We Tried 7 Ways of Storing a Pack of Bacon, and the Winners Outlasted Them All for Days

published Nov 27, 2023
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different types of bacon storage
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

In my house, bacon is considered a pantry staple. We always have at least a few packs in the freezer to have on hand for last-minute meals, to cook for breakfast alongside eggs, or to impart flavor to a pot of beans. And while I love bacon’s versatility and quick-cooking ability, I don’t always need to use the whole pack at once.

For an ingredient I use so often I must confess that I don’t feel married to storing it in any particular way. That’s why I was eager to experiment with different ways to store bacon, and to finally see which approach yielded the best results.

Quick Overview

So, What’s the Best Way to Store a Pack of Bacon?

The best way to store an open pack of bacon is to remove it from its packaging and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

How We Found the Best Way to Store Leftover Bacon

  • Bacon: It was important to me that I used bacon that everyone could find (no specialty farmers market bacon this time!). I opted for Applegate Naturals uncured Sunday bacon, which is my go-to supermarket brand. I used three pieces of bacon for each test. 
  • The testing: I stored all the bacon in the same refrigerator on a large rimmed baking sheet. I wanted to ensure that the bacon was being kept at the same temperature, as well as the same place in the refrigerator, to give an accurate assessment. I checked on the bacon every day to check for signs of discoloration, spoilage, or drying out. When I researched the length of time that bacon could safely be stored in the refrigerator, I was greeted with a flood of conflicting answers that ranged anywhere from four days to three weeks. I opted to follow the advice set by the USDA for seven days, which is the max amount of time they suggest. 
  • Ratings: I rated each method on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing the perfect ideal. The criteria for each was how well the method kept the bacon fresh. 
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Bacon Storing Method: Original Packaging

Rating: 3/10

About this method: This is by far the easiest way to store bacon, and one that I would assume most people do. All it involves is tucking leftover bacon back into its original package. 

Results: Out of all the storing methods, leaving the bacon in the original packaging was by far the worst. The bacon became incredibly dried-out and stiff, but the most concerning part was that it began to develop white crystallization on all sides. 

My takeaway: Because I was checking the bacon every day, I knew by day four that this method was not going to be a winner. By day seven I was shocked at how poorly the bacon held up. The only time I can imagine using this storage is if I knew I would be using the bacon within 24 hours; otherwise I’d go with one of the most successful approaches. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Bacon Storing Method: Bacon Sleeve

Rating: 3.5/10

About this method: If you’ve been on TikTok, you might have seen this viral storage method before. All it takes is cutting the bacon package in half, then slipping one piece into the other so that the bacon is fully concealed. I’d never tried this myself, but knew I needed to try it for this experiment — especially because I appreciated that it doesn’t require creating more waste. 

Results: While I understand the appeal of this low-waste approach, it sadly didn’t do much better than leaving the bacon in its package as is. The bacon was dried-out and began to discolor and become pale. The only difference here was that while there was some crystallization, there was less than in the original packaging. 

My takeaway: Not every hack you see on TikTok works, and the bacon sleeve is proof of that. There are far better options to preserving your bacon than this — and less messy too. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Bacon Storing Method: Plastic Food Container 

Rating: 4/10

About this method: If you’re like me, you have too many plastic food containers in your kitchen, which makes this an ideal storage option. After all, all you need to do is place the bacon in a plastic food container and then place it in the refrigerator. 

Results: I don’t know if it was just this container, or something with my refrigerator (although I didn’t have this issue with the glass container), but the plastic container became weirdly wet. It seemed to be a hotbed for condensation, and while the bacon itself didn’t dry out, the idea of wet bacon is incredibly unappealing to me. I also noted that the bacon became pale.

My takeaway: Perhaps this would have been more successful if I had lined the container with a paper towel, but I don’t think it’s worth the time to see. Steer clear of wet bacon and try another way.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Bacon Storing Method: Zip-Top Bag 

Rating: 6/10

About this method: Apart from leaving the bacon in its original packaging, this is probably the method I’ve enlisted most at home, thanks to its ease. Just place the bacon in a zip-top bag, make sure it’s fully sealed, and put it in the refrigerator. 

Results: The bacon held up fairly well in the zip-top bag. While it did dry out a bit and began to feel stiff by day five, it was far more malleable than the original packaging or bacon sleeve methods. The other observation I noted was that the bacon looked more pale in color. 

My takeaway: If you plan on using the bacon within three days, this is an easy storage option and your bacon should be totally fine. Otherwise, I’d save a bag for another use. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Bacon Storing Method: Glass Food Container

Rating: 8/10

About this method: Similarly to the plastic food container, I have an endless assortment of glass options in my kitchen. Just like the plastic version, I simply placed the bacon into the container. It’s a low-fuss option that requires little cleanup. 

Results: This was far more successful than the plastic container. There wasn’t any residual moisture in the container, and the bacon looked almost new. My only complaint was that by day five it had started to dry out slightly, but not to the point it was unusable. 

My takeaway: This is a great way to store bacon — and I particularly loved it for being so eco-friendly. While the bacon didn’t hold up quite as well as the foil or plastic wrap, I think I would personally opt for this method for the sole fact that it doesn’t involve creating extra waste that needs to get thrown away. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Bacon Storing Method: Aluminum Foil

Rating: 9.5/10

About this method: I placed the bacon on a sheet of foil and then tucked in the sides to create a pouch that was sealed on all sides. 

Results: I was absolutely floored at how well the aluminum foil held the bacon up — it looked like it was straight out of the package! The bacon was easy to peel apart, felt malleable, and the color looked bright and fresh. 

My takeaway: The aluminum foil and plastic wrap were truly tied in terms of success. The only reason I deducted half a point was because of the wastefulness. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Bacon Storing Method: Plastic Wrap

Rating: 9.5/10

About this method: Similarly to the aluminum foil, I wrapped the bacon in plastic wrap and folded up the sides so that it was secure on all sides. 

Results: The bacon truly looked like it had come out of a freshly opened package. There were no signs of discoloration, crystallization, or dryness. It looked picture-perfect. Although I didn’t keep the test going past day seven (in compliance with the USDA recommendation), I have a strong feeling that the plastic wrap would have kept the bacon looking as fresh for days to come. 

My takeaway: Like the aluminum foil, I deducted half a point because that plastic wrap would have to get thrown out afterwards. That said, this was incredibly easy and the bacon clearly looked the best. 

The Biggest Takeaways

This whole experiment came down to managing moisture content. Some of the methods, like the plastic food container, allowed too much moisture in, creating a wet environment. Others, like the original packaging, dried out too much, which created a slew of issues like discoloration and stiffness. While most of these methods would be fine for storing bacon for a day or two, the glass container, foil, and plastic wrap methods were the most successful for longer-term storage.