Do Bacon Bits Need To Be Refrigerated? (QUICK ANSWER!)

Quick answer: Yes, bacon bits need need to be refrigerated if they are real bacon bits. Once opened, it’s essential to refrigerate them to maintain freshness and prevent bacterial contamination. However, if you have simulation or vegan bacon bits made from shelf-stable ingredients, they can be stored in your pantry without refrigeration.

Table of Types of Bacon Bits and Storage Recommendations

Type of Bacon BitsStorage Recommendation
Real Bacon BitsRefrigerate after opening
Simulation/VeganShelf-stable, no refrigeration required

Bacon is a global favorite, with Americans spending $4.9 billion yearly on this salty delight. (*) While it may not grant you a day off, National Bacon Day on December 30th is a real treat! (*) We suggest sprinkling bacon bits on everything – even desserts. Americans devour an average of 18 lbs of bacon annually, and its popularity extends far beyond the U.S. (*) But how do you store these flavorful bits?

We know you want your bacon bits to remain as fresh and delicious as possible. It’s important to find the correct storage information so your bacon bits stay in the best condition. Plus, it’s so important to keep your food free of bacteria. 

So, should you refrigerate bacon bits?

This article will explore the different types of bacon bits and the storage methods that keep them fresh. It might surprise you to hear that they aren’t all stored the same way. 

Follow along with us to find out more!

img of Refrigerate Bacon Bits Storage Guide

Do Bacon Bits Need To Be Refrigerated?

Bacon bits are the perfect topping, if I do say so myself. Their salty, meaty goodness is an excellent addition to any meal. You basically can’t go wrong. 

I’ve seen bacon bits in salads, dips and desserts… you name it! The list is endless. 

To determine if bacon bits need refrigeration, you need to know what kind of bacon bits you have. Plus, packaging considerations are important to determine where to store this product. 

Real bacon bits (my favorite kind) must get treated like regular bacon. Afterall, that’s exactly what it is! However, you can also purchase simulation bacon bits. Two different products with two different storage recommendations!

Table of Bacon Bit Storage Quick Guide

SituationRecommended Action
Real bacon bits, unopenedStore on the shelf until sell-by date.
Real bacon bits, openedRefrigerate immediately to prevent bacterial contamination.
Simulation/Vegan bacon bitsStore in the pantry, following package directions.

Real Bacon Bits

Bite-sized pieces of deliciousness, real bacon bits consist of simply bacon, making it necessary to refrigerate this type of bacon bits

If you make bacon bits at home, refrigerate them within 2 hours of cooking. This is true for any perishable food, according to the FDA. The two hour rule helps prevent you from contracting food borne illnesses! (*)

When purchased in-store, real bacon bits usually come in a sealed pouch. When you buy bacon bits, they are typically found on the dry shelves of your grocery store. This is a bit confusing, because bacon is a perishable food. 

So, what’s the deal?

If they are unopened and sealed in the original package, you can safely store bacon bits on the shelf. Refer to the sell-by date to determine their shelf-life. (More on that later!)

However, once opened, the bacon bits are susceptible to contamination from bacteria. For this reason, refrigerate the open package immediately. So, put those real bacon bits in the fridge!

Simulation or Vegan Bacon Bits

Simulation or vegan bacon bits are another popular option to add flavor to dishes. These do not need refrigeration! As they consist of soy and other ingredients that are shelf-stable. (*)

Although they may not have the exact same flavor as real bacon, they are a great alternative for vegans. They are also great for activities where refrigeration is not possible. We love to bring along on camping trips for a little extra flavor!

How Long Do They Last?

We now know what types of bacon bits need refrigeration and when. Armed with this new information, you may be wondering how long they last?

You guessed it! The shelf-life of bacon bits also depends on what kind you have. So, let’s break it down for you! (*)

Table 2: Shelf-life of Bacon Bits

Type of Bacon BitsUnopened (Shelf Life)Opened (Refrigerated)Frozen
Real Bacon BitsUntil Sell-by DateUp to 6 weeksUp to 2 months
Simulation/Vegan4 months in the pantryRefer to package directionsNot recommended

Imitation bacon bits have a long shelf-life because they include no real meat. Many claim they have kept them on the shelf for years and they still taste the same. (*) We recommend always following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Can I Freeze Bacon Bits?

Your bacon bits can be frozen – Great news for bacon fans everywhere! Freezing is an excellent storage method and a great way to prolong the shelf life. 

If you won’t use your bacon bits in a short time frame, it may be worth freezing them. We especially recommend this storage method if you make homemade bacon bits! Homemade bacon bits have a relatively short shelf-life. 

So, if you make bacon bits from scratch, freeze them in small batches. This way, you can thaw them as needed. Add them to soups, stews and baking dishes easily, even from frozen!

img of To Freeze or to Chill? Storing your BAcon bits like a Pro!

The Final Scoop

If you’re anything like us, you love the taste and texture that bacon adds to your dishes. Salty, meaty, crunchy goodness. For an easy way to add this flavor, turn to bacon bits! 

And now, you know how to properly store them! There are just a few factors to keep in mind when it comes to storing bacon bits. 

  • Are they real bacon?
  • Are they simulation bacon?
  • Is the package opened?

Remember, for real bacon, you should always refrigerate after opening. Refer back to our section about shelf-life for estimated storage times. 

If you’re using simulation bacon, they are shelf stable until the best-before date! Yes, even once they’re opened!

We hope this article “Do Bacon Bits Need To Be Refrigerated?” has given you the knowledge you need to safely store your bacon bits.

Now, feel free to add them to any dish you like!

Share your thoughts and recipe ideas with us.

We’d love to hear from you!

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