How to know if sausage is spoiled

In this brief article we’ll look at how you can tell if sausage has gone bad, or if it is about to. Moreover, we will also look at how to store your sausage for the longest possible shelf life, as well as the dangers of consuming expired sausage.

How to know if sausage is spoiled?

Appearance and smell are the easiest way to tell if sausage has gone bad. If it has a slimy appearance or a grey, brown, or purple color, it might be going bad. Spoiling sausage also gives off a sour or rancid smell, and the casing starts to crack or deteriorate.

How to tell if sausage has gone bad

Fresh sausage has a light brown to pink color and an appetizing scent when cooked. As time passes, there are clear changes in various qualities of sausage that can alert you towards it going bad. Here are a few ways to tell:

  1. Appearance and color

Fresh sausage will be smooth with a pinkish color. If it is slimy and crackled, or shows discoloration, it might be time to get rid of it. If you are working with cooked sausage, look for a light brown to brown color, free of pinkish spots.

  1. Smell

Fresh raw sausage doesn’t have a strong scent. When it goes bad, the smell changes from its normal one to sweet-sour funky one or even an unpleasant, rancid one. Cooked sausage has its own characteristic appetizing scent when fresh.

Smell is one of the easiest ways to tell fresh sausages from expired one. You will notice as soon as you cook it or when you take it out hot from the microwave. 

  1. Taste

For cooked and pre-cooked sausage, taste is another way to differentiate. Expired or rotten meat tastes “off”, tasting sour or even having a bitter flavor. If you detect an unpleasant taste, it is best to discard that sausage.

  1. Texture

Fresh sausage will be firm to the touch and spring right back if you push down on it with your finger. If it feels loose or weak under your touch, it might not be fresh anymore. A slimy or milky texture is also a good way to tell when to throw out your sausage.

  1. Packaging date

When buying your links from the supermarket, check the packaging for a “best by” or “use by” date. The expiration date is a good indicator of how long you can store your sausage without it deteriorating considerably.

How to store sausage for the longest possible shelf life

With the right methods, you can extend the shelf life of sausage considerably, having it last as long as 2 months. Here are the best ways to store it.

  1. Refrigeration

Refrigerate your sausage in a sealable container, lined with paper towels. Raw sausage lasts only a day or two in the fridge, cooked sausage will last 4-6 days, whereas dry cured sausage can last virtually indefinitely in the fridge, until it is opened.

To get the best shelf life out of your sausage, cook it before refrigeration because cooking removes most of the microbes and much of the moisture from it so it lasts longer.

Whereas dry-cured sausage can even be shelf-stable at room temperature, since the meat has been fermented and dried, making it very difficult for nasty microbes to grow in there. This means that dry-curing is the way to the longest shelf life.

  1. Freezing

If you really want your sausage to last, freezing it is the way to go. As mentioned earlier, cooked sausage will last longer than raw sausage in storage, so it is recommended that you cook it before storing it. 

After that, you just need to place it in a vacuum sealed freezer bag and chuck it into the freezer. Freezing can keep your sausage fit for consumption up to 2 months, more if it has been dry-cured.

Dangers of consuming spoiled sausage

Spoiled sausage poses the same dangers as rotten meat, which means it can contain pathogens such as salmonella, staphylococcus and E. coli that are likely to make you sick. Certain types of these bacteria can make you sick even when you consume them in small amounts.

Eating spoiled sausage can give you food poisoning, leading to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain & cramps, and a headache.

Other FAQs about Sausages that you may be interested in.

Can you eat summer sausage casing?

Can you eat summer sausage raw?

Can you eat the casing on ring bologna?


In this brief article we have looked at how you can tell if sausage has gone bad, or if it is about to. Moreover, we have also looked at how to store your sausage for the longest possible shelf life, as well as the dangers of consuming expired sausage.


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.