When considered among other frozen meats, bacon has a relatively long shelf life, due to its high salt content, which acts as a preservative. Nonetheless, bacon lasts longest when stored in the freezer. It is safe to cook bacon while it is still frozen, but you might prefer to defrost it first to improve its texture and taste. As with all meats, there are safe and unsafe ways of defrosting bacon. If you sense that bacon has gone bad, you should dispose of it immediately.

Defrosting in the Refrigerator

The safest way to defrost bacon is in the refrigerator. This is because the fridge will keep it cool, preventing harmful bacteria from forming on the bacon. The disadvantage to defrosting in the fridge is that it can take a long time, so it is best to plan ahead. Place the entire package of bacon in the refrigerator overnight, and it will likely be ready to use by morning. Even if you don’t use the bacon right away, it can be safely refrozen, or kept in the fridge for up to seven days.

Defrosting in Cold Water

Defrosting bacon in cold water is much quicker than in the fridge. Place the entire package of bacon in a pot of cold water. Make sure to change the water every 30 minutes. The bacon should be ready to use in an hour or two. It is very important to make sure the package is completely sealed, as water or air can cause bacteria to form.

Defrosting in the Microwave

Defrosting bacon in the microwave is the quickest of all techniques, but also the most dangerous. You should use any bacon that you thaw in the microwave immediately, as once it is warmed up at all, it is unsafe to freeze it again. Remove the bacon from its plastic package and place it on a microwave-safe plate. If your microwave has an automatic defrosting setting, use it. If not, set your microwave to a low power and run it in increments of one or two minutes until your bacon is defrosted.

Other Safety Considerations

The most important safety consideration to keep in mind is never to defrost bacon on the counter, as this can cause it to develop bacteria. Once you have cooked bacon, you should leave it out for no longer than two hours. Remember that because raw bacon can only last in the fridge for up to seven days, it is best to divide it into small portions before freezing it. Once you have thawed bacon in the refrigerator, use it within four days.

References and Resources

Purdue: Microwave Cooking