do you have to refrigerate cooked bacon

Do you have to refrigerate cooked bacon? You know you love your bacon and want to preserve every last bit of it.

But, will it go bad if you fail to store it properly? It probably will!

Although it is unusual, sometimes there is bacon left over. Similarly, if you want to use it for something as delicious as bacon-wrapped scallops, you may want to get a head start on it.

That is when you have to think about how to store it now to use later.

The subject of whether or not bacon needs to be refrigerated is a common one, given that bacon is cured meat. So, does cooked bacon need refrigeration?

As per the USDA, you must refrigerate cooked bacon in an airtight container if you do not consume it immediately.  

Do You Have to Refrigerate Cooked Bacon?

refrigerate cooked bacon

Like most other types of cooked meat, Bacon should be stored in the fridge if it is not going to be eaten immediately.

It is better to store it in an airtight container after you have cooked it.

In the case of shelf-stable bacon, it may survive at a temperature of 85F.

Still, it is better to put it in the refrigerator to be safe.

Tip: Be sure to refrigerate freshly bought bacon at 40F and use it within a week of buying it at the supermarket.

How Long Can Cooked Bacon Survive without Refrigeration?

Unlike what people think, bacon can be any cut of meat, including an animal’s back, belly, or ribs.

But whatever the cut, it is a good idea to eat it within 2 hours of cooking.

cooked bacon

There will be differences between these parts to accommodate the varying preferences of people in different countries. 

For instance, there are significant differences between American and British bacon, most notably in how the meat is sliced.

It is important to remember that the bacon you find in most supermarkets has been through a few processing steps and is therefore not totally fresh.

 After the appropriate cuts of pork are made, they are prepared by soaking in a saline solution that often contains nitrate as well.  

Do You Need to Refrigerate Raw Bacon?

refrigerate raw bacon

If you buy raw bacon but do not plan on cooking it right away, how long will it keep before going bad?

There are various variables at play here as well. However, preserving it is the most crucial step!

Tip: Be sure to put the cooked bacon in an airtight bag and seal it after removing as much air as you can. 

How Long Will It Last at the Room Temp?

Bacon will be good for around 4 hours if you leave it at room temp.

To store perishables for an extended period, try the fridge or freezer. 

bacon strips

How Long Will It Last in the Refrigerator?

Raw bacon can be kept for up to two weeks in the fridge. That is the case only when you have not opened the packaging.

Keep in mind that freezing is always the most long-lasting way to preserve raw bacon.

If done correctly, your bacon stays good for three to six months when frozen.

Can You Leave Cooked Bacon at Room Temperature?

cooked bacon room temperature

It goes without saying that raw bacon needs to be stored in the refrigerator.

However, you may wonder if cooked bacon needs to be refrigerated at all, as its storage conditions are different.

The truth is that bacon, like other uncured meats, should be chilled after frying.

Extra bacon, if there is any, has to go into the refrigerator within 2-4 hours.

The potential for the growth of dangerous microorganisms increases with delay. 

What If You Live in Warmer Climates?

Those who reside in warmer areas may have to begin food storage earlier than others.

When the temperature inside is 90 degrees or more, food spoils very quickly.

cooked bacon strips

Put perishables in the refrigerator within an hour if the temperature outside is over 90F.

Cooking bacon not only adds a satisfying crunch but also the most refined flavor.

But, it does not remove any hazardous bacteria and viruses on the surface or air.

You should still stay away from the bacon, even if it is in a covered dish. When bacon is prepared, it should be eaten right away.

Once the food has cooled, be sure to store it right. 

How Do You Keep Cooked Bacon Fresh in the Refrigerator?

Now that you have understood the importance of refrigerating cooked bacon, it is important to know how to keep it fresh for long.

keep bacon fresh

Here is how to do it properly. 

Step #1: Cook It Right

You should prepare the bacon one step less well done than you intend to consume it, but still make sure it is cooked all the way through.

You can always make it as crisp as you like while reheating the bacon.

But, if you want to eat it cold, you may want to cook it to the appropriate crispiness and then store it. 

Step #2: Get Rid of Excess Fat

After cooking, it is essential to remove any extra fat before storing it.

Of course, you can always use paper towels for the task. Once done, simply place it on a wire rack and let it cool

remove excess fat

Step #3: Put in a Sealed Bag

Wrap the bacon in plastic once it is cooled, or store it in an airtight container.

If you need to store something in an airtight container, do not use something too big.

If there is enough room, cover the bacon with a layer of cling film to keep it from interacting with air while it is stored. 


Do not fret if you have already prepared the bacon to your liking.

To prevent food from becoming overcooked during reheating, you can always employ a gentler approach to preserve the texture and flavor.

Tip: Even when you have shelf-stable cooked bacon, you need to ensure it is stored at 85F or below or it will be spoiled quickly. 

How Do You Know If Refrigerated Bacon Has Gone Bad?

refrigerated bacon

So it is no wonder you eat all the bacon in a couple of days after bringing it home from the supermarket or having it delivered.

It is possible, though, that your bacon will wind up in the back of the refrigerator.

Or maybe you always seem to end up with a little more than what your family can use.

After a while, you may question whether your bacon is spoiled or not.

Here is how you can tell if it has gone bad or is still edible. 

Check Its Smell

The smell of bacon should not be overpowering. Instead, the smokey aroma should predominate, if any.

If you open the package and get a sulfuric smell, the bacon has gone rotten.

Bacteria, yeast, and molds produce this odor when they colonize bacon.  

check the smell

Occasionally, the smokiness of bacon can cover up the unpleasant smells.

Therefore, if you are unsure whether your bacon is still OK, you should also consider other indicators. 

Check the Texture

Bacon that has just been prepared should have a supple, almost wet, texture. Bacon should not be slimy when you grab a piece.

People often incorrectly assume that slime is simply water that has leaked out of bacon, but this is not the case.

When particular bacteria start decomposing the meat, this results in a slimy substance.

Bacteria have probably colonized your bacon if you find it has a slimy texture.

bacon texture

If you do not want to get sick or get your family sick, you should throw out your bacon. 

Check the Color

Slices of white fat and pinkish-red flesh are what make fresh bacon so irresistible. But, on the other hand, ruined cuts do not always look this way.

The bacon’s color may change to gray, green or brown after a week in the fridge.

This discoloration is another sign that fungi or bacteria have infested your bacon.

You guessed correctly if you think this indicates it is time to get rid of your bacon. 

Check for Any Growth

check microbial growth

Microbes are not visible to the naked eye, but can grow on the surface of bacon.

Know that your bacon has clearly gone bad if there is any sort of growth on it.

It is tempting to just cut off the moldy part and consume the rest of the bacon, but it is not a good idea.

Fungi may be present in the bacon even if they are not visible to you on some parts of your bacon.

Therefore, it is better to avoid eating it, or else you might end up becoming sick.

Tip: Check the "best by" date on the package but do not rely on it if you notice any hole in the package or your bacon looks spoiled. 


When your love for bacon is strong and you always have some in store, it is natural to worry if it is still good to eat. 

And this often leads to the question, “Do you have to refrigerate cooked bacon?”

Well, yes, you must refrigerate it and never leave it at room temperature or you may expose yourself to various food-borne illnesses.