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Does Cooked Bacon Need to Be Refrigerated? | USDA Guidelines

While rare, having leftover bacon does happen. Someone might also want to make it in advance if it is needed for something like bacon-wrapped scallops. Since bacon is technically a cured meat, wondering whether it requires refrigeration is a common question.

According to the USDA, cooked bacon that needs to be refrigerated if it is not going to be consumed immediately. Once it is cooked, bacon should go into the fridge in an airtight container. Shelf-stable bacon can be stored at 85 °F and below, but it is still recommended that it be refrigerated after opening.

Here are the exact guidelines for storing bacon as shown on the USDA website:

Raw Bacon

  • Select the bacon just before checking out at the supermarket register.
  • Take the bacon home immediately and refrigerate it at 40 °F or below.
  • Use within 7 days or freeze (0 °F).

Cooked Bacon

  • Read the product label for handling instructions.
  • For refrigerated, cooked bacon, select it just before checking out at the supermarket register.
  • Take the bacon home immediately and refrigerate it at 40 °F or below.
  • For shelf-stable, cooked bacon, store the product at 85 °F or below. Refrigerate after opening.
  • Observe the manufacturer’s recommended “use-by” date.

Can Cooked Bacon Be Left Out at Room Temp?


It is self-evident that raw bacon should be kept in the refrigerator. On the other hand, Cooked Bacon is a different matter, and you may ask if it has to be refrigerated at all. Bacon, like any other non-cured meat, should be kept cold after cooking.

If there is any leftover bacon, an oxymoron, it should be refrigerated within two to four hours. The longer you wait, the more likely harmful bacteria may develop.

Taking the effort to wrap up that extra bacon might save you a lot of heartache and disease in the future. Allowing your bacon to cool is OK, but don’t leave it out for too long before placing it in the fridge.

Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F; therefore, cooked bacon should be thrown out if kept at room temperature for more than two hours.

People who live in warmer climates, in particular, may need to store food sooner. Food spoils quickly, especially when it is ninety degrees or more indoors.

When it’s hot outside, put food in the fridge within an hour. Cooking Bacon brings forth the most refined taste while also adding crunch. Unfortunately, it does not eliminate any of the potentially harmful germs from the air or surfaces.

Even a covered dish of bacon poses a risk that should be avoided. Bacon is good to eat as soon as it is cooked. Keep your leftovers after they cool off.

How Long Can I Keep Bacon Out of the Fridge?

Cooked bacon can be stored in the fridge or a cool, dry place. If you want to put it somewhere outside the refrigerator, it should still be completely sealed in plastic, not getting moisture inside.

It’s best to keep cooked bacon refrigerated, though, not only in the fridge cold but cooked food stays at its best longest when it’s cold. Cooked bacon will last about five days safely in the refrigerator. We don’t recommend keeping bacon out of the fridge for more than two days for safety reasons.

Bacon often has an expiration date marked on the box, which you should always check before purchasing or consuming it. The FDA suggests using or freezing the bacon (yes, bacon can be frozen) within seven days of opening the box to preserve freshness.

The Food Marketing Institute suggests utilizing the bacon within a month if it is unopened. Even if you freeze the bacon, its high-fat content makes it vulnerable to rancid tastes (ew), and the quality and flavor of the meat will decrease the longer it is stored.

How Can You Tell if Your Bacon Has Gone Bad?

Take note of how bacon appears. If the color has turned to greenish or greyish, or if it has mold patches, that bacon has gone rotten, my buddy. Another strong indicator is how bacon smells.

The best part about throwing away bacon is that it’s far better than catching a disease.

What Is the Best Way to Store Cooked Bacon?

One of the best ways to store cooked Bacon is by Baking it on Parchment Paper. Martha Stewart’s method promises a “spatter-free” plan for “perfectly crispy bacon.”

Line one or two rimmed baking pans with parchment paper, put the bacon on top, and bake at 400 °F until crisp. When the bacon is done, move it to a dish or tray lined with paper towels to drain.

