If you’re like many people, you probably love bacon. It’s crispy, salty, and delicious. But sometimes, you might not be sure if your bacon is still good to eat or not.
What do you do if you open a package of bacon and it’s maybe not as fresh as you thought it was? How can you tell if your bacon has gone bad?
You’ve probably heard all kinds of stories about the risks of eating raw, undercooked and spoiled foods – especially meat. It’s definitely not a risk you want to take.
The good news is that it’s pretty easy to tell if it’s safe to fry up that delicious bacon that’s in your fridge.
In this post, I’m going to show you three easy ways to tell if bacon is bad. I’ll also give you some tips and tricks on the best ways to store your bacon.
Alrighty, bacon lovers. Keep reading for the best way to find out if that bacon has gone bad!
How To Tell If Bacon Has Gone Bad: 3 Signs Of Spoilage
With the help of these 3 easy tips, you can be on the lookout for the signs of bad bacon.
Fresh bacon is normally light to dark pink color with white fat marbled throughout.
When bacon is spoiled, you will notice the color gets dull. It may take on a brown, gray, green or even blueish color.
Another tell-tale sign of bad bacon is the smell. Good bacon has a fresh, meaty, sometimes smoky smell.
If the bacon has turned bad, it will have a distinct off smell. It may have a sour smell. Or it could also have a rotting odor, smell fishy or just plain smell bad. The bacteria can make spoiled bacon smell pretty awful.
Fresh bacon is soft and moist. When the raw bacon has started to turn bad, it will feel slimy or sticky instead.
If you notice the texture is off, it’s best to throw it out. Lactic acid bacteria is a common reason for meat to feel sticky and slimy.
Average Shelf Life Of Bacon
With proper storage and handling, a pack of bacon can last for quite a while in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to use it again.
Here are some quick guidelines for the average shelf life of cooked and uncooked bacon.
Shelf Life Of Cooked Bacon
- In the refrigerator: 4-5 days
- In the freezer: Up to 2-3 months
Shelf Life Of Uncooked Bacon
- In the refrigerator:
- 2-3 weeks (if unopened, depending on expiry date on package)
- 1 week (if opened)
- In the freezer:
- 6-8 months (if unopened)
- 6 months (if opened)
How To Properly Store Bacon
With a few easy steps, you can make sure your cooked or uncooked bacon is stored safely. Following these tips will also help ensure the best quality and shelf life.
For best results, it’s ideal to refrigerate or freeze your bacon right away.
After storing cooked or uncooked bacon, always check it carefully to ensure it still looks, smells and feels fresh. If not, it’s best to throw it away to avoid food poisoning or contamination of other food.
Store Cooked Bacon
- To freeze cooked bacon, divided it into small portions. To help prevent freezer burn, wrap the portions in paper towel, then in aluminum foil or plastic wrap before putting in the freezer. Cooked bacon can last 2-3 months in the freezer.
- To store cooked bacon in the refrigerator, put it in an airtight container. You could use a shallow storage container with a lid, heavy-duty freezer bags or tightly wrap the bacon in tin foil or plastic wrap. Cooked bacon can last 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
Store Uncooked Bacon
- At the grocery store, take a close look at the bacon to make sure it looks fresh. Sometimes the seal of the packaging can break. Also check the expiration date to make sure the product is fresh.
- Store your fresh, uncooked bacon in the freezer or refrigerator as possible.
- If the package is unopened, it will keep fresh for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator (or until the expiration date). Unopened bacon can last 6-8 months in the freezer.
- If the package is open, you will only have 1 week to safely enjoy the bacon if stored in the refrigerator. You will have up to 6 months to use it if stored properly in the freezer.
- Moisture can cause spoilage in bacon. To help minimize the moisture, place paper towels on the uncooked bacon when storing.
- Whether you’re storing the uncooked bacon in the fridge or freezer, it’s best to keep the bacon as airtight as possible. Use a resealable plastic bag, plastic wrap or tinfoil to maximize the shelf life.
A Note About Expiration Dates
The expiration date printed on an unopened package of bacon is a general guide. The date is typically a good indicator of when the fresh meat products should be used by.
However, if the sealed package is damaged or kept in less than optimal storage conditions, the printed date on the original package is no longer a helpful guide.
If you’re unsure about using the bacon, check it for any sign of spoilage such as a bad smell, discoloration or slimy texture. When in doubt, throw it out.
Q. Can You Freeze Bacon?
A. Yes, if properly stored, bacon can be frozen.
To help prevent freezer burn, it’s important to use an airtight container and reduce exposure to moisture. Wrap the bacon in paper towel, then in aluminum foil or plastic wrap before putting it in the freezer.
- A package of unopened, uncooked bacon can last 6-8 months in the freezer.
- A package of opened, uncooked bacon will only last about 6 months.
- Cooked bacon can last about 2-3 months in the freezer.
Q. How Long Does Bacon Last In The Refrigerator?
A. When properly stored in an airtight container, cooked bacon will last 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
Uncooked bacon that is in an unopened package can last around 2-3 weeks, depending on the printed expiration date.
Uncooked bacon in an opened package will only last about 1 week.
Q. What Happens If You Eat Bad Bacon?
A. Food poisoning can occur if you eat bad, uncooked or undercooked bacon.
Eating undercooked or raw meat of any kind increases your food poisoning due to bacteria and parasites that may be on the meat. You’ve probably heard of some common bacteria including Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Bacillus, Clostridium, and Escherichia coli (E-coli).
Cooking to the proper temperature helps ensure the meat can be consumed safely.
If you eat bacon that has spoiled and you get food poisoning, you may experience a variety of symptoms. You may feel mild to severe symptoms like nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, high fever, body aches, chest pain, and dehydration. In extreme cases, hospitalization may be needed.
More Kitchen Tips and Tricks
– How To Tell If Your Brownies Are Done
– How To Make Canned Frosting Taste Better
– How To Make Store-Bought Chocolate Frosting Taste Homemade
– How To Get The Burnt Popcorn Smell Out Of Your Microwave
We hope that this article has given you some insight into how to tell if bacon is bad. This is important because the last thing you want is for food poisoning or illness to be caused by spoiled pork products.
When stored properly, fresh bacon can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for days, weeks or even months.
When in doubt, there are three easy ways to tell if bacon has gone bad.
Fresh bacon will smell meaty, not sour, fishy or rancid.
Fresh bacon is light to dark pink, not pale, brown, gray, green or blueish.
Fresh bacon is soft and moist, not slimy or sticky.
Micky Reed, a two-decade veteran in the food and baking industry, leverages her influential Three Snackateers food blog and Instagram presence to collaborate with industry giants like Ben & Jerry's and Crumbl Cookies. Her work has been featured on Delish, PopSugar and more. Her expertise as a product curator for one of the world's largest international snack subscription box companies solidifies her status as a key player in the field.