How Long Do Bacon Bits Really Last?

Bacon bits are a pantry staple in many households. Those crispy salty smoky bits of flavor can instantly elevate salads, potatoes, pasta, and more. But if you’ve ever taken a close look at a container of bacon bits, you may have wondered – how long do these actually last for?

Unlike fresh bacon, which needs to be stored in the refrigerator and used within just a few days, bacon bits seem to last forever in the pantry. So what gives them such long shelf life? Let’s take a closer look at what’s really in bacon bits and how to store them to optimize freshness and flavor.

The Science Behind Bacon Bits’ Shelf Stability

Real bacon bits are made from actual bits of smoked and cured pork belly. They are cooked until crispy, then cooled and packaged into jars or plastic containers. But what helps them last so long is the curing and smoking process they undergo before being chopped up. This process preserves the bacon by reducing its moisture content and infusing flavorful compounds like smoke.

Once cured, smoked, cooked, and packaged, bacon bits containing real bacon will stay fresh in an unopened container in the pantry for 2-3 months. After opening, they’ll keep for up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator The reduced moisture content and smoking helps inhibit bacterial growth, while refrigeration after opening further slows any spoilage

Extending Shelf Life with Alternatives

For even longer shelf stability, many bacon bit products are made with soy or other vegetable proteins rather than real pork. These imitation bacon bits replicate the smoky, salty flavor without any actual bacon in the ingredients.

Soy-based bacon bits contain no animal products at all. With very low moisture content and the preservatives added, they can be shelf-stable for up to 9 months unopened. Refrigerating after opening can extend the shelf life for another 3-4 months

Storing Bacon Bits Correctly

To get the longest shelf life out of any type of bacon bits, be sure to store them properly:

  • Keep unopened bacon bits in a cool, dry pantry away from direct sunlight.

  • Once opened, transfer to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.

  • Keep opened bacon bits refrigerated at 40°F or below.

  • Best by dates refer to unopened containers. Once opened, write the date on the package and use within 6 weeks.

  • If bacon bits smell rancid, musty, or unpleasant, it’s best to discard them.

  • For soy-based bacon bits, always refer to the package for exact shelf life and storage guidelines.

Freezing For Even Longer Storage

You can extend the shelf life of bacon bits even further by freezing them. Here are some tips:

  • Freeze bacon bits in airtight containers or freezer bags. This prevents freezer burn.

  • Press out excess air before sealing to reduce ice crystal formation.

  • Real bacon bits will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer.

  • Soy-based bacon bits can be frozen for up to 9 months before quality deteriorates.

  • Thaw bacon bits overnight in the refrigerator before using.

  • Use thawed bacon bits within 1 week for best flavor and texture.

  • Avoid refreezing bacon bits more than once.

Quick Tips For Enjoying Bacon Bits

  • Add them to salads, baked potatoes, soups, pasta, and more. The smoky flavor pairs well with cheeses, eggs, tomatoes, green veggies, and ranch or blue cheese dressing.

  • Sprinkle over top of casseroles or pizza before baking for an extra crunchy finish.

  • Mix into ground meat for burgers or meatloaf.

  • Add to cornbread, biscuit, or scone batter.

  • Use in place of bacon in recipes like quiche, frittatas, or omelets.

  • Whip into mashed potatoes or hash browns.

  • Top baked sweet potatoes, regular fries, or tater tots.

  • Garnish Bloody Mary cocktails.

  • Mix with mayo or sour cream for a dip.

So go ahead and stock up on those tasty bacon bits – just be sure to store them properly. An unopened jar of real bacon bits should last 2-3 months in the pantry, and soy-based bits even longer. For maximum freshness after opening, keep refrigerated and use within 6 weeks. With proper storage, you can enjoy intensifying recipes with that smoky bacon flavor for months to come!

how long are bacon bits good for

HORMEL® Real Bacon Bits Pouch

servings per container Serving size (7g)

Amount Per Serving
Calories 25
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1.5g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 210mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Includes 0g added sugars 0%
Protein 3g 6%
Calcium 0mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 0mg 0%
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%

The Daily Value (DV) tells you how much of a nutrient is in a serving of food. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


how long are bacon bits good for

Don’t Buy Bacon Bits Again Until You Watch This

How long do bacon bits last?

Per Eat by Date, bacon bits made with real bacon, once open, can last anywhere from 6 weeks in the refrigerator to 6 months in the freezer. The site also notes that the range of dates is only as good as your storage method. But if you eschew real bacon, you may opt for, say, McCormick’s Imitation Bac’n Pieces, which are touted as vegan bacon.

Are bacon bits safe to eat after expiration date?

When it comes to determining the safety of consuming bacon bits past their expiration date, consumers should exercise caution. The shelf-life of bacon bits varies depending on whether they are real or imitation.

Can bacon bits be frozen?

You can also spread the bacon bits out on a baking sheet and freeze them until they are hard before transferring them to an airtight container or plastic bag. According to Eat by Date, bacon bits made with real bacon can last up to 6 months in the freezer and up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator when stored properly.

How long do bac’n pieces last?

On an Amazon thread, the manufacturer says Bac’n Pieces have a shelf life of “24 months from the date of manufacture.” However, keep in mind that these bits are not made with real bacon and may not provide the same flavor profile as Hormel Real Bacon Bits.

Are bacon bits spoiled?

If they are soft or rubbery, they may be spoiled and should not be consumed. Expiration date: It’s always a good practice to check the expiration date on the package and discard the bacon bits if they have expired.

Do bacon bits need to be refrigerated?

Consumers should adhere to the following guidelines for optimal safety and quality: Always store bacon bits, whether real or imitation, in an airtight container. Keep refrigerated or frozen as recommended by the manufacturer. Regularly inspect the bacon bits for any signs of spoilage before consumption.

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