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How Long Does Pancetta Last

Pancetta is most likely one of the most versatile meats you can have in your kitchen. It is also something that every Italian has in their refrigerator. It’s delicious, but most people don’t know how long does pancetta last? This article will tell you how long it stays fresh so you can use it at its prime.

It has a long shelf life when stored properly in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to one month in the fridge and up to 6 months when frozen. When fresh, pancetta is pinkish-red and with string. When smoked, it looks like pepperoni and is sold straight and cut into slices. The longer you keep it, the drier and darker colored it becomes.

It is a cured meat similar to bacon from pork belly and spiced with peppercorns, garlic, and other seasonings. You can eat it sliced as part of an antipasto platter or a sandwich such as a panino.

What is pancetta?

what is pancetta

Pancetta, a product similar to bacon, is a salt-cured pork product from Italy. In the US, it is called unsmoked bacon. You can find it packaged in vacuum packs or sliced and ready to eat at the deli counter of your local grocery store. While it may be more expensive than other pork products, pancetta is generally less greasy and less salty.

Also, it is delicious as a snack by itself or a topping for salads, pasta, or pizzas. In addition, you might try using pancetta as a substitute for bacon to flavor sandwiches, soups, and even casseroles.

The main difference in preparation is that the entire process of curing, rolling, and drying in one single operation. It can be prepared fresh or left to cure in salt for up to two months; during this time, the meat loses around one-third of its weight in moisture. 

At this time, salt permeates the meat, curing it and making it firm. The meat is then left to air dry for several months, depending on the thickness of the pancetta, before being sliced into lardons (thick chunks) or bacon-like strips. It is ready for cooking when it is firm and elastic.

How Long Does Pancetta Last – The Shelf Life and Preservation

how long does pancetta lastPancetta is a traditional Italian recipe that loses its flavor quickly. With so many ways to use this delicious cured product, how long does pancetta last? It depends on many factors, including where you purchase the beef and how well you store it.

As a general rule of thumb, pancetta can last in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Serve good quality pancetta chilled after it has slicing it into your preferred thickness.

It does last long if you can freeze it or refrigerate it without separating the slices. And also, if you purchase it before the sell-by date on the label, it will last longer even after opening it.

Raw pancetta at room temperature

The shelf life of raw pancetta at room temperature is one week if left unopened. Once opened and you store it in the fridge, its life span is 8 to 10 days depending on the brand. The shelf life of raw pancetta can increase by proper refrigeration; that’s why leaving raw pancetta at room temperature will only increase the risk of spoilage. Though at room temperature, its life span can increase if it is vacuum-packed.

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How long does raw pancetta last in the fridge?

It will last in the fridge for a week or two, but it can be frozen for much longer if necessary. To get the most out of your raw pancetta, keep it tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil at 40 degrees F.

You should cook raw pork before eating, but you can still use it if you don’t plan that far ahead as it will still be safe to eat as long as it still smells fresh.

 How long does raw pancetta last in the freezer?

Raw pancetta will last in the freezer for approximately 2 to 3 months with a temperature of 0 degrees F (-18 degrees C) or below. When properly stored, it can still maintain its best quality for about 12 months but will remain safe to use beyond that time.

It can also be stored in its original packaging or repackaged with freezer paper or foil. If properly wrapped in a zip lock bag and kept in the freezer, it should last long without freezer burn.

How long does unopened pancetta last in the fridge?

Fresh pancetta should last about three weeks in the refrigerator when it is whole and unopened. The shelf life shortens from 3 weeks to about 1 or 2 days as soon as you open it, the shelf life for pancetta outside the fridge is minimal, so it should be cooked or frozen.

When stored in the fridge, the uncooked meat’s shelf life depends on whether it has initially been vacuum-packed or not. Vacuum/Fresh packaging – lasts up to 6 weeks when refrigerated.

The texture of an unopened one is slightly different from its opened counterpart, but it should be consumed or frozen once you open it.

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How to cook pancetta

How to cook pancettaTo prepare pancetta, start by putting a large pot of water to boil while slicing it. Place a skillet over medium/high heat, add some oil, sprinkle the thinly sliced pancetta pieces with some black pepper, and add them to the skillet once the pan is hot.

Cook undisturbed for a few minutes until the pieces begin to brown, then stir/flip them to continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes before you turn off the stove.

Once cooked, it can be eaten either alone or used in other recipes because its flavor is deep and concentrated, and that’s why you can use it as an ingredient for cooking.

