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How to Tell If Bacon Is Bad: Does It Smell Funny?

Who doesn’t love fragrant, crispy, savory, crumbled bacon with a lovely sunny-side-up egg on toast for breakfast? Just make sure your bacon is safe to eat before serving it up.

When I don’t have time to prepare an elaborate breakfast, if I find bacon in my refrigerator, it starts my day off right.

Since it only takes a matter of days for bacon to get spoiled in the refrigerator, I have to make sure that I’m storing it properly.

You don’t want a food poisoning horror story to originate in your very own home, so here’s a descriptive guide on how to tell if bacon is bad and how to store it the right way.

Three Signs Bacon Has Gone Bad

The simplest way to know if the bacon in your refrigerator is safe to consume is by checking the expiry date. Even if it’s a day past the expiry date, you shouldn’t take any chances.

Stay on the safe side and consume it within 7 days of the sell-by date.

But you shouldn’t rely on the expiry date alone, especially when you don’t know how to store it properly. Here are three things you should consider when something seems off about the bacon and you don’t want to put your health at risk.


Take a look at the bacon under proper lighting to judge if it’s spoiled or not. Fresh bacon is supposed to look bright pink and have white or pale yellow fat. [i] That’s when you know it’s safe to cook it up and serve it.

If it’s turning grey or you see a hint of green or blue around it, then you shouldn’t eat it.


Chances are this isn’t your first time touching bacon. Fresh bacon is supposed to be moist and soft. If it feels slimy to the touch or has hard edges then you should toss it in the bin.


Don’t get confused. Bacon should smell the same way, regardless of how it’s packaged. Take a whiff to see if it smells like fresh meat. If it has a rotten smell, then it’s spoiled and you should stay away from it.

How to Store It Properly

There are different ways to store both uncooked and cooked bacon. [ii]

Cooked Bacon

Use plastic wrap or aluminum foil to wrap cooked bacon and store it in either your refrigerator or your freezer. Another thing you can do is find airtight containers in your nearby supermarket and place them inside to preserve them for a couple of days.

If you’ve placed it in the refrigerator, it can last up to four or five days, but if you’ve kept it in the freezer, then you can use it within the next two to three months.

Uncooked Bacon

Unopened and sealed bacon can last up to a week or two in the refrigerator and for about six to eight months if kept in the freezer. Here are a number of things you can do to preserve bacon right after getting home from the grocery store.

  • Use paper towels and wrap individual servings of raw bacon in them. Then, put them in Ziploc bags and store them in your freezer. They’ll be safe to use for up to six weeks.
  • You can also store them using a baking sheet and wax paper or foil. Line the baking sheet with the foil and carefully place each strip of bacon on it. This way, you can easily remove as many slices as you need at the time of cooking.

Label the packages with the expiry date so that you know when to discard them. If they’re spoiled, then remove them from your refrigerator or your freezer, or you’ll end up contaminating other food items.

Here’s a video that explains how you can wrap uncooked bacon to store it away correctly.

Can You Refreeze Thawed Bacon?

You can refreeze thawed bacon but you need to squeeze out all the air from the bag to prevent freezer burn and make sure that you’ve sealed it tightly.

Freezing helps keep the bacteria from growing but it doesn’t eliminate the bacteria that are already there, which is why you should only freeze opened packages of bacon for up to three days. [iii]

Final Words

Keep these pointers in mind the next time you decide to bring the fresh bacon home. When you’re about to fry up a few strips of bacon, don’t forget to:

  • Look at it closely to see if the protein is pink, not gray, and the fat is not discolored.
  • Most packages of store-bought bacon are shrink-wrapped and/or vacuum-packed. Make sure this seal hasn’t been breached.
  • After you get home and open the package, touch it to make sure it’s not slimy.
  • Sniff it to see if it smells funny, off, or spoiled.