If you’re wondering how long sausage will last in the fridge before going bad, you’re in the right place!
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- How long sausage can last in the fridge
- How to tell when its gone bad
- What to do if you eat spoiled sausage
- And much more!
NOTE: This article was reviewed by Melissa Macher, Registered Dietician and Food Scientist for safety and accuracy.
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How Long Does Sausage Last in the Fridge?
Sausage can last in the fridge for 1-4 days depending on if it is cooked or not. Sausage that is not yet cooked can last in the fridge for one to two days. Cooked sausage can last up to four days. Properly stored, sausage in the freezer can maintain its best quality for about six months.
There are still other considerations regarding how long sausage lasts, such as the storage conditions and how the sausage was prepared.
Unopened, prepackaged sausage can be placed in the fridge upon its arrival and will usually have a “sell by” or “use by” date.
If you’re unsure how long your sausage has been sitting in the fridge, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and throw it out.
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Signs Your Raw Sausage Has Gone Bad
Who doesn’t love a good sausage? They come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. But how can you tell if your raw sausage has gone bad? Here are some signs to watch out for:
Rotten and Strong Odor
The most obvious sign that your sausage has gone bad is a strong and unpleasant odor. If your sausage smells sour, fishy, or like ammonia, it’s time to toss it out.
Discoloration or Changes in Texture
If your sausage has started to change color (greyish) or its texture has changed, it’s probably time to say goodbye. Sausage that is beginning to turn gray or greenish-gray may still be safe to eat if it’s been properly stored, but it’s not going to taste very good. If your sausage has developed a slimy or sticky texture, it’s time to throw it out.
Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew are signs that your sausage has gone bad. If you see any mold on the surface of your sausage, it’s best to throw it out. If you see white or black spots on your sausage, it’s also a sign that it’s time to get rid of it.
If your sausage has a slimy texture, it’s most likely gone bad. This is usually coupled with a loss of color and firmness. If you see these signs, it’s best to toss the sausage and get a new one.
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How Long Does Cooked Sausage Last in the Fridge?
Cooked sausage can last in the fridge for three to four days or in the freezer for two to three months. When storing cooked sausage, make sure it’s in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in foil or plastic wrap.
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Signs Your Cooked Sausage Has Gone Bad
Cooked sausage will generally stay good for 3-4 days in the fridge. Of course, sausage is best enjoyed fresh, but it can still be safe to eat after a few days. The key is to make sure that cooked sausage does not sit out at room temperature for more than two hours before being refrigerated.
You will know if your cooked sausage has gone bad if it:
If your cooked sausage has a sour smell, then it has gone bad. Cooked sausage should have a fresh, meaty smell. If it doesn’t smell right, then don’t eat it.
Another sign that your cooked sausage has gone bad is if it is starting to get slimy. This is a sign of bacterial growth and means that the sausage is no longer safe to eat.
If the cooked sausage is starting to change color, then it has gone bad. Fresh sausage will be a pink or red color, but as it starts to go bad, it will begin to turn brown or gray. If the sausage is changing color, it’s best to discard it.
Is Cracked or Dry
If the cooked sausage is starting to crack or get dry, then it has gone bad. This means that the sausage is losing its moisture and is no longer fresh.
Best Ways To Store Sausage in the Fridge
Now, that you know how long sausage lasts in the fridge, let’s talk about how to store it. We all know how important it is to store food properly to prevent spoilage and foodborne illness. Here are some tips for how to store sausage in the fridge:
- Handle sausage with clean, dry hands at all times. This will help to prevent the spread of bacteria and other contaminants that can cause food poisoning.
- Refrigerate sausage in the coldest part of the fridge or the meat bin. The ideal temperature for storing meat is 40°F or below.
- Use fresh sausage within two days of purchase. If you won’t be using it within that time frame, freeze it.
- Put sausage in a wrap that can be frozen at or below 0° F. This will help to keep the sausage fresh for longer.
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How Long Does Frozen Sausage Last in the Freezer?
You can expand the shelf life of sausage by freezing it. Sausage that is sold in bulk without any casing can last up to six months in the freezer, while sausage with casings can last up to two months.
Make sure to wrap the sausage tightly in freezer paper or plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.
Properly stored, the frozen sausage will maintain the best quality for about 6 months in the freezer, although it will usually remain safe to eat after that. If kept constantly frozen at 0°F, the sausage will keep safe indefinitely.
When thawing sausage, make sure to do it in the fridge and not at room temperature. Leaving meat out at room temperature can cause bacteria to grow and lead to food poisoning.
What Happens if You Eat Spoiled Sausage?
No one wants to eat spoiled sausage. Not only is it unappetizing, but it can also make you sick. Sausage is a type of ground meat that is typically seasoned and cured before being sold.
The curing process helps to preserve the sausage, but it will eventually go bad.
What if you accidentally eat spoiled sausage?
Eating spoiled sausage can cause food poisoning. The symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
You may also experience a fever, chills, and abdominal cramps. If you experience any of these symptoms after eating spoiled sausage, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Eating spoiled sausage can also lead to more serious problems, such as organ damage, so it is important to seek medical attention if you think you may have eaten spoiled sausage.
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Final Thoughts on Sausage Safety
Sausage is delicious and convenient food, but it does have a shelf life. Be sure to check the expiration date before eating sausage, and if in doubt, throw it out.
Additionally, be sure to cook sausage thoroughly before eating. Sausage that is not cooked properly can also cause food poisoning.
If you do eat bad sausage and experience symptoms of food poisoning, see a doctor as soon as possible. Food poisoning can lead to serious complications, so it is important to get medical attention if you think you may have eaten spoiled sausage.
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