Mmmmmm, bacon!! One of our all-time favorite foods – the smell of cooking bacon is almost impossible to resist!
This might seem unlikely to some people, but there may be occasions where you need to store leftover cooked bacon.
So, how do you store cooked bacon? Cooked bacon can be stored chilled for up to 5 days, or longer periods in the freezer. The best way to store cooked bacon is in the refrigerator to preserve the crisp texture and delicious flavor.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the different methods of storing cooked bacon, in the unlikely event that you ever have any leftovers from breakfast.
These storage methods can also work well if you need to cook bacon in advance, maybe for a big brunch!
How Long Will Cooked Bacon Keep Unrefrigerated?
Having too much cooked bacon is what we would consider a good problem to have! However, cooked bacon, like most meat products, can spoil and go bad if left at room temperature for too long.
At temperatures of 40°F and above, bacteria start to rapidly multiply and will contaminate your cooked bacon.
Cooked bacon must be discarded if it has been left at room temperature for more than two hours. It is important to bear this in mind if you are preparing dishes that include cooked bacon, such as sandwiches or salads.
How Long Does Pre-Cooked Bacon Last In The Fridge?
It is always handy to have a bit of cooked bacon in the fridge. Perfect for a quick pasta salad, BLT sandwich, or stuffed peppers; crispy crumbly cooked bacon will add a whole new dimension to many different dishes.
If you’ve got an unexpected amount of left-over cooked bacon from breakfast, or need to cook some in advance for a brunch the following day, the best place to store this is in the refrigerator.
Refrigerate your cooked bacon within two hours of cooking to ensure it doesn’t start to spoil. If stored properly, pre-cooked bacon will last for 4-5 days in the fridge.
If you have got some bacon that is about to go past its use-by date, quickly cook it up and it can be stored for a few more days in the refrigerator.
Cooked bacon must be covered or wrapped when stored in the refrigerator. This will prevent flavors and odors from other foods from contaminating the bacon, and vice-versa.
How To Store Cooked Bacon To Keep It Crisp
As with most foods, keeping the air at bay is the secret to good storage! Lovely crisp bacon will soon start to go soggy and unappetizing if stored incorrectly.
After cooking, allow your bacon to cool to room temperature. Package your cooked bacon carefully according to how you are planning on using it.
A large batch of bacon can be stored together in one container or tray if you are feeding a big crowd at a brunch. If the cooked bacon is for the occasional snack or quick meal, or it may be more convenient to store individual portions.
To keep your bacon crisp and fresh, store it in shallow airtight containers or wrap tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Squeeze out as much air as possible and put the cooked bacon in the fridge.
Bacon stored in this way should be consumed within 4-5 days – although we doubt it would last that long in most households!
If you are cooking bacon in advance to reheat for a family breakfast or brunch, it is a good idea to cook it to a slightly lower level of crisp than you normally do.
This means you can reheat it with a quick sizzle in the pan, bringing it up to the optimum level of delicious crispiness!
Can You Freeze Cooked Bacon?
Freezing is a great way to extend the shelf life of cooked bacon. As will all frozen foods, exposure to the air is the enemy here, so ensure that your bacon is stored in an airtight container or wrapped in foil or freezer wrap.
Cooked bacon that has been frozen will be at its best if consumed within 2-3 months. After this time, it will still be edible, but the texture and flavors may have started to deteriorate.
A freezer is a great option if you have got some bacon that needs using up – simply cook it up and pop it in the freezer!
Some tips for freezing cooked bacon:
- Freeze cooked bacon in individual slices or portions wrapped in paper towel, so you can take out exactly the amount you require for each meal.
- Heavy-duty freezer bags make great storage vessels for cooked bacon.
- The best way to thaw cooked bacon is in the fridge. Frozen cooked bacon which has been thawed in this way will keep for another 3 days in the fridge.
- Bacon thawed in the microwave or at room temperature must be eaten immediately.
- Frozen cooked bacon can be reheated from frozen, in a frying pan, or using the microwave.
How To Tell If Cooked Bacon Is Bad Or Spoiled
We know how disappointed you would be if your cooked bacon had gone bad or spoiled! The thought of throwing away something which was once so delectable makes us want to cry too, but eating spoiled food is simply not worth the risk.
To tell if your cooked bacon is bad or spoiled, you firstly need to have a good look at it.
If the cooked bacon has started to go bad it will develop a slimy texture and a slight sheen to the surface. If your cooked bacon is fine to eat the surface will be dry or possibly slightly clammy.
The next step is to sniff the bacon – cooked bacon that has gone bad or spoiled will have a sour and off-putting odor. Cooked bacon which is fit to eat will have virtually no odor at all when cold, so any smell at all is a bad sign here!
If you are in any doubt about whether your cooked bacon is bad or not, do not take any risks – and absolutely do not be tempted to taste it!
Cooked bacon that has gone bad or spoiled must be immediately discarded. Please try not to sob too much as you do this – there is always more bacon!
Now that we’ve gone over how long cooked bacon lasts when stored properly, let’s take a look at few related questions on the subject!
Can you eat cooked bacon cold?
Cooked bacon is perfectly safe to eat cold as long as it has been stored correctly. This means that it should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours, or in the refrigerator for more than 4-5 days.
Some people don’t enjoy the texture of cold bacon – it can lose its crispness and become chewier. The flavor of cold bacon is also not as intense as warm, freshly cooked bacon, and the famous bacon smell will not be so strong.
If you do enjoy eating cold bacon, then it can be added to cold salads, sandwiches, and wraps, or just enjoyed as a quick snack from the fridge!
Can you reheat leftover bacon?
Yes, it is extremely easy to reheat leftover bacon!
Now we know that the chances of having any cooked bacon left after breakfast is quite slim, but this method also works well if you want to cook bacon in advance. Perfect if you are cooking up a big brunch for a large group of people!
Here are the three best methods for reheating cooked or leftover bacon:
Put the cooked bacon in a single layer on a microwavable plate. Cover with a paper towel and reheat for 30-60 seconds. Remove from the microwave and place on paper towel to absorb any excess fat.
Place a single layer of cooked bacon into a non-stick skillet or frying pan. You should not need to add any oil as the bacon should cook in its own grease.
Cook on a medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side, until heated through. Remove the bacon from the pan and place it on a paper towel to absorb any grease.
Using the oven is a great option if you need to reheat a lot of cooked bacon. Place the bacon in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. Heat at 350°F for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place the bacon on a plate covered with paper towels.
What can cooked bacon be used for?
Leftover cooked bacon is a very versatile ingredient and can be used in many different dishes. These are some of our favorite ways to use cooked bacon:
- Sandwiches, the most famous of which is the BLT – Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato, oozing with delicious mayonnaise of course!
- Pasta salad – cooked bacon pairs well with pasta and a creamy ranch dressing.
- Cooked bacon is perfect in quiche, adding a little intense burst of flavor to every mouthful.
- Stuff peppers with cooked bacon, vegetables, salsa; top with cheese and pop in the oven until golden and bubbling. Absolute perfection!
- Adding cooked bacon to macaroni and cheese takes this indulgent comfort food to a whole new level.
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