Can You Freeze Bacon Bits? Everything You Need to Know

Enjoy your bacon! Here are some great tips on how to store it in your pantry and for a long time. You can eat bacon even when zombies attack!

My husband lives in a world where bacon is in everything. Me, not so much. Because of this, it was hard to always have bacon on hand for him to add to his food or to things I made that needed bacony goodness. (I blame the bacon, it just doesn’t like me).

I looked into it some more and came up with some good ways to store bacon all year without filling up my fridge.

Bacon bits are a beloved topping for salads, baked potatoes, and more. Their smoky, salty, umami flavor can take a dish from bland to brilliant in just a sprinkle But an opened package of bacon bits doesn’t last forever in the fridge Freezing lets you store bacon bits so you always have them handy when a craving strikes.

Freezing bacon bits is absolutely possible. In fact, it’s an easy way to save leftovers or buy bacon bits in bulk while preserving freshness. Below I’ll explain how to freeze bacon bits for long-term storage. I’ll also cover thawing and food safety, so you can enjoy delicious bacon bits without waste.

Can You Freeze Bacon Bits?

The short answer is yes. Bacon bits freeze very well for long-term storage. Both homemade and store-bought bacon bits can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer bag. Frozen properly, bacon bits last 6-8 months in the freezer before quality deteriorates.

Freezing prevents bacteria growth that leads to spoilage. It also slows down the chemical reactions that cause bacon bits to go rancid over time. Bacon bits thawed from the freezer taste and smell freshly crisped.

Freezing bacon bits makes sense for several reasons

  • Preserve freshness: An open package or batch of homemade bacon bits only lasts about a week in the fridge. Freezing extends shelf life dramatically.

  • Buy in bulk: Freezing lets you stock up on sale-priced bacon bits or make a big batch of homemade to save time.

  • Reduce waste: Freeze leftovers or freeze bacon bits in recipe-sized portions to use just what you need.

  • Lock in flavor: Frozen storage keeps bacon bits tasting freshly fried or baked.

Both real bacon bits made from bacon and imitation bacon bits made from soy can be successfully frozen. The freezing process is the same.

How to Freeze Bacon Bits

Follow these simple steps for freezing bacon bits at peak quality:

1. Allow to cool completely

Bacon bits should be completely cooled before freezing. Freeze immediately after cooking homemade bacon bits. For store-bought, let an open package cool to room temperature. Hot bacon bits may thaw other items in the freezer or crack your storage container when freezing expands food.

2. Portion into airtight containers or bags

For homemade bacon bits, divide cooled bacon bits into recipe-ready portions in freezer bags. Squeeze out excess air before sealing bags. You can also use rigid plastic freezer-safe containers.

For store-bought bacon bits, you can freeze in the original packaging if it’s resealable. Otherwise, transfer to freezer bags or containers. Make sure to exclude as much air as possible.

3. Label packages

Label each freezer bag or container with the contents and freeze-by date. The freeze-by date is 6-8 months from the packaging date. Write the date in big clear letters with permanent marker so it’s easy to find later.

4. Freeze

Place sealed bacon bit packages in a single layer on freezer shelves. Avoid stacking them until completely frozen to prevent sticking. Once hardened, you can stack or consolidate packages to save space.

5. Store flat

Make sure to store bacon bits flat in the freezer. This prevents crumbling of the crispy bits. Round containers don’t work as well as flat freezer bags for this reason.

And that’s it! With these simple steps, you’ll have delicious crispy frozen bacon bits ready whenever inspiration strikes.

Thawing and Using Frozen Bacon Bits

When ready to use frozen bacon bits, proper thawing helps retain texture and flavor. Here are some tips:

  • For a quick garnish, sprinkle frozen bacon bits directly onto dishes. The heat of the food will thaw them rapidly.

  • To thaw a whole package, place sealed bag or container in the refrigerator. Thaw overnight before opening.

  • You can also thaw in the microwave in short 10-second bursts, shaking or stirring between.

  • Avoid thawing at room temperature or in hot water, as this increases risk of bacterial growth.

Once thawed, use bacon bits within a week for best quality. Don’t refreeze thawed bacon bits, as this causes loss of texture. But feel free to cook thawed bacon bits in recipes or fry up with vegetables for an extra crunchy twist.

