How long does Deli Meat last in the fridge? (5 Storage Hints)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How long does Deli Meat last in the fridge?”. We will discuss the attributes of Deli meat. We will also explore the shelf-lives and storage tips for Deli meat.

How long does Deli Meat last in the fridge?

Deli Meat lasts in the fridge for anywhere between a few days to a few weeks.

The guidelines provided by the USDA for storing Deli meat is:

In its original packaging, Deli Meat lasts for 2 weeks in the refrigerator. 

After opening the package, Deli Meat will last for 3-5 days. 

For keeping deli meat for one to two months, store it properly in the freezer. 

Why is Deli Meat the preferred meat option for many?

Deli meat is precooked meat, sometimes referred to as lunch meat. Deli meat is available as an array of options, from sausages to meatloaves.

Deli meat is either cooked or cured and served in trays or as a sandwich. Other packages for Deli meat are; vacuum packaging and canned packaging.

Deli meat or luncheon meat is made from beef, pork, or turkey; and is sold as either hot cuts or cold cuts.

Deli meat provides meat as a convenience food with a slightly long shelf-life. However, the exact perishability of the deli will vary, according to the meat used, and the processing technique.

How long can the following Deli Meats be left in the fridge?

 If you had the deli meat cut at the counter, it would have a slightly diminished life of 2-5 days. Fresh Deli Meat will have the shortest perishability compared with other Deli Meats.

Buying a packaged Deli meat tray will last you for an average of a week.

Hard Deli such as pepperoni and salami will last the longest of all deli meats; for about 2-3 weeks. Hard Salami will also longer if it was cured or preserved.

Cooked sausages can be stored in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days. Uncooked sausages, on the other hand, will last for only 1-2 days.

Sausages that fall under the category of smoked, brined, or dried will take a longer time to spoils. Fresh Sausage is the quickest to spoil.

Hard or Dry Sausage; out of their original packaging will last for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Even if the Deli Meat came as a vacuum-sealed package, it could spoil too. It is best to store in the refrigerator and watch out for spoilage signs.


Can spoiled Deli Meat make you sick?

There are two different kinds of bacteria; Pathogenic bacteria and spoilage bacteria. Pathogenic bacteria are capable of making a person sick, while the spoilage bacteria cause food to deteriorate.

Spoilage bacteria can grow even in the food that is in a refrigerator. These bacteria cause food to develop unpleasant attributes such as odor and taste.

According to USDA, the temperature of 40 F to 140 F is labeled as The Danger Zone. This range of temperature encourages bacterial growth.  Spoilage is usually a quality issue in its initial stage and does not cause illness. However, gradually the food becomes a complete hazard.

Let us discuss the proper way to store Deli Meat:

 Leave the Deli meat tray in its original container or packaging unless you are ready to use it.

Do not store Deli Meat in the door compartment as the temperature is insufficient to protect such highly perishable food.

You can also freeze your Deli Meat to ensure freshness for a longer period. 

Put in an air-tight container to prevent ambient microorganisms from coming in contact with the Deli Meat.

You could also use aluminum or plastic foil to wrap up your meat and prevent ambient microorganisms from coming in contact with it. Wrapping ensures maximum safety and quality of any food quality.

How to tell if Deli Meat is no longer safe for consumption?

Meat is a perishable commodity that requires careful handling. Deli Meat is home to microorganisms that can cause food poisoning. It is advised to store cooked meat at low temperatures as room temperature can cause your meat to spoil prematurely. Therefore, it is necessary to care for meat-based products, including Deli Meat.

Besides keeping track of the expiration date and remaining life of your Deli, you can look for signs which tell if Deli Meat has gone bad.

Deli Meat changes its texture by turning slimy which is usually the result of bacterial colonies.

Also, smell your deli meat; if it smells acidic, sour, or stale, it is time to throw it away.

Spoiled Deli Meat will change color as well. The Deli becomes grey, yellow, or brown from the outside, which means it is now inedible.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, “How long does Deli Meat last in the fridge?”. We discussed the attributes of Deli meat. We also explored the shelf-lives and storage tips for Deli meat.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.