Because the bacon bakes in its own generated fat, it cooks faster than if baked on a rack. Because they’re practically fried, the fatty bits get beautifully crunchy (if you want that).

If you want your bacon chewier, then cook it for a few minutes shorter.

Both standard and thick-cut slices are cooked evenly and thoroughly flat, with no need to rotate them as they are cooked.


Make a large enough sheet of parchment paper with an adequate overhang on all sides. Then tuck the extra up to prevent drippings from seeping through any crevices.

When the bacon came out of the pan, let the drippings cool somewhat before lifting the paper and directing the drippings into a container for storing. After that, you can discard the parchment and examine the pan; there was no evidence of oil. It was returned to the cupboard without even a rinse.

How long does fully-cooked bacon last?

Bacon will last for about five days if it is not left out for too long. You can store bacon in the refrigerator by wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and storing it on a shelf. Bacon can also be frozen but should be thawed before eating.

Will Bacon Stay Crispy in the Fridge?

The good news is that there are several methods for storing bacon. The optimal strategy is determined by how long you need to preserve the bacon and when you intend to utilize it.

Cooked bacon may be stored in either the refrigerator or the freezer. Cooked bacon can be kept in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. If you don’t intend to use the cooked bacon within that time limit, keep it in the freezer. Bacon may be frozen for up to a month.

How to Keep Cooked Bacon Fresh in the Fridge

To store cooked bacon in the fridge, do the following:

  • Cook the bacon to a level one level below how you want to eat it (making sure it’s cooked all the way through). You may crisp up the bacon to your preferred crispiness while reheating it. If you wish to consume the bacon cold, cook it to the right crispiness before storing it.
  • Remove any extra fat or oil using a paper towel. This is best done using paper towels.
  • Place the bacon on a wire rack to cool.
  • Once cold, put the bacon strips in a Ziploc bag or other airtight container. Make sure the airtight container you’re using isn’t too large. If there is plenty of space in the container, place a sheet of cling film over the bacon to reduce air contact.
  • On a baking sheet, bacon is wrapped in a paper towel.
  • Blot extra oil with paper towels before storing.

Don’t worry if you’ve already cooked the bacon to your preferred level of doneness. You may always use a softer method of reheating to avoid overcooking. You can also choose not to reheat the bacon if you want to keep the desired flavor and texture.

It’s preferable to cook smaller quantities of bacon. However, if you’re going to cook a lot of bacon, bake it instead. Baking is a much easier technique for bulk-cooking bacon, and it reduces the amount of cleanup required.

Can You Reheat Cooked Bacon?

Yes, you can. If you have cooked your bacon to a less-than-crisp degree, reheating will help you get the necessary crispness.

If the bacon is already cooked to your preference, lower the reheating time so that you are simply warming it rather than cooking it further.

There are numerous methods for reheating bacon; here are my suggestions:

Making Use of a Skillet

Although cast iron is ideal, any skillet will suffice. Warm the skillet over medium-low heat. Place the bacon slices in the pan after it has warmed up. Allow the strips to cook in their juices until well cooked. It should only take around 1-2 minutes to cook both sides.

Make Use of the Oven

For large quantities of bacon, the oven is ideal. Preheat the oven to 350 °F and arrange the bacon on a baking sheet coated with aluminum foil. The foil will make cleanup a lot easier.

You may also place a foil sheet on top of the bacon to prevent it from crisping up too much. Heat the bacon in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

Make use of the microwave. When you’re in a hurry, the microwave is the most excellent option. Line a microwave-safe dish with paper towels, then put bacon on top and cover it with another layer of paper towels. Microwave each piece of bacon for about 10 seconds.

When you remove the bacon from the microwave, it will crisp up fast.

Is It Possible to Reheat Bacon in the Microwave?

Yes, bacon can be reheated in the microwave. Microwaves are specifically intended to reheat food, and bacon warms up nicely.

