Having extra bacon is always a good problem to have. Bacon is very versatile and can be used in an array of dishes. Bacon strips always make breakfast more delightful and crumbled bacon goes well with almost any pasta dish.
So regardless if you cooked more than what you can consume for your recipe, it will not go to waste. But the important question here is how to store cooked bacon properly. Of course, we’d still want our bacon to be crispy all the time!
So head on to our simple guide and we’ll teach you how to properly save the cooked bacon for later.
Proper Storing of Cooked Bacon
We’ll dabble on the two ways you can store cooked bacon.
And since bacon already contains preservatives and additives, it’s quite easy to store. It’s less fragile, so to speak.
Storage method # 1: Toss the cooked bacon in the fridge
To make sure you would get bacon that’s nicely crisp and not burnt when reheated, you have to take note of these details before storing them in the fridge.
- If you are going to reheat the bacon, cook it until it’s almost done to the level you want.
- We recommend undercooking it about a level down to your preferred doneness. Then reheat it until it turns nice and crispy.
- But if you’re going to eat the cooked bacon cold, you can cook it all the way through before storing it in the fridge.
- Once the bacon is cooked, gather paper towels and place the bacon on top of it. This will drain the excess grease off.
- Leave these bad boys to cool on the wire rack.
- You’ll be needing a Ziplock bag or an airtight container. And once the bacon has cooled down, chuck the bacon strips into the airtight container or Ziplock bag.
- Store in the fridge.
Make sure to use containers and bags that are not too large. We’re trying to limit air contact so they should be nicely packed.
Otherwise, it can turn limp and soggy once reheated. If you can’t find a smaller container, you may use a cling film and put it on top of the bacon to minimize air contact.
How long does cooked bacon last in the fridge
When properly kept, you will be able to save your cooked bacon for four to five days max.
But if the bacon that you bought was labeled shelf-stable or dry-cured, you can leave cooked bacon in the fridge for up to 10 days.
Storage method # 2: Keep the cooked bacon strips in the freezer
Can you freeze cooked bacon? Absolutely yes.
You can store a lot of food items in the freezer, and this will make them last longer, almost indefinitely.
And here’s how to properly store cooked bacon in the freezer.
- Flash freezing is the best way to store bacon so that it would not stick to each other.
- And if you have cooked a large batch of bacon, you can use a sheet of baking paper to create layers. So it will still be easier to grab the bacon if you need to reheat them individually.
- After flash freezing, toss the cooked bacon into Ziploc bags or any airtight container.
- Remove the excess air from the Ziploc bag. The less air there is, the less chance your bacon gets freezer burned.
- Don’t forget to label the Ziploc bag or container.
To prevent freezer burn, you can create an extra barrier for the cooked bacon. You can do this by doing a double wrap.
It’s easy to do flash freezing.
You just need to lay the bacon strips individually on a baking tray and chuck them in the freezer. Flash freezing will also make it easier for you to thaw the bacon in portion sizes.
How Long Does Cooked Bacon last in the freezer
Food items that are frozen might have an indefinite perishable period. But it does not mean that it’s okay to store your cooked bacon for zzz months.
Though it’s still safe to eat, it will not be as tasty and crispy even when reheated.
So you should only store cooked bacon in the freezer for a maximum of a month.
How to Store Bacon Bits
How about bacon bits?
Bacon bits are also easy to store. And since they are minute pieces, you really don’t need to thaw these little fat boys before using them for your next recipe.
And here’s how you should store cooked bacon bits.
- Flash freeze the bacon bits for 30 minutes. How? Lay the bacon bits on a baking tray and toss them in the freezer. Make sure to use parchment or wax paper for easier cleanup.
- Use an airtight container or a ziplock bag. Transfer the frozen bacon bits to a Ziplock bag. Make sure to remove excess air.
- Toss in the freezer. And oh, don’t forget to label.
