Salami is a cured meat that comes in many varieties and if you love it as much as I do, you’ll often buy more than you need for a specific recipe only to end up with leftovers. How long does salami last? It’s a good thing to know how much time you have to use it before it goes bad, and we’ll get into that in just a moment!
When I’m in a pinch, recipes like this easy pasta salad help me put something on the table fast.
Whether you’re dealing with some leftovers or you purchased a large batch of salami, knowing how long it lasts will help you avoid waste. We’ll also discuss how to store it properly and how to tell if it goes bad!
How Long Does Salami Last?
Salami’s shelf life largely depends on its type. The two main categories are dry salami and cooked salami.
Dry salami consists of meat, salt, and spices, stuffed into a casing and left to air-dry and mature. Cooked salami is also meat in a casing but this one is cooked or smoked. Unlike dry salami, only some types of cooked salami are cured.
So how long does salami last?
Short answer: Whole, unopened dry salami, can last up to 6 weeks in the pantry, or indefinitely in the fridge (continuously refrigerated at temperatures of 40°F or lower), according to the USDA. Unopened cooked salami stays safe to eat for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Once opened, consume cooked salami within 7 days.
|Dry Salami (unopened)||Up to 6 weeks||Indefinitely||Up to 6 months (2-3 months for best quality)|
|Dry Salami (opened)||–||Up to 3 weeks||Up to 6 months (2-3 months for best quality)|
|Cooked Salami (unopened)||–||Up to 2 weeks||Up to 6 months (2-3 months for best quality)|
|Cooked Salami (opened)||–||7 days||Up to 6 months (2-3 months for best quality)|
Dry salami has some advantages that allow it to last for so long, even at room temperature. The air-drying and fermenting process removes a lot of moisture. In combination with salt, it keeps disease-causing bacteria at bay while encouraging “good bacteria” to grow.
As I already mentioned, unopened dry salami lasts up to 6 weeks in the pantry, and “indefinitely” in the fridge.
Once you cut some slices, the story changes. Once you cut it, the inside of the sausage is exposed to dangerous bacteria and mold. As a result, sliced salami stays safe to eat for up to 3 weeks in the fridge.
Of course, if your salami has a use-by date printed on the label, I recommend you follow it.
Examples of dry salami: Chorizo, pepperoni, cacciatore, genoa, calabrese, soppressata.
Cooked salami such as Mortadella and Salami Cotto has a higher water content and as a result, a shorter shelf life.
Always store cooked salami in the fridge. Unopened cooked salami lasts up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 1 week if opened.
Salami that’s not cured might have a different shelf life. If you see the term “uncured” on the packaging, check the use-by date. This means the meat wasn’t preserved with sodium nitrite or nitrate and it won’t last as long as cured sausage products.
How Long Does Salami Last In The Freezer?
Frozen salami retains its best qualities for 2-3 months. It remains safe to eat for up to 6 months although it won’t have the same taste and texture.
Once you cut salami, you should consume it within 7 days if it’s cooked salami or 3 weeks for dry salami. The only way to make it stay fresh for longer is to freeze it.
How Long Can it Sit Out?
Cooked salami and sliced dry salami should not sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Even dry salami which has a long shelf life stored at room temperature should be refrigerated once you cut into it. The interior will become exposed to oxygen and bacteria which is why it needs to stay in the fridge.
If you forgot it on the counter for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour if the room temperature is over 90°F) it’s time to discard it. I highly recommend you don’t consume it, even if it looks absolutely fine.
How To Tell If It Has Gone Bad
Spoiled salami can pose a serious risk to your health so if any of the signs below are present, you shouldn’t consume it or feed it to your pets.
A slightly tangy and cheesy smell is normal for fresh salami due to natural molds. It should be pleasant, though.
If the sniff test reveals any weird or off-putting odors, it’s time to get rid of it.
The color of fresh salami varies from pale pink to deep red. Some types of dry salami will even have white mold, and it’s nothing to worry about.
If you see areas with drastically changed color or visible fuzzy mold in green, gray, brown, or black shades that means your salami has gone bad.
Is your salami hard as a rock or wet and slimy? This is a pretty obvious sign of spoilage. In most cases, once it reaches this stage it won’t smell good either.
How To Store
How long salami lasts is also influenced by how you store it. Here’s how to make sure it stays fresh for as long as possible.
While it’s still intact in its original packaging, it’s okay to store dry salami in a dry and dark place in your pantry. Once some slices have been cut or you’re dealing with cooked salami, wrap it tightly in several layers of clingfilm or aluminum foil, especially around the cut end.
Salami slices should also be wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before refrigerating. Optionally, you can transfer them to an airtight container to keep moisture away.
It’s also a good idea to place a piece of parchment paper on top of the salami before closing the lid. This will draw moisture that might accumulate from condensation.
Another excellent option is to vacuum seal your salami. It’s probably the best way to increase salami’s shelf life.
Whether you’re refrigerating whole or sliced salami, keep it in the back of the fridge. There, it will be protected from the sudden temperature fluctuations that occur every time you open the refrigerator.
How To Freeze
Does it seem weird to freeze such a long lasting food? It certainly makes sense if you bought a larger batch because you got a good deal or you’re leaving on vacation and trying to avoid waste.
Regardless of the reason