How long does bacon last in the fridge? Bacon is versatile and one of the best ingredients to have on hand in the fridge. The problem is knowing how long it is good for. In this article, I’ll describe how long bacon lasts in the fridge and how to store it properly.
How long is bacon good for in the fridge? Raw bacon lasts about 1 week in a standard 40°F fridge, provided it remains in its original package. After opening the package, you need to wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil before storing it in the fridge.
Cooked bacon will last in the fridge from 7 to 10 days. Keep any left-over cooked bacon in a tightly sealed container.
If you need to store bacon for longer than a week, put it in the freezer to extend its shelf life up to six months.
Read on to learn more about how long is bacon good for in the fridge, plus important storage and handling tips.
How Long Does Bacon Last in the Fridge?
There’s no denying that bacon is popular everywhere. There’s just so much love for it. So much that the average American consumes about 18 pounds of bacon every year. It’s easy to cook, top dishes with, or mix into salads and sandwiches.
Bacon is usually made from pork belly that is cured in salt. You can also make bacon from other meat sources, such as turkey, duck, or even beef.
There are different types of bacon:
- Streaky Bacon – This is the most popular bacon and is also called American bacon. It is usually made from the belly part of the animal. It is injected with salt and sodium nitrate to cure it. If you want the more organic type of bacon, choose the dry ones rubbed with salt and then smoked.
- Back Bacon – This variety is commonly found in the UK and Canada. Sometimes, it is referred to as Canadian bacon. This type of bacon is leaner because it is cut from pork loin. Back bacon slices are also thicker than streaky bacon.
- Lardons – This type is very popular in France. They are small strips of bacon, which are a bit fattier than other types of bacon. Lardons are usually used for salads or toppings.
- Pancetta – This type is the Italian version of bacon. It is cured with salt and then dried out. You can also eat pancetta in raw form. It has a strong and salty flavor, too. Out of all the types of bacon, Pancetta is the one that lasts the longest in the fridge. It can actually stay in the fridge for a good three weeks.
- Non-pork Bacon – This is another type of bacon that isn’t made from pork meat. Aside from pork, other types of bacon from other animals include turkey, beef, salmon, and duck.
So, How Long Can Bacon Last in the Fridge?
With proper storage, you can store raw bacon in the fridge for up to a week. Proper storage of bacon plays a vital role in ensuring that it will last for up to a week in the fridge.
You must keep packaged bacon unopened in the fridge for it to last up to a week. Also, make sure to seal it well so that it will remain free from bacteria. Don’t forget to keep unopened packages in the fridge with a constant temperature of 40°F.
Leftover cooked bacon will last in the fridge from 7 to 10 days. Keep any leftover cooked bacon in a tightly sealed container. If you need to store raw bacon for longer than a week, it is best to keep it in the freezer. Properly frozen bacon will last up to six months in the freezer.
There is one type of bacon that can last for three weeks in the fridge. This bacon type is pancetta. Unlike bacon, which is smoked, pancetta is salt-cured and dried. This process makes pancetta last longer in the fridge. You can also eat it uncooked.
Storing Bacon in the Freezer
For longer shelf life, store bacon inside the freezer. Bacon, when properly stored in the freezer, will last for up to six months. However, to maintain the meat’s best taste and quality, it is best to cook it within a month of freezing.
Keep the bacon in its original packaging and then slip it inside a freezer bag or wrap it with aluminum foil before storing it in the freezer to seal in the freshness. Also, keep it in a freezer with a constant temperature of 0°F.
For thawing, it is best to transfer bacon in the refrigerator while thawing it out. That way, the cold temperature does not let bacteria grow. Try to avoid thawing it in warm water or on the kitchen sink. These thawing methods may allow meat contamination.
If you need to thaw bacon quickly, it is okay to nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds, but you must cook it immediately after.
Tips for Properly Storing and Selecting Bacon
It’s sad to see any food go to waste and more so with bacon because it is just so delicious. The key to less spoilage (of any kind of food) is to follow proper storage and cooking.
With any food, the goal is to keep it away from being contaminated by bacteria. Salmonella and E. coli are types of bacteria found in food. Both bacteria can cause food-borne illnesses. To make sure that your food won’t be contaminated, you must follow proper storage and handling of food.
Here are some tips on storing bacon properly:
- It all starts in selecting your bacon. Look for center cut bacon. This kind is leaner. Remember that less fat and more meat is always good.
- Go for the pricier kind of bacon. With most things, it does not necessarily mean that if it’s more expensive, it’s better. But with bacon, this is true. Bacon is cured, and it takes time. In the food industry, time is money.
- Try to get bacon from the deli counter. They usually have the good stuff. Also, they may have slabs of pork belly bacon, and you can request to have it cut to your specifications. How awesome is that?