- Bacon bits also last 4-6 weeks in the freezer.
How Long Can Cooked Bacon Sit Out
Bacon is processed meat.
So many are asking if you still have to keep it in the fridge after it has been cooked.
Shouldn’t the preservative be enough to keep the cooked bacon in good condition for an extended time at room temperature?
Yes, bacon has a longer shelf life than other fresh meats. The presence of the preservatives, high salt content, and low water content makes the bacon less conducive for bacterial growth and activity.
But it doesn’t mean that you can leave cooked bacon out on your kitchen countertop.
The shelf life increases, yes. But it doesn’t mean that it makes the cooked bacon more resistant to spoilage if left at room temperatures.
The salt does help slow down the bacterial activity, so it will be slower. But bacon has a lot of fat. And when the meat has a high-fat content it can go rancid easily if left at room temperature. And once it goes rancid, it can put you at risk of food poisoning. The bacon will not also be tempting to eat anymore. It will have an awful taste and smell.
So the same rule applies. Treat cooked bacon as you would other cooked meats. Do not leave it out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. After 2 hours, the bacon will also enter into the bacterial growth zone, though slower than fresh meats, the risk is still there. So despite the lack of moisture, it can still be a breeding ground for bacteria.
And you would not want to take that risk.
Toss it in the fridge or freezer so that you can still use it for your carbonara recipe for dinner.
You would not want a good crispy batch of bacon to go to waste, would you?
How Do You Know if Bacon is Bad?
Since bacon is high in salt, it’s less likely to get moldy when stored too long in the fridge.
The top concern when storing cured and salty meats like bacon are the risk of rancidity.
When kept too long, the meat will develop an off-putting smell. And it could also have a slimy texture on top. This is fat going rancid.
Though if the meat has started to get rancid, it might not upset your stomach right away. But it will not be pleasant to eat.
So do not hesitate to throw it out once your cooked bacon starts tasting like other than it should be.
How Long is Cooked Bacon Good For
Cooked bacon can last five to ten days in the fridge or up to a month when stored in the freezer.
How to Thaw Cooked Bacon
Bacon has very minimal water content. So there really isn’t a thawing process required when reusing them. You can cook them directly and crisp them to your liking.
But if you have thicker bacon strips, then we suggest thawing these bad boys first. And we have six simple methods on how to thaw frozen cooked bacon.
Thawing method # 1- Transfer it to the fridge
This is the simplest and the slowest thawing method. Just transfer the frozen bacon to the fridge and allow it to sit. But never leave it to thaw at the kitchen counter or room temperature.
How long does it take for frozen bacon to thaw? It can take 12-24 hours to thaw a pound of bacon in the fridge.
Thawing method # 2- Chuck it in the microwave
The microwave is your little kitchen helper that can make things easier for you. You can quickly defrost cooked frozen bacon in your microwave and it will just take you 5- 10 minutes to thaw a lb of bacon.
Remember to use the defrost setting of your microwave.
Thawing method # 3- Pop it in the oven
You will be needing a baking tray and parchment paper for this method.
You first have to preheat your oven to minimal temperature or at least 370°F. Place the frozen bacon strips on the parchment paper and then pop them in the oven for 5 minutes,
Thawing method # 4- Use the air fryer
This method will only take you 5 minutes.
All you have to do is set the air fryer to 375°F. Then put the frozen bacon on the air fryer basket.
Make sure to separate the bacon using tongs. Then run the air fryer for five minutes.
Thawing method # 5- Coldwater method
Submerging the frozen bacon in a cold water bath is also a great option for fully cooked bacon. This will thaw the cooked bacon in 30 minutes. You can either use the sink or a bowl with cold water.
Keep the bacon in its plastic container and submerge it into the sink or a bowl with cold water.
This is better than using the microwave or oven if you don’t want to subject the bacon to added heat. Or if the bacon has been cooked fully before freezing, this method will prevent it from burning or being overcooked.
