Show of hand—who else loves bacon? Bacon is the most delicious thing possible and there are higher chances you will be attempted to purchase or cook more than you required.
So the question comes—does cooked bacon have to be refrigerated? Before you cook your bacon, you need to know whether or not you can refrigerate it.
Usually, it’s best to eat your bacon immediately once you have cooked it. But there are circumstances when you might not finish the bacon you prepared.
This question—does bacon have to be refrigerated and I will answer other related questions in this post—so keep reading to know more.
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Does Cooked Bacon Have to Be Refrigerated?
Yes, you can refrigerate your bacon if you don’t wish to consume it immediately after you have cooked it. Refrigerating your bacon could extend its shelf life—five days, to be precise.
Usually, most bacon you’ll buy from the store has some additives that help preserve them longer. However, once you have cooked your bacon, the water content reduces. Low water content means that bacteria can’t survive easily on bacon.
However, you need to understand that most of the additives added to bacon aren’t added to make it suitable for storing at room temperature. Instead, the additives increase the shelf life of the bacon.
Besides, most manufacturing curing methods, such as wet curing, aren’t 100 percent high-quality, so you shouldn’t rely on them all the time.
Unless your bacon bought at the store is treated to maintain room temperature, you can treat your bacon, or rather, store it as you’d store other types of meat. Meats are dangerous when they go bad and you don’t have to take chances with food poisoning.
And because bacon has lots of fat in it, the chances are that it will go rancid very fast. This is the reason why you should never leave bacon at room temperature for too long. However, storing your bacon in the fridge will be a good idea.
Finally, please check the package of your bacon and see if it is labeled ‘shelf-stable’ and if you can trace such a label, you can leave it out of your refrigerator for up to ten days without any worries will go bad.
How Long Can Cooked Bacon Sit Out?
Cooked bacon can sit out for at most two hours, after which it may go bad. And because bacon is every person’s favorite meat, you don’t want to risk your bacon going bad a few hours just after you bought it. That’s why you need to store it properly once you reach home.
Keep an eye on your cooked bacon when you leave it at room temperature. In most cases, your bacon will start to smell if left at room temperature for more than two hours. If your bacon was labeled ‘shelf-stable,’ then it could go for up to ten more days at room temperature.
Agencies like the Food Safety and Inspection Service in the United States suggest that you should find a proper storage method for any cooked food. This is because bacteria can grow on foods of between 40 and 140-degrees F.
The general rule of thumb for cooked bacon is to consume it as soon as you prepare it. If you choose to eat it later, it would be best to refrigerate it to stay a little bit longer than going bad within a few hours at room temperature.
How to Store Cooked Bacon
There are a couple of ways you can store your cooked bacon and increase its shelf life. Please note that the best way to store your bacon depends on how long you want to store it.
You can store your bacon in the refrigerator or the freezer. If you choose to store your bacon in the fridge, it will last for between four to five days. However, if you decide to freeze your bacon, it will last for a month.
How to Store Cooked Bacon in the Fridge
Below is a quick guide to storing your bacon in the fridge:
- First, cook your bacon, ensuring that it’s cooked the way you’d want to consume it.
- The next step is to remove any excess grease or fat from the bacon using paper towels
- Let your bacon cook on a tray or rack
- Once your bacon has cooled, you’ll need to transfer them to an airtight container and ensure it’s not too big. If you see that there is too much space in the container, it would be best to use a cling film to reduce air contact
If you follow the above steps and store your bacon in the fridge, it should last for between four to five days. This is better if you wish to keep your bacon longer after cooking it.
If you have cooked your bacon to your preferred doneness, no need to fret—you can still rehat the bacon using a gentler method to prevent it from overcooking. Alternatively, you can choose not to reheat your bacon to maintain its texture and taste.
If you have smaller batches of bacon, your best bet is to fry it. On the other hand, if you have larger bacon sets, baking them will be a suitable option. Baking is usually easier than cooking, but what matters is your preferences.
How to Freeze Cooked Bacon
If you don’t want to refrigerate but want to keep your cooked bacon for longer, freezing it will be a good bet. Below is how you can freeze your bacon:
- Put your bacon on a tray and flash freeze it for about three hours. You’re flash freezing to prevent the bacon from sticking together, which can make it difficult to grab when you want to use it
- If you want to freeze much bacon, using baking paper sheets to create layers will be a good bet
- Once you have flash-frozen your bacon, you’ll need to transfer it into an airtight container. Using a bag, use a straw to draw excess air out of the freezer bag. Usually, less air in the freezer bag means that there are lower chances of your freezer burn
- If you want extra protection to prevent freezer burn, group portions of your bacon and wrap them up in plastic to create a double barrier
- Label the container and put it in the freezer to freeze for as long as you want
How to Thaw Cooked Bacon
Bacon is soft, so you may not need to thaw it once you take it out from the freezer. However, if you’d wish to thaw your bacon, either use cold water, use a microwave or leave it in the fridge to thaw. However, please do not ever leave bacon on your counter to thaw.
If you choose to thaw your bacon using the fridge method, take your bacon out of the freezer a few hours before you will use it and transfer it to the fridge. Once you have thawed your bacon using this method, it’ll last for between three to four days.
If you want to go with the cold water method, put your bacon in a plastic container or bag and let the bag into the cold water. The reason you are putting the bacon in a plastic bag or container is to keep it from getting soggy in the process of thawing it.
The microwave is a quicker way of thawing bacon, but ensure that you don’t leave your bacon for entirely too long as it may get soggy.
How to Tell if Your Cooked Bacon Has Gone Bad?
Now that we have discussed the various methods of preserving cooked bacon, how do I tell if my cooked bacon has gone bad?
The truth is that it is crucial to know whether food has gone bad or not before you can consume it—for the sake of food poisoning, just be sure your bacon is safe for consumption.
There are many signs that your bacon may have gone bad and below are those signs you should look for:
- You need to smell the bacon, and if the smell is sour, then that is a sign that the bacon has gone bad. You need to throw it away and get another
- The next sign you should check is whether the color of your bacon has changed to either green or grey. Besides, check whether there is mold or black spots on the bacon
- Touch and see if the bacon has a slimy texture. Bacon that has gone bad will always have a slimy texture
1. Is It Safe to Eat Cooked Bacon Left Out Overnight?
No, it is not safe to eat cooked bacon left overnight unless you curated the bacon using salt. Otherwise, bacon can’t last a couple of hours when left out overnight. The best thing to do is keep your bacon in the fridge when using it in a few days.
2. Does Cooked Bacon Go Bad?
Yes, cooked bacon will go bad—two hours when left at room temperature. However, you can increase your bacon’s shelf life if you store it in the fridge—it lasts four to five days but could last up to about a month when kept in the freezer.
3. Can You Reheat Bacon After It’s Been Cooked?
Yes, you can reheat bacon after you cook it, especially when you have a lot of bacon that you cooked and would love to store some to use in the next few days. If you choose to reheat, you have the option to reheat until crisp in the toaster oven.
So yes, you can refrigerate bacon, especially if you don’t intend to use it immediately after you cook it. You are refrigerating bacon because cooked bacon can’t last more than two hours at room temperature.
Over to you now—if you have any experiences keeping your cooked bacon for longer with any of the discussed methods or a different method, please let me know. Sharing your experience can help other readers learn in the process.