- If you’re buying bacon from the supermarket, get your bacon (and other raw meat) just before you are about to check out. The less time it stays unrefrigerated, the better.
- If you’re doing other errands after purchasing raw bacon, it is best to bring a cooler with ice or a cold storage bag and place your bacon inside it.
- Check the ingredients of your bacon. The fewer preservatives it has, the better.
Other Useful Tips for Bacon Storage and Selection
- Most packaged bacon sold in supermarkets has a peek through packaging. If you’re particular on fat content, examine the bacon and pick the one with less fat.
- When storing bacon, it is best to keep it in its original packaging, whether in the fridge or freezer. But once you open the package, you’ll need to store uncooked bacon inside an airtight container. Also, double wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil or pop it in a freezer-safe bag when storing it in the freezer.
- If you’re storing raw bacon in the fridge, it needs to be on a shelf with a constant 40°F temperature. Do not place it on the fridge door shelves, as the temperature in these areas is never constant. A correct temperature will help ensure that your bacon lasts up to a week in the fridge.
- If you’re storing raw bacon in the freezer, keep it where there is a constant 0°F temperature. Avoid placing it on the shelf of the freezer door. Bacon stored in the freezer will last for up to six months.
- Bacon always contains fat, even if you get the leaner cut. Fat usually goes rancid within 2 to 3 months, so even if the bacon will stay good for six months, try to consume it within 1 to 2 months to get the best taste.
- If you have lots of bacon, divide it up into your desired portions before freezing. This way, you won’t have to thaw the whole slab.
- Label your stored bacon with the date you put them in the fridge or freezer.
For more on how long bacon lasts when sitting out on the counter, see the article on HomeCareZen.com: How Long Can Cooked Bacon Sit Out.
We’ve answered, ‘how long does bacon last in the fridge’; next, let’s look at ‘how to tell if bacon is spoiled.’
How to Tell If Bacon Is Spoiled
Like many other food products, bacon has a sell-by date labeled on it rather than an expiration date. So, how do you know that your bacon is still good to consume?
The sell-by date is for retailers, telling them of the date when they need to get rid of the stocks. But it doesn’t mean the product is unsafe to consume after the sell-by date. For bacon, it is usually 1 to 2 weeks after the sell-by date, if stored properly in the refrigerator. If you have frozen the bacon, it will be good for 5 to 6 months after the sell-by date.
Here’s how to tell if your bacon has gone bad:
1. Check It Visually
Bacon will normally look pink. The fat part of the bacon will look white or yellowish. Yes, a little yellowish in the fat part is perfectly okay. But, if your bacon has turned brown or gray, it means it has gone bad. If it has flecks of green or blue, it is unsafe to consume. Throw out your bacon if the meat doesn’t look pink and doesn’t have white or yellow-colored fat.
2. Give It a Good Sniffing
Bacon that’s still good will smell like fresh meat. You’ll know that delicious smell. Spoiled bacon smells like it is rotting. It can also smell sour or any other odd smell, aside from the smell of fresh raw meat. Do not even attempt to cook and taste it if it smells bad.
3. Touch It
Fresh bacon is soft and moist. Bacon that has spoiled will feel slimy and somewhat sticky to the touch. The reason is that bacteria have formed in the bacon. It is unsafe to eat this bacon. Throw it out and wash your hand very well with soap and water after handling spoiled bacon. Thorough washing of hands prevents cross-contamination.
Bacon will last for seven days in the refrigerator if stored properly. Make sure you follow the given tips to avoid spoilage.
If you happen to eat spoiled bacon by any chance, you will likely get food poisoning. Its symptoms include vomiting, stomachache, and nausea. Seek medical help if this happens. If you’re not showing any symptoms or signs of food poisoning, it is best to consume plenty of liquid to flush the toxins out of your system.
Conclusion – How Long Is Bacon Good for in the Fridge?
To recap, how long does bacon last in the fridge? Raw bacon can last in the fridge for up to a week with proper storage, except for the Italian kind, pancetta, which can stay good in the fridge for up to three weeks. Cooked bacon will last in the fridge from 7 to 10 days. Keep any leftover cooked bacon in a tightly sealed container.
The list of the most popular food in the past few decades includes bacon. It is so delicious that almost everyone loves it. To ensure the freshness of bacon in your fridge, keep it in its original, sealed packaging. If you already opened the package, reseal and wrap it with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Keep it on a shelf that gets a constant 40°F temperature.
If you need to store bacon for longer than a week, store your bacon in the freezer. It needs to be in an environment with a constant 0°F temperature. Bacon will last for 4 to 6 months in the freezer. But try to consume stored bacon within a month, so you can still taste its freshness.