How Long Does Deli Meat Last?

Deli meat, often known as lunch meat, is meat that has been cured, smoked, or cooked before being packaged. The meat in the deli department of the grocery store is packaged in aseptic packaging, which extends the meat’s shelf life, but after it is sliced, the shelf life shortens. lunch meat, luncheon meats, cold cuts, sandwich meats, prepared meats, cold meats, and sliced meats are all terms used to describe deli meats.

Stocking up on deli meat when it’s on sale or buying a few weeks’ worths of groceries at once to cut down on grocery store trips is a tempting offer. 

Of course, there’s a limit to every food, So, if you’ve ever wondered if deli meat goes bad in quantity, the answer is yes. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how to store lunch me, how long it lasts, and how to tell when it’s gone bad.

When it comes to deli meat, how long does it last? Deli meat will keep for a week in the refrigerator, but it can be acquired in a variety of ways, so please read our entire page before making your purchase. The shelf life of deli meat is determined by a number of factors, including the sell-by date, the type of meat, the technique of preparation, and the storage conditions.

Unopened fresh deli meat will last 5-6 days in the fridge. Unopened pre-packaged deli meat will last 7-10 days in the fridge and 6-8 months in the freezer.  While the opened fresh deli meat will last 5-6 days in the fridge and the prepackaged one will last 7-10 days in the fridge alone.

If deli meat is not preserved properly, it will last for a shorter period of time. But keep in mind that, unlike many other proteins, deli meat or lunch meat usually has a sell-by date rather than an expiration date. Because of this distinction, you can safely use them to complement your favorite meals even after the expiration date has passed, but keep in mind that conditions might change, so always be aware of how to identify if your food has gone bad.

How do you know when deli meat goes bad?

Your senses are usually the most trustworthy instruments for determining if your deli meat has gone bad, however, they aren’t ideal. Some common characteristics of bad deli meat include a moist surface that quickly develops into a slimy, wet exterior. When your lunch meat has gone bad, it emits a very sour odor, and a sour odor indicates sour lunch meat, which should not be consumed. 

Of course, there are some health hazards linked with rotting goods, so always remember to practice food safety and consume your food before its expiration date!

How should you store deli meat? 

Bacterial development is more likely when sliced meat is removed from the refrigerator. Bacteria grow quickly at temperatures ranging from 40°F to 140°F (4.4°C to 60°C). 

Sliced meat should be destroyed if it has been outside at room temperature for more than 2 hours or more, and if the temperature is above 90 oF (32.2 oC), it should be discarded after 1 hour, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

While there are many different kinds of deli meat, many of its qualities are the same. And the methods for storing such meats are essentially the same for all of them. 

Cold cuts are always sold chilled, and that is how you should store them as well. Whether it’s ham, bacon, pepperoni, or pretty much any other deli meat, you should keep it in the fridge. 

Whether you bought premade lunch meat or had it sliced at the deli counter, keep it firmly wrapped at all times.

Feel free to keep the leftovers in the original package. Put the whole package (or just the slices) in a freezer bag if you can’t seal it. The cold cuts will not dry out as a result of this. Before you seal the package, remember to squeeze the air out. 

The same can be said about deli lunch meat that has been sliced.

Can you freeze deli meat?

If you have more lunch meat than you can eat, freezing it is a good idea. There are no excuses for not doing it, especially because it takes so little time. When freezing cold cuts, the most important thing to keep in mind is to avoid freezer burn. 

  • Wrap the meat tightly to do this. You can use freezer bags, which is my personal preference, or some heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Wrap the entire thing twice in plastic wrap if you’re using it.
  • It’s time to figure out what’s inside the present before you wrap it. If it’s a prepackaged type that hasn’t been opened, you may put it all in a freezer bag and store it in the freezer. 
  • If the package has been opened, you have the option of transferring merely the meat to the freezer bag or placing it in the container. Although the latter requires more freezer space, it is usually more convenient to just remove the package from the bag and place it in the refrigerator to thaw. 
  • If you only need a few slices at a time, divide the slices into sandwich-sized stacks and place each one in a freezer bag, followed by all the bags in an airtight container. Getting precisely the proper amount of deli meat will be a breeze now.

Please keep in mind that not all deli meats are created equal when it comes to freezing. 

Some meats, particularly those with higher fat content and lower moisture content, such as salami or pepperoni, freeze extremely well. Others aren’t quite as nice, but they’ll suffice for your lunch sandwich.

Best way to store deli meat?

By putting deli meat in the refrigerator right after usage, you can make it last longer. Deli meat should be stored in a firmly sealed container once opened to keep moisture and other contaminants out. 

If you choose a freezer-safe container, you can freeze your deli meat for a longer period of time while maintaining its flavor. 

Eating healthier, saving money on food, and helping the environment by reducing waste are just a few of the advantages of good food storage.


Writer at, love experiments and verifying facts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *