Leftover bacon is a common staple in most homes and restaurants. It’s easy to cook, store and reheat. But what happens when your bacon is left out overnight?
Is bacon left out overnight safe to eat? Should you toss it or repurpose it?
Bacon left out overnight will not stay that way. It could easily spoil and become dangerous. Therefore, it is not safe to eat or use bacon left out overnight for anything.
If you’re still wondering or feeling tempted to eat bacon that has been sitting out for a long, read on to learn why it is not a good thing.
Is it safe to eat bacon left out overnight?
Bacon left out overnight will be unsafe to eat at any point because the bacteria that live on the surface of raw meat can grow into harmful germs that can make you sick.
If your bacon was frozen, then it can stay at room temperature for several hours without being unsafe to eat. It’s best to eat your food as soon as possible after cooking, or at least within a few hours of cooking.
If you leave your food out overnight, bacteria will have plenty of time to multiply and cause sickness for others who might be eating that food later on.
SEE: How Long Does Cooked Bacon Last in the Fridge?
Reasons bacon left out overnight is not safe
1. Bacteria begin to multiply quickly in it
The first reason why bacon left out overnight is not safe is because bacteria begin to multiply rapidly. When you put a piece of cooked bacon out, bacteria will begin to grow on the surface of it and create an environment for other harmful organisms to grow and multiply on top of them.
A rule of thumb is to put your bacon in the fridge instead of leaving it out overnight. If you do this, then there’s less chance that harmful bacteria will flourish inside your bacon and cause damage if eaten.
SEE: How Long Can Raw Meat Sit Out Before It Goes Bad?
2. It draws flies
Bacon left out overnight can make your kitchen smell like bacon and attract pests like flies, ants, cockroaches, and other insects that will stick around for the long haul if you don’t get rid of them before they do any damage to your food!
3. Goes tough and leathery
Do you know how it is if you leave the meat out overnight, it gets a little dry and hard? The same thing happens with bacon.
If you leave your bacon out overnight, it may become crispier than usual, but also harder and drier. This means that when you reheat it again, there will be less grease in the pan to keep things moist.
The result: your bacon will be dryer than before (and therefore less tasty).
4. It could easily spoil and become dangerous
If you’re one of the many people who eat leftover bacon, it’s important to keep in mind that they can get spoilt quickly if left to sit out for long.
The longer you leave your bacon out overnight, the higher the risk of spoilage. The rotting smell is also unappetizing and can even cause nausea in some people.
SEE: How To Stop Food Spoilage And Food Poisoning
5. Various types of mold grow quickly on leftover bacon
While most leftover bacon is safe to eat as long as it’s cooked properly, some types of mold can grow on it if left out too long. Mold is a type of bacteria that grows on foods that are exposed to air or moisture for long periods.
Mold can cause serious illness for people with allergies or immune system problems, so it’s important to keep your leftover bacon away from other foods or liquids until you’ve cooked it properly.
SEE: Yummy Foods to Make With Rotisserie Chicken Leftovers
How long can bacon sit out?
While tossing your delicious bacon can be painful, sure you don’t want to get sick instead. As a general rule of food safety, especially the ones made with raw meat, your bacon should never sit out for more than 4 hours.
If your bacon is left out for more than 4 hours, please don’t think twice before you toss it. It’s a priority to keep yourself and everyone in your home safe. Eating bacon that has been out for more than 4 hours can make you or anyone who is eating sick.
SEE: How Long Can Dough Sit Out Before Going Bad?
When does bacon go bad?
Bacon goes bad when it’s exposed to air for too long. In general, bacon that has been stored properly and is not exposed to air will last a few months to a year. If you plan to store your bacon for a longer period, you should use the freezer option.
Bacon can be frozen in its original wrapping or wrapped in foil or plastic wrap. The best way to ensure your bacon doesn’t go bad is to freeze it immediately after purchase.
How can you make your bacon last long?
Depending on how long it will take before you use your bacon, you can either preserve your bacon in the fridge or freezer. While bacon that has not been open can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge, it will last up to 8 months in the freezer.
But what’s the best way to preserve your uncooked bacon in the fridge or freezer?
Before putting uncooked bacon in the fridge or freezer, it should be wrapped in tin foil or kept in an airtight container to maintain freshness. Before freezing, cooked bacon should be divided into little pieces and wrapped in paper towels.
SEE: How Long Can Cake Sit Out Before It Goes Bad?
How do you know when bacon has gone bad?
1. It starts to smell funky
If you’ve ever had bacon that smelled funky, you know what I mean. Bacon should never smell like ammonia or ammonia-like chemicals like bleach. If it smells that way, then it’s probably spoiled and should be thrown out as soon as possible.
2. It’s sticky
If you slice through some pieces of bacon and they’re still sticking together even after being cooked through, then they’re probably bad.
Also, bacon is usually pretty dry when cooked so if there are small amounts of water left on your pieces of bacon after cooking, they’re probably bad too.
3. The bacon is moldy
While with your naked eyes, you may not see the bacteria in your bacon, you should be able to see if some fungi have grown on the surface of your bacon. Your bacon has gone bad if there is any mold or other development on it.
Although you might be tempted, it is not advisable to cut off the moldy area and cook the remaining bacon. There is a strong likelihood that fungi may be present throughout the bacon even if you can’t see them if anything is growing.
4. It has green or grey spots
You can tell by looking at your bacon if it has gone bad. The meat’s color will change—it will become darker in color. If you cut into the bacon, it will have a green, grey, or brown hue.
It also may be discolored around the edges because bacteria can grow in there as well if it isn’t properly refrigerated or frozen after cooking.
Tips to ensure you buy a bad bacon
To see if the bacon is still good to eat, check the sell-by date on the package and follow these guidelines:
- Always check freshness dates
- Smell the bacon to determine if it has gone bad
- Fresh bacon should feel firm, plump, and meaty
- Shake it – if you hear rattling it has gone
- Avoid packages that have been torn or re-taped
- Look for discoloration, which means the meat is going bad
SEE: Get a BOGO Offer or Free Meal at M&M Food Market
How long does cooked bacon last?
If stored properly, cooked bacon can last up to 5 days in the fridge and about 1 month in the freezer.
What happens if you eat bad bacon?
Eating bad bacon can result in food poisoning. You may start experiencing the following symptoms; vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
How long does bacon last in the fridge once opened?
If it is below 40 ºF in the refrigerator, your opened bacon can last up to 7 days.
Conclusion: Bacon left out overnight
Bacon can be stored for up to 10 days in the refrigerator and months in the freezer, but you should use your bacon as soon as possible within a few days.
If it smells bad or looks slimy or sticky when you open the package, or if there are black spots on it or it has been discolored, then it’s probably spoiled and shouldn’t be eaten.
Bacon that has been sitting out at room temperature will go bad more quickly than a package that has been sitting in the refrigerator. If you’re planning on using your bacon later in the day, place it in a sealed plastic bag and place it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.
I hope you found this article helpful. You should also check out the Cheffist Food Preservation category. There are plenty of easy yet effective methods to preserve your foods and avoid spoilage. You can also learn about how many long foods can last.
Thanks for reading.