Does Beef Broth Go Bad? The Shelf-Life, Storage Practices, and Spoilage Signs

Does Beef Broth Go Bad?

Storing cans of beef broth can come in handy for preparing stir-fries, pasta, gravies, stews, etc. Its prominent beef flavor and rich texture can take your regular dish to a new level.

However, it is not always advisable to store a lot of cans of beef broth at once as they tend to go bad. It might be due to its expiration date or incorrect storage techniques.

But one can avoid this with the correct storage practices. Read the following article and learn how to extend the shelf life of your beef broth.


What is the Shelf-Life of Beef Broth?

In terms of shelf-life, all cans of Beef Broth come with a best-before or use-by date. But, it is the date to estimate how long it sustains the freshness. The commercially prepared Beef Broth comes with added preservatives, and hence it tends to last long, even for years after the use-by date, provided that it is unopened.

But, it doesn’t mean that the unopened can of Beef Broth will be flavorsome and fresh after its use-by date. But it will be perfect and safe to use. After opening the can of Beef Broth, it will keep its quality and freshness for up to four to five days, provided that it is stored in a fridge.

For homemade Beef Broth, the shelf-life is shorter. It is highly perishable as it lacks preservatives and may last for three to four days in a refrigerator. If you want to preserve it longer, freeze the homemade Beef Broth.

Items Pantry Fridge
Unopened Can of Beef Broth Use-By Date Plus One to Two Years
Opened Can of Beef Broth Four to Five Days
Homemade Beef Broth Three to Four Days


Please note that these periods are just estimated how long it keeps the quality and not the expiry date.


What are the Spoilage Signs of Beef Broth?

What are the Spoilage Signs of Beef Broth

Beef Broth is nutrient-rich food prepared from boiling vegetables with beef bones, brimming with microorganisms and germs. Since it is perishable food, it will go bad, especially when stored improperly.

So, how will you know when Beef Broth has gone rancid and is no longer edible. Here are a couple of signs that can help you know when the Beef Broth has gone bad.

Unpleasant Smell

Freshly prepared Beef Broth usually has a typical aroma, lasting until it starts degrading. The fresh smell of Beef Broth is like a meaty fragrance with a dark to medium brown color. When your Beef Broth starts spoiling, it releases an unpleasant and sour smell, and it is the spoilage sign of rancid Beef Broth.

You must not try to fix it or taste such Beef Broth as it is no longer edible.

Color Change

As mentioned, freshly prepared Beef Broth has a dark to medium brown color. If you see color changes, like blue or dark spots, discard the broth immediately. The color change reflects the properties of Beef Broth that have changed poorly and poses a health risk.

Beef Broth with greenish-brown color is unsafe and inedible, and it is a sign of putrefaction. A shiny curd on the surface of Beef Broth indicates that bacterial growth has started breaking the fat of the meaty broth.

Bulging or Leaking Cans

Beef Broth’s leaky and bulging cans mean it is no longer safe for consumption. The canned Beef Broth is very durable and won’t bulge or leak until the content inside the can has gone rancid.

The bumped or leaky Beef Broth can affect the content’s quality.

Mold Growth

The final spoilage sign is mold growth that starts growing on the surface of the broth when it starts to spoil. You will see white, greenish-blue, or black spots on the surface, indicating that the Beef Broth has gone rancid and is no longer safe and edible.


What Happens When You Consume Beef Broth After Expiry?

What Happens When You Consume Beef Broth After Expiry

The printed use-by date on the label of Beef Broth can is the estimated timeframe by the manufacturer, which only tells how long it can keep its quality and freshness. Thereby, it is recommended that users must prefer consuming it within the use-by date.

However, there is no harm in consuming the Beef Broth for a couple of months past its expiry date printed on the label, provided that it is properly stored and there are no visible spoilage signs.

Consuming rotten or rancid Beef Broth can make you sick severely if you consume it accidentally. It may cause food poisoning because of the bacterial growth in the rot Beef Broth. If the Beef Broth is exposed to an extreme temperature between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours, there is a chance of bacterial growth in Beef Broth. Consuming it may cause food poisoning, and hence it must be avoided.


Can You Freeze Beef Broth? Refrigerated Vs. Shelf-Stable

Can You Freeze Beef Broth Refrigerated Vs. Shelf-Stable

Beef Broth is safe for freezing, and it is the smartest way to heighten the shelf-life of the stock, especially if it is homemade. The extreme cool temperature of the freezer inhibits the growth of bacteria and mold, thereby sustaining the freshness and aromas of Beef Broth for months.

For store-bought Beef Broth, the shelf-life extends for up to six months when frozen. However, the homemade Beef Broth has a shorter shelf life when frozen, as it only lasts for two to three months. But, there are certain protocols to follow to freeze your Beef Broth.

