It’s tempting to share up ~ above deli meat as soon as there’s a great sale or come buy a few weeks’ worth of food at a time to border trips to the grocery store.

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Of course, you have the right to only eat so numerous sandwiches in ~ a time. Therefore if you ever considered buying lunch meat in bulk, the concern “does deli meat walk bad?” more than likely popped in her head immediately.

Or probably you have opened prepackaged salami or ham cold cuts and wondered how long will the leftovers last in her fridge? Or if freeze those makes sense.

In one of two people case, it’s time to learn a thing or two about all the meat that room sliced at the deli counter or prepackaged. In this article, us talk around storage, shelf life, and going bad of lunch meat.

Image provided under an innovative Commons native Rajiv Patel (Rajiv’s View)

How To store Deli Meat

While over there are quite a lot of species of deli meat, much of their qualities are fairly similar. And the method you store such meat is pretty much the exact same for all of them.

As you already know, cold cuts are constantly sold refrigerated and also that’s just how you need to store them. No issue if it’s ham, bacon, pepperoni, or quite much any kind of other deli meat, the fridge is wherein you should keep it.

No issue if your lunch meat was prepackaged or you acquired it sliced in ~ the deli counter, you have to keep that well-wrapped at every times.

Prepackaged cold cuts often are resealable, and if that’s the case, feel cost-free to leaving the leftovers in the initial package. If you can’t seal the package, put the totality thing (or just the slices) in a freezer bag. That will avoid the cold cut from drying out. Remember come squeeze the air prior to sealing.

Exactly the same thing uses for lunch meat sliced at the deli.

(credit: Eaters Collective)

Can You frozen Deli Meat?

If you have much more lunch meat the you deserve to handle, freeze is the method to go. And since that takes no time at all, there room really no forgiveness for no doing it.

The most crucial thing when it comes to freezing cold cuts it to prevent freezer burn.

To execute that, you should wrap the meat tightly. You have the right to go v my favorite, the is freezer bags, but some heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap have to do fairly well too. If you’re going v plastic wrap, pave the whole thing twice.

Before you wrap the package, it’s time to decision what’s in the package.

If it’s the prepackaged selection and it’s unopened, you deserve to put the whole thing in a freezer bag and put it into the freezer.

If the parcel is opened, you can either transfer only the meat come the freezer bag or put it there in the container. The latter takes an ext freezer space, however it’s usually much more convenient simply to take the package from the bag and let that thaw in the fridge.

If you require only a couple of slices at a time, you have the right to separate every the slices into sandwich-sized piles, and also put every one in a freezer bag, and then all bags in one airtight container. This will certainly make grabbing just the right amount that deli meat a breeze.

(credit: cutting board Vogel)
Please note that once it pertains to freezing, every deli meats aren’t do equal.

Some, particularly those with an ext fat and lower moisture content prefer salami or pepperoni freeze really well. Others are not therefore great, however usually still good enough for her lunch sandwich.


I you’re assembling an antipasto platter, think twice before putting there thawed cold cut of chicken or turkey.

When it concerns defrosting deli meat, the refrigerator is the best option.

How long Does Deli Meat Last

There are definitely too many varieties of deli meat to cover them all in here. Plus even the same type made by one more producer regularly has a various shelf life. So here we’re going to talk around all of castle in general.

While the shelf life of prepackaged having lunch meat is various for assorted types, the package usually comes with a sell-by date. And also while the meat commonly lasts a couple of days longer, don’t mean miracles.

Once you open up the sealed package, the cold cut retain freshness for 3 approximately 7 days. Obviously, it all counts on the type of meat and how you save it. Persons with less moisture, such together pepperoni or salami, tend to last longer than ham or chicken.

When it pertains to meat sliced at the deli counter, it typically lasts between 2 come 5 days. Again, the time depends on the type of meat and how fine you save it.


If you need to keep the having lunch meat for prolonged period, freeze it.

Prepackaged deli meat (unopened)Sell-by + 3 – 5 days
Prepackaged deli meat (opened)3 – 5 days
Lunch meat sliced as deli counter2 – 5 days

Please keep in mind that the periods over are only estimates.

Bread with deli meat and cheese

How to Tell If Deli Meat has actually Gone Bad

There room a couple of ways come tell if deli meat has started to spoil.

The first sign is the the typically wet surface ar of the meat will end up being slimy. This is most often caused through the brine slowly seeping the end of the meat, and also congealing. While this is ultimately harmless, a slimy surface can likewise be led to by bacteria or yeast growth. Since of that, you usually shouldn’t eat the having lunch meat that’s slimy.

One way to salvage the deli meat my mom likes to use is to include such meat to scrambled eggs. In ~ the an extremely least that is cook through prior to it will the plate. Perform it in ~ your very own risk, though.

A stale or sour smell will also develop v spoiled deli meat, although not necessarily appropriate away. For this reason if it’s not among the long-lasting meats choose salami or pepperoni, it’s far better to err on the next of caution and also throw the meat the end if it was opened in the fridge for more than 5 days.

Discoloration is an additional indicator the spoilage.

Higher fat contents deli meat that has started to spoil, prefer salami or bologna, will start graying or browning roughly the edges. This discoloration will spread to the center of the meat and also is a clear sign that the meat has actually spoiled.

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Any mold spots also indicate the deli meat is past its prime, and in any kind of of this cases, you need to throw the out.