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Can Cooked Bacon Sit Out Overnight?

Here’s how long cooked bacon can sit out plus tips for storing leftovers, reheating leftovers, and yummy recipes to try!

Bacon is loved by almost everyone because it’s crispy, salty, and versatile.

You can enjoy it on a salad, in casseroles, soups, sandwiches, and more. You can even try it crushed up into bacon bits on baked potatoes.

It’s a tasty meat that doesn’t require hours of cooking and can even be enjoyed as a snack with a brown sugar coating.

But, if you happen to have any leftover bacon, it’s important to store it promptly and properly.

Here’s how long cooked bacon can sit out, tips for storage, the best methods to reheat your leftovers, and more!

How long does bacon last?

Several slices of cooked bacon on brown parchment paper with green garnish.

First, let’s establish how long bacon lasts.

Store-bought bacon usually has a sell-by date, rather than an expiration date.

It can last for a couple of weeks up to several months, depending on how you preserve it.

In the Refrigerator

Unopened bacon can last for 2 weeks beyond the sell-by date in the refrigerator. Opened, and uncooked bacon will last around a week.

And cooked bacon has an even shorter shelf life.

Cooked bacon lasts for about 5 days in the refrigerator

In the Freezer

An unopened package of bacon can last for 8 months in the freezer. Opened, uncooked bacon will last for up to 6 months.

Cooked bacon will last for up to 6 weeks for the best quality.

How to Defrost Bacon

When you’re ready to defrost your bacon, there are a few different methods you can use.

Raw bacon:

You can defrost raw bacon in the refrigerator overnight (the safest method).

Or, you can place the bacon in cold water on the counter. With this method, the bacon should thaw in about an hour.

Just make sure you put the bacon in a leak-proof bag.

Cooked bacon:

You can thaw cooked bacon in the refrigerator or in cold water the same way you would raw bacon. And you can also defrost it in the microwave.

If you choose the microwave option, only cook the bacon for a few seconds at a time. And, beware that you may have some overcooked pieces.

NOTE: Once bacon defrosts, you should not store it again in the refrigerator or freezer unless it was thawed in the refrigerator.

How long can cooked bacon sit out?

Several fluffy pancakes and a pile of crispy bacon on a platter.

There are two main kinds of bacon: uncured and cured. And they follow different rules.

Most sliced bacon found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store should be treated as raw meat even if “cured” is in the name or description.

Regular Bacon

Raw meat, cooked meat, and most cooked food are all susceptible to rapid bacteria growth when left in the danger zone (temperatures between 40°F-140°F).

As a general rule, food should not sit out for more than two hours to avoid this harmful bacteria.

So, uncured bacon can sit out for a maximum of 2 hours. And in warmer climates or temperatures at 90°F or higher, bacon should be stored within an hour.

Properly storing food in the refrigerator or freezer will slow the growth of bacteria and increase its shelf life.

Cured bacon

However, truly cured bacon is fully cooked and shelf stable.

This type of meat cooks for many hours before it gets cooled down and served or wrapped. The high salt content and the cooking process removes the water content. So the bacon is more like jerky than the more popular greasy, crispy version.

Dry-cured bacon can sit out overnight or even longer.

If your sliced bacon has a shelf-stable label, it can last in room-temperature storage for 10 days, or about 4 weeks when refrigerated.

If the dry-cured bacon comes in a slab—the kind you slice yourself—it can last for up to three weeks outside of the fridge, and four to six weeks in the fridge.

How to Store Leftover Bacon

A plate with two sunny-side-up eggs and bacon next to fork.

In the Refrigerator

If you have leftover cooked bacon, you can store it in an airtight container (shallow airtight containers are the best). Or a plastic bag with as much air removed as possible.

If you have an opened package of uncooked bacon, you can put it in an airtight container, or plastic bag, or you can wrap the package tightly with plastic wrap.

In the Freezer

The best way to store leftover bacon in the freezer is to wrap individual portions in a paper towel and place the towel wrapped portions in heavy-duty freezer bags.

For extra protection, you can also wrap the bacon bundles in freezer wrap.

How to Reheat Cooked Bacon

Several pieces of cooked bacon on a baking cooling rack.

There are a few different ways to reheat bacon strips.

First, you can add your bacon to a baking sheet in a single layer and cook them at 400°F for about 10 minutes.

Alternatively, you can place the bacon on a rack over the sheet pan so the grease falls to the bottom of the pan.

