Can Cooked Bacon Be Left Out? Answer Explained

Nearly every meat lover adores bacon. Over the last generation, it has become a staple not only of breakfast meals but all sorts of delicious cuisines.

With so many people eating and loving bacon, there are questions about how it can and should be stored and what the best practices are to keep it safe. The truth is that you need to be very particular about how long you leave cooked bacon out, lest you want to catch any troubling illnesses. 

Is It Safe to Leave Out Cooked Bacon?

The simple and direct answer is that it is not safe to leave cooked bacon out, either to consume or to store. 

Most experts agree that cooked bacon becomes unsafe to enjoy after you leave it at room temperature for more than just a couple of hours. If your kitchen is warm then you might actually have less time than that. 

Many people will make bacon for breakfast and leave it out as they come back for seconds or thirds. It is advised that after you eat your helping, you store the rest of the bacon in the refrigerator so you do not catch any food borne illness. Additionally, leaving bacon out will ruin the taste of it too. 

Before you store any leftover cooked bacon, let it cool to room temperature, making sure that you don’t leave it out for more than a couple of hours. This will ensure that condensation doesn’t affect the meat.

How Long Can Cooked Bacon Be Left Out?

Room Temperature

Most raw and cooked meat, including bacon, can be victim to bacterial growth when it’s left out in any temperature between 40 and 140 degrees. Obviously most rooms and kitchens will be within that range.

The bacterial growth can begin quite quickly, which means that you should not leave bacon out in any room for more than two hours. If you are in a room that is above 90 degrees then you really need to safely store the bacon within an hour.


You can keep your bacon in a fridge for much longer, safely, than on a kitchen counter. If you have cooked bacon, you can keep it stored in a container (make sure it is airtight) or a plastic bag with as much air removed as possible. You can do this for about a day but after that, the bacon should be disposed of. But that will be no great loss because the flavor of the bacon will have greatly faded by then.

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When you are keeping your cooked bacon in the freezer, you need to be quite sure that it is kept in an airtight bag. You can keep the bacon in the freezer for long-term storage (about a month) but you need to be positive that you have let it cool off before you put it in a bag or storage unit and then the freezer. You do not want it to be hot when you freeze it. 

How to Store Leftover Cooked Bacon?

Once the meat is cool to the touch, you should store it in an airtight bag and push out as much air as possible before you seal it and then place it in your fridge. You will then be able to keep it stored in your refrigerator for up to five days. 

How to Tell If Cooked Bacon Has Gone Bad?

There are many ways to tell if your cooked bacon has gone bad. It is very important you are aware of these tell tale signs because foodborne illnesses are some of the worst things that can happen to people. They will result in multiple symptoms that are unpleasant and downright dangerous at times too. 

The biggest indicator of bacon that’s gone bad is a smell that doesn’t feel right to you. Bacon is known for its strong, smoky smell that can fill a kitchen and home. But bacon that has turned will smell quite different. A sour or sulfuric odor is the best sign that your bacon is bad.

But there are other things to look to as well because the smell might not always be off when the bacon is. 

If your bacon feels or looks slimy, this shows the meat is now past its prime. Some people feel this is just the water leaking out of the bacon, it may actually be bacteria building on it instead. When in doubt, throw any slimy bacon out. 

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The color of your bacon should be strong and vibrant, pinkish or red. However, if you notice that your bacon looks faded, gray, brown, or green, you should immediately toss it in the trash. The discoloration is an indicator of bacterial growth. 

Finally, any sort of mold on your bacon is a reason to throw it away ASAP. Any form or mold, which will appear white and blottish on the meat, is unacceptable and will make you and friends and family ill. 

The most important things to remember is to let the meat cool to room temperature and then to make sure no air can sneak into the unit that keeps the bacon safe. Always remember that condensation is the worst thing that can happen to cooked meat and is the fastest way to let bacteria grow and make anyone who eats the bacon incredibly sick. 

Can spoiled bacon make you sick?


Spoiled meat, including bacon, is one of the easiest ways to get a foodborne illness. These sorts of illnesses have a ton of nasty symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, headaches, dehydration, dizziness, and more. 

Despite what some people say, foodborne illnesses can be quite serious and can lead to a lot of health complications, including death for some. That is why it’s vital that you cook the bacon thoroughly, eat it promptly, and then store it correctly. 

Final Thoughts

While bacon is one of the best breakfast treats that you can make for you and your family, it is very important that you treat it correctly, from cooking to consuming to storing. If you do any of those things incorrectly, you run the risk of getting quite ill and spreading illness to those you care about.

Cooked bacon can be left out but you need to ensure that it is only left out for a short amount of time and then, when it is stored, it is kept in the right compartment for the right amount of time. Luckily, storing it correctly after making it is easy as long as you keep a few things in mind.