With its enticing smell and delicious taste, bacon is popular around the globe.
If you have ever prepared it at home, you may notice that most types of bacon have a sell-by date listed directly on the package.
However, this date doesn’t necessarily indicate how long bacon can be used and safely eaten.
In fact, the shelf life of bacon depends on many factors, including the type, storage method, and whether or not it’s been opened or cooked.
This article reviews how long bacon lasts — and how you should store it to optimize its shelf life and quality.
Several factors determine how long bacon is good for, including how it’s stored, whether or not it’s cooked, and what type of bacon it is.
Generally, unopened bacon can last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator and up to 8 months in the freezer.
Meanwhile, bacon that has been opened but not cooked may only last around 1 week in the refrigerator and up to 6 months in the freezer.
Cooked bacon that has been stored properly also has a shorter shelf life and can generally last around 4–5 days in the refrigerator and up to 1 month in the freezer.
If you choose to save bacon grease after cooking, it can be refrigerated for 6 months or frozen for up to 9 months before going rancid.
Certain varieties of bacon may also 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 (1).
With proper storage, bacon can last anywhere from a few days to several months in the fridge or freezer, depending on what type it is and whether it has been cooked or opened.
Proper storage can help maximize the shelf life and quality of your bacon.
For starters, be sure to refrigerate or freeze it directly after use.
Though uncooked and unopened bacon can be stored as is, you may want to wrap the package with tin foil if freezing to prevent freezer burn.
Uncooked bacon that has been opened should be wrapped in tin foil or stored in an airtight container to maximize freshness before placing it in the refrigerator or freezer.
Meanwhile, cooked bacon should be separated into small portions and wrapped with paper towels prior to freezing.
Unsliced slabs of bacon can also be wrapped with foil or placed in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks at a time.
Keep in mind, though, that they should not be frozen, as they can turn rancid very quickly.
Storing bacon in the refrigerator or freezer by wrapping it properly or placing it in an airtight container can help maximize its shelf life.
Paying close attention to the smell, texture, and appearance of your bacon can help indicate whether it’s still fresh.
When spoiled, the signature red hue of your bacon may start to become dull and fade into a grey, brown, or greenish color.
Spoiled bacon may also be slimy or sticky rather than soft and moist.
Bacon that has a sour smell or rotting odor should also be thrown out, as this is another sign of spoilage.
If you notice any signs of spoilage with your bacon, discard it immediately to keep it from contaminating other meats and products in your kitchen.
Changes in the color, smell, or texture of your bacon can all indicate spoilage.
With proper storage, the shelf life of bacon can range from a few days to a few months in the fridge or freezer.
There are several factors to consider when determining the shelf life of bacon, including what type it is, the storage method, and whether it has been opened or cooked.
Storing food properly and learning some of the common signs of spoilage can help maximize the shelf life and quality of your bacon.