I cook it at least twice a week, but I admit I’m guilty of occasionally leaving sausage in the fridge for too long.
I wanted to find out how long the sausage stays fresh, so I checked what the USDA says and talked with my meat provider.
Here’s exactly how long sausage can last in the fridge, so you’ll never again wonder if it’s safe to eat.
- The shelf life of sausage is short, and most sausages stay fresh in the fridge for two to four days.
- You need to properly store the sausages in the fridge to extend their shelf life.
- If the sausage changes its texture or smells sour, it’s a sign it’s spoiled.
How Long Does Raw Sausage Last in the Fridge?
Raw sausage lasts in the fridge for one to two days. Unopened fresh sausage from the supermarket usually has a use-by date, and it’s best to eat the sausage before this date.
Note: The sausage is safe to eat after the sell-by date expires if properly stored. Never leave sausage at room temperature for over two hours, or bacteria will grow rapidly.
Keep raw sausages in their original packaging in the fridge . This maximizes their shelf life. If you open the package, the sausage is exposed to air, and bacteria starts to grow. You can also keep fresh sausages wrapped in butcher paper.
Pro tip: You can freeze raw sausages. They maintain the best quality for one to two months in the freezer, but you can also eat them after this time.
- How Long Will Steak Last in the Fridge?
- How Long Will Bacon Last in the Fridge?
- How Long Will Shrimp Last in the Fridge?
How Long Does Cooked Sausage Last in the Fridge?
Cooked sausage lasts in the fridge for four days. Some pre-cooked sausages only need to be heated, such as a hot dog or packaged breakfast sausage.
These pre-cooked sausages can last in the fridge for up to two weeks if unopened or one week if opened.
Dry sausage, such as pepperoni, is usually already cooked. You don’t need to keep it in the fridge if bought whole.
Store in a pantry for six weeks. You can also keep them in the fridge indefinitely if unopened and for three weeks if opened.
You should always read the label to check the shelf life of pre-cooked and dried sausages.
Finally, you can freeze a cooked sausage and keep its quality for six months.
“All sausages- except dry sausage - are perishable and, therefore, must be kept refrigerated or frozen. Uncooked fresh sausage can be stored in the refrigerator one to two days; after cooking, keep for three to four days refrigerated (40 °F or less).”
- United States Department of Agriculture
Also Read: How Long Can Prime Rib Last in the Fridge?
7 Tips on How to Store Sausage in the Fridge
Here’s how to store sausage in the fridge:
- Store uncooked sausages in the original package — If you don’t have to, don’t open the package of fresh sausages. This will keep them fresh for longer.
- Handle sausages with clean hands — Wash hands before and after touching sausages to prevent the spread of bacteria and cross-contamination.
- Store sausages in the coolest part of the fridge — Don’t leave sausages in the fridge door, but store them at the bottom of the fridge.
- Keep the temperature below 40 degrees — The fridge temperature should be at or below 40 degrees to keep every perishable food item safe to eat.
- Wrap open sausages — If you opened the package, rewrap unused sausage in plastic wrap or a sealed bag to avoid air exposure which can lead to food poisoning. Also, make sure to wrap if you plan to freeze sausage to prevent freezer burn.
- Refrigerate raw sausages within two hours of purchase — Sausages can’t be at room temperature for longer than two hours, or the sausage has gone bad.
- Store cooked sausages in a container — Make sure your sausages have cooked properly, then cool them to room temperature, store them in an airtight food container, and place them in the fridge.
Signs to Tell Sausage Has Gone Bad
Here’s how to know sausage has gone bad:
- Sour smell — Fresh and cooked sausage have a fresh, meaty smell. If your sausage has a strong and unpleasant odor, for example, fishy or ammonia-like, it’s gone bad.
- Texture changes — If the sausage has a sticky or slimy texture, it’s spoiled, and you can get food poisoning if you eat it. A lack of color and firmness usually follows changes in texture. Also, if raw sausages become dry, it’s a sign they aren't fresh.
- Color — Fresh sausages are pink or red in color, but if the sausage turns gray or greenish-gray, it’s unsafe to eat.
- Mold — If there’s mold on the surface of the sausage, throw it out. Also, if you see white or black spots on the sausage, don’t eat it. Don’t try to cut out the moldy parts, as there’s a high chance the sausage is unsafe to eat throughout.
If you’re freezing raw sausages, make they are constantly frozen. You shouldn’t thaw and refreeze again.
Also Read: How Will You Tell If Pork Is Bad?
Can Sausage Go Bad in the Fridge?
Yes, sausage can go bad in the fridge. Sausage has a short shelf life. Raw sausages go bad after about two days in the fridge when stored in an open package.
Can You Eat a 7-Day-Old Sausage?
Sometimes, you can eat a 7-day-old sausage, but it depends on the kind of sausage you have. Cooked sausages shouldn’t be eaten after four days, but some pre-cooked and dried sausages, such as breakfast sausage and pepperoni, are safe to eat.
How Long Will Your Sausage Last in the Fridge?
The shelf life of sausage is short, so your sausage can last two days in the fridge or four days if cooked. However, some sausages, such as dry sausages, can last up to six weeks if properly stored.
You need quality sausages so they stay fresh as long as possible. ButcherBox is a meat delivery service that sells a wide selection of sausages, including pork, lamb, and spicy varieties.
Their animals are raised without any hormones or additives, and sausages are made from heritage-bred pork, so you’re guaranteed the highest-quality meat. Check them out, and get your sausages today.