Freezing Cooked Bacon Slices or Chopped Bacon

While this article focuses on bacon bits, you may also be wondering about freezing cooked bacon slices or chopped bacon. Good news – cooked bacon also freezes well!

Follow the same packaging steps above. Some additional tips:

  • Cool cooked bacon slices on a paper towel-lined sheet pan before freezing. This absorbs excess grease.

  • Layer slices between sheets of parchment paper before sealing in a freezer bag. This prevents sticking.

  • For chopped bacon, freeze in recipe-size portions to easily grab for cooking.

  • Frozen bacon slices reheat well in the microwave or skillet before serving.

How Long Does Bacon Last in the Fridge or Freezer?

Knowing how long bacon lasts can help avoid wasting this delicious ingredient. Here are general guidelines for refrigerated and frozen storage times:

  • Uncooked bacon: 1 week in the fridge, 6-8 months in the freezer

  • Cooked bacon: 1 week in the fridge, 6-8 months in the freezer

  • Bacon bits: 1 week in the fridge after opening, 6-8 months in the freezer

  • Vacuum-sealed uncooked bacon: 2 weeks in the fridge, 12 months in the freezer

These timelines assume proper storage temperatures of 40°F or below in the fridge and 0°F or below in the freezer. Use frozen bacon within stated times for best texture and flavor.

Discard bacon that smells, tastes, or looks off instead of taking a chance. When in doubt, remember the old adage – it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Answering Common Questions

Freezing bacon bits and other bacon products is generally straightforward. But you may have additional questions about the process and results. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Can you freeze bacon grease? Yes, absolutely. Cool bacon fat before transferring to a freezer-safe container. Thaw and reuse within a month for the best bacon flavor.

Can cooked bacon go from fridge to freezer? Cooked bacon needs to be cooled first since freezing from fridge temp could warm other items. Cool on a baking sheet before sealing for freezer.

Can you freeze raw bacon slices? Raw bacon freezes very well for 6-8 months. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or freezer paper before freezing. Defrost overnight in the fridge before cooking frozen bacon.

Can you refreeze bacon after thawing? It’s best not to refreeze thawed raw bacon slices or bacon bits. The texture suffers with multiple freezes. But you can safely cook thawed bacon from frozen and then refreeze it.

What’s the best way to thaw frozen bacon? For raw bacon slices, thaw slowly in the refrigerator in original packaging. Place the freezer bag or wrapped package on a plate to catch drips. Thaw overnight before unwrapping.

How do you know if frozen bacon is bad? Check for off odors, unusual color changes, ice crystals, or dry spots on frozen bacon. If in doubt, the bacon is safest discarded. Bad bacon may smell rancid, ammonia-like, or unpleasant.

Can you freeze pre-cooked bacon? Yes, cooked bacon freezes very successfully for 6-8 months. Cool fully before sealing in airtight packaging, and reheat gently from frozen before eating for best results.

Safety Tips for Handling Bacon

Proper handling and storage of bacon is important to prevent foodborne illness. Here are some key food safety guidelines:

  • Cook bacon thoroughly until crispy to destroy harmful bacteria. Bacon can harbor Salmonella and other pathogens.

  • Don’t leave bacon or bacon bits out of the fridge for over 2 hours. Bacteria multiply rapidly at room temperature.

  • Always wash hands, utensils, dishes, and cutting boards after handling raw bacon to avoid cross-contamination.

  • Refrigerate unused bacon drippings within 2 hours and use within 1 week. Discard if smelling rancid or moldy.

  • Label and date packages of cooked bacon stored in the fridge or freezer. Use frozen bacon within 6-8 months for safety and quality.

  • Thaw frozen bacon safely in the refrigerator, cold water, or microwave. Don’t thaw at room temperature.

Following basic food safety guidelines gives you peace of mind when enjoying this salt-cured pork product.

Tips for Making and Using Bacon Bits

Crunchy, salty bacon bits are worth keeping stocked in your fridge or freezer. Here are some tips for making and using bacon bits:

  • Make your own by baking bacon slices at 400°F until crispy, then chopping into bits. Season before baking for flavors like maple bacon bits.

  • When buying, look for real bacon bits without preservatives like BHT, BHA, and nitrites. Or choose imitation bits for a vegan option.

