to at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit (72 celsius) before consumption.

To thaw the bone broth, defrost it in the fridge overnight. Then when you're ready it should be a liquid for you.

Do you need it now? Thawing frozen bone broth is easy with water bath. Place it in a bowl of cold water and leave it for 3-4 hours. Avoid microwaving it in the original package. The reason being it will leach the packaging into your liquid.

How to Thaw to Room Temperature ASAP

If you do want to use it right away. You can usually cut up the package using scissors, leaving you with a big, frozen block of bone broth. You can then place this block into a pot on the stove with the lid on and heat to low and simmer it for 2-5 minutes.

Or you can place the entire block in a microwave safe ceramic dishes to thaw it.

Bone broth can be used for a variety of purposes, depending on the intended use and how long it needs to thaw out.

Closing Thoughts

Most store bought bone broths are good for 4-6 days once at fridge temperature. If you're making homemade versions, you can get it to 7-9 days using a few strategies outlined above (hot fill, acid, fat cap).

If you're concerned about shelf life, get a high protein bone broth powder like the one made by Bluebird Provisions.

It has 12 g protein per serving with only 130 mg sodium. Plus it tastes absolutely delicious. You can find it online or on Amazon Prime.

You can refreeze gelatinous bone broth, but do so with caution.

How long does chicken broth last in the fridge

Chicken broth lasts about three days in the fridge. This is without know the the specific scenarios as to where it came from, the dating and preparation instructions. If you notice it starting to smell funny or the flavor is off, toss it out.

If you have a lot of broth left over after making a healing chicken soup, freeze the rest in ice cube trays. Then, when you want a quick cup of soup, just pop the broth into a saucepan and heat it up.

paleo chicken soup made with stock

How long is soup good in the fridge

Soup is good in the fridge for 4-5 days after you make it. This is a bit longer than just a broth because there are added ingredients, sea salt and acid (lemon, etc) that can naturally extend the best buy date by a few days. Be sure to store your stews leftovers in an airtight containers to avoid waste.

2 comments

Hi Marilee, yes oxtails make for great bone broth!

Connor at Bluebird Provisions January 06, 2023

Are oxtails safe to use to make bone broth?

Marilee January 04, 2023

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"Amazing!

Great taste and texture. Will be purchasing this again. Works great on its own for sipping and also in soup!"

Adrienne L