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Mar 16, 2009 08:31 PM

How long does bacon keep?

I have some really good bacon we bought about a month ago. We used some but have most of a package left. How long does bacon keep? I've never been clear on that. It seems like it should keep a good long while because it's smoked (months?) but I don't think it does.

What do you think?

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  1. karykat,

    I never keep bacon for more than a day or two without cooking it. From working at a butcher shop for two years I know to be wary with meat when it changes in color at all. I find that cooked bacon keeps for a very long time (I usually will eat a pound in just a few days, but it's kept up to three weeks), whereas raw bacon turns color very quickly. You want your bacon to be pink. When it starts turning gray is when it should hit the pan - at the latest.

    When bacon is smoked it is smoked in it's entire, unsliced entity. When that happens, a sort of skin or shell is created on the outside (like when you sear a steak, or fry a french fry) that kills bacteria and allows the meat to have a longer life because everything stays on the outside of the "skin." This changes, though, as soon as the meat is cut, like prosciutto. Meaning, a leg of prosciutto can be kept for months but a slice of prosciutto only a few days.

    I say ALWAYS err on the side of freshness. There's so much to do with bacon. If you need ideas is amazing. But, nothing beats bacon drenched in an amazing maple syrup.


    1 Reply
    1. re: PeteFore

      I thought the color change was somehow related to exposure to oxygen and was somewhat cosmetic. How is that related to safety or taste? I imagine exposure to oxygen, and color change is a measure of growth of bacteria ?

    2. Bacon will last a long time in the fridge -- eventually mold will develop, but until then, it's fine. Basically, if it looks good and smells good, it's good.

      1. cook it up.
        if it smells funky, toss it.
        future reference: freeze usable-size portions when you get a new package; wrapped in freezer paper, then foil, then put in freezer bag ziplock.

        3 Replies
        1. re: alkapal

          1 week is about it 2 weeks it smells funny to me. Like alkapal I freeze. I do all mine that way 4 slices per small baggie and that way ready when I need it. Much safer. I don't bacon much after a week usually.

          1. re: alkapal

            ...ditto...freeze [well-wrapped] portions...

          2. I agree with pete, once a package is opened it doesn't keep very long. I always wrap it carefully, squeezing out all the air I can manage, wrap it twice, and still find that opened packages may last only 5 to 10 days, 10 is really pushing it. It turns grey, develops an off, funky, unpleasant porky odor, and once that happens it gets tossed.

            Unopened pakcages of bacon should be good till the sell-by date or a bit later. If you're wanting to keep bacon that you've opened, freeze the rest. It thaws out very quickly.

            1 Reply
            1. re: janniecooks

              "only 5 to 10 days"

              Whew! Then you're not really with Pete who states he keeps bacon only 1 or 2 days.

              I think "a day or two" is really not sensible.

              i agree with those who freeze portions of bacon. I mostly keep for flavor add in, so I wrap 3-4 half rashers in plastic and store in freezer bag.

              I think commercial bacon stays usable with good flavor and texture maybe two weeks after opening, bearing in mind that maybe two weeks contains the implication maybe not two weeks.

            2. There's a Farm Market and Smokehouse near Shamokin, PA that has the most wonderful bacon on Earth! We have a summer cottage near there (Elysburg) and spend several weeks there each summer. I always bring home at least 20 pounds of their smoky bacon.When I get it home, I wrap it in one pound packages and use my FoodSaver to vacuum pack and then freeze it. I use most of it myself, but always pass some around to my friends. It lasts all year in the freezer, and a one pound package will last for weeks in the fridge. By the way, the name of the market is Masser's.