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How Long Does Cooked Bacon Last in the Refrigerator?

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. We’ve got all the details for you to safely store cooked bacon and maximize its freshness.

Six strips of golden brown cooked bacon in a serving container.

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

A glass jar filled with bacon crumbles.

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 parchment paper or wax paper to insulate the slices; then tuck the wrapped slices inside a zip-top bag.

By storing it this way, you can expect your thick-cut bacon to last for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Bacon Bits

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 my preferred method for keeping them fresh.

The Right Temperature for Storing Home-Cooked Bacon

Two pounds of cooked bacon slices on a white platter.

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 measure 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?

A box of Hormel Fully Cooked bacon.

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?

five strips turkey bacon on a black skillet.

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?

Yes! First you’ll need to cook the bacon using your favorite method. We love cooking bacon in the oven, and we also sometimes cook it on the grill or make bacon in the pellet smoker.

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

9 mini quiches with bacon and cheese

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)

Best Deviled Eggs with Bacon

BLAT – Bacon Lettuce Avocado and Tomato Sandwich

Chicken Bacon Wraps with Ranch Mayo

Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

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Two pounds of cooked bacon slices on a white platter.

Storing Cooked Bacon in the Refrigerator

Eliza Cross
Here's how to store cooked bacon strips in the fridge and preserve its delicious, savory flavor.
5 from 8 votes
Wrapping Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Bacon Basics
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices
Calories 37 kcal

Equipment

  • Plastic wrap
  • Press N Seal
  • aluminum foil
  • Airtight container
  • Zip-top plastic bag

Ingredients
  

  • 12 cooked bacon strips (or whatever quantity you have)

Instructions
 

  • 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

Whenever you come back to this recipe, you’ll be able to see your notes!

Nutrition

Serving: 1stripCalories: 37kcalCarbohydrates: 0.1gProtein: 3gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 134mgPotassium: 40mgVitamin A: 3IUCalcium: 1mgIron: 0.1mg
Nutritional Information Disclosure
Keyword bacon storage
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eliza cross

About Eliza & BENSA

BENSA was founded by bacon expert Eliza Cross, author of more than a dozen cookbooks. She has written three bacon cookbooks including the award-winning Bacon Beans and Beer, the bestselling 101 Things to Do With Bacon, and the popular sequel 101 More Things to Do With Bacon. Learn more about BENSA...

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