How Long Does Bacon Last in the Fridge?

You opened a package of bacon—but couldn't use it all. It happens! You can store bacon in the refrigerator or freezer to keep it fresh and ready to use.

Bacon is one of those foods that’s easy to love. It’s fantastic with breakfast, but it’s equally good when chopped up on a salad, draped over chicken on a sandwich or tossed with vegetables for a side dish. That sweet, salty and smoky flavor has the ability to light up a dish, and the smell of bacon in the oven is enough to make anyone hungry.

But despite bacon’s beloved status, it’s tough for most of us to eat an entire package in one sitting. Some bacon brands even have resealable packages for this reason.

This brings us to all kinds of questions: How long does bacon last in the fridge? Can you save leftover cooked bacon for later? How do you freeze bacon? Read on for the answers!

How Long Does Bacon Last?

How Long Does Bacon Last Chart 01Taste of Home, Getty Images (2)

The USDA has created guidelines to help consumers understand how long food lasts in the fridge. When it comes to bacon, it depends on whether the bacon is cooked or uncooked, and refrigerated or frozen.

How Long Does Uncooked Bacon Last in the Fridge?

You’ll find that some manufacturers include a sell-by or use-by date on the packaging, though it’s not required by the USDA. You can keep unopened bacon in the fridge until it reaches that date. If it doesn’t have a date, you can generally count on about 2 weeks from when you leave the grocery store. Bacon cured without nitrites (a common type of bacon) keeps a little longer in the fridge—up to 3 weeks.

Once you open the package, use all types of bacon within 7 days (or less, if the printed date is sooner). Find out if you can eat raw bacon.

How Long Does Cooked Bacon Last in the Fridge?

Leftover cooked bacon lasts 4 to 5 days in the fridge. It’s best to store it in an airtight container (we like glass containers because they don’t absorb odors).

If you purchased a shelf-stable cooked bacon from the store, you can keep it unopened in the pantry until the use-by date. After opening, you’ll want to use it within 5 to 14 days, depending on the package specifications.

How Long Does Bacon Last in the Freezer?

If you can’t use your bacon in time, pop it into the freezer. Both uncooked and cooked bacon can be frozen, but you’ll want to use both within 4 months for best quality. Unopened packages of bacon can be tossed straight into the freezer, but keep in mind that you’ll have to thaw the entire package at once.

If you want to freeze individual bacon strips, lay the bacon pieces on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper, making sure the strips don’t overlap, and place in the freezer. When the bacon is completely frozen, transfer the slices to a freezer-safe bag. You can use the same sheet pan method to freeze cooked bacon.

How to Cook Frozen Bacon

Bacon can be cooked from frozen, so you don’t need to thaw it. It will take longer to cook compared to thawed bacon, though. If you have time, thaw bacon in the refrigerator. Most frozen bacon packages will thaw overnight in the fridge and should be used within 7 days. Bacon thawed in the fridge can be refrozen, if needed.

Thawing bacon in cold water or the microwave takes less time (about 30 minutes in cold water or as quickly as 5 minutes in the microwave), but needs to be cooked immediately. Because bacteria can grow more rapidly during these thawing methods, this bacon can’t be refrozen unless it’s cooked first.

How Long Does Bacon Grease Last?

Throwing away bacon grease is one of the most common mistakes people make when cooking bacon. This stuff is liquid gold! Store it in a mason jar or bacon grease container and keep it in the refrigerator. It will solidify in the fridge, making it easy to scoop and portion.

Bacon grease will keep indefinitely in the freezer, or about 3 months in the refrigerator. You’ll know when it’s no longer good to use because it will smell rancid, and it will make anything that’s cooked in it taste a little funky.

How to Store Bacon

In the Fridge

Opened packages of uncooked bacon can be stored in an airtight container, plastic bag, in plastic wrap or tightly wrapped in aluminum foil. Once bacon has been cooked, it’s best to store it in an airtight container. We like to layer bacon strips between sheets of paper towels. Otherwise, the fat will solidify in the refrigerator, causing the strips to stick together.

In the Freezer

Keep frozen bacon in an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag. We like using resealable bags—especially if you used the sheet pan freezing method above—because it allows you to pull out a strip or two and toss the rest of the bag back in the freezer.

How to Tell If Bacon Has Gone Bad

Uncooked bacon is usually bright red, so you’ll know it’s going bad when the color fades to a dull pink. Once it turns brown, gray or has a greenish hue, it’s definitely time to toss it. You’ll also want to toss any bacon that’s sticky, slimy or has a strong sour aroma. Cooked bacon that’s past its prime will have a rancid smell, and it will lose its crisp texture and become soft and sticky.

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Lindsay D. Mattison
Lindsay is a professional chef, recipe developer, writer and developmental editor. After years of working in restaurant kitchens, she turned to writing to share her skills and experience with home cooks and food enthusiasts. She's passionate about using local, organic ingredients and teaching others how to incorporate seasonal food into their diet. Lindsay still cooks professionally for pop-up events, writes for several publications and is the co-author of two books about Ayurveda.