How long can sausage last in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long can sausage last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of sausage. Moreover, we are going to discuss different ways to spot bad sausage.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long can sausage last in the fridge?

Uncooked sausage lasts for about 1-2 days if stored properly in the fridge all the time at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

On the other hand, cooked sausage lasts for about 3-4 days when stored properly in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whole and unopened, hard and dry sausage like pepperoni lasts indefinitely when stored properly in the fridge.

Thus, the cold temperature of the fridge will decrease the rate of bacterial growth and will subsequently prolong the shelf life of your sausage.

How long can sausage last at room temperature?

Sausage lasts for about 2 hours when left out of the fridge at room temperature. 

You should discard the sausage that has been left in open for more than 2 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore there are greater chances of the sausage being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours.

Moreover, if the temperature of the surroundings is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then the process of spoilage takes place at a faster pace and it is recommended to discard sausage that is left out in the open for more than an hour at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

The only exception to this is the whole and unopened, hard and dry sausage like pepperoni that can last 6 weeks if stored properly in a cool, dry and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

How long does sausage last in the freezer?

Properly stored raw sausage lasts for about 1-2 months in the freezer if stored in a heavy-duty freezer container or plastic freezer bag. Cooked sausage lasts for about 4 months if stored properly in the freezer.

Thus, the shelf life of sausage increases owing to the cold temperature of the freezer that halts the microbial growth on it.

How to thaw frozen sausage?

The recommended way to thaw the frozen sausage is to leave them in the refrigerator overnight and let them thaw there. The previously cooked sausage thawed this way can stay in the fridge for additional 3-4 days before reheating and eating it while raw sausage thawed in the fridge lasts for about 1-2 days before cooking.

Conversely, you can thaw the frozen sausage in a bowl of cold water or microwave but you should reheat/cook it immediately after thawing. 

You can read about different types of sausage here.

What is the optimum temperature to store sausage?

You should always store your sausage at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it is always advised to store your sausage at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness for a long time.

Different ways to spot bad sausage

There are a couple of indicators that point out the bad sausage. You should consider the appearance, texture, and smell of the sausage to reach a  final verdict on whether or not they have gone bad.

Appearance

If you can see some off-color or if you can spot molds or dark spots on the surface of the sausage then it is the indication that it has gone bad and the best thing to do in this scenario is to discard it.

Texture

If you can feel something slimy or gooey while touching the sausage then it means that it has gone bad as the fresh sausage has a firm texture.

But keep one thing in mind that rinsing the sausage won’t help you in this scenario as you won’t be able to get rid of the bacteria. Rinsing the bacteria-laden sausage will put you at risk of cross-contamination as the bacteria will spread in the utensils and other food items that will come in contact with the water from the sausage that has gone bad.

Smell

If you can smell something acidic, or some ammonia-like or sulfur-like putrid smell while taking a sniff test of your sausage then it means that your sausage has gone bad and you should discard it. 

If microbes somehow found their way to your sausage and have spoiled it then the best thing you should do is to discard it.

Health implications of eating spoiled sausage

If you have devoured sausage that has gone bad, it can result in food poisoning that is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, weakness, headaches, and dehydration.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long can sausage last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of sausage. Moreover, we discussed different ways to spot bad sausage.

Citations

https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/What-are-storage-times-for-sausages#:~:text=Uncooked%20fresh%20sausage%20can%20be,six%20weeks%20in%20the%20pantry.
https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/18275
https://www.bhg.com.au/how-long-can-you-keep-cooked-sausage
https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/cold-food-storage-charts

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.