How Long Does Bacon Last?

Medically Reviewed on 7/15/2022
How Long Does Bacon Last?
Any type of bacon or meat should be handled and cooked carefully.

Just like any food, bacon can quickly get spoiled if it is not stored properly. It must be discarded right away if it has passed its expiration date (indicated on the package).

Many factors may determine bacon’s shelf life—the type, method of storage, and whether it has been opened or cooked. You'll notice that most varieties have a sell-by date printed right on the package.

To be clear, this date does not always indicate how long bacon can be used and consumed without risk. It may simply mean the date till which bacon can be kept on the shelves for sale.

Common timelines of bacon

  • Unopened bacon:
    • Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and frozen for eight months
  • Opened but uncooked bacon:
    • May only last about a week in the refrigerator and up to six months in the freezer
  • Cooked bacon with proper storage:
    • Has a shorter shelf life, lasting approximately four to five days in the refrigerator and up to one month in the freezer
  • Bacon grease:
    • Can be refrigerated for six months or frozen for nine months

Timelines of bacon depending on the storage

  • Bacon kept in a fridge:
    • If unopened and kept in a refrigerator, raw bacon has a shelf life of approximately two weeks.
    • Once opened, raw bacon should remain fresh for about a week.
    • If kept in a fridge, cooked bacon usually lasts for five days.
  • Bacon kept in the freezer:
    • In a freezer, raw bacon lasts for about six months.
    • Bacon that has been cooked can be frozen for nine months.

Bacon shelf life chart

Table 1. Bacon shelf life.
Type of bacon Storage The average time that bacon lasts
Uncooked and unopened bacon Fridge Two to four weeks
Uncooked but opened bacon Fridge One week
Uncooked and unopened bacon Freezer Six to eight months
Cooked bacon Fridge Five days
Cooked bacon Freezer Two months

Can you get food poisoning from tainted bacon?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has established standards stating that food prepared at 40 degrees can only be kept for a short period—about two hours. Bacteria will begin to grow and spread on it after this period.

Food poisoning can occur after consuming tainted food. To avoid unfavorable circumstances, you should adhere to the standard guidelines for cooked bacon.

Bacon leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator rather than being left out at room temperature after a meal. Additionally, leaving bacon outside the refrigerator will alter the texture from the start. It will lose its freshness and turn chewy.


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What measures should I take while handing and cooking bacon?

Any type of bacon or meat should be handled and cooked carefully because it has every chance of contamination, leading to many diseases including food poisoning

Handling bacon

  • Bacteria may be present when handling raw bacon. To completely remove all bacteria from countertops, a clean, soapy cloth, or bleach wipe is required. Wash your hands well with soap and water. 
  • However, there is no requirement to rinse the raw bacon prior to cooking. 
  • Any bacteria that may have been on the meat will be destroyed by the heat from the stove or the microwave.

Cooking bacon

  • Eating meat that is raw or undercooked will cause stomach problems. 
  • According to a recent study, microwave-cooked bacon is more thoroughly cooked than fried bacon.
  • In fact, the study reported that the longer bacon was cooked on a stovetop, the more potentially harmful chemical compounds were released. 
  • To ensure that the bacon was thoroughly cooked, it is advised cooking it at 275°F for 30 minutes (medium well).

How will I know if bacon has gone bad?

A general guideline is provided by the expiration date printed on a package of unopened bacon. The date usually serves as a reliable guide for when to use fresh meat products. The printed date on the original package, however, is no longer useful information if the sealed package is damaged or kept in less-than-ideal storage conditions. 

  • Check the bacon for any signs of spoilage, such as bad smell, discoloration, or slimy texture; throw it out if you're unsure. 
  • If bacon is kept for too long at room temperature or even in the refrigerator, it may go bad. Therefore, when purchasing bacon or precooked bacon, consider whether it appears dry or wet.
  • Check how much moisture is still present on the surface. Its slimy appearance and foul odor are sure signs that the bacon is spoiled.
  • The meat's color should also be noted. Spoiled meats are darker in color.

Four common signs of bad bacon include:

  1. Dryness
  2. Sour smell
  3. Dark brownish-red color
  4. Smell like rotten eggs

How to know if cooked bacon has gone bad

Sometimes, overnight storage of cooked bacon is possible without it spoiling. Although it's not always the case, you should double-check. It's very simple to identify spoiled cooked bacon. You can use your instincts, your sense of smell, or your sense of touch to detect if bacon is spoiled.

  • Smell:
    • Spoiled cooked bacon gives off a bad smell that is both unpleasant and reminiscent of rotten chicken.
  • Color:
    • Grey or green coloration will appear on spoiled bacon strips. Sometimes, mold or white and black spots will appear on the surface. 
  • Texture:
    • The slimy texture is yet another indication of bad bacon. 

How to know if uncooked bacon has gone bad

  • Because it is made of raw meat, uncooked bacon should be sticky to touch when you pick it up. However, raw bacon shouldn't feel slimy. 
  • When you put the slice down, if there is a white film on your hand from too much moisture, it is too late. Bacteria are already growing on the bacon, which will make you sick and possibly give you food poisoning.
  • Bacon's smell, which may be strongly acrid and sour, can be used to determine whether it is bad. If it is cold, raw meat shouldn't ever smell like meat. 
  • Spoiled uncooked bacon will turn blue, green, and occasionally even grey brown. When you take your bacon out of the package and notice any of these colors, just throw it away and wash your hands.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

What are the best ways to store bacon?

The most crucial thing to keep in mind is to always store bacon in a fridge or freezer. The bacon should remain fresh as a result of this effort to stop the growth of bacteria.

  • Airtight container:
    • If your bacon has already been opened, put it in a container and make sure it is tightly closed. 
    • It should last longer if stored in this manner. Restricting airflow keeps it healthy by preventing the growth of bacteria.
  • Plastic wrap:
    • Similar techniques can be applied to plastic wrap. Wax paper, freezer paper, or aluminum foil are all suitable alternatives.
    • This lessens airflow and stops the growth of bacteria. In this manner, you can store some for later use in the refrigerator and some in the freezer.
  • Minimize the amount of time it spends at room temperature:
    • Put it in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as you get home to keep it fresh and don't leave it out while you're cooking for too long.
  • Divide into small portions:
    • Divide cooked bacon into small portions to freeze.
    • Wrap the portions in a paper towel first, then in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and then place them in the freezer to help prevent freezer burn.


Bacon is on the list of foods that have gained the most popularity over recent years. Almost everyone enjoys it because it is so delicious.

  • Keep your bacon in its original, sealed packaging in the fridge to keep it fresh.
  • If the package has already been opened, reseal it and wrap it in sturdy aluminum foil. 
  • Keep it somewhere that is consistently lower than 40°F. Bacon should be kept in the freezer if it needs to be kept for more than a week. It must be in a setting with a constant temperature of 0°F.
  • In the freezer, bacon will stay fresh for four to six months. To preserve the flavor of the bacon's freshness, try to eat bacon within a month.

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Medically Reviewed on 7/15/2022
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