The Parchment Paper Hack That Makes Storing Raw Bacon A Breeze

Not every recipe requires a whole pound of bacon, often leaving a few slices unused each time you cook with it. While an open package of bacon can stay in the refrigerator for up to seven days, it should be stored in the freezer if kept longer. Bacon can be frozen for up to four months before its quality and flavor start to deteriorate.

Luckily, for recipes that call for just a slice or two, there's a parchment paper technique that makes storing and defrosting raw bacon effortless. As shown by @ceddies_kitchen on TikTok, tear off a long piece of parchment paper to fit the leftover bacon in a single layer with space between each slice. Place the strips vertically on the parchment, ensuring they don't touch.


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♬ original sound – Ceddie's Kitchen

With the longer side facing you, begin folding the parchment over until the bacon is completely enclosed. Gently flatten the roll to find the spaces between the slices, and use kitchen shears to cut between them, creating individual packets. The raw bacon's slightly sticky texture will keep these packets intact, so the slices won't fall out. Place each parchment-wrapped slice into a resealable plastic bag, label it with the date and contents, and freeze immediately. Since each piece is individually wrapped, you can remove as much or as little as you need.

Tips for storage and safe thawing

To maximize the effectiveness of this hack, prevent freezer burn by tightly wrapping bacon bundles and expelling excess air from the bag before storage. Trapped air draws moisture from the bacon, leading to ice crystal formation and drying out the meat. If you don't have parchment paper, you can use wax or butcher paper as a substitute. Plastic wrap, on the other hand, is less effective. If you plan to use all the leftover bacon, a vacuum sealer is the most efficient method to prevent freezer burn.

While the bacon can be cooked directly from the freezer, there are also various methods to safely defrost it. Contrary to what our grandparents might have taught us, meat should not be defrosted on the countertop at room temperature. One safe method for defrosting meat is in the refrigerator. Remove the bacon from the freezer the night before and place it on a plate on the bottom shelf of the fridge. The meat can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week before use and refrozen if not cooked.

For a faster method, submerge the bacon in a bowl of cold (not hot) water, or use the microwave at 50% power. When employing these faster methods, it's crucial to cook the bacon immediately. This prevents bacteria from multiplying on the surface, which, according to the USDA, could lead to food-borne illness.

When to use a slice or two of bacon

The salty, umami-rich taste of bacon doesn't require much to flavor a dish. Just a slice or two can add a smoky element to sauces, stews, sandwiches, and soups. For simmered dishes, consider using thick-cut bacon over standard bacon. It's twice as thick and holds its shape better during longer cooking times.

When chopping bacon to saute for recipes like spaghetti carbonara, there's no need to thaw it first. It's easier to cut bacon while it's frozen, as raw bacon can be slippery and difficult to cut evenly at room temperature.

Bacon adds a salty element to salads without overpowering the dish. Diced bacon works well in a Cobb salad, tossed into a spinach salad, mixed into guacamole, or added to coleslaw for a tasty side dish to accompany barbecue. And don't overlook its use in drinks — bacon strips are a seriously underrated cocktail garnish.

During the week, microwave a slice or two of bacon while frying eggs for a breakfast sandwich you can take on the go. A slice, cut in half, is all you need to ensure every bit of your bacon, egg, and cheese sammie has a smokey bite. For a twist, try a carbonara breakfast sandwich. At lunchtime, a slice of bacon can elevate a turkey club, BLT, or even Elvis' favorite peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwich.