Bacon is a beloved breakfast food that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Whether you prefer it crispy or chewy, bacon is a staple in many households.
But what happens when you cook too much bacon? How long can you keep cooked bacon in the refrigerator 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 cup of coffee and let’s dive into the world of bacon storage!
How Long Is Cooked Bacon Good In The Refrigerator?
According to USDA guidelines, cooked bacon can be refrigerated for up to 7 days. However, in our experience, the flavor and texture are best when the bacon is eaten within a day or two after cooking.
To maximize the shelf life of cooked bacon, it’s important to store it properly. The bacon should be placed in a shallow airtight container or wrapped tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap. This will prevent air from getting in and keep the bacon fresh for longer.
It’s also important to refrigerate the bacon within two hours of cooking. Leaving it out at room temperature for too long can cause bacteria to grow, which can lead to food poisoning.
The temperature of your refrigerator should be set at 40°F (4°C) or below. This will help keep the bacon fresh and prevent any bacteria from growing.
If you notice any signs of spoilage such as discoloration, a slimy texture, or a bad smell, it’s best to discard the bacon immediately. Consuming spoiled bacon can lead to food poisoning and other health issues.
The Shelf Life Of Cooked Bacon
Several factors determine how long cooked bacon is good for, including how it’s stored, whether or not it’s been opened, and what type of bacon it is. Generally, cooked bacon can last for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator if stored properly in a sealed container, a zip-top plastic bag, or an airtight bag. However, USDA guidelines state that cooked bacon can be refrigerated for up to 7 days.
If you’ve cooked more bacon than you can use within a week, you can always freeze it. Frozen, cooked bacon will keep its delicious flavor and texture for about a month. To freeze cooked bacon, wrap it tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer wrap or store it in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
It’s important to note that certain varieties of bacon may have a different shelf life. 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.
If you choose to save bacon grease after cooking, it can be refrigerated for up to 6 months or frozen for up to 9 months before going rancid.
It’s crucial to follow these guidelines to ensure that your cooked bacon stays fresh and safe to eat. If you’re unsure about the freshness of your cooked bacon, it’s best to discard it rather than risk food poisoning.
Factors That Affect The Shelf Life Of Cooked Bacon
Several factors can affect the shelf life of cooked bacon. One of the most significant factors is the method of storage. Proper storage is essential to keep the bacon fresh for longer. As mentioned earlier, cooked bacon should be stored in a shallow airtight container or wrapped tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap. This will help prevent air from getting in and keep the bacon fresh for longer.
Another factor that affects the shelf life of cooked bacon is the temperature at which it is stored. The temperature of your refrigerator should be set at 40°F (4°C) or below to prevent any bacteria from growing. Leaving the bacon at room temperature for too long can cause bacteria to grow, which can lead to food poisoning.
The quality of the bacon before cooking can also impact its shelf life after cooking. If the bacon was already past its sell-by date or was not stored properly before cooking, it may not last as long in the refrigerator after cooking.
Additionally, the amount of fat in the bacon can also affect its shelf life. The more fat there is, the quicker it can spoil. Therefore, leaner cuts of bacon may last longer than fattier cuts.
Finally, it’s important to note that reheating cooked bacon multiple times can also affect its shelf life. Each time you reheat the bacon, it becomes more susceptible to bacterial growth and may spoil quicker.
How To Store Cooked Bacon In The Refrigerator
If you have leftover cooked bacon, it’s important to store it properly to ensure it stays fresh and delicious. Here are some steps to follow when storing cooked bacon in the refrigerator:
1. Allow the bacon to cool down to room temperature before storing it. This will help prevent condensation from forming inside the container or wrap, which can make the bacon soggy.
2. Place the cooked bacon in a shallow airtight container or wrap it tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Make sure that no air can get in, as this can cause the bacon to spoil faster.
3. Label the container or wrap with the date that the bacon was cooked. This will help you keep track of how long it has been in the refrigerator.
4. Store the bacon in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below. This will help keep it fresh and prevent any bacteria from growing.
5. When you’re ready to eat the bacon, reheat it in the microwave or on the stove until it’s hot all the way through.
By following these steps, you can store cooked bacon in the refrigerator for up to 7 days while maintaining its flavor and texture. Remember to always check for signs of spoilage before consuming any leftover food.
How To Reheat Cooked Bacon Safely
When reheating cooked bacon, it’s important to do it safely to prevent any foodborne illnesses. Here are some tips for safely reheating cooked bacon:
1. Use the right method: There are several ways to reheat cooked bacon, including the microwave, oven, stovetop, and air fryer. Choose the method that works best for you and your equipment.
2. Reheat only what you need: Reheating bacon multiple times can lead to a loss of quality and increase the risk of bacterial growth. Only reheat the amount of bacon you need for each meal.
3. Check the temperature: Make sure the bacon is heated to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) before consuming. This will ensure that any bacteria present in the bacon are killed.
4. Store leftovers properly: If you have leftover reheated bacon, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Make sure to reheat it properly before consuming again.
By following these tips, you can safely and deliciously reheat your cooked bacon without any health risks.
Creative Ways To Use Leftover Cooked Bacon
If you have leftover cooked bacon that you don’t want to go to waste, there are many creative ways to use it up. Here are some ideas:
1. Bacon and Egg Breakfast Burrito: Heat up some leftover bacon and scrambled eggs, wrap them in a tortilla and add some cheese, avocado, and salsa for a delicious breakfast on the go.
2. Bacon Grilled Cheese: Add some leftover bacon to your grilled cheese sandwich for an extra burst of flavor.
3. Bacon-Wrapped Dates: Take a cue from the classic appetizer and wrap your leftover bacon around pitted dates for a sweet and savory treat.
4. Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus: Wrap cooked bacon around asparagus spears and bake in the oven for a tasty side dish.
5. Bacon Guacamole: Mix chopped cooked bacon into your guacamole for a smoky twist on the classic dip.
6. BLT Salad: Use leftover bacon to make a classic BLT salad with lettuce, tomato, and croutons.
7. Bacon Mac and Cheese: Add crumbled bacon to your favorite mac and cheese recipe for a delicious twist on a classic comfort food.
By using these ideas, you can make sure that your leftover cooked bacon doesn’t go to waste and instead becomes the star of your next meal or snack.
When To Discard Cooked Bacon.
It’s important to know when to discard cooked bacon to avoid any potential health risks. As mentioned earlier, if you notice any signs of spoilage such as discoloration, a slimy texture, or a bad smell, it’s best to throw it away immediately.
Additionally, cooked bacon that has been left at room temperature for more than two hours should also be discarded. Bacteria can grow rapidly at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, and consuming food that has been left out for too long can lead to food poisoning.
It’s also important to note that even if cooked bacon looks and smells fine, it may still be unsafe to eat if it has been stored improperly or for too long. Always err on the side of caution and discard any cooked bacon that you are unsure about.