How Long is Deli Meat Good For? Can Deli Meat Go Bad?

can deli meat go bad

Deli meat is a perishable non-veg food. It easily goes bad. The storage period of deli meat is not so long. I was wondering how long I can freeze lunch meat? Because I know that it quickly gets attacked by bacteria and other germs if I keep it at room temperature for a few hours. 

How Long Is Deli Meat Good For?

If you buy unsliced deli meat, it is better for your health because it contains fewer preservatives. Moreover, you can slice them or cut them according to your convenience. But if you buy packaged deli meat, it will always have an expiration date. It usually lasts for 5-7 days after opening. However, the lunch meat can last form 1-2 days more after the selling date if you freeze it unopened. 

Note that- unsliced deli meat is healthier than sliced meats. Because sliced meats are easily embedded with bacteria, the tool used at the deli counter may not be properly cleaned. 

Unsliced deli meat can last 4-6 days after buying from stores. But if you want to preserve it for longer, refrigerate it correctly. For freezing deli meat use-

  • Plastic wrap 
  • Freezer bags 
  • Aluminum foil 
raw meat in plastic bag
Image credit: Bernd Juergens, Shutterstock

They will lock the meat moisture inside and maintain the quality. 

How Long Does Sliced Deli Meat Last 

If you bought sliced deli meat from the market, it has a short-term shelf life of 4-6 days in raw form. But if you cook them, they may last longer than that. You can freeze opened raw deli meat for 3- 5 days in the refrigerator.

You may also like: How to Defrost Chicken in a Microwave

How Long Does Deli Meat Last in The Refrigerator

Packaged deli meat typically lasts for 7-10 days in the refrigerator but once opened; it will typically last for 3- 5 days at 40F or less. Let’s look at the table for more details-

(Unopened)Refrigerator (Last for)Freezer (Last for)(Opened)Refrigerator (Last for)Freezer (Last for)
Fresh Deli Meat5-6 Days1-2 monthsFresh Deli Meat5-6 days          1-2 months
Prepackaged Deli Meat7-10 Days       6-8 months Packaged Lunch Meat7-10 days2-3 months
Bologna1-2 Weeks     2-3 monthsBologna1-2 weeks1-2 months
Salami3-4 Weeks     2-3 months Salami2-3 weeks2-3 months
Pepperoni4-6 weeks6-8 monthsPepperoni2-3 weeks      6-8 months 

You may also like: Foods That You Can and Can’t Freeze

How Long Do Cold Cuts Last

Cold cuts are comparatively thick and hard and are sold in frozen form. Cold cuts storage duration is longer than other types of deli meats. Cold cuts types-

  • Ham
  • Bacon
  • Pepperoni

The storage procedure is quite similar for all types of deli meats. You should well- wrapped them before freezing, and it does not matter whether it was prepackaged or you sliced them at the deli counter. Use freezer bags to wrap them up and squeeze the air before sealing the packages. 

Usually, an opened package of cold cuts lasts for 3-5 days in the fridge and 1-2 months in the freezer. On the contrary, it will last for 2 weeks in the fridge and 1 to 2 months in the freezer in unopened form.

Bonus Reading! 

1. Are Cold Cuts Bad For You?

Cold cuts are bad for health because they contain sodium, unhealthy fats and preservatives like nitrates. In the U.S, ham, roast beef, and deli turkey are famous cold cuts to eat. Watch cold cuts sandwich recipe-

Let’s look at whether cold cuts are bad for you? Eating deli meat during pregnancy is allowed but make sure to heat them in high heat before eating to reduce the risk of having listeria. The spreading of listeria was found connected to cheese, hot dogs, and deli meats. If you have a weak immune system or are pregnant, it is better to avoid eating cold cuts and other deli meats. But you can eat them after healing at 165F (high temperature).  

2. Benefits of Cold Cuts

Cold cuts contain many nutritional elements like high- protein, vitamins, minerals, iron, zinc, potassium and vitamin B12. It is easy to eat cold cuts by making sandwiches. 

3. Recipes to Try

raw sliced meat on a wooden board
Image credit: Baibaz, Shutterstock

People May Ask

Can you eat lunch meat after 7 days?

Yes, if it is unopened and stored in the freezer properly, you can eat lunch meat after seven days.

How can you tell if deli meat is bad?

After opening, if the smell is bad or the meat becomes highly slim in outlook, throw it away. It becomes bad. 

How long does roast beef cold cuts last in the fridge?

Roast beef usually lasts for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

How long does sliced turkey last in the fridge?

Sliced turkey lasts for 3- 5 days in the fridge. 

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