The most excellent part about reheating bacon in the microwave is that it takes very little time, but you must restrict the number of bacon slices at a time. As a result, if you need to reheat enough strips for the entire family, you may need to use your microwave many times.

Is Reheating Bacon in the Microwave Safe?

Yes, you can reheat bacon in the microwave. Cooking bacon ahead of time is an excellent idea, especially if you have a busy work schedule or anticipate many guests the next day.

If you’re making bacon ahead of time, avoid making it crispy. After warming in the microwave, partially cooked bacon is the most acceptable option for your visitors, presenting crispy, soft, or chewy bacon.

How Do You Reheat Bacon and Keep It Crispy?


There are numerous methods for reheating bacon, but one of the most common is in the oven.


  • Begin by preheating your oven to 350 °F.
  • Lay down aluminum foil on a baking pan and flatten it. Next, spray with your preferred nonstick cooking spray.
  • Arrange the bacon in the pan now that it’s hot. Check that they are appropriately spaced out and do not overlap with one another. It will assist in improving heating consistency.
  • Heat the pan in the oven for at least five minutes. However, this is simply a basic guideline. It may take longer, depending on how well-cooked the bacon is, before reheating.
  • If you want the surface to be highly crispy, reheat it for a more extended period. However, keep in mind that this should not be overdone. Otherwise, you will have burned bacon.


If you don’t have an oven, another option for warming bacon is to use the microwave. Here are the straightforward actions you should take:

  • Place paper towels on a microwave-safe tray. It will aid in the absorption of extra bacon oil.
  • Arrange the bacon pieces on top of the paper towel.
  • Place a new layer of paper towels on top.
  • Begin by microwaving the bacon strips. Ten seconds is more than enough time.
  • If it has been in the freezer for an extended time, attempt to microwave it for a longer time.


Unfortunately, some homes may not have a microwave or an oven. In this situation, another simple option is to cook it in a skillet:

  • Place the skillet on the stovetop. Increase the heat to medium.
  • Toss the bacon in the pan once it’s healed enough. It is not necessary to use oil to fry the previously cooked bacon. The oils will be extracted spontaneously from the meat.
  • After a few minutes, when smoke emerges from the bacon strips, it is evident that the bacon is done.
  • Place it on a platter and cover it with paper towels. It causes it to absorb extra oil from the bacon. Instead of just dripping it onto the dish and drowning the bacon pieces, it will be absorbed by the paper. Allow it to cool for a few minutes, then drink it right away before it cools.
  • While using a skillet to reheat bacon might be an effective method, it is not suitable if the meat has been refrigerated.
  • Only use this method to reheat bacon that has only slightly cooled after a couple of hours.

Can You Freeze and Reheat Cooked Bacon?

Bacon, whether raw or cooked, may be frozen without fear of spoilage. Cooked bacon that has been frozen can add a slight saltiness to the taste but don’t worry; this is natural. The salty flavor might even contribute to the overall flavor of bacon.

It is simple to defrost cooked bacon that has been removed from the freezer. Remove the cooked bacon from the freezer and refrigerate it.

It takes one to three days for the bacon to defrost thoroughly. However, if you don’t have time, you may defrost it in the microwave oven.

Can You Eat Cooked Bacon Cold?

Uncooked bacon is not recommended since the curing procedure may not eliminate all possible parasites or dangerous bacteria. If you mean cooked and cooled bacon, it’s been a mainstay in meals like the Cobb salad for almost a century.

However, there is one condition. If the bacon is to be served cold, it must be cooked until crisp, then drained and properly blotted to eliminate all extra oil. Hard, crispy bacon strips on a sandwich or pieces of cold, crispy bacon on a salad are both excellent. Congealed bacon grease, on the other hand, is not.

Final Bite

Bacon is something that has been a staple of Western diets for a long time. Many simply can’t imagine breakfast without it. Now, you know everything there is to know about storing it correctly.

I hope this article has been helpful. Thanks for stoppin’ by!

For more, don’t miss How Long Does Bacon Last in the Fridge?