Bacon is a breakfast staple that many people just can’t get enough of. But keeping bacon fresh can be a tough task, and you certainly don’t want to eat bacon that’s gone bad.
An unopened package of bacon can last for several weeks in the fridge, while an opened package of raw bacon will last about a week. Place cooked bacon in an airtight container no later than 2 hours after cooking it. Then keep it in the fridge or freezer, depending on how long you plan to store it.
Knowing some of the basic rules and guidelines when it comes to storing bacon can help you determine how long you can keep your bacon fresh. Let’s take a closer look at the best ways to store bacon and how to determine if it’s not safe to eat any longer.
How Long Does Opened Raw Bacon Last in the Fridge?
In order to determine how long bacon can last, it’s important to consider whether or not you’ve already opened the package. While an unopened package of bacon can last for several weeks when stored properly, an opened package is much different.
So, if you’ve opened a package of bacon to cook some for your favorite meal but didn’t use the entire amount, how much longer will is last?
The answer to this is pretty simple: Once the bacon has been exposed to the air, it can last for about a week in the fridge — if stored properly.
On the other hand, bacon that has never been opened can typically last for several weeks in the fridge without it going bad. However, after it is opened, bacteria can find their way into the meat faster than you may think.
How Long Does Cooked Bacon Last in the Fridge?
Many people choose to cook an entire package of bacon in one sitting, thinking that it will last much longer than raw bacon. However, this could not be farther from the truth; once the bacon has been cooked, it’s only good for about 4-5 days, if stored correctly.
Like most cooked foods, once the bacon has been exposed to not only the air but also to heat, the integrity of the food is not as strong. This makes it much more susceptible to bacteria growth much sooner than you might expect.
If you have bacon that has been in the fridge for longer than 5 days, you should consider tossing it. Consuming cooked bacon that has been in the refrigerator for longer, even when stored properly, can cause a variety of food-borne illnesses.
What’s the Best Way to Store Leftover Bacon?
Like most foods, knowing how to store bacon leftovers can make the difference between keeping it fresh and having to toss it too soon. Bacon definitely doesn’t have an indefinite shelf life.
Keep in mind that the USDA recommends that any perishable food, including bacon, should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours to prevent food poisoning. Because of this, you should store your bacon as soon as possible after you’ve finished cooking it.
The best way to store leftover bacon depends on when you plan to use it again. For example, opened raw or cooked bacon should be stored either in a resealable plastic storage bag or another airtight container for a limited time in the fridge.
If you’re not planning to eat the bacon within a week, you can consider freezing it instead to help it last longer. Depending on whether the bacon is raw or cooked, it may last for several months in the freezer.
While raw unopened bacon can last up to 8 months in the freezer, opened packages may only last for about 6 months if stored in an airtight container. Cooked bacon, on the other hand, is only good in the freezer for about a month before the integrity is lost.
How to Tell if Bacon Has Gone Bad
Knowing whether or not your bacon has gone bad can prevent you or your family members from getting sick from food poisoning.
Paying attention to the appearance, smell, and texture of bacon when it’s fresh can go a long way in helping you to determine when you should toss it.
The color of uncooked bacon is typically a bright reddish color when you purchase it fresh. One way to tell if the bacon has gone bad is the loss of this reddish color to a dull pinkish or grayish color.
Another way to tell if your bacon has gone bad is to do a sniff test. Like other meats, bacon should be pretty odorless, or have only a mild smell, when it’s fresh. Bacon that’s gone bad, meanwhile, has a foul or rotten smell.
The texture is yet another indicator of bacon that’s gone bad. In most cases, fresh bacon comes with a bit of moisture but is typically firm to the touch. However, when bacon has gone bad, it may have a sticky or slimy texture.
The best rule of thumb when it comes to determining whether or not your bacon is any good is that if it seems off in some way, it’s probably best to toss it. Consuming bacon that has telltale signs that it’s bad can leave you exposed to harmful bacteria, which can lead to various food-borne illnesses.
Final Thoughts on Bacon Storage Tips
At the end of the day, knowing how to store bacon, whether it’s cooked or not, can help save you time and money in the long run. Storing your bacon in an airtight container can go a long way to keeping it as fresh as possible until you can use it.