Trying to eat a bit cleaner? You might have swapped out pork bacon or turkey bacon in the process. Turkey bacon is a fabulously lean alternative to bacon, and it can be used in a variety of ways. But if you’re like many people, you’re probably not going to use all your turkey bacon in one sitting. That means you’ll have some left sitting in the refrigerator, leaving you to wonder, “How long is turkey bacon good in the fridge?”
The shelf life of turkey bacon in the refrigerator depends on a couple of factors. Let’s get right to it so you know if you have to clear out your fridge or not.
How Long is Turkey Bacon Good in the Fridge?
When the package is unopened and stored in the fridge correctly, you can expect turkey bacon to last 7-14 days past the sell by or expiration date. This means you could potentially have the turkey bacon in your refrigerator for about a month before it goes bad. What that doesn’t do, however, is give you leeway to eat 3-week old turkey bacon.
You shouldn’t let uncooked meat sit in the refrigerator for longer than a week, because it will start to decay. Cooked bacon, on the other hand, will last 3-5 days in the fridge and 8 weeks in the freezer.
Want to place that unopened package of turkey bacon in storage? It will keep for 6 months in the freezer but should be consumed within 3-4 months for the best flavor and texture.
Preparing The Turkey Bacon
Now that you know that turkey bacon is good for 2 weeks beyond the expiration date, you’re probably a bit relieved. Keep in mind that the turkey bacon can go bad during that period, even when properly refrigerated. If you want to use it while it’s best, eat the bacon within a week of purchase. Optionally, you can store it the proper way to extend the shelf life.
Cooking your turkey bacon will impact how long it stays good. Common methods include deep frying or pan-frying, though the lean meat tends to stick to the pan during pan-frying. If you plan on grilling turkey bacon, it may possibly be very dried out by the end.
Storing Turkey Bacon in the Fridge
Once you have either deep fried or pan-fried your turkey bacon, you should only keep it at room temperature for about 2 hours. Afterwards, it’s going to need to be stored in the refrigerator.
Do the following:
- Allow the cooked turkey bacon to completely cool.
- Wrap the leftover pieces of turkey bacon in either cling wrap or foil.
- Place the wrapped bacon inside an airtight container or freezer bag.
- Put the package in the refrigerator for 3-5 days maximum.
Keep Turkey Bacon in the Freezer
Want to store your turkey bacon in the freezer instead? Here’s how to store it correctly:
- Wrap your turkey bacon twice in cling wrap or aluminum foil.
- Place the wrapped pieces in an airtight container or freezer bag.
- Keep the bacon for up to 6 months (best used within 4 months).
When you’re ready to use the turkey bacon, first thaw the bacon overnight in the fridge. If you wrapped the bacon in foil, you can remove it from the freezer and place it directly in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 350°F (180°C).
How Long Does Cooked Turkey Bacon Last?
You know the answer to how long is turkey bacon good in the fridge when it hasn’t been cooked. Now, what happens if you have leftover turkey bacon? Cooked turkey bacon won’t last as long as uncooked turkey bacon, but you can eat it up to 5 days after it was cooked. If you decide to freeze cooked turkey bacon, you get two months. Freezing is best when you don’t plan on consuming the turkey bacon within 3-5 days.
If you have cooked bacon, place it in the refrigerator under the assumption that it’s ready to be served whenever you need it. Quickly reheat your previously cooked turkey bacon in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds. Use medium-high heat and put the bacon on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Do not reheat turkey bacon over direct heat, as it will become turkey jerky instead.
How to Tell if Turkey Bacon Has Gone Bad
Does turkey bacon expire? Oh yes, it certainly does.
Like all animal-based products, there is always a chance of bacterial growth and oxidation. The best way to tell if turkey bacon has gone bad is to consider the freshness date. Anything expired should be thrown away.
In the event your bacon hasn’t passed 7-14 days beyond the expiration date, check the following to see if it’s gone bad:
Check How It Looks
Just like other meat, fresh turkey bacon should have a pinkish color. Spoiled turkey bacon may look gray or brown. Discoloration may worsen as mold grows or bacteria spreads, causing fuzzy patches of white and blue to form. Don’t eat discolored bacon, as it could cause food poisoning.
If the edges look a bit browned or discolored, but you’re unsure if the bacon has been exposed to air or has gone bad, proceed to check the smell and texture.
Check The Texture
Touching turkey bacon is one of the best ways to see whether it’s good. Fresh turkey bacon is going to be soft and moist and slightly springy. If the bacon is more slimy and squishy, it’s because lactic acid bacteria has consumed the raw meat. Don’t eat it.
Take a Whiff
Anything gone bad is going to smell rotten. Turkey bacon’s no exception. If the scent is nauseating, don’t cook it. Just throw it away.
What Can I Do With Leftover Turkey Bacon?
So you have a ton of leftover turkey bacon and don’t know how to make use of it before it goes bad. No worries!
You have about 3 days to use your leftover turkey bacon, which means you have several chances to chop, dice, saute, and toss those leftovers into some seriously good eats. Here are some ideas for you:
- Turkey bacon soup
- Carbonara pasta with turkey bacon
- Turkey bacon salad sandwich
- Classic Cobb salad with turkey bacon
- Turkey bacon quesadillas or enchiladas
- Cream of turkey and wild rice soup
- Turkey bacon stuffed zucchini boats
- Pasta bake with turkey bacon
- Savory oatmeal with turkey bacon crumbles
Feeling famished yet?
Time to Make Yourself a Turkey BLT
How long is turkey bacon good in the fridge? It depends on whether the package has been opened and if the turkey bacon is cooked. While a fresh pack of uncooked turkey bacon can remain in the fridge for 14 days past the expiration date, cooked turkey bacon can go bad within 5 days.
Don’t let your turkey bacon go to waste!