Can Bacon Go Bad?

Breakfast with bacon

Since bacon is an extremely popular meat in many regions and there are tons of people who can’t imagine starting their day without eating a slice or two of fried bacon, there are also many people wondering “can bacon go bad”. As you probably know, it can go bad, so the more important questions concern its shelf life and store – how long can it be stored and will still be tasty, how it should be stored, etc. If you’re looking for answers to those questions, you’re definitely in the right place.

Storing bacon

Bacon should be stored in the fridge, unless you want to freeze it, then of course if should be kept in the freezer. The refrigerator is the best place to keep every kind of bacon: raw opened or unopened, cooked, bacon slices or leftovers. Just make sure it’s wrapped properly (if it’s opened).

After cooking bacon, you should make sure it’s cooled before transferring it into the fridge. That might take two hours when it’s sitting on the counter or much less if you’ll decide to put it into the pantry and let it cool down there. Once it’s cooled, wrap it with plastic wrap and transfer into the fridge.

Breakfast with bacon
(credit: Fin Fahey)

Shelf life of bacon

Vacuum-sealed raw bacon in an unopened package will be fine until the best-by date and a couple of days longer (a week or so). If you want to store it for a longer period of , put the package into the freezer right away. It can sit the for additional 2 months or a little longer. If you plan to keep it in the freezer for longer, wrap the package once again before freezing, to prevent freezer burn.

If the package is already opened, the rule of thumb is to eat the bacon within a week or a little longer. If you want to keep it for longer, freeze it. If that’s the case, wrapping it well is very important – use plastic wraps and freezer bags. The longer you plan to freeze it, the better it should be wrapped (consider wrapping it twice). If you consider freezing, slicing the bacon before freezing might be a great idea. This way you’ll be able to thaw as many slices as needed at a time and you won’t be forced to thaw all the bacon at once.

When it comes to cooked bacon, it should taste great for a couple of days. Of course you can freeze it as well (remember to wrap it properly).

How to tell that bacon is bad

This part is quite easy. If you know how good bacon looks like and tastes, you’ll know if the bacon is bad. Basically, it changes its color – it might become somewhat brownish, grayish or even greenish. Another thing is the smell of the meat. If it smells off, it’s bad. Change of color, smell and taste, those are sure signs that bacon has gone bad and should be discarded. Also, if you’re stored it for a much longer period of time than mentioned earlier and it still seems to be fine, I’d advice you to discard it either way.

As you should know by know, bacon can go bad and it happens quite quickly (especially after it’s cooked). If you need to store it for longer than its shelf life, consider freezing it (don’t forget about wrapping it properly).