Does Bacon Go Bad?

If “does bacon go bad?” is the question that’s bothering you, you’re in the right place to find the answer. As you probably know, bacon goes bad, just as any other raw meat does. What’s more important I think is how to properly store it, what’s its shelf life and how to tell if bacon is bad. Knowing that, you’ll know what to do with an opened package of bacon, or with some leftovers. If that’s what you would like to know, please continue to read.

How to store bacon

Without a doubt the best place to store bacon is the refrigerator. It really doesn’t matter if you need to store cooked bacon leftovers or you’ve got a package of raw bacon (unopened or opened, doesn’t matter). Just make sure bacon is wrapped.

If you need to store cooked bacon, put it into the fridge within 2 hours of cooking (possibly less, when it’s not hot, it’s ready to go to the fridge). You can also store it in the pantry for an hour, so it’ll lose its temperature quicker, and then transfer into the fridge. Make sure to wrap it with plastic wrap or put it into an airtight container.

(credit:Elin B)

If you would like to store bacon for an extended period of time, you can store it in the freezer. More on that below.

Shelf life of bacon

When it comes to the shelf life of bacon, it really depends on whether it’s raw or cooked and if the package (if the bacon is raw) is still unopened. When it comes to raw bacon in an unopened vacuum package, you can store it in the fridge up until the “best by” date and usually a few days longer (maybe a week or less). If you know that you need to store that package of bacon for a longer period of time, consider putting it into the freezer right away. You can keep it there for months, although it’s usually recommended to not freeze it for longer than two months, for quality reasons. If you plan to freeze it for longer than 2 months, overwrap the package with a freezer bag to avoid freezer burn.

If the package of raw bacon is already opened, it should be fine for about a week or a little more when kept in the refrigerator. If you think you’ll need to store it for longer than a few days, consider freezing it. Make sure you wrap it with freezer wrap or put it into a freezer bag before puting into the freezer. Similarly to unopened packages of raw bacon, the longer you plan to freezer, the better it should be wrapped. Also, please remember that after some time the quality of bacon might deteriorate a little.

One idea you might find useful. After buying bacon, consider slicing it into portion-sized parts and freezing them right away (if you don’t plan to use all of it within a couple of days). This way you’ll be able to easily thaw only as much bacon you need at a time. Quite a few people proceed that way and find this solution quite useful.

Cooked leftovers of bacon should be fine for 2-3 days when stored in the fridge. Similarly to raw bacon, you can consider freezing them, so you’ll be able to store them for a lot longer. Don’t forget to wrap them well.

How to tell if bacon is bad

This is one of those things where your intuition won’t let you down. You certainly will know that the bacon is bad when it is. It will smell awful (pretty difficult to miss that) and its color will slowly change to brown, grey, or maybe green. If it looks good and smells fine, it probably is still good to eat. If you’ve kept bacon for a lot longer than I’ve mentioned earlier in this article and it still seems fine, I’d discard it anyway. Rule of thumb is: better safe than sorry.

As you probably know by now, bacon does go bad like any other raw meat. If you’d like to store it for an extended period of time, freeze it. This way it won’t go bad and you’ll be able to use it when needed.