If you’ve got cooked sausages hanging around in your fridge, you may be wondering about how safe this is, and when you need to use them up to avoid any risk of food waste or food poisoning. It’s important to know in advance so that you store foods safely, and don’t consume them when it’s not safe to do so.
How long does cooked sausage last in the fridge? Cooked sausages will generally last for three or four days in your refrigerator, unless they are pre-cooked – in which case, you should be able to keep them for around two weeks unopened, and about a week after opening.
After this time has passed, throw the sausages away to avoid any risk of food poisoning.
How Do Different Kinds of Sausages Vary in Terms of Their Shelf Life?
There are several kinds of sausages available: cured, smoked, pre-cooked, and fresh. They all have different storage estimates, so make sure you know which kind you are dealing with before you store it.
Fresh sausages that have been cooked will keep for about three or four days in the fridge. Cured and smoked sausages should last for three weeks or even longer in the fridge, and can even be kept in a cool pantry. Pre-cooked sausages will generally keep for around two weeks in the fridge if they haven’t been opened.
Always check the recommended storage instructions on the packet for whatever kind of meat you are dealing with. If it states that it should be used within two days of opening, follow this guide.
If you know what kind of sausage you have bought, you will be better able to estimate how long it will keep for and how you should store it. Cured and smoked meats will always last better and it should be safe to store them for weeks, especially if they are kept cool.
Do You Need to Keep Fresh Sausages in the Fridge?
Yes, fresh sausages need to be kept in the fridge, both before and after they have been cooked. Fresh sausages should be cooked within one or two days to ensure that they stay safe to eat, and then any leftovers should be cooled and put straight back into the fridge.
It’s a good idea to keep these sausages in airtight containers or their original packaging. This will reduce airflow and make the meat last for longer. If you put them in the fridge on a plate or in an uncovered container, they may not last as well, and should be used up more quickly.
Do not leave fresh sausages at room temperature or even in a cool cupboard. Without the preservation of smoking or curing, the sausages are vulnerable to bacterial spread, and will quickly become unsafe to consume.
All fresh sausages, raw or cooked, should be stored below 40 degrees F within two hours. If you have accidentally left the sausages at room temperature for longer than this, throw them away. If the room’s temperature exceeds 90 degrees F, throw the sausages away after one hour.
How Should You Store Precooked Sausages?
Precooked sausages also need to be kept in the fridge. The precooking means that they should last longer, but they still need to be kept cold to maintain the safety of the meat. If you have left them at room temperature, they again need to be thrown away and not consumed.
Store precooked sausages in their original packaging until you are ready to eat them. Many people prefer to give precooked sausages a second cooking to ensure that they are safe to consume. If you do this, cool any leftovers, place them in an airtight container, and put them back in the fridge as soon as possible.
Is it Okay to Freeze Sausages?
Yes, all sausage meat should be safe to freeze as long as it is well within its use-by date. Put the meat in the freezer as soon as possible to ensure there is minimal bacterial presence in it before it is frozen.
Most people do not freeze cured or smoked sausages because these last for so long anyway, but you can do so if you choose to. Fresh or precooked sausages are perfect for freezing, and you can defrost them in the fridge when you are ready to use them.
Don’t freeze meat that has been left at room temperature for more than two hours. Freezing stops bacteria from spreading, but will not remove bacteria or toxins from the food if these are already present. Meat must still be safe to eat at the point when it is frozen, or freezing will not work.
How Do You Tell If Sausages Have Gone Bad?
Sausages will usually develop a slimy texture when they are no longer safe to eat. This is because bacteria will be breaking down the structure of the meat. Gently poking the outside of a sausage will indicate whether this has happened.
Sausages that have gone bad usually smell unpleasant too, so be aware of this. If you have cooked some sausages and they don’t smell right, throw them away instead of eating them. Similarly, if they have flecks of mold on the surface or the color has changed, discard them.
Even cured meat will eventually go bad, so if you have had this for a while, make sure you are checking whether it is okay to eat before you consume it. Inspect the surface, smell it, feel the texture, and if in doubt, get rid of it.
Meat can harbor some unpleasant bacteria that may make you very ill, so don’t eat meat that you are unsure about. It is better to throw it away and buy fresh than to risk making yourself and others ill by using up spoiled meat.
Fresh cooked sausages will keep for about three or four days in the fridge, depending on how fresh they were when they were cooked. Putting them in an airtight container and keeping them in the coldest part of your fridge will help to ensure that they store well. Precooked sausages should last for a week or longer.