  • Toss bacon bits into salads, baked potatoes, soups, green beans, pasta, or quiche for a quick flavor boost.

  • Bacon bits pair especially well with creamy salad dressings, sharp cheeses like cheddar or gorgonzola, and acidic foods like tomatoes.

  • For a crunchy topping, sprinkle bacon bits on casseroles or dishes like mac and cheese before baking.

  • Add bacon bits when making quick appetizers like stuffed mushrooms, deviled eggs, or cheddar jalapeno poppers.

  • Use bacon bits in place of croutons for an easy upgrade to prepared salad kits or store-bought salad.

With so many savory uses for bacon bits, having a stash in the freezer lets you add a little bacon love to all your favorite foods. Follow the freezing tips in this article to keep bacon bits at their very best.

The Bottom Line

Freezing bacon bits is a great way to cut down on waste and always have them ready for recipes and garnishing. Both real and imitation bacon bits freeze well for 6-8 months with minimal quality loss. Allow to cool fully before portioning in sealed airtight bags or containers. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using for maximum freshness and texture. With proper freezing and food safety practices, you can enjoy tasty bacon bits anytime the craving strikes.

can you freeze bacon bits

How to Store Bacon in the Pantry

Yes, you can store bacon for a long time. Here are some options for bacon lovers who want to store food.

This is a way you can make shelf-stable bacon with a little preparation. This would be for some serious bacon devotion or if you received a pig portion, or if you just want to add another homesteading skill to your repertoire.

You’ve probably seen the pre-cooked bacon in a box, sitting near your meat section. It’s quick, convenient, microwaves in a hot minute, and will sit on your shelf for quite a while. The USDA says to only store food until the “use by” date, but we all know that dates don’t mean the food has gone bad; they just mean that it may have reached its best quality.

Bacon fans won’t like this kind of bacon because it’s just shaved bacon (can those pieces get any thinner?) and has even more preservatives than regular bacon from the store. You can’t go wrong with having a package ready and able to pull it out in an emergency, though.

You’re probably familiar with the bacon crumbles available in the grocery store or other favorite online retailers. Bacon bits in a jar or resealable bag can be reopened numerous times (throw a silica pack in to help with moisture control after opening to help extend the shelf-life), and used to add some flavor to bland dishes.

Just be aware – most bacon bits that you’re familiar with are actually bacon-flavored TVP – Texturized Vegetable Protein – a soy product. They’re actually vegetarian! They do add flavor you’re used to with the smokiness, but they aren’t real bacon bits. If you’re wanting to stay in the real meat world, know that those 100% real bacon bits are full of a lot of preservatives to cure, flavor and preserve for shelf-stable storage. It’s really a toss-up. But it’s bacon! Or at least tastes like bacon!


Make Your Own Bacon Bits

On the Stovetop or Oven

These directions are for cured bacon only.

  • Cook bacon very well.
  • Drain bacon (or pat dry with paper towels).
  • Crumble bacon pieces.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

In Your Dehydratorator *

  • Cook bacon fully
  • Pat dry grease thoroughly.
  • Crumble and put on dehydrator trays
  • Dry at 160F for 8 hours or so. Make sure you open your machine often and pat the crumbles dry to soak up any fat and water that builds up. Some people also put baking paper on the bottom of their machine to keep it safe from any grease that might drip.
  • Store in an airtight container in fridge or freezer.

*Dehydrating bacon for long-term storage is not an approved method of preservation for the home cook. Bacon contains fat, and no amount of cooking or dehydrating will get rid of all of the fat. You should know that fat goes bad pretty quickly, so you should do this knowing that it’s not something you can keep for long. For the safest storage, put it in the fridge or freezer.

► Additional Reading: USDA Food Safety Guidelines for Bacon

There is commercially canned bacon that can save your bacon if you really need to keep it on hand for bad times, like when it snows and you eat all of your bacon in three hours, or when zombies attack.

You can get it at places like Emergency Essentials, or if you’re really serious, at your local Walmart. (Be sure to use your Rakuten rewards on both of these to get a little extra back!)

I have no experience with this bacon (though I’m sure someone on Youtube has). If you really want to make sure that bacon is always on hand, I’m offering it as a possible choice.

How to Freeze Bacon // Tasty Bit 2

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