From Fresh to Fridge – Making Clam Chowder Last

How Long Does Clam Chowder Last?

For fans of clam chowder, there’s really nothing that quite compares to its distinctive taste.

Loaded with spices and bursting with flavors of the sea in each bite, the chances are good leftovers won’t be a common occurrence. 

Of course, there are always exceptions. If you’re hosting a party or serving a family style meal, it’s quite possible you might wind up with more clam chowder than your guests can eat at once.

If that’s the case, it’s reasonable to wonder how long it’s going to last – especially if the possibility of leftovers is in your immediate future.

If left out at room temperature, your clam chowder isn’t going to last for more than a couple of hours. However, if you refrigerate it properly, you can expect it to keep for as long as five days.

With that said, we know there’s lots of questions about how long it can keep, so without further delay, let’s get them answered!

How Long Can Clam Chowder Sit Out?

Whether you prefer New England, Manhattan, or any other type of clam chowder, you should be aware that none of them should be left out at room temperature for long. 

Although Manhattan might lack the dairy influence of New England style, it still contains clams which can start to go bad quickly if not stored safely.

Once the chowder starts to cool below 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it doesn’t take long for harmful bacteria to begin growing. To prevent this, don’t let your chowder stay out for more than two hours once you’ve removed it from the heat source (stovetop, microwave, etc.).

In other words, for your chowder to sit out, it needs to remain hot.

If it’s been longer than two hours or you aren’t sure how long it’s been, just throw your chowder out. Hopefully, you won’t waste too much of your delicious soup in the process!

If you know you won’t be eating all of it, don’t risk it going bad.

Simply toss it in the fridge for later!

How Long Can You Keep Clam Chowder in the Fridge?

Whether canned or homemade, you can expect your leftover clam chowder to last for up to five days in the refrigerator, assuming you’ve taken steps to store it properly.

Even though it can remain edible for up to five days, you’ll find that it tastes best if eaten within a two to three-day window after you refrigerate it.

If you don’t think you’ll be able to finish it in time, freezing your clam chowder is also something you might want to do.

Storing Clam Chowder in the Refrigerator

Fortunately, storing clam chowder is extremely easy.

All you’ll need is an airtight plastic container. Simple transfer the uneaten portion of your chowder to the container, taking care to remove as much air from it as possible prior to sealing it closed.

Once stored safely in the fridge, you can expect it to last for three to five days, with two to three days being the optimal time to consume (or serve) whatever might be leftover. 

Type of Clam Chowder How Long Can it Keep in the Fridge Optimal Time to Consume
Canned Up to 5 days 2-3 days
Homemade Up to 5 days 2-3 days

How Do You Know if Clam Chowder Is Bad?

Determining whether your clam chowder is bad is fairly simple.

If you smell anything other than the ingredients in the chowder, then the chances are it’s probably gone bad. Clams that are safe to eat don’t really have much of an odor at all. When they’re fresh, you might detect a hint of brine or sea water in the air, but that’s about all.

This is even more the case with clam chowder, where the clams should seamlessly blend in with all the other ingredients.

If you detect any strong odors or fishy aroma, don’t take any chances with your chowder – throw it out.

Signs of Spoiled Clam Chowder What it Means
Strong Odors or Fishy Aroma The chowder has gone bad, should be thrown out
Smell of anything other than the ingredients The chowder has gone bad, should be thrown out

Can You Eat Expired Clam Chowder?

If the clam chowder is still in an unopened can, the chances are good that you can eat it even if it is “expired”.

Canning has been around for over two centuries and for good reason, it keeps foods shelf stable for extremely long periods of time, often after the “best by” or “sell by” dates stamped on the can.

However, the only way to know for certain is to open the can and smell it. If there are any strong odors or a persistent fishy smell, the chowder is probably not safe to eat and you should dispose of it.

Refrigerated and plastic-sealed clam chowder is not canned, but rather sold as fresh clam chowder. If the “best by” date has already passed, you’ll need to open it and smell it to determine if it’s still okay to eat.

As with canned chowder, if you detect any unusual or strong odors, it’s best not to take a chance and instead get rid of it.

Type of Clam Chowder Can You Eat Expired Clam Chowder? How to Know for Certain
Canned Yes, likely to be safe to eat Open the can and smell it
Refrigerated and plastic-sealed No, check the “best by” date and smell it If there are any strong odors or a persistent fishy smell, the chowder is probably not safe to eat and you should dispose of it.

Is Clam Chowder Good After a Week?

Even with safe handling and storage, it’s unlikely your clam chowder will still be good after a week in the fridge.

As mentioned many times in this article, it’s best to eat whatever clam chowder you have remaining within five days of refrigerating it.

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