How To Store Cooked Bacon In The Fridge

Nothing beats hot and still-sizzling freshly cooked bacon. But, if you've cooked more than you can eat in one sitting, you may be wondering how to best store the leftovers. The refrigerator is a great method, as it helps to keep the porky slices in good condition for a few days until you're ready to use them for your next meal.

The key to keeping cooked bacon in the fridge, however, is how it's stored. To start with, you should drain the cooked strips you want to store in the refrigerator on paper towels, and let them cool to room temperature so they don't become soggy and lose that delicious crispiness. Once cooked, bacon needs to be refrigerated within two hours, per USDA guidelines, so don't leave it out too long.

Once it's been cooled and de-greased to help it stay crispy, bacon should be keep in the fridge in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag with all of the air squeezed out. This helps to avoid spoilage as it stops air and moisture from getting in, which also helps retains the best texture. You could also wrap bacon in parchment paper before placing it in a zip top plastic bag if you prefer.

Use cooked bacon within four to five days

Once your cooked bacon has been stored correctly in the refrigerator, it should last up to four or five days, according to the USDA. Although, for the best taste and texture, you'll probably want to eat it within a couple of days if possible. In addition to the leftover meat, be sure to retain the delicious grease, too, as it makes a flavorful cooking fat for other dishes; straining it into a jar first will help your bacon grease stash last longer.

If you're deliberately cooking a batch of bacon in advance to keep and reheat at a later date, then make sure it's thoroughly cooked through before it's stored in the fridge. Partly-cooked bacon should not be stored in the refrigerator, per the USDA, as partial cooking will not destroy the bacteria in the meat and could be a risk for food-borne illnesses.

If you're not going to use the leftover slices within a few days, you can also store cooked bacon in the freezer for a longer period. Just place paper towels between each sheet of bacon strips to stop them from sticking, and seal in an airtight ziplock plastic bag. It should keep well for up to a month this way.

How to use leftover cooked bacon in recipes

First of all, the best way to reheat bacon without making it too dry is to put it on a baking sheet in an oven set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for a few minutes. But there are many other ways to use chopped or crumbled room temp bacon in a range of everyday recipes, too.

Try crumbling crispy bacon bits on top of soups for a crunchy textural contrast; it works especially well with creamy potato, lentil, or cauliflower soups, as well as chicken soups. Salty crispy bacon also works beautifully when added to salads or omelets, sprinkled onto pizzas, or stirred into rich pasta dishes. Or scatter a few meaty shards into baked potato skins stuffed with oozy melting cheddar and crunchy scallions.

To turn leftover cooked bacon into a condiment you'll turn to time and again, why not make your own bacon salt? Just pound the crispy bits in a mortar and pestle with salt flakes; it will keep for a couple of months in an airtight container in the fridge, and will enhance everything from mac and cheese to popcorn. You can even use any leftover cooked pieces of the meat in drinks, as well as food. Bacon strips are a seriously underrated cocktail garnish for boozy beverages such as a Bloody Mary or Manhattan.