Can you Cook Frozen Bacon?
If you don’t like thawing your bacon, we’ve got good news for you.
Since most bacon strips are relatively thin, you also have the option to toss it straight into the frying pan. No need for thawing, to say the least!
And the best way to cook unthawed cooked bacon is by frying. Cook the frozen bacon over medium heat uncovered. And separate the bacon strips using tongs.
Can you Refreeze Cooked Bacon?
Bacon is one of the few food items that you can refreeze. For as long as you have thawed it properly, meaning not at room temperature, you can refreeze thawed bacon again.
How About Bacon Grease, Can You Store Them?
Why the heck would you want to store bacon grease? Well, it is very rich in flavor and it is best used for frying potatoes.
So sure thing, you can also freeze bacon grease. But there’s a proper way to.
- Strain the grease before it solidifies. You’d want to remove the solid bacon bits from the grease.
- You’ll be needing a freezer-safe glass container. Never use plastic containers as they can warp when hot liquid is poured into them.
- Pour the bacon grease into the glass container and allow it to cool.
- Once cooled down, store in the freezer
How Long Does Bacon Grease Keep?
You can keep bacon grease in the freezer for up to 3 months. Though it can last up to 6 months, we don’t really like to keep our bacon grease that long, it might already have lost most of its rich flavors.
Does Bacon Grease Go Bad
Bacon grease, like bacon itself, is also very high in fat. That’s why it can also go rancid and not suitable for consumption anymore.
Bacon grease can also go rancid when not stored properly. It can develop an off putting smell.
Bacon grease that has gone bad can also produce a moldy musky smell. This happens even if you have stored it in the freezer but you did not use clean utensils when transferring the grease in the glass containers.
Where Can You Use Bacon Grease?
The best and simplest way to use your stored bacon grease is by frying potatoes. It’s our favorite too! You don’t need to season the potatoes anymore as the grease is already loaded with flavors and umami.
But aside from making french fries, you can also use your stored bacon grease in other ways.
And here are some of our favorites.
You can make bacon-flavored popcorn by using bacon grease instead of oil.
- Grilled cheese sandwiches
Instead of using butter, why not use bacon grease for frying your grilled cheese sandwich? This will add a nice salty and savory taste to the bread.
- Hash browns
Potatoes and bacon grease go well together, so you can also create flavorful hash browns using bacon grease instead of oil.
- For seasoning your cast iron pans
Instead of cooking oil use bacon grease to season your cast iron pans. This will amp up the flavor even of fried eggs.
Incorporate a subtle bacon flavor into your eggs by using bacon grease.
- Fried rice
Use bacon grease for sauteing garlic and meats for your fried rice. You’ll be adding the umami flavor to your morning fried rice with fewer ingredients.
- Base for soups
We love to use bacon grease as the base if we’re making potato and bacon soup. That’s bacon on bacon, so you can expect intense smoky meaty flavors.
We Love Storing Cooked Bacon
Having leftover cooked bacon is a problem we’d love to have. What can we say, bacon adds intense robust flavors to an array of recipes.
It can make simple scrambled eggs more interesting. You can top it on salads and your greens will be more palatable than before. And oh, it intensifies the flavors of soups, sandwiches, and omelets.
That’s why we don’t mind having excess cooked bacon on hand. You just need to learn how to properly store them so they’ll still be nice and crisp ready for munching anytime.
Eva M. Smith is the owner of this website. She is a 4 year old mother of two and a professional chef. Eva loves to cook for her family, but being a working mom has a lot of challenges. From squeezing in time to do the groceries to make three meals for the day. Eva knows how challenging cooking can be without a kitchen gameplan.
That’s why she perfected techniques of preserving staple ingredients and several foods so that you have something pre-cooked or pre-baked to use for an array of meals. And they do not come short in flavor! And she does not want to sacrifice flavor with convenience. That’s why she is the best person to ask.