How to store pancetta

How to store pancettaPancetta can be stored uncovered in a refrigerator for up to a week. If you’re going to keep it for longer than a couple of days, wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap and then slip it into a resealable bag.

It would be best to keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. If it does dry out, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes, as this will help reabsorb its moisture.

The main concerns when storing it are the drying of the surface and the development of unsanitary conditions. Before storing, rinse off excess salt and pat dry with paper towels. If it tends to be fatty, place a piece of plastic wrap over it first before wrapping tightly in freezer paper or plastic wrap.

It is a staple in an Italian cook’s kitchen as a substitute for so many different recipes. You can find many brands of pancetta in your local grocery store, but you have the option to make your own at home too.

Alternatives to pancetta

Here is the list of some alternatives to pancetta should you need it for a recipe.

 Turkey bacon

Turkey bacon is a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional bacon and pancetta, and it contains zero saturated fat and zero cholesterol. It is more versatile than conventional bacon and makes for a fantastic BLT sandwich, complementing tender greens and heirloom tomatoes on an everything bagel, or tasty on avocado toast.

Canadian bacon

 You can also substitute Canadian bacon for pancetta as it’s a cured meat similar to ham but without the bone or skin. A few ounces of this meat provide the same protein as lean pork but with a fraction of fat.


A simple and tasty alternative to pancetta is pepperoni with high flavor and is perfect for pizza or atop sandwiches. Whether served alone or on a pizza, pepperoni is classic and always delicious. It is superior in looks and flavor and is the perfect topping for your vegetable pizza.  You can store it at room temperature for long-lasting shelf life.


The traditional Italian style of Salami is from the hind leg of pork rather than its belly. It allows for a coarser texture, which results in a pleasantly firm bite, and that’s why it’s a perfect substitute for pancetta.


Ham is a cut of pork prepared through salting, smoking, and prosciutto (also known as pre-cooked ham) is a related Italian delicacy containing the same meat. However, it does not necessarily come from the pig’s hind leg. It’s also a perfect substitute.

How to tell if pancetta is bad

Pancetta is dry-cured Italian bacon that can you can cook like any other form of bacon. If you plan to cook pancetta, check its color first.

It also has a very distinct and spicy aroma, and its edges will curl up like a maple leaf when fried. Fresh pancetta should never be overly sticky and covered in mold. If the pancetta you purchase is damp or has mold growing on it, discard it immediately.

When buying pancetta, the color should be dark cream, instead of red or pink. It should have a firm texture that you can slice easily. If it feels soft, don’t buy it, as the flavor will probably be too bland.

 If the meat is left out at room temperature, it can become unsafe to eat if it develops any bad odor, which indicates that the pancetta has spoiled.

How Long Does Pancetta Take to Cook

 Typically, Pancetta will take longer than regular bacon to cook because of its high-fat content. Pancetta is a type of bacon that is saltier and spicier than regular bacon. It also tends to shrink more than traditional bacon when it cooks.

However, it can take about 10 minutes to cook; it should be nice and crispy at this point. Although it won’t hold forever, it will keep refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

What Does Pancetta Smell Like

Pancetta is made from pork belly and cured like bacon. The flavor is mellower than bacon and less smoky, with more pure pork flavor and sweetness.

It has a rich, sweet, and smoky flavor with a slightly salty taste. It is delicious when wrapped around vegetables or served on pasta, but you can also enjoy it on sandwiches. 

You can serve Pancetta sliced thin on sandwiches with tomatoes or avocado or turn frittata into a more substantial meal by folding Pancetta into beaten eggs.

Does Pancetta go bad in fridge?

Yes, it can go bad if it is not wrapped in plastic or aluminum foil in the fridge. The plastic-wrapped cut tends to be more susceptible to mold, so it should not sit out at room temperature for long periods without first being refrigerated.

However, Pancetta can last for 4 to 6 weeks in the refrigerator when stored properly. When you buy Pancetta from a store, the Pancetta is packed next to the other food items that can go bad, so your Pancetta can be easily contaminated. For you to keep your Pancetta safe, it’s best to separate it from all other food items. 

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Can You Get Food Poisoning from Pancetta?

Yes, you can get food poisoning from Pancetta. The potential cause of food poisoning from Pancetta is the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, present in smoked meats and raw or cooked cured meats such as hot dogs or cooked ham.

It is also known as foodborne illness or food-related illness) from Pancetta, just like you can from any raw meat. However, the risk of being affected is extremely small.

