Can You Eat Cooked Bacon Left Out Overnight?

If you have leftover bacon from a meal and forgot to refrigerate it, you may be wondering if it is safe to eat the next day.

It is not safe to consume bacon that has been kept at room temperature for over two hours as all perishable foods left out for more than two hours are considered hazardous due to the multiplication of bacterial growth. It is recommended to store your bacon in the refrigerator once it has cooled down.

Are there any visible signs or symptoms to indicate that bad bacon has gone bad? Find out more as we delve into the topic.

How Long Can Different Types of Bacon Sit Out?

According to the USDA, consuming food that has been in the “Danger Zone” (40-140°F / 4-60°C) for more than two hours is not recommended. However, if the room temperature exceeds 90°F on a hot day, the safe duration for non-refrigerated food decreases to only one hour.

However, cooked bacon has distinctive characteristics that make it different from other foods. It contains salt, is typically treated with nitrites, and has a low water activity level, all of which contribute to inhibiting the growth of bacteria.

When determining if it’s safe to consume cooked bacon that has been left out overnight, it’s important to consider the type of bacon you prepared and other relevant factors outlined below.

It is always important to keep in mind that when it comes to food safety, it is better to err on the side of caution.


Bacon that has been cured with nitrites is less likely to develop botulism and bacteria growth is slowed down. However, leaving the bacon out at room temperature for a full night is not advisable.

Although cooked bacon may be safe to consume if left out for only an hour or two, it is not advisable to eat any perishable food that has been sitting out for approximately 2 hours or longer. However, due to its curing process, bacon may be slightly less risky than other foods when approaching the 2-hour limit.

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Nevertheless, be cautious about cross-contamination as leftover bacon that has been in contact with eggs, condiments, or other uncured food may harbor bacteria and lead to foodborne illness.

Turkey Bacon

Turkey bacon is a healthier substitute for pork bacon, but the guidelines for storing leftovers remain the same. To ensure safety, it is best to store the cooked turkey bacon in a sealed container and refrigerate it within two hours of cooking.

Following the same rules, if cooked bacon has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours, it is advisable not to consume it.

Exercise your discretion: Is the room temperature higher than usual? Did the cooked bacon touch any other food, making it more susceptible to bacterial growth? Remember, it’s always better to be cautious than regretful.


Pancetta is a type of Italian bacon that undergoes a curing and salting process for around two months, effectively eliminating most of the moisture content in the meat. This method significantly reduces bacterial growth, thereby making it less risky to eat even if it has been left out overnight.

It is important to be cautious and consider other variables. According to the USDA, cooked food left at room temperature for over two hours can result in foodborne illness.

If the temperature in your room is higher than 90°F or if the cooked bacon has come into contact with any non-cured foods, it’s better to avoid consuming the leftovers and err on the side of caution.

Vegetarian Bacon

If you are a fan of veggie bacon as a substitute for animal-based bacon, it is important to note that leaving it out overnight can make it unsafe for consumption.

Vegetarian bacon is typically crafted from soy products that have a short shelf life outside of refrigeration. In contrast to its animal-derived counterpart, vegetarian bacon lacks the curing process and will spoil if not kept in cold storage.

If you fail to follow the USDA’s recommendation of refrigerating cooked bacon within two hours of cooking and serving, it is best to avoid consuming the leftovers.

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Smoked Bacon

Left out overnight, smoked bacon should not be consumed as the seasoning and curing process that enhances its taste also reduces the effectiveness of preservatives in the meat.

It is important to adhere to the USDA safety guidelines and refrigerate cooked smoked bacon within two hours of cooking. If this step is forgotten, it is best to avoid consuming the leftovers and instead cook a fresh batch of smoked bacon.

Pork Loin

If you have cooked pork loin instead of bacon, you have savored a soft and tasty piece of the pig’s back that has undergone less handling than regular bacon. Therefore, if you have prepared an excess amount, it is crucial to refrigerate it promptly.

If cooked bacon is left out overnight, it is not safe to eat as per USDA guidelines that recommend cold storage within two hours. Therefore, if you have left it out, it is better to discard it and avoid the risk of food poisoning.

What Can Happen If You Eat Bacon That’s Gone Bad?

If you consume cooked bacon that has been left out without proper storage, you are at risk of experiencing food poisoning, which can cause symptoms ranging from mild abdominal discomfort to severe cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.

If cooked bacon has been left out overnight, it is recommended to discard it and prepare a new batch to avoid any risk of stomach discomfort.

How Can You Tell If Bacon Has Gone Bad?

A straightforward method to determine if bacon has spoiled is by conducting a three-part examination, which involves inspecting its scent, hue, and consistency.

One way to determine if bacon has gone bad is by checking for a sour odor, as bacon typically has a pleasant aroma.

If you notice that bacon has lost its pink color when uncooked or has developed gray, black, or greenish mold spots when cooked, it is best to avoid consuming it as it may be spoiled.

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Ultimately, if the cooked bacon has undergone a change in texture and now feels slimy, it is not advisable to consume it as the potential risk outweighs any benefits. While cooked bacon left out overnight may retain some of its taste, it will inevitably lose its crispiness. It is crucial to exercise caution when dealing with leftovers that have a slick or slimy feel.

What Is The Best Way To Store Bacon?

Uncooked bacon should be kept in its unopened vacuum-sealed bag either in the refrigerator or freezer. After opening the bag, any unused uncooked bacon should be placed back into a re-sealable airtight bag and stored immediately in cold storage.

After cooking bacon, let it cool down entirely, and then store it in a sealed container. Within two hours of cooking, put the container in cold storage.

To make reheating easier and prevent cooked bacon from freezing together in a clump, wrap individual portions in paper towels before placing them in an airtight container for freezing.

How Long Can Bacon Be Stored?

If uncooked bacon is still in its vacuum-sealed packaging, it can be safely cooked up to a week after the expiration date as it contains many preservatives and is considered a cured meat that can last longer than other meats if stored correctly.

If you follow the storage instructions mentioned earlier and refrigerate your cooked bacon, you can consume it within a week, while freezing it in sealed containers will keep it fresh for up to six weeks.

Leftover bacon is not a common occurrence due to its popularity, but it’s important to utilize it effectively when you do have it.

By following proper safety and storage procedures, you can enjoy leftover cooked bacon in breakfast, salads, and side dishes for several weeks.

You can also check this video about “Can You Eat Cooked Bacon Left Out Overnight?”

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