Bacon is a beloved breakfast staple that can be enjoyed in many different ways. But what happens when you have leftover cooked bacon and you’re not sure if it’s safe to eat cold?
Can you eat cold cooked bacon, or do you need to reheat it first?
In this article, we’ll explore the safety and tastiness of eating cold cooked bacon, as well as the best ways to store it to ensure maximum freshness.
So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of cold cooked bacon!
Can You Eat Cold Cooked Bacon?
The short answer is yes, you can eat cold cooked bacon. In fact, it’s actually safer to eat cold cooked bacon than hot. When properly stored in the fridge, cooked or sliced bacon will stay fresh for about three to four days. While there is always the possibility of cross-contamination in delis, homecooked bacon is safe to eat as long as it is refrigerated and not left out for more than a few hours.
However, it’s important to note that the taste and texture of cold cooked bacon may not be as enjoyable as when it’s freshly cooked. Cooked bacon left outside for too long will ultimately get cold and change in texture, becoming chewy or leathery when reheated in the microwave. So, even if it’s not harmful, cooked bacon that is left out for too long may not be tasty enough.
The Safety Of Eating Cold Cooked Bacon
When it comes to the safety of eating cold cooked bacon, it’s important to pay attention to how long it has been stored at room temperature. Generally, the fresher the cooked bacon, the better it will taste. Cooked bacon left outside for an extended period can potentially be exposed to harmful bacteria, making it unsafe to eat.
However, if the cooked bacon has been stored correctly in a sealed container, zip-top plastic bag, or an airtight bag, it can last for up to five days in the refrigerator. According to USDA guidelines, cooked bacon can be refrigerated for up to seven days, but it’s best to consume it within a day or two after cooking for optimal flavor and texture.
It’s also essential to check for signs of spoilage before consuming cold cooked bacon. If you notice a sour smell or discoloration, it’s best to discard the bacon to avoid food poisoning. Additionally, pregnant women should avoid consuming cold bacon and instead opt for heated bacon until steaming hot to eliminate any potential risks.
The Best Ways To Store Cooked Bacon
If you have leftover cooked bacon, there are a few different ways to store it depending on how long you need to keep it and when you plan to use it. The best way to store cooked bacon is in the refrigerator, which will help preserve its crispy texture and delicious flavor.
Before storing your cooked bacon in the fridge, make sure it has cooled down to room temperature. This will prevent condensation from forming inside the storage container, which can make the bacon soggy. Once cooled, wrap the bacon in wax paper or parchment paper, then place it in an airtight container or plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible before sealing the container or bag and placing it in the refrigerator. Cooked bacon can be stored in the fridge for up to four days without spoiling.
If you need to store cooked bacon for longer than four days, consider freezing it instead. To freeze cooked bacon, first allow it to cool down completely to room temperature. Then wrap individual portions in wax paper or parchment paper and place them in a freezer-safe container or plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible before sealing the container or bag and placing it in the freezer. Frozen cooked bacon can last up to six weeks.
It’s important to note that freezing can affect the texture of cooked bacon, so it may not be as crispy as when freshly cooked. To reheat frozen cooked bacon, simply place it in a hot pan for about a minute or microwave it for about 30 seconds, depending on your microwave’s wattage.
How To Reheat Cooked Bacon
If you prefer your bacon warm, there are several ways to reheat it without losing its crispiness. One option is to use the microwave. Simply place the bacon strips on a microwave-safe plate and cook on medium power for 30 seconds to one minute, or until heated through. Be sure to place a paper towel underneath the bacon to absorb any excess grease.
Another option is to reheat the bacon in the oven. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350°F and spread the bacon out on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Cover the bacon with foil and heat for 8-10 minutes, or until heated through. If you want your bacon extra crispy, remove the foil for the last few minutes of cooking.
If you have an air fryer, this is also a great option for reheating bacon. Preheat your air fryer to 350°F and cook the bacon for 3-4 minutes. This method will give you crispy bacon without any added oil.
Lastly, if you have a large amount of bacon to reheat, using the oven is recommended. Preheat your oven to 350°F and place the bacon on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cover with foil and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until heated through. While this method takes the most time and energy out of all three reheating options, it’s the best way to reheat a large amount of bacon at once.
No matter which method you choose, be sure not to overcook your bacon as it can become chewy and lose its flavor. With these tips, you can enjoy perfectly reheated bacon every time.
Creative Ways To Use Leftover Cooked Bacon
If you find yourself with leftover cooked bacon, don’t throw it away! There are plenty of creative ways to use it up and add some extra flavor to your meals. Here are some ideas:
1. Bacon bits: Chop up the leftover bacon into small pieces and use it as a topping for salads, baked potatoes, or soups. You can even sprinkle it on top of mac and cheese for an extra indulgent treat.
2. Breakfast burritos: Add the bacon to scrambled eggs, cheese, and veggies for a filling breakfast burrito. Wrap it up in a tortilla and enjoy on the go.
3. BLT sandwich: Use the leftover bacon to make a classic BLT sandwich. Add some fresh lettuce, tomato slices, and mayo for a delicious lunch option.
4. Pasta carbonara: Use the bacon to make a creamy pasta carbonara. Just mix cooked spaghetti with eggs, Parmesan cheese, and the chopped bacon for a decadent meal.
5. Grilled cheese: Add some leftover bacon to a grilled cheese sandwich for a delicious twist on a classic comfort food.
Tips For Cooking Perfect Bacon Every Time
Cooking bacon can be a bit tricky, but with the right techniques, you can achieve perfectly crispy and delicious bacon every time. Here are some tips to help you cook perfect bacon:
1. Use a baking sheet and a rack: Lining your baking sheet with foil and using a rack will help contain the bacon drippings and prevent the bacon from sticking to the pan. It will also help the bacon cook evenly and become crispy.
2. Preheat your oven to 400°F: This is the best temperature for baking bacon as it cooks the bacon evenly no matter its thickness and the bacon won’t splatter.
3. Don’t overlap the bacon slices: Make sure to place the bacon slices in a single layer either directly on the foil or on a rack. Overlapping slices will prevent them from cooking evenly and becoming crispy.
4. Check your bacon around 10 minutes: Cooking time depends on the thickness of your bacon, and how long it takes for you oven to come to temperature. Start checking your bacon around 10 minutes to ensure your bacon doesn’t burn.
5. Let your bacon rest on paper towels: Once the bacon has reached your desired level of crispiness, remove immediately and place on paper towels to soak up the bacon grease.
6. Pull out the bacon from the fridge 15-20 minutes before cooking: At room temperature, bacon just cooks up better (just like steak).
7. Don’t preheat the skillet: Lay out the bacon strips without overlapping in a cold pan. This helps the fat render slowly, for consistently cooked strips.
8. Cook over medium heat: Again, good for even rendering. Turn the strips as needed until they reach the desired crispness, 8 to 12 minutes.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your bacon is cooked perfectly every time, whether you prefer it hot or cold.