Does Pancetta Taste Sour?

Yes, it can. Pancetta is pork belly meat cured in salt and spices, which give it a very different taste than the original pork. 

However, there are different kinds of Pancetta: some are seasoned with a mixture of herbs and spices, while others are seasoned with just pepper and sometimes garlic to add more flavor and aroma. These two kinds will result in different tastes.

Additionally, you can curb these foul smells by curing your Pancetta for at least 7 days. After that time frame, the Pancetta will become milder and have little taste for any unpleasant odors that might have been present in the beginning.

Can You Eat Pancetta Without Cooking It?

Pancetta is just like bacon, except it’s made from pork belly and cured. It tastes good whether it’s cooked or not. Which means you can eat Pancetta straight from the package.

Some people prefer not to cook Pancetta at all. They like to eat it uncooked, while it is raw. Some people even consider it an appetizer rather than an ingredient in a dish.

While Pancetta can be eaten raw, it is usually first sautéed or simmered to remove excess salt and fat. Pancetta is made from pork meat that is cured by salting, spicing, and then put in a casing where it is hung up or rolled up.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does pancetta smell sour?

Pancetta is cured in the traditional manner of the Italian countryside, meaning that it will have a noticeably more pungent odor than uncured bacon. The good news is that it will not affect the taste of your finished dish. The sour smell and reactions people have about it are because of the bacteria growing on it; this bacteria produces lactic acid, which gives it that rotten odor, similar to how milk goes bad and begins to smell sour.

Does pancetta need to be refrigerated?

It does not need to be refrigerated, but if you want to keep it in the refrigerator for more than a few days, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to keep odors from being absorbed into it. There is no harm in storing it in a cool, dry place as it can be kept there for several weeks and will keep for up to one year if frozen.

 Can you get sick from pancetta?

If you are not used to eating pork products, there is a possibility that you may develop trichinosis after eating pig products infected with trichinae larvae. This possibility applies to all forms of pork, including pancetta.

Does pancetta go bad?

Bacon can go bad if not stored correctly. Just like anything else, bacon has an expiration date. When bacon is fresh, it will be tacky or soft in texture with a sort of shiny finish to it. If your is dry and stiff, then it has passed its prime, and it’s time to throw it away.

How do you know if pancetta has gone bad?

Pancetta does go bad; it has a typical shelf life of about two weeks from its production date. However, if it is well refrigerated from the moment it was packaged, you can probably keep it safe from spoiling for a few days past its typical shelf life.


To maximize the shelf life of pancetta, do not remove it from its wrapping until ready to use. How long does pancetta last? To further extend the shelf life of pancetta, freeze the wrapped meat immediately after purchase and defrost it in the refrigerator before use. Once opened,  it should be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and then wrap it again with aluminum foil or covered tightly with several layers of plastic wrap.



how long does pancetta last

Pancetta Recipe

Pancetta is dry-cured Italian bacon that can you can cook like any other form of bacon. If you plan to cook pancetta, check its color first.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pancetta recipe
Calories: 24130kcal


  • 10 lbs Pork Belly


  • 135 grams sea salt
  • 12 grams pink curing salt
  • 50 grams packed brown sugar
  • 20 grams red pepper flakes
  • 18 grams black peppercorns
  • 10 grams garlic powder
  • 10 grams dried thyme leaves
  • 8 bay leaves crumbled


  • 1/2 cup cracked black pepper


  • In a non-reactive container big enough to keep the belly flat, mix all the remedy ingredients (or in a plastic Ziploc bag or vacuum sealer bag).
  • Add the belly, then coat the meat with the cure on all sides.
  • 5 days should pass in the refrigerator, with daily flipping to make sure the cure is evenly distributed over all surfaces.
  • Remove the belly from the cure, then run cool water over the flesh to remove any remaining cure. Clean off.
  • Garnish the meat with roughly ground black pepper on all sides. (Use approximately 1/2 cup total, or however much you need to finish the task.)
  • If rolling, use a continuous knot of butcher twine and roll in accordance with the instructions in the product. Roll tightly to make sure all air is removed from the roll before hanging.



Calories: 24130kcal | Carbohydrates: 156g | Protein: 443g | Fat: 2412g | Saturated Fat: 879g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 259g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1122g | Cholesterol: 3266mg | Sodium: 58802mg | Potassium: 10855mg | Fiber: 44g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin A: 7654IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 1028mg | Iron: 44mg
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