Bacon is beloved by all for its crispy salty flavor. Even if you are not a fan of pork bacon, you are probably a fan of turkey or chicken bacon.
Bacon is probably the most delicious thing on the planet. It’s hard not to purchase a package of bacon every time you go to the store and take it home and fry it until it is nice and crispy.
Even if you cured your own bacon at home, it’s tempting not to slice the entire thing, fry it and eat crispy bacon until your heart is content.
Nevertheless, just like you need to know how long bacon lasts in the fridge, you need to know how long bacon can sit out.
How Long Can Cooked Bacon Sit Out
It is always best to consume bacon immediately after you cook it. Right after you cook it, the bacon is at its highest peak.
Nevertheless, there are times when you cannot finish your bacon, and you leave it on the counter. So, you must know how long bacon can sit at room temperature.
When food is left out at room temperature, it enters the danger zone.
The danger zone ranges from 40°F-140°F. Bacteria multiply exponentially in the danger zone, so if bacon is left at room temperature for too long, it will become tainted with so many bacteria that it is unsafe to eat.
Typically, cooked bacon can only sit out for 2 hours. If your room’s temperature is above 90°F, the bacon will only be good for 1 hour.
After 1-2 hours, the bacon will have so many bacteria on its surface that it is no longer safe for you to consume.
Uncured cooked bacon will often begin to develop a rancid odor if it is left at room temperature for a few hours.
However, if your bacon has a stable shelf label, it could last at room temperature for 10 days.
How Long Can Cured Cooked Bacon Sit Out
Bacon is a cured meat. This means the raw bacon is cured with salt and sodium nitrates.
Curing the bacon will prevent bacteria from developing.
Cured cooked bacon will not spoil if you leave it at room temperature overnight.
Some people even suggest that cured bacon can sit out for a few days without contamination. However, I would not recommend leaving bacon out at room temperature.
Remember, after 2 hours, the bacon will become riddled with bacteria, so its best to toss bacon that has been left out at room temperature overnight.
How to if Cooked Bacon Is Bad
Knowing if bacon is bad will prevent you from developing a case of food poisoning. Food poisoning is no fun at all.
You may experience headaches, vomiting, abdominal pain, as well as nausea.
If the bacon has a rancid smell, it is rotten. If the bacon feels slimy, it is spoiled and should be discarded immediately.
In addition to this, wash your hands as well as any surfaces the bacon touched with hot soapy water.
If there is mold or your cooked bacon is discolored, discard the bacon immediately.
If you purchased cooked bacon from your local grocery store, it most likely has a best-by, sell-by, use-by, or expiration date. If any of these dates have passed, discard the bacon immediately.
Does Cooked Bacon Have to Be Refrigerated?
When bacon is fried, its moisture content will drastically be reduced once you cook your bacon.
Bacteria love moisture, so frying it also helps to keep bacteria at bay.
However, cooked bacon must be refrigerated, especially if you are not consuming it within 2 hours.
Refrigerating your cooked bacon can extend its shelf life from 2 hours to 5 days.
If you buy cooked bacon from the store, it has preservatives that will help it last even longer.
But this does not mean store-bought pre-cooked bacon can be stored at room temperature. The additives will only increase the bacon’s lifespan.
Unless you bought treated bacon specifically designed to be stored at room temperature, treat it like regular cooked bacon and store it in the fridge.
Furthermore, bacon has a high-fat ratio, which means it can spoil in no time at all.
Leaving cooked bacon at room temperature speeds up the spoilage process. This is why you must always refrigerate your cooked bacon.
How To Store Bacon
In general, it’s best to eat bacon as soon as it is cooked. But if you cannot eat all the bacon in one sitting, the refrigerator is the next best option.
Since bacon is a highly coveted, delicious meat, you don’t want to waste any of those crispy goods a few hours after it is cooked.
Therefore, you must store it properly to keep it as long as possible.
To store your cooked bacon in the fridge, place it into an airtight container or zip lock bag and store the bacon in the fridge for 5 days.
Squeeze the excess air from the bacon if you use a ziplock bag to store your bacon.
How to Freeze Bacon
You can also freeze your cooked bacon. Wrap your bacon individually with paper towels, then place them into a ziplock bag and store the bacon in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.
You can thaw your bacon in the fridge overnight.
Alternatively, you can reheat the frozen cooked bacon in a skillet for a minute until it is crispy.
You can also reheat your frozen cooked bacon in the microwave.
However, only heat the bacon for 30 seconds, or it will dry out too much.
Cooked bacon can also develop a leathery texture if it is reheated in the microwave for too long.
Bacon is best eaten fresh. But sometimes can’t finish off the entire stack of bacon you cooked in your cast-iron skillet.
Leaving cooked bacon at room temperature is not a good idea.
It will only last for 1-2 hours at most. So, refrigerate your bacon until you are craving a slice of salty, crispy heaven.
You might also be interested in the following:
- How Long Can Cooked Beef Sit Out
- How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out
- How Long Can Cooked Steak Sit Out
- How Long Can Cooked Pork Sit Out
- How Long Can Cooked Sausage Sit Out
- How Long Can Cooked Ground Beef Sit Out
- How Long Can Cooked Salmon Sit Out
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.