Can you freeze deli meat? The best guide for it!

Deli meat, also known as lunch meat, cold cuts, cold meats, sandwich meats or sliced meats, are popular and delicious pre-cooked and sliced meats that are ready to be eaten and can be bought already packed to be served. But normally, this type of meat comes in large quantities and it is a general doubt on whether you can freeze deli meat or not.

The answer to this question is yes. In this article, we will show you the best practices and easiest ways on how to freeze and defrost deli meat.

Their shelf-life is not that long and to avoid throwing it away you can freeze to extend its duration.

These meats are the go to if you are looking for something delicious. Easy to have in your sandwiches, pizzas or as a snack.

Bellow, you will find the best and safest ways to freeze your deli meat.

Deli meat shelf-life

After you purchased the deli meat, it should be stored in the fridge as soon as you arrive home. They should never be left in room temperature for more than 3 hours. Or the temperature will increase and with it comes the danger of bacteria growth.

Normally, all types of deli meats have salt and preservatives in its composition, like nitrites, that slow down the bacteria development.

But if the deli meat reaches around 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is called the danger zone. The bacteria will most likely grow.

If kept in its original packaged or in an airtight plastic container. The deli meats will last for around a week in the fridge. So, if you will not consume it within this period, the best solution is to freeze it.

Since most deli meats are already precooked or smoked, they will last for around 2 months in the freezer.

But always pay close attention to the color and texture of the deli meat, especially if they are stored in the fridge.

If you notice any visible color, smell or texture change do not consume it. It will lead to bad food poisoning.

The texture is slimy or watery. The color is not that strong anymore or has any molds and if the smell is too strong and uncharacteristic do not consume it! If you are in doubt the best thing to do is not eat the deli meat.

How to freeze deli meat

All types of deli meat can be frozen, and they all freeze very well

If you are already buying lunch meat with the intention to freeze it, bologna, pepperoni, and sausage are the best ones to freeze. Since they have a low water content. Other lunch meats like ham, roasted turkey and chicken also freeze well. But they may need some extra care when defrosting, since they can get wet and have a texture change.

Most of the lunch meats comes in vacuum sealed packages and already slices. So you do not need to do any extra steps, just stock them in the freezer. If you feel that the package is not safe enough to protect the lunch meat from the oxygen. You can wrap it in aluminum foil.

But if you already opened the package of the lunch meat and now wants to freeze the rest to increase its duration. You can wrap them in freezer bags or any airtight compartment of you preference and stock it in the freezer.

More on freezing Deli Meat. Read this.

How to defrost deli meat

The safest and most recommended way to defrost deli meat is by taking the piece or portion you will and letting it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight until it is completely defrosted.

This way the deli meat will not have its temperature risen to the point that allows bacteria to grow in it.

If you need do not have enough time to wait for the deli meat to defrost in the fridge an option is to defrost it in a bowl of cold water.

It is also simple and will take from 30 minutes to one hour to defrost around 1 pound of lunch meat.

You just need to take the portion of the deli meat you will need, remove the original package that the deli meat was frozen, place it inside a clean new package with all the air squeezed out of it and place it in a bowl of cold water.

If after 30 minutes the deli meat is still not completely defrosted and the water is not that cold anymore. You can replace it until everything is evenly defrosted.

Remember that the freezing and defrosting process should only be done once, that is why it is important to freeze the deli meat in smaller or individual portions, so you can defrost only what you will consume.

After the deli meat is defrosted you can keep in the fridge for around 3 days.

Be careful with defrosting it in room temperature. The only way you should not defrost the deli meat is, by letting it sit in room temperature and in contact with the oxygen. This way will increase the chances of bacteria growth and the deli meat will cause food poison to those who consume it.

More on defrosting meat. Read this.


Deli meat is popular and delicious. A very easy and ready to go snack and also the perfect ingredients to be added in sandwiches or pizzas.

As mentioned in the article above. Deli meat can be frozen to increase its shelf-life and will taste fresh and delicious after being defrosted. You just need to take a few precaution measures and you will be good to go.

Almost all types of deli meats will last in freezer for around 2 months. Although it is important to always pay attention to any color or texture changes. If you notice something, do not consume it!

After completely defrosted you can keep the deli meat in fridge for 3 days and consume it as you wish.

Let us know if the article was any helpful to you!

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