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How Long Can Cooked Bacon Sit Out?

Posted in Food Safety on February 28, 2022

As a general rule, cooked meats should not sit out at room temperature longer than two hours, and that includes bacon. In high temperatures, cooked bacon should be consumed or discarded within a shorter amount of time.

If you or a loved one became ill from eating contaminated bacon, you may be able to recover compensation. Contact our food safety lawyer to explore your legal options and eligibility to recover compensation.

Why Can Bacon Only Sit Out for Two Hours?

When it comes to food safety, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends “the 2-Hour Rule.” The reason is that the longer bacon sits out, especially in warmer temperatures, not only does its quality decrease, but harmful bacteria also begins to grow. Bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella Enteritidis, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Campylobacter can increase to dangerous levels that cause illness. Bacteria double in number in as little as 20 minutes when sitting in the range of temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F. This range is often referred to as the “Danger Zone.”

How Long Can Bacon Be Stored in the Fridge

Cooked bacon can safely be stored in the refrigerator for at least 4 to 5 days if placed in the fridge within two hours of cooking. First, wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then put it in a sealed container before refrigeration. Cooked bacon can also be stored in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. It will remain edible and safe beyond that time limit, but the quality will begin to deteriorate.

How Do You Thaw Frozen Cooked Bacon?

Frozen-cooked bacon must be thawed before you can reheat and eat it. The best option is to place it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight; then it can be safely consumed for another 3 to 4 days. If you use the defrost setting on the microwave or submerge the bag in cold water to thaw the bacon, it must be cooked and eaten immediately.

If I Reheat Bacon After Leaving It Out, Will It Make It Safe?

Reheating bacon will not make it safe if it has sat out at room temperature for longer than two hours. Bacteria found in food can form heat-resistant toxins that cooking will not destroy. As a result, there is a risk of food poisoning.

How to Tell if Cooked Bacon Is Bad

When cooked bacon has gone bad, you will notice the following:


The bacon will have a different hue than its normal color. If it is a faded gray or green color, it is a good indicator of being spoiled. The fat part that is usually white or yellow will also look discolored.

Off Smell

An off-putting smell is a telltale sign that the bacon is bad. Cooked bacon should smell fresh and meaty. It should be discarded if it has a sour, rancid, or rotten smell.

Unpleasant Texture

Spoiled cooked bacon may have a slimy, gooey, or sticky texture on its exterior. Test it by feel, and do not try a bite since it is not worth the risk of becoming ill. Be sure to wash your hands after tossing it.


The last and most noticeable sign that cooked bacon is bad is the growth of mold. If you see any green particles or organic growth, discard it immediately.