How Long Does Bacon Last In The Fridge?

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Perhaps you got a fantastic deal on bacon at the grocery store. Something might have come up after you finished cooking up some bacon. There are many ways you end up with bacon sitting in your fridge for longer than you thought. So how long does bacon last in the fridge? Well, according to the…

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How long does bacon last in the fridge?

Perhaps you got a fantastic deal on bacon at the grocery store. Something might have come up after you finished cooking up some bacon. There are many ways you end up with bacon sitting in your fridge for longer than you thought. So how long does bacon last in the fridge? Well, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, that package of bacon is good for up to a week in your fridge. If you’ve got extra cooked bacon, it can be good for four to five days if stored in an airtight container.

Bacon is a cured meat, and that curing process helps it last much longer than an uncured pork belly in the fridge. Then there are plenty of brands that pump their bacon full of preservatives. Yet despite the curing process and those chemicals, bacon will start to go bad after a week or so. That’s because bacon has a high fat content which can go rancid, or spoil.

As for cooked bacon, because it’s been exposed to air and heat outside of the fridge, it will only last four to five days. You’ll still want to make sure that you store it properly in an airtight container to prevent it from going bad even faster. 

Remember, if you’re getting close to the end of that time frame, the freezer is a great option for keeping it longer. You can keep cooked and uncooked bacon in the freezer indefinitely, so this is great for stocking up on bacon. However, the USDA does recommend thawing and cooking raw bacon within four months and thawing and reheating cooked bacon within a month for peak quality and enjoyment.

So let’s get into the nitty-gritty details of storing bacon in the fridge, how to identify if bacon has gone bad, how to thaw frozen bacon (because you know you’re going to grab that bacon soon,) and tackle a few common questions. Let’s dig in!

How Long Is Bacon Good In The Fridge?

Just because bacon is cured does not mean that it has an indefinite shelf life in your fridge. Once you bring that package of bacon home, you’ve got about a week to use it. Just like I noted before, all that fat in bacon can go rancid. It’ll last longer than raw pork belly or just about any other cut of meat, but don’t allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security. Cook it up or freeze it properly within a week of purchase.

But what if you’ve waited until the very tail end of hat week? How can you be sure it’s still safe to eat?

Raw, sliced bacon

How To Tell If Bacon Has Gone Bad

Remember, these time frame answers to the question of how long is bacon good in the fridge  are “up to” a week or two. Crazy things can and will happen to food. Just because a week hasn’t passed with your open package of bacon doesn’t mean it’s still good to go on day six. You need to know the identifying features of bacon that’s gone bad.

How It Looks

Bacon should have meat that looks pink to red with streaks of white fat. If you take a look at your package of bacon, open or unopened, and it’s gone gray or green, you have a problem.

Green/Grey spots on sandwich meat
Green/grey spoiling spots on sandwich meat

How It Smells

If you open the package of bacon and you get a slight smell of smoke, that’s fine. If anything smells sour or like rotten eggs, the bacon has gone bad.

How It Feels

When you pull bacon out of its package, it should feel soft and have some moisture. If it feels slimy to the touch, that’s a sign of the meat breaking down due to the presence of bacteria. You should not eat slimy bacon.

Sometimes you might not be certain that your bacon smells funny, or maybe it doesn’t look quite right. Is it just a bit more moist than normal or is that slime on its surface? You should never play guessing games with safety, so if you aren’t sure if your bacon is good, assume the worst and get rid of it. Then go pick up some new bacon.

How Can I Extend The Life Of My Bacon?

So you’ve picked up a big package of bacon, or perhaps even multiple packages because of a great sale. You could go on a huge kick of bacon eating over the next couple of weeks, and who could blame you? (Other than a doctor, maybe.) You’ve got to know how to store bacon if you want to keep it from going bad.

The USDA recommends that you can freeze raw bacon for up to four months and still get good-quality bacon when you cook it. The most important part of ensuring your bacon is frozen properly is making sure that no freezer air gets into the packaging. That can cause freezer burn, damaging the texture and the taste of the bacon. 

If you are freezing an unopened package of bacon, place the package (if small enough) in a freezer quality bag and get all the air out. You’ll be good to go. If the package is opened, double-bagging it with freezer-safe bags is the way to go, ensuring that you squeeze out all the air of each bag before sealing it.

