For many people, bacon is a staple in their kitchen. It is tasty on its own and adds a smoky flavor to any dish.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t last long in the fridge. If you just impulsively bought a few extra packs on sale, you might be wondering: can you freeze bacon?
Absolutely, yes! Keep reading to learn more about this smart little hack!
The Best Ways To Freeze Bacon
Here comes the good news. Bacon should be the next item on your freezer-friendly list.
There is always a reason to freeze this guilty pleasure food. No matter if you are a regular or occasional eater, it is useful knowing how to freeze it.
In essence, you can freeze bacon in two ways; before and after cooking. Both methods work well. So, don’t fuss and do whatever suits your circumstances.
When it comes to bacon varieties, such as pancetta and ‘uncured’ bacon—yes, you can also freeze them all!
Freezing Uncooked Bacon
You can freeze a whole package or individual slices, depending on the amount you usually need at a time.
If you plan to cook all at once, of course, freezing a whole package works perfectly well. Simply stash it right away into the freezer, done.
However, if you only need a strip or two for your morning breakfast, freezing in individual slices makes more sense. It takes a few minutes for preparation but allows you to grab as many pieces as you need.
Here is how to freeze bacon slices for easier cooking later.
Take one slice, roll it up into a coil, so it looks like a snail. Repeat for all pieces.
- Arrange the rolled slices on a baking sheet.
- Flash freeze until they are hardened.
- Transfer them into a freezer bag.
- Suck out excess air from the pack and seal tightly.
- Label the package and pop it into the freezer.
Freezing Cooked Bacon
If you always want to have this cured pork ready on hand, this simple hack is absolutely a must-try. All you need to do is cook in bulk and freeze for later.
Follow this simple guide so you freeze cooked bacon properly to enjoy anytime when the craving strikes!
- Bake bacon strips for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on their thickness and your crispiness preference.
- Drain and cool cooked strips with a paper towel or a cooling rack.
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
- Lay them out in one layer, add another sheet of wax paper, and the prepped bacon strips. Repeat this process for all bacon strips. Cover the top layer with wax paper.
- Flash freeze for a few hours (or overnight) until they are frozen solid.
- Pack them in a zip lock or freezer bag.
- Press out as much air as possible from the bag and seal it tightly.
- Mark the container with the freezing date.
How To Defrost and Use Frozen Bacon
According to the USDA, there are three methods to defrost foods safely. Keep in mind to never thaw frozen meat on the counter or anywhere else outside the fridge.
1. In the refrigerator
Simply transfer a frozen package to the fridge and let it soften up slowly. Since refrigerator thawing takes time, make sure to plan in advance for defrosting a large quantity.
Keep thawed bacon refrigerated, and it should be safe to cook up to 7 days after thawing. If you don’t use all of them, you can safely refreeze them without cooking them first.
2. In cold water
If you don’t have enough time to thaw in the refrigerator, consider this method. Make sure that the package is perfectly sealed and doesn’t leak.
Put a bowl in the sink, fill with cold tap water, and submerge the package. Change the water every 30 minutes until the bacon fully thaws. It takes roughly an hour or less to thaw every pound of meat. Cook them immediately.
3. In the microwave
If you are in a hurry, microwave thawing might be your best bet. However, you need to be extra careful because it is easy to cross from defrosting to cooking in the microwave. Cook immediately after thawing.
Frozen bacon can also be cooked from a frozen state. Simply fry or bake it as usual and add approximately 50% of standard cooking time.
For cooked bacon strips, you can simply thaw and reheat them in the fridge, in the microwave, or right in the pan.
Can you refreeze bacon safely?
Yes, you can put thawed bacon back into the freezer under certain conditions.
1. It is safe to refreeze without cooking if bacon was thawed in the refrigerator.
2. If you thaw it in cold water or a microwave, you have to cook it before refreezing. After all, you need to cook it immediately if using these thawing methods.
How Long Can You Freeze Bacon?
If you handle and freeze bacon properly, you can prolong its shelf life significantly.
Uncooked bacon and pancetta can stay up to 4 months in the freezer. Meanwhile, the so-called ‘uncured’ bacon or one cured without nitrates or nitrites can hold a little longer, up to 6 months.
If you have cooked it or prepared dishes containing this meat, they can be frozen for up to 1 to 2 months.
It is possible to freeze beyond the recommended period. However, salted meats tend to turn rancid quickly. So, it is best to use them not too long from these estimates.
|Bacon (uncooked)||4 months|
|‘Uncured’ bacon (cured without nitrites or nitrates)||6 months|
|Cooked bacon (prepared at home)||1 month|
|Cooked bacon (store-bought)||3 months|
|Dishes prepared with bacon||1 to 2 months|
|Bacon bits||1 to 2 months|
Can frozen bacon go bad?
According to the USDA, frozen foods continuously held at 0 °F should be safe to consume indefinitely. However, the quality degrades when they are kept too long.
See more: does bacon grease go bad?
Some spoilage signs are similar to other meat products, such as slimy surface, discoloration, rotting smell, and unpleasant taste. Keep in mind that harmful bacteria don’t necessarily alter the look, smell, and taste. So, if you have refrigerated much longer than recommended, it is best to discard them for your own safety.
No. You should not eat raw bacon because it may contain harmful bacteria. You need to cook it to kill bacteria and parasites to avoid food poisoning risks. The USDA suggests cooking it in a pan or skillet, oven, or microwave.
Bacon and other deli meats should be cooked thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria and parasites. If you happen to eat undercooked ones, you may get sick. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fever.
Yes. Bacon bits freeze beautifully. Simply pack them in a mason jar or a freezer-safe container and keep them in the freezer.
Freezing bacon is another kitchen hack everyone should know. It is easy, convenient, and effective to prolong shelf life.
You can freeze both uncooked and cooked bacon. This way, you can make the most out of your supply, and tasty meat is always ready on the go.
Up next: does bacon go bad?
*image by Tagwaran/depositphotos