  • Store your homemade Beef Broth in a fridge to allow the fat to become solid on the surface. Remove the fat and transfer the Beef Broth into an airtight container to freeze.
  • If you are freezing the Beef Broth in freezer bags or jars, ensure to leave a small space to allow liquid to expand while freezing.
  • You may also freeze the Beef Broth in silicone mold or cube trays to freeze it in small portions. It helps you prevent the chance of re-freezing the entire Beef Broth.


Generally, refrigerating the Beef Broth won’t extend the shelf-life of the Beef Broth too much compared to storing it at room temperature, but refrigerating helps to a certain extent. The cool environment of a refrigerator restricts the adverse effects on the Beef Broth’s quality.

Opened Beef Broth can need continuous refrigeration, and it must be used within four to five days. The shelf-life of Beef Broth reduces significantly after it is opened, so you must prefer to use it within five days to enjoy the quality of the stock.

The shelf-life of the homemade Beef Broth is only three to four days, even when it is refrigerated right from the beginning in a freezer-friendly container. So, you must only prepare the required amount of Beef Broth that can be used within a couple of days.



The commercially prepared Beef Broth has a shelf-life of three to five years or until the broth is opened. But, when the can starts leaking, bloating, or damaged, don’t use it. It indicates that the Beef Broth has been contaminated, resulting from gas accumulation over time.

The unopened Beef Broth can have a shelf-life of three to five years when stored properly in your pantry at room temperature because of the added preservatives in it.

Beef Broth is nutrient-rich, and it makes the broth favorable and breeding ground for microbes and bacteria to grow. Exposing the Beef Broth to air will accelerate microbial growth, and consuming it may increase the chance of food-borne diseases.

The bacteria and microbes rapidly increase and multiply when stored at room temperature. So, it is advisable that you must not leave the Beef Broth at room temperature for more than two hours after opening.


What Are the Best Practices to Store Beef Broth For Extended Shelf-Life?

The way of storing your Beef Broth significantly affects its shelf-life of Beef Broth. There are certain ways to store your Beef Broth, and if you follow them accordingly, the shelf-life of the Beef Broth may extend.

Store in Cool and Dry Places

According to Better Health Channel, air-tightness and humidity are pivotal in accelerating bacterial growth and affecting food. Regardless of the storage location, it would help if you kept it in dry and cool places.

Suppose you are about to consume your Beef Broth within a couple of hours. In that case, it is completely safe to store it in your kitchen cabinet without refrigerating, provided that the kitchen cabinet meets the storage conditions.


Use Airtight Container or Freezer Bag

Whether you refrigerate or keep it in your kitchen cabinet, you must always use an airtight container or freezer bag to store it. The airtight containers prevent air exposure, and hence the chance of bacterial growth reduces significantly.


Keep Your Beef Broth Well Covered

Keeping your Beef Broth sealed and covered will protect it from the invasion of mold and bacteria from the environment. The plastic wrap is enough to keep your Beef Broth well covered. But it is best to use clean jars with airtight lids. It prevents the broth from attracting odors from foods stored in the same refrigerator.

You must use a  freezer bag or container to store your Beef Broth to prevent odors and leakage.

Alternatives for Beef Broth if it has Gone Bad 

If the quality of your beef broth has deteriorated, the following substitutes can be used:

  • Chicken broth
  • Vegetable broth
  • Red Wine
  • White Wine
  • Mushroom broth

Frequently Asked Questions


How Long Dishes Made With Beef Broth Good and Edible?

Generally, the shelf-life of dishes made out of Beef Broth is very short. The dishes prepared with Beef Broth must be consumed within three to four days as after that, it starts degrading and spoiling the dish. If you want to extend the lifespan of the dish prepared with Beef Broth, freeze it consistently.

According to USDA, stews and soups prepared with Beef Broth must be refrigerated to keep them aromatic for three to four days, and gravy and sauces will last for one to two days when refrigerated properly.


Is It Safe to Leave Beef Broth Overnight Outside a Fridge?

It is not safe to store the leftover Beef Broth overnight outside the fridge. Leaving it overnight outside the fridge will increase air exposure and accelerate bacterial growth. It is only safe to leave your Beef Broth for a couple of hours outside a fridge if you are likely to use it within two hours.


The Bottom Line

By now, it is clear that whether it is homemade or store-bought, Beef Broth tends to go bad sooner or later.

Ensure to follow good storage practices to prolong the shelf-life of your Beef Broth. The store-bought unopened Beef Broth can last and keep its quality in the pantry up to its use-by date and even after that. The opened Beef Broth needs refrigeration to keep its quality for five days.

However, the homemade Beef Broth can keep its quality for up to four days, provided that it is properly refrigerated. Freeze your Beef Broth to prolong its shelf-life up to three months. Don’t forget to check the spoilage signs before using.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.