Bacon is a beloved breakfast staple that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Whether you like it crispy or chewy, on its own or as part of a sandwich, there’s no denying that bacon is delicious.
But what happens when you cook too much bacon and can’t finish it all in one sitting? How long can you keep cooked bacon in the fridge before it goes bad?
In this article, we’ll explore the shelf life of cooked bacon and provide tips on how to store it properly to ensure it stays fresh and safe to eat.
So, grab a slice of bacon (or two) and let’s dive in!
How Long Is Bacon Good For After It’s Cooked?
The shelf life of cooked bacon depends on several factors, including how it’s stored, the type of bacon, and whether it’s been opened or not.
In general, cooked bacon can last up to four to five days in the fridge if stored properly. To store cooked bacon, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap or place it into an airtight container before refrigerating. Additionally, use cooked bacon within two hours of being cooked.
If you notice any signs of spoilage such as a sour smell or discoloration, discard the bacon immediately before consumption. It’s important to note that eating spoiled bacon can lead to foodborne illness.
Certain types of bacon may have different shelf lives. For example, cooked Canadian bacon can be refrigerated for 3–4 days or frozen for 4–8 weeks. Other varieties like pancetta, turkey bacon, and beef bacon all last approximately the same amount of time in the fridge or freezer as regular bacon.
How To Store Cooked Bacon
To store cooked bacon, it’s important to allow it to cool down to room temperature before wrapping it tightly with plastic wrap or placing it into an airtight container. This will prevent condensation from forming and keep the bacon as crispy as possible.
When storing cooked bacon in the fridge, make sure to use it within four to five days. If you don’t plan on using it within that time frame, it’s best to store it in the freezer. Cooked bacon can last for up to a month in the freezer.
To freeze cooked bacon, wrap individual portions in paper towels to cushion them and then place them into a zip-top bag. Make sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing the bag. Frozen cooked bacon can go right into the frying pan from the freezer or be warmed up in the microwave.
It’s important to note that slab bacon should be tightly wrapped and will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator, depending on its freshness factor when you buy it. However, freezing a slab of bacon is not recommended as the salt tends to make the fat turn rancid very quickly when frozen.
How Long Does Cooked Bacon Last In The Fridge?
Cooked bacon can last up to four to five days in the fridge if stored properly. To ensure that your cooked bacon remains fresh, it’s important to store it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Additionally, make sure that the temperature of your refrigerator does not exceed 40° Fahrenheit (4° Celsius).
It’s important to note that cooked bacon has a shorter shelf life than uncooked bacon. An unopened package of bacon can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator, while cooked bacon will only last for four to five days.
When eating cooked bacon, always check for signs of spoilage such as a sour smell or discoloration before consuming. If you notice any of these signs, the bacon should be discarded immediately to avoid food poisoning.
Certain types of bacon may have different shelf lives. Cooked Canadian bacon can be refrigerated for 3–4 days or frozen for 4–8 weeks. Other varieties like pancetta, turkey bacon, and beef bacon all last approximately the same amount of time in the fridge or freezer as regular bacon.
Signs That Cooked Bacon Has Gone Bad
It’s important to be able to recognize the signs that cooked bacon has gone bad to avoid consuming spoiled meat and getting sick. Here are some indicators that your cooked bacon may have gone bad:
1. Discoloration: Cooked bacon should maintain its pink or red color. If you notice any greenish or greyish discoloration, it’s a sign that the bacon has gone bad.
2. Slimy or sticky texture: Cooked bacon should be soft and moist, but not slimy or sticky. If you notice any sliminess or stickiness on the surface of the bacon, it’s a sign that bacteria growth has occurred, and the bacon is no longer safe to eat.
3. Foul odor: Cooked bacon should have a smoky aroma, but not a sour, fishy, or rotten smell. If you detect any off-putting odors, it’s a clear sign that your bacon has gone bad.
4. Mold: Any visible signs of mold on the surface of the cooked bacon indicate spoilage and should be discarded immediately.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard the cooked bacon. Remember, consuming spoiled bacon can lead to food poisoning and other health issues. Always store cooked bacon properly in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to extend its shelf life and avoid contamination.
Can You Freeze Cooked Bacon?
Yes, you can freeze cooked bacon! In fact, freezing cooked bacon is a great way to extend its shelf life and ensure that you always have some on hand when you need it. However, it’s important to follow the right steps to freeze cooked bacon properly.
Firstly, make sure the cooked bacon has cooled down to room temperature before wrapping it for freezing. This will prevent ice crystals from forming and affecting the quality of the bacon. Our favorite way to freeze cooked bacon is to wrap individual portions in wax paper or parchment paper, then place the parcels in a zip lock bag and freeze. You can also use heavy-duty, zip-top freezer bags to keep your cooked bacon fresh in the freezer.
It’s recommended that you enjoy frozen cooked bacon within four weeks for best flavor and to avoid any loss of quality or freezer burn. Additionally, always check your frozen foods before cooking with them – any bacon that smells off or has a slimy texture should be discarded.
If you prefer to freeze cooked bacon in bulk, arrange the cooked strips between layers of paper towels, place them flat in an airtight freezer container, and store the container in the freezer. Frozen baked bacon should be good for up to a month. To reheat frozen bacon, simply microwave it for a few seconds – there’s no need to thaw!
Creative Ways To Use Leftover Cooked Bacon
If you have leftover cooked bacon that you want to use up before it goes bad, there are plenty of creative ways to incorporate it into your meals. Here are a few ideas:
1. Bacon and Egg Breakfast Burrito: Use leftover bacon as a filling for a breakfast burrito. Scramble some eggs, add in some shredded cheese, and wrap it all up in a tortilla.
2. Bacon-Wrapped Dates: Take a cue from the classic appetizer and wrap pitted dates with small pieces of cooked bacon. Bake in the oven until crispy and serve as a sweet and savory snack.
3. Bacon Mac and Cheese: Stir chopped cooked bacon into your favorite mac and cheese recipe for an extra layer of flavor and texture.
4. Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus: Wrap cooked bacon around fresh asparagus spears and roast in the oven until crispy. This makes for a delicious side dish or appetizer.
5. Bacon Guacamole: Mix chopped cooked bacon into your favorite guacamole recipe for a smoky twist on the classic dip.
With these creative ideas, you can enjoy your leftover cooked bacon in new and exciting ways while also reducing food waste.