How Long Does Bacon Last?

Opened a pack and didn't cook it all? Learn how long that bacon will last in the fridge.

There's no such thing as leftover bacon, right? Wrong. If you live alone or in a smaller household, you're probably not using up an entire package of bacon in a single breakfast. Or perhaps you stored some bacon in a place you couldn't see, found it in the fridge, and now want to know whether those strips are safe to eat.

Like other refrigerated foods, bacon has a sell-by date printed on its package, but its shelf life may be a little longer or shorter depending on how it's stored.

Bacon's shelf life depends on a number of factors including its type, whether the package has been opened, and how you're storing the package in your fridge. Find out how long bacon lasts in the fridge and freezer, the best way to store it, and how to tell if it has gone bad.

How Long Does Bacon Last in the Fridge?

An unopened package of bacon will last up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Other types of bacon, such as turkey bacon or pancetta, should last just as long in the same conditions.

Once you open that package, bacon's shelf life shortens whether you cook it or not. Raw bacon in a package that has been opened and re-sealed will last up to a week in the fridge, and cooked bacon will last four to five days if it's properly stored.

You can also store bacon in the freezer. Uncooked, unopened bacon will last up to eight months in the freezer, while leftover raw bacon that's properly stored will last up to six months in the freezer. Cooked bacon, stored properly, will last up to one month in the freezer.

How Long Does Bacon Grease Last?

Leftover bacon grease, properly stored in an airtight container, should last up to six months in the refrigerator and up to nine months in the freezer. Bacon grease will have a rancid odor after it has gone bad, so if it smells bad or has any visible signs of mold, throw it out.

How to Store Bacon

The best indicator of how long bacon will last in the refrigerator or freezer is whether it's properly stored. This means it should be stored in an airtight container, such as the unopened package or a plastic or glass container. If you're storing a package that's already been opened, wrap it in aluminum foil, or insert it in a zip-top bag.

How to store bacon in the fridge

You can store raw, opened bacon in its original package, backed up with a large zip-top bag or a few layers of aluminum foil. You can also store bacon in an airtight container for up to a week. Store cooked bacon in an airtight container, immediately after use, for four to five days.

How to store bacon in the freezer

To freeze unopened bacon, tightly wrap the package with aluminum foil or several layers of plastic wrap. Squeeze out any air that may be in the package to prevent the bacon from going rancid.

To freeze raw bacon that has been opened, the National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends immediately removing the bacon you intend to freeze and placing it in a zip-top bag. Squeeze out any air that may be in the bag before placing it in the freezer.

To freeze cooked bacon, arrange the strips between layers of paper towels and place the stacked towels flat in a large zip-top bag. Carefully squeeze out any additional air before placing the bag in the freezer.

To thaw bacon, relocate the package to the fridge, and let thaw overnight. You can also thaw bacon inside a zip-top bag in cold, flowing water, and it will defrost within 30 minutes.

It's possible to thaw bacon using the defrost function on your microwave, but don't cook for more than a few minutes at a time, and don't leave the package unattended to prevent any melting plastic.

Important note: Although bacon can last several months in the freezer, the Food Marketing Institute recommends you store it for a shorter period of time to prevent the bacon's quality and flavor from deteriorating.

How to Tell if Bacon Has Gone Bad

Because of its high fat content, bacon is susceptible to going rancid quickly if it's not stored properly. Fortunately, bacon gives some clear signifiers to indicate that it's gone rancid.

The most notable sign of rancid bacon is a change in appearance. Bacon that has gone bad doesn't retain its redness and will instead take on a brown, gray, or greenish hue, and the color itself will seem faded. Rancid bacon also takes on an unpleasant odor and may become sticky or slimy.

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