Have you ever experienced the rare, almost-unheard-of phenomenon of having leftover bacon, and wondered, “How long does cooked bacon last in the refrigerator?”
You’re smart to research the answer, because the last thing any of us want to do is waste one morsel of tasty, delectable bacon.
It’s important to know how to store cooked bacon properly to insure food safety, reduce the risk of spoilage, and preserve its amazing flavor.
How Long Can Bacon Be Kept Once Cooked?
According to the USDA, cooked bacon can be safely refrigerated up to 7 days. However, in our real-life experience the flavor and texture are best when the tasty bacon strips are eaten within a day or two after cooking.
After two days in the fridge, we think the taste begins to deteriorate. The key to preserving cooked bacon’s delicious, savory flavor is to wrap and store it properly.
How To Store 3 Types of Cooked Bacon
There’s no one answer that fits all when it comes to how long you can store bacon. The shelf life of bacon depends on the type and thickness of bacon, how thoroughly it was cooked, and the storage conditions.
Here are three of the most common types of cooked bacon and how long they will last in the fridge:
Cooked Strips of Regular Sliced Bacon
The first step is to allow the bacon strips to cool completely on a wire rack. An airtight bag or container is key for freezing or refrigerating cooked bacon, as you want to eliminate as much surface area being exposed to oxygen as possible.
Squeeze all the air out of the bag before sealing it, or use a vacuum air sealer. Label and date the package, then place it in the fridge or freezer.
Cooked Thick-Cut Bacon
If you have thick-cut bacon, you’ll need a more substantial wrapping than a single layer of plastic wrap. Use a few layers of wax paper, heavy-duty freezer bags, or freezer wrap to insulate the slices.
By storing it this way, you can expect your thick-cut bacon to last for up to 5 days in the fridge.
Home-cooked bacon bits that are made from real bacon should be refrigerated in an airtight container like a glass jar as well, and will last up to five days.
Bacon bits freeze well, and can last up to six months if you wrap them tightly and store them in the freezer. This is our preferred method for keeping them fresh.
The Right Temperature for Storing Home-Cooked Bacon
To extend bacon’s shelf life, you need to store it at a temperature that is low enough to prevent bacteria growth but not so low that it causes freezer burn. The ideal temperature for refrigerating bacon is 40 degrees F or lower.
If you have any doubts about your fridge’s cooling abilities, you can use a refrigerator thermometer to keep an eye on the precise temperature.
For more information, be sure to read “How to Store Cooked Bacon.“
Storage of Cooked Bacon Products
According to the USDA, refrigerated cooked bacon products should be checked out at the grocery store right before you’re going home. Immediately refrigerate at 40 degrees F or below.
When in doubt, read the product label for proper handling instructions.
How Long Does Pre-Cooked Bacon Last?
Shelf-stable, cooked bacon should be stored in a cool cupboard that is 85 degrees F or lower, and used by the package expiration date or within 3 months of purchase, whichever is sooner.
Once you open the package, the time frame for how long pre-cooked bacon will last in the fridge is very similar to that of regular bacon cooked at home. If stored properly in the fridge, you can expect open, precooked bacon to last for four to five days.
When it comes to cooked bacon, safety is always the top priority. The general rule is that cooked food shouldn’t be left out at room temperature for more than two hours.
If the bacon has been sitting out longer than that, it’s best to play it safe and discard it. When storing, you may want to consider dividing the bacon in individual portions which may be easier to wrap tightly and avoid excess air.
How Long Does Cooked Nitrate-Free, Uncured Bacon Last?
Nitrate-free may be a new term for some people when it comes to bacon. So, let’s break it down.
Uncured bacon is bacon that has not been cured with nitrates or nitrites, which are often added to bacon to help preserve its pink color and to prevent the growth of bacteria.
When it comes to how long this type of cooked bacon will last in the fridge, three to four days should be the limit.
How Long Can I Keep Cooked Turkey Bacon in Fridge?
For all you bacon lovers out there who are looking for a healthier alternative, turkey bacon might be a good option. When stored tightly wrapped in the fridge, cooked turkey bacon will last for up to three days.
It’s important to keep in mind that turkey bacon has a shorter shelf life than regular bacon because it is leaner and doesn’t have as much fat.
That being said, it’s still a good idea to store it in an airtight container or wrapped in foil to keep it fresh for as long as possible.
You can keep your cooked turkey bacon longer than three days (the USDA says it’s safe to refrigerate for up to 7 days), but in our experience there may be some deterioration in quality such as taste, texture, and appearance.
For more information about storing turkey bacon, be sure to check out “How Long Does Turkey Bacon Last?“
How Do You Know When Cooked Bacon is Bad?
The easiest way to tell if your cooked bacon is less than prime is to take a sniff. The bacon should smell fresh and smoky.
If the bacon smells “off,” looks shriveled, or has any visible signs of mold or spoilage, you should discard it. Check out “How to Tell When Bacon Is Bad” for additional information.
Can Bacon Be Cooked Ahead and Reheated?
Cool it completely, and then wrap the tasty strips tightly using the tips above and refrigerate. For the best flavor, plan to use it in a day or two.
Reheat the bacon on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F oven until hot, or in a large skillet over medium heat.
How to Use Leftover Cooked Bacon
Cooked bacon can be used to flavor so many tasty dishes. Here are a few of our favorite recipes:
Mini Quiches with Cheddar and Bacon (shown above)
Storing Cooked Bacon in the Refrigerator
- Plastic wrap
- Press N Seal
- aluminum foil
- Airtight container
- Zip-top plastic bag
- 12 cooked bacon strips (or whatever quantity you have)
- Cool the bacon completely.
- Wrap in plastic wrap, Press N Seal or aluminum foil.
- Place the packet inside an airtight container or ziplock bag.
- Place the bag in the meat drawer or coolest part of the refrigerator. For best quality and flavor, use within 48 hours.
ADD YOUR OWN PRIVATE NOTES
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