Turkey bacon is a delicious and healthy alternative to traditional pork bacon. It is lower in fat and calories, and many people find it just as flavorful. But how long does turkey bacon last?
Cooked turkey bacon lasts about 3 days in the refrigerator. Raw, uncooked turkey bacon in an opened package last for about 7-14 days. A package of unopened bacon is typically okay to use until a week past the sell by date.
Similar to regular bacon, the shelf life can be extended by storing turkey bacon in the freezer. If you notice any change in color, smell or texture, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw the bacon out.
While these are general guidelines, there are many factors that determine how long turkey bacon will last.
Keep reading below to learn about the different ways to store bacon and how each method impacts how long bacon stays fresh. You’ll also learn the tell-tale signs that bacon has gone bad.
How Long Does Turkey Bacon Last
The shelf life of turkey bacon depends on a few different things:
- Whether or not it’s been cooked
- If it has been frozen and thawed
- If the original package has been opened
- If it has been stored properly
- The printed expiration date on the package
- If bacon shows any signs of spoilage
How long does cooked turkey bacon last?
Cooked turkey bacon lasts an average of 3 days when stored properly in the refrigerator. If left at room temperature, the bacon is prone to harmful bacteria and spoilage. Cooked bacon can be reheated in the microwave oven, air fryer or oven.
How long is turkey bacon good in the fridge unopened?
Similar to traditional bacon, the shelf life of a package of unopened turkey bacon is 7-14 days. The refrigerator helps increase how long turkey bacon lasts. However, for the best flavor, the sooner you cook the bacon the better it will taste.
The same goes for storing it in the freezer. Technically bacon can be stored indefinitely in the freezer, but will eventually lose its great smell, taste, and texture if frozen for too long.
How long does turkey bacon last uncooked?
When stored properly, uncooked turkey bacon can last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge and 8 months in the freezer. Uncooked bacon must be refrigerated just like any other fresh meat product.
If you notice any changes in smell, color or texture, you may have some bad turkey bacon and the best option is to throw it out.
How long is thawed turkey bacon good?
According to the USDA, thawed bacon should be used within a week. If you thaw your bacon and are not ready to use it, put it back in the fridge as soon as possible.
For the best quality and great taste, cook your bacon as soon as possible after thawing. Thawing and refreezing it is a bad idea because it can negatively affect the texture and taste of bacon.
How to Store Turkey Bacon
Turkey bacon should be stored in either the fridge or the freezer. For food safety, fresh bacon should never be stored in a cabinet or at room temperature. However, the best storage practices vary with the different storage options.
Store cooked turkey bacon in the fridge
If storing your cooked turkey bacon in the fridge, make sure it gets in there within two hours of coming off the heat. For the best results, place the cooked bacon on a paper towel to absorb any excess fat. Then wrap your leftover turkey bacon in aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
Make sure that the bacon is completely covered with the foil or cling wrap and that no areas of the meat are exposed to the air. You can also store the bacon in a shallow airtight container or plastic bag. Store the cooked bacon for up to 3 days.
Store cooked turkey bacon in the freezer
If you need to store your turkey bacon longer than the suggested time, then the freezer is the place to go. The storage process is very similar to in the fridge with one extra step.
After double-wrapping your bacon in airtight aluminum foil or plastic wrap, put it inside a heavy-duty freezer bag.
If you have a large amount of leftover bacon, store separate servings in separate bags or shallow airtight containers to make thawing it much easier.
When thawing your frozen turkey bacon, the safest way is to thaw it in the fridge for 24 hours. Thawing frozen bacon on the countertop at room temperature is a hot spot for bacterial growth which can cause food-borne illnesses even after cooking the bacon.
Store uncooked turkey bacon in the refrigerator or freezer
Similar to cooked bacon, make sure to wrap an opened package of uncooked bacon in tin foil or an airtight container or bag. If you need to store it in the freezer, make sure to double-wrap and place in a freezer bag to help avoid freezer burn.
Never store uncooked turkey bacon at room temperature. Meat needs to be refrigerated to avoid bacteria growth and spoilage. The absolute best way to make sure your bacon stays fresh and ready to cook is by properly storing it in the fridge or freezer.
How to Tell if Turkey Bacon is Bad
There easiest way to tell if turkey bacon has gone bad is to consider the smell, color, and texture. These guidelines also apply to any other type of bacon too.
Smell: Fresh bacon will have a distinct smell like raw meat. If it’s started to turn bad, it will smell rancid or sour.
Color: Fresh bacon has a natural pink color with white marbling from the fat. If you start to see any brown, gray, blue or even green colors, do not consume the meat.
Texture: Fresh bacon is soft and slightly moist. If you do the touch test and notice the meat is slimy, definitely throw it out.
Why does my turkey bacon turn gray?
Fresh turkey bacon has a subtle pink color. A gray color is a tell-tale sign that you’ve got some spoiled turkey bacon. The color change often happens slowly over time.
However, if you notice even a slight brown, blue, green or gray tint on your raw bacon, along with a bad smell, is a good indication the bacon has started to spoil.
Also note, that this can happen even in an unopened package of turkey bacon due to the moist environment or a tiny tear in the packaging.
Why does turkey bacon get slimy?
Turkey bacon becomes slimy after developing lactic acid bacteria. This is another classic sign that your bacon has gone bad. The texture becomes slimy and even occasionally gooey and should not be eaten.
Turkey bacon, like other types of bacon, will be a bit squishy given that it is raw meat, but it will not be slimy.
Is bacon OK past use-by date?
Usually not. In general, bacon can be consumed for up to a week past the SELL BY date. However, if a USE BY date is listed, it’s a good idea to follow the suggestion and throw it out to avoid potential food poisoning.
The only case where this can be an exception is if you froze the bacon right after purchase and have not thawed or used it since. Otherwise, that USE BY date is there for your protection and should be followed as such.
Also keep in mind that while the use-by date is a helpful tool, sometimes the signs of spoilage, like an off, sour smell and slimy texture, don’t show up for a bit of time after it has already started to spoil. To be on the safe side in the kitchen, use your best judgment!
With proper storage and following the simple guidelines in this article, you can safely enjoy delicious and nutritious turkey bacon! Here are a few final tips for keeping your turkey bacon fresh:
-Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or wrapped in aluminum foil. Cooked bacon lasts up to 3 days and uncooked bacon lasts up 2 weeks.
– If you plan to freeze your turkey bacon, do so within 2-3 days of purchase. For best results, wrap in aluminum foil and use a freezer bag. Also, don’t thaw and refreeze the bacon.
– If you notice any off colors, smells or textures, err on the side of caution and don’t eat it.