This is the best way to get evenly cooked, crispy bacon.

You can also use a toaster oven at 350°F for 5-10 minutes.

If you’re short on time, you can use the microwave. However, your bacon might become overcooked and tough in some spots.

Make sure you use a microwave-safe dish or a paper towel-lined plate and microwave on high for 30-60 seconds.

What To Do With Leftover Bacon Grease

You should never pour leftover bacon grease down your drain!

This can mess up your plumbing and clog your pipes.

Instead, use paper towels to soak up small amounts of grease, and throw them away.

Or, pour the grease into an empty food can or aluminum foil shaped into a bowl, wait for the grease to solidify, and throw it in the trash.

You can also use leftover bacon grease for cooking.

It will add extra flavor to fried and sauteed dishes. Or you can use it to make gravy.

Bacon grease lasts for about 6 months at room temperature, and over a year in the refrigerator.

How to Tell if Bacon is Bad

Several thick strips of uncooked bacon on white parchment paper with green garnish.

Bad bacon can make you sick. So you should always check leftover bacon for signs of spoilage before you eat it.

To minimize the risk of food poisoning, look for signs like:

If you notice these, it’s best to throw them away!

FAQs

Why is pre-cooked bacon not refrigerated?


Shelf-stable bacon does not need to be refrigerated because the high salt content and cooking method preserve the meat from bacteria.

This type of precooked bacon can last for about 10 days, unrefrigerated, and up to 4 weeks when refrigerated.

Pre-cooked bacon that is not labeled as shelf-stable should always be refrigerated within 2 hours of sitting at room temperature. This type of bacon is still susceptible to bacteria growth at temperatures between 40°F-140°F.

How long can bacon sit in the fridge?


Cooked, uncured bacon can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Unopened, uncooked bacon can last up to 2 weeks past the best-by date.

And opened uncooked bacon lasts about a week.

Sliced cured bacon can last up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.

How long can cooked turkey bacon sit out?


Cooked turkey bacon can sit out for no longer than 2 hours at room temperature, or about an hour at temperatures of 90°F and higher.

Recipes with Bacon

Here are some easy and delicious recipes with bacon we know you’ll love!

Sweet Broccoli Cauliflower Salad with Bacon

Broccoli cauliflower salad with cranberries, sunflower seeds, and bacon in white bowl.

This easy Broccoli Cauliflower Salad with Bacon features crisp veggies and bacon tossed with crunchy mix-ins and a sweet dressing. It’s a delicious salad for your summer barbeque, picnic, or holiday get-together!

Chicken Alfredo with Bacon and Broccoli

Black skillet with chicken and broccoli alfredo on table with blue plates and towel nearby.

This recipe for Chicken Alfredo with Bacon and Broccoli may seem complicated, but it couldn’t be easier! Using frozen broccoli and bacon crumbles will save you time, so you can get this delicious and creamy pasta dish on the table fast!

Turkey Sandwich with Avocado, Bacon, and Special Sauce

Two turkey sandwiches with avocado stacked on each other sitting on wood cutting board.

Layers of meat, fresh veggies, cheese, and a special sauce make this Turkey Sandwich with Avocado a scrumptious choice for your next meal!

Cowboy Baked Beans with Ground Beef and Bacon

Cowboy baked beans in dutch oven with wooden spoon and striped towel nearby.

This recipe for baked beans with ground beef and bacon is chock-full of hearty meats, beans, and a sweet sauce. It’s incredibly delicious and can be customized based on your favorite beans or what you have on hand.

Ultimate Winter Green Salad with Pomegranate, Pears, and Pecans

Large white salad with winter salad placed on gray towel with fresh apple and pear nearby.

This is the ultimate Winter Green Salad with lots of seasonal favorites like pomegranate seeds, pears, and apples. Just one bite of this salad and you won’t be able to get enough!

Easy Baked Beans With Brown Sugar

Homemade baked beans in glass baking dish with wooden spoon next to towel.

This recipe for Baked Beans with Brown Sugar features canned pork and beans, a sweet and savory sauce, and lots of crispy bacon. They are so easy to make, you’ll want to take them to every barbeque and potluck this summer!

The Easiest BLT Salad With Avocado

Close up of BLT salad with avocado.

Try this BLT salad with avocado, crispy bacon, fresh lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and crunchy croutons. It’s a healthy alternative to the traditional sandwich.

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