How Long Does Cooked Bacon Last In The Fridge

Up to this point, we’ve talked about how long uncooked bacon lasts in the fridge. In my experience, cooked bacon doesn’t last very long. Not because it spoils, but because everyone in my house loves bacon and will eat just about every crumb available. Yet we should cover how long bacon is good after cooking because sometimes things happen. 

The fine folks over at Coleman Natural Foods say bacon that’s cooked and properly stored should be good to last in the fridge for up to five days. The key to properly storing cooked bacon is letting it cool, then putting it in an airtight bag. As always, the key to keeping meat from spoiling as long as possible is preventing as much air from contacting the meat as possible. 

Cooked bacon

If you need to, you can freeze cooked bacon as well. Following the same process of double-bagging bacon with freezer-safe bags, your bacon can last a month while still staying the highest quality. 

How To Properly Thaw Bacon

Since we’ve talked about how freezing can help prolong the life of your bacon more than the fridge, now it’s time to talk about how to thaw your bacon properly while also addressing how long thawed bacon is good in the fridge. There are three USDA-recommended ways of thawing bacon from the previously-linked site: in the fridge, in cold water, and in the microwave.

Thawing Bacon In The Fridge

If you have the time, this is the best way to go about it. Simply take your bacon out of the freezer and put it in the coldest part of the fridge, usually the very back on the bottom. Once it’s thawed, you can let it sit in the fridge for up to seven days before cooking it or even refreeze raw bacon before cooking it.

In A Bowl Of Cold Water

If you’re tight on time, submerging your bacon in cold water will be a lot quicker than thawing in the fridge. However, you should only do this if your bacon is stored properly in an air-tight package that has not been punctured. Switch out the water every half an hour with fresh cold water until the bacon has thawed.

Once the bacon is thawed, you should cook it immediately. Despite switching out the water, the bacon may have gotten above 40°F, so it should be cooked to prevent any chances of spoiling.

Microwave

This is the fastest way to thaw bacon, but it does have its risks. You may partially cook the bacon in the microwave which can affect the final product. Just like with thawing bacon in cold water, the temperatures of the bacon will likely reach over 40°F, so cook the thawed bacon immediately. 

FAQs

Question: Do I Have To Thaw Bacon Before Cooking?

Answer: If you’re in a hurry and need that bacony goodness quickly, you can absolutely cut into that package or open that bag and get to cooking. You’ll want to start your bacon at a lower temperature and separate the slices as soon as you can, but it will work and you can still get crispy (or slightly chewy, if that’s your preference) bacon without the hassle of thawing.

Bacon frying in a pan

Question: Can Bacon Last Up To Two Weeks In The Fridge?

Answer: It is entirely possible for a sealed package of bacon to last up to two weeks in the fridge according to Pederson’s Natural Farms which sells bacon among other meats. We also know that the USDA tends to be quite conservative with its guidelines to help protect people. However, you need to check your bacon over thoroughly for signs of spoiling before cooking it if you do go beyond the USDA recommendations. 

Question: How Long Can Bacon Last In The Freezer?

Answer: Due to the below-freezing temperatures of your freezer, bacon can last in there indefinitely. However, for best quality, the USDA recommends you thaw and cook raw bacon within four months while you should thaw and reheat cooked bacon within a month. Just make sure you are properly storing your bacon! Any contact with air at those temps will result in freezer burn. 

Wrapping It Up

So how long does bacon last in the fridge? An unopened package will last up to two weeks before needing to be cooked or frozen. If you open a package and don’t cook all of it, the remaining bacon will need to be cooked or frozen within a week. Cooked bacon is good in the fridge for up to five days. 

When freezing bacon, uncooked bacon will still be just as good up to four months while cooked bacon should be frozen for about a month and still remain high-quality.

We all love bacon. It’s one of the best breakfast sides (or is it eggs are sides for bacon?) regardless of your doneness preferences. However, if you’re looking for some new ways to use that extra bacon before you need to freeze it, check out Eric Campbell’s recipe for the Bacon Explosion

So what’s your preference when it comes to bacon? Crispy or chewy? Let us know in the comments!

Jeremy Pike

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