Bacon Shelf Life: How Long Does Bacon Last?

What is the average shelf life of bacon? How long does bacon last in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer? What is the best way to store bacon to increase its  shelf life? Find out the answers to these questions and more below:

Shelf Life of Bacon

Fresh5-7 Days6 Months
Cooked7-10 Days6 Months

Purchasing Bacon

When buying bacon, look for slices with long veins of lean, pink meat and a relatively small amount of fat.

It is recommended that items like bacon that are temperature sensitive should be selected and placed in your shopping cart just prior to checking out at the supermarket register.  The bacon should be taken home immediately and placed in the refrigerator or freezer and used or frozen.  Observe the manufacturer’s dates as specified on the package.

Storing Bacon

Raw bacon must either be refrigerated or frozen until it is taken out to be cooked.  Cooked, cured, or canned bacon can be stored in the pantry, if the container is unopened, and if the date(s) are still valid.  However, once opened or once it can no longer stay out, the product must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to keep it from spoiling.

How to Handle Bacon

Just like all raw meat, there could possibly be bacteria present when handling raw bacon.  It is essential to use a clean, soapy cloth or a bleach wipe to clean up countertops to clean away all bacteria.  Wash hands thoroughly.  There is no need, however, to rinse the raw bacon before cooking it.  The heat from the microwave or the frying pan will kill any bacteria that might have been on the meat.

Cooking Bacon

For years, we have been told that eating raw or under cooked pork would lead to a stomach condition.  A recent study has shown that bacon cooked in a microwave gets more completely cooked than fried bacon.  In fact, the study stated that when frying bacon on a stove-top, the longer your cooked it, the more chemical ingredients were released from the meat making it harmful to humans.  They recommended cooking the bacon at a temperature of 275 degrees F for 30 minutes (medium well) instead of overcooking it to ensure it was thoroughly cooked.

How to Tell if Bacon is Bad or Spoiled

There are several ways to tell if bacon is bad or spoiled:

  • Feel the bacon. Spoiled bacon will have a slimy texture.
  • Check its appearance. Spoiled bacon will have a dull,  gray / brown appearance.
  • Smell the bacon. Spoiled bacon will usually have a strong sour smell.