Can You Freeze Packaged Bacon? Everything You Need To Know

Bacon is a breakfast staple in many households. The salty, smokey flavor of perfectly cooked bacon pairs well with eggs, pancakes, hashbrowns and more. While most of us buy bacon in normal quantities for use within a week or two, sometimes life gets in the way and that package of bacon gets shoved to the back of the fridge. At that point, many wonder if it’s still safe to cook up or if it’s better to just toss it out.

The good news is that freezing bacon, even bacon that’s already been opened, is absolutely possible. With proper storage techniques, frozen bacon can last in the freezer for 1-2 months. Read on to get all the details on how to freeze packaged bacon and safely thaw and cook it later.

Can You Freeze An Opened Package of Bacon?

This is one of the most common questions regarding freezing bacon. And the answer is yes, you can absolutely freeze previously opened bacon. As long as the bacon has been continuously refrigerated and hasn’t gone bad it’s perfectly safe to pop it in the freezer.

Once bacon is cured and smoked, it has a decent shelf life in the fridge. An unopened pack can last 7-14 days in the fridge. Once opened, that timeframe drops to about 5-7 days. As long as you freeze the bacon within that window, you’re good to go.

Freezing stops bacteria growth and spoilage in its tracks So even if the bacon has been opened, as long as it’s not spoiled, freezing will allow you to safely store it for weeks or months

How Long Does Bacon Last In The Freezer?

Frozen and properly stored, bacon can last in the freezer for 1-2 months. Cured, smoked bacon has a decent shelf life compared to raw pork due to the salt and smoke. The freezer timelines look like this:

  • Uncooked bacon: 1-2 months
  • Cooked bacon: 2-3 weeks

Bacon that has been frozen for longer than these timeframes will start to develop freezer burn. It likely won’t make you sick, but the taste and texture will degrade. For best results, try to use frozen bacon within these timeline.

Does Freezing Bacon Change The Taste?

You may notice some subtle taste and texture changes in bacon after freezing. Here’s what to expect:

  • Slightly drier texture – Freezing pulls some moisture out of the bacon, causing it to feel drier after thawing

  • More intense smokey flavor – Like many foods, freezing can make smoked bacon taste more intensely smoky.

  • Increased saltiness – With moisture loss, the saltiness can also concentrate and taste amplified.

  • Slight softness – The frozen water crystals in the bacon can break down some of the fat, leaving the bacon a bit softer.

For the most part, these changes are minimal and the bacon still tastes quite good. Proper storage techniques help minimize texture and flavor changes during freezing.

How To Freeze Bacon

Freezing bacon correctly is important to preserve taste and texture. Here are some tips:

  • Freeze it flat – Stack the bacon flat in a single layer between sheets of parchment paper or wax paper. This prevents freezer burn.

  • Use freezer bags – For easier long term storage, place the flat-frozen bacon stacks in freezer bags, removing as much air as possible.

  • Portion it out – Separating the bacon into smaller packages makes it easier to thaw just what you need.

  • Label packages – Include the freeze date and weight. This allows you to easily identify freezer-burned batches.

  • Freeze ASAP – Freeze bacon as soon as possible after opening. Leaving it in the fridge causes more moisture loss.

Following these tips will ensure your frozen bacon stays tasty!

How To Thaw Bacon

Thawing is an important step to prevent any bacterial growth. Here are a few safe ways to thaw bacon:

  • Fridge thawing – For slower thawing, leave bacon packages in the fridge overnight or up to 2 days.

  • Cold water method – Submerge bacon packs in cold water, changing the water every 30 mins. About 1 hour thawing time.

  • Microwave – Microwave frozen bacon in short 10-15 second bursts, flipping in between to prevent cooking.

  • While cooking – Bacon can be cooked directly from frozen. Just increase cook times and use medium-low heat.

Once thawed, bacon should be cooked fully until crispy or used in a recipe. For food safety, do not refreeze thawed raw bacon.

Cooking Previously Frozen Bacon

You may need to adjust your normal bacon cooking method slightly for previously frozen bacon.

  • Use medium or medium-low heat. Frozen bacon burns easier.

  • Cook low and slow. Frozen bacon needs more time to crisp up.

  • Bake it. Baking thawed bacon in the oven gives great, even results.

  • Blot fat. After cooking, blot frozen-thawed bacon on paper towels to soak up excess grease.

  • Add it to recipes. Using thawed bacon in recipes helps mask any texture changes.

With a few easy tweaks, bacon that was previously frozen can taste just as delicious!

Freezing Different Types of Bacon

While basic sliced smoked bacon freezes well, you may be wondering about other bacon varieties. Here’s how other types hold up:

  • Thick-cut bacon – The extra thickness helps minimize freezer burn. Freeze stacked flat.

  • Turkey bacon – Turkey bacon can dry out more than pork bacon. Freeze flat in layers separated by parchment paper.

  • Pancetta – Cut into chunks and freeze in a single layer. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

  • Pre-cooked bacon – Fully cooked bacon lasts 2-3 weeks in the freezer. Reheat gently before serving.

All types of bacon freeze well when stored properly!

Signs Your Frozen Bacon Has Gone Bad

Like all frozen foods, bacon can eventually start to go bad in the freezer after long storage. Here are a few signs to watch out for:

  • Unpleasant odor when package is opened
  • Grayish brown or dull color
  • Development of thick ice crystals
  • Dry, shriveled, leathery texture
  • Rancid, bitter, rotten taste

Bacon developing any of these characteristics should be discarded. For best quality bacon, try to use frozen packages within 1-2 months.

Freezing Bacon Grease

If you ever cook up a good amount of bacon, save that leftover bacon grease! It’s perfect for cooking and adds great bacon flavor. To freeze, pour grease into a freezer-safe container leaving 1⁄2 inch of headspace. Seal, label, and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

The Bottom Line

Freezing bacon, even bacon that’s already been opened, is a great way to extend the shelf life and prevent waste. With proper freezing, storage and thawing techniques, previously frozen bacon tastes and cooks just as well as fresh. Keep an open pack or two of bacon in the freezer so you always have it handy for weekend breakfasts and BLTs.


Leave a Comment