Here's How Long Bacon Bits Will Actually Last On Your Shelf

Who can resist the salty, smoky flavor of bacon bits? Whether you sprinkle them on a salad, dump them on your baked potato, or eat them by the handful like a toddler who has just discovered their goodness, bacon bits are yummy and can provide that euphoric bacon bliss you not only crave but have to have. Still, it's important to remember that not all bacon bits are created equal. Some are made with real bacon while others can only call themselves "imitation," and if you prefer the not real to the real, no judgment here. 

Per the USDA, in order to be called "bacon," a piece or bit of meat must come from the cured belly of a pig, and this cut normally comes from pigs that are between 6 and 7 months in age. While some carnivores would probably opt to make their own bacon bits, it's great to know there are shakers and bags of this topping available to purchase when you need them. Depending on your culinary prowess, you may choose a gourmet brand made with real bacon or you may opt to have bacon-like bits readily available in your kitchen cupboard when you need them and choose imitation bacon. Or you might not have a preference and simply want the one with the longest shelf life, which begs the question, how long do bacon bits last?

Bacon bits can last quite a bit

If you answered: it depends how fast you can eat them, we're with you. But, the most important factor when considering the shelf life of your bacon bits is what are they made out of? Bacon bits that are made with real bacon are not going to last in your refrigerator as long as a shaker of bacon bits made from anything but real bacon. Per Eat by Date, bacon bits made with real bacon, once open, can last anywhere from 6 weeks in the refrigerator to 6 months in the freezer. The site also notes that the range of dates is only as good as your storage method. 

But if you eschew real bacon, you may opt for, say, McCormick's Imitation Bac'n Pieces, which are touted as vegan bacon. The ingredients include textured soy flour, canola oil, salt, caramel color, maltodextrin, natural and artificial flavor, FD&C Red 40, and the list goes on. You can expect to have these bits in your pantry a lot longer. On an Amazon thread, the manufacturer says Bac'n Pieces have a shelf life of "24 months from the date of manufacture." If you read a little deeper into the thread, you'll note that one customer claims their Bac'n Pieces lasted them "10 years." We can't verify that claim, but another customer said, "I have had them on the shelf for over a year and they are fine. There is nothing real in this product LOL."