Bacon is arguably one of the most delicious meats available globally. Everyone loves it for the addictive salty flavor and the versatility it offers for so many different meals. Whether you are cooking bacon medallions or bacon rashers, you might cook more than you can eat. Such a delicious treat should not be thrown away so it is best if you learn how to properly store cooked bacon so that you can eat it another time.
Is it Safe to Store Cooked Bacon?
Similar to most meats, if left at room temperature for too long bacon is prone to growing bacteria as the conditions are perfect for it. However, due to the low moisture and high sodium content that bacon has, it is unlikely to go moldy. If put in an environment that prevents the growth of bacteria, then bacon is fine to store for a while.
The only thing to look out for is the bacon fat going rancid. This is not unhealthy and will not give you food poisoning, but it tastes very bad and ruins the bacon. If the bacon’s fat has gone rancid then it is best to throw the bacon out.
Why does Bacon Fat go Rancid?
Like all fats, oils, and lards, bacon fat is susceptible to going bad. This happens when the fat is improperly stored or it has been stored for too long.
You can tell when the fat has gone rancid as it will produce a very bad and noticeable smell. While this is not harmful, it will taste disgusting and ruin any food it comes into contact with.
How to Store Cooked Bacon Properly
There are not too many options when it comes to storing bacon due to the time restriction on the fat going rancid. For short-term storage, you can use a fridge but for anything longer you will need to freeze the bacon.
How to Store Cooked Bacon in the Fridge
Bacon can safely be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days which is enough time for you to plan a meal around it. If the bacon is already cooked then this tip is not applicable but before storing your bacon in the fridge, cook it to a level below how you normally would. This way when it comes to reheating it, you can partially cook it to give it the crunchy texture everyone loves. It will also seem a lot fresher if you do this. If the bacon is already cooked then you will just need to use a gentler method of reheating it.
To store your bacon in the fridge, cook it to a level below your usual cooking levels. Place it on a plate and blot off any excess grease or fat that may be residing on the surface. Using a paper towel will do this easily.
Leave your bacon to cool to room temperature. Once at room temperature, do not leave your bacon for too long as bacteria will start to grow and spread. When the bacon is cooled to room temperature, put it in either a Ziploc bag or an airtight container. If the airtight container is quite large it is best to wrap the bacon in clingfilm to minimize the contact it has with the air.
How to Store Cooked Bacon in the Freezer
If you are looking to store your bacon for more than 5 days then freezing is the solution for you. Most of the methods are similar to preparing to put the bacon in the fridge.
To start off, cook your bacon and blot off all excess fat, grease, and liquids with a paper towel. Once the liquids are gone, allow the bacon to cool to room temperature.
After the bacon is cooled, place all of your pieces on a baking tray that is lined in baking sheets or parchment paper. You will now need to put this tray in your freezer and flash freeze the bacon for 3 hours.
After the 3 hours are up, you can remove the tray and bacon from the freezer. Doing this will help you store the bacon without it getting stuck to other pieces of bacon. Now that it has been flash-frozen, you can put pieces of bacon in Ziploc bags or in airtight containers. This is perfect for portion control as you can grab as many pieces as you need and leave the rest alone.
To avoid freezer burn it is recommended to group 3-4 pieces together and wrap them in plastic wrap. This will protect them from freezer burn a bit more than just having them sit in an airtight container. If you are using a Ziploc bag, use a straw to suck out all of the remaining air as best as you can before sealing it. This will also help against freezer burn.
It is recommended to write the date on your container or bag. This way, you know when you put the bacon in the freezer. It will last for up to one month without spoiling. But after this, the bacon will decrease in quality in terms of texture and flavor.
How to Thaw Cooked Bacon
There are a lot of choices on how you can thaw bacon. Although, not all of them are necessary as bacon is so thin that you can cook it from frozen.
If you do wish to thaw it then you can use a microwave, cold water, or allow it to sit in the fridge overnight.
Leaving the bacon in the fridge to thaw is the slowest option. So it is best done overnight or the morning of the day you want to eat it. After being thawed, the bacon can last in the fridge for 3-4 days while still remaining good.
To use cold water you will want to place the bacon in a plastic bag and suck out all the air. After this, submerge it in a bowl of cold water. The cold water is warmer than the frozen bacon so it will eventually thaw it. The plastic bag is to stop the bacon from getting soggy.
Using the microwave is the fastest and easiest method as you can place your bacon on a microwave-safe plate and blast it on high for 10 seconds at a time until it is thawed enough for you to cook it.
Reheating Cooked Bacon
Once you have gotten your bacon from the fridge, or you have thawed it, you can heat it up by simply cooking it again. If you undercooked the bacon on purpose then you will be able to get a nice fresh, crisp texture on your bacon.
You can use your oven, a grill, or a frying pan/skillet if you want. The best method is to use a frying pan. You can grease the pan with some olive oil or an alternative and cook your bacon until it is as you like it. It will be fine to eat and will taste just as delicious as you would expect.
Best way to Store Cooked Bacon
Once the bacon is cooked it cannot stay at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Bacteria will start to grow and spread.
To combat this, you can place the bacon in the fridge for 4-5 days. Alternatively, you can also store cooked bacon in the freezer for up to one month.
FAQs on storing Cooked Bacon
Once cooked bacon has reached room temperature, it will be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Because of this, it is not recommended to allow bacon to sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours as it will start to spread bacteria.
If you have leftover cooked bacon and intend on eating it in the next 4-5 days then you should put it in the fridge. It is not good to leave bacon at room temperature for long as it will grow bacteria. If you want to store your cooked bacon for any longer than 5 days, you can freeze it.
To store bacon for a long time you can freeze it. In the freezer, it will last for up to a month before it starts to decrease in quality. Once you want to eat it, you can thaw the bacon and reheat it using any suitable method.
Reheating cooked bacon is perfectly safe. The best method to do so is to use a frying pan and fry the bacon with some grease or olive oil.