If you're meal prepping or just making extra food you're probably wondering how long your leftover pre-cooked sausage will last in the fridge. The answer is just a couple of days but follow these guidelines to air on the side of caution.
FDA and USDA Guidelines
The USDA generally recommends consuming leftovers of any kind in 3-4 days on average. This will guarantee maximum freshness and is your safest bet for avoiding any potential side effects. Always check for signs of spoilage.
How long does cooked sausage last in the fridge?
According to USDA guidelines, you should use most cooked leftovers within 3-4 days if it is properly stored. However, pre-cooked sausage like hot dogs can stay good for up to 7 days when stored properly in a refrigerator that is 40 degrees F or below or up to 2 months when frozen. Food should be refrigerated at room temperature within 1-2 hours of cooking and placed in a shallow airtight container.
How long does cooked sausage last?
Pre-cooked sausage can last up to 7 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer. However, always be sure to check the expiration date.
Hard and dry-cured sausages like pepperoni are shelf stable and should be stored in a dry place before opening. After opening, dry sausages can last up to 3 weeks when stored properly in the refrigerator.
How long can cooked sausage be left out of the refrigerator?
According to the USDA to keep food out of the danger zone after cooking, hot food must be kept hot at 140 degrees F. If perishable food has been left out for more than 2 hours, throw it out to avoid harmful bacteria.
Can you refreeze cooked sausage?
According to the USDA, you can refreeze raw sausages or cooked sausages as long as they were thawed in the refrigerator and never reached above 40 degrees Fahrenheit or it was entirely cooked before freezing.
How to store cooked sausage
- Storage Containers: The best way to store pre-cooked sausage is in shallow airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Bigger containers allow more for more air which can lead to the leftovers going bad even sooner and freezer burn.
- Temperature: You should always follow the FDA and USDA's guidelines for food safety. Both recommend storing cooked food in the fridge at 40˚F or frozen in the freezer.
- Freezing Pre-cooked Sausage: Freezing pre-cooked sausage is easy and safe and it's a good way to extend the storage period. Pre-cooked sausages are also safe to thaw in the microwave or oven, therefore, making for an easy meal.
- How Long: Pre-cooked meats stored in the freezer stay at their best quality for up to 2 months. They can, however, be stored for up to 6 months.
How to tell if cooked sausage is bad
- Pre-cooked spoiled sausage will be sticky and have a slimy texture.
- You will notice a rancid odor or sour smell which comes from increased bacterial growth on the sausage.
- You will also notice a grayish color or brown discoloration on the outer surface of the sausage.
Yes! They are already cooked so just heat them up until warm and enjoy! I don't recommend microwaving uncooked sausages.
There are several ways to cook pre-cooked sausages such as steaming, pan-frying, grilling or air frying. They take minimal time to heat and can be added to a number of meals.
Yes, the sausages can be smoked but they should only be smoked for 30-45 minutes to warm them and add a smoky flavor. Overcooking them will cause them to dry out and lose flavor.
The short answer is, yes! Pre-cooked sausage is safe to eat cold but it may be more appetizing warm or hot.
Symptoms of food poisoning from spoiled food include vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach and sometimes fevers. My general rule is always: if you have to question whether something is good or not, throw it away.
- Using different types of sausages is an easy way to add protein to almost any meal. Throw them in the oven on a sheet pan with potatoes and broccoli for an easy sheet pan meal or in a pasta bake. Check out my Italian Sausage and Vegetable Sheet Pan Dinner.
- Use an air fryer to make Air Fryer Sausage and Peppers for a quick and easy meal.
- Steam sausages for 5-7 minutes in a pan and then add oil or butter for a seared and crunchy casing.
- Frozen pre-cooked sausage can be cooked straight away without thawing for a last-minute meal idea.
- To prevent sausage casings from splitting, poke holes or cut a sliver before cooking to prevent the water contents from expanding and exploding.
Check out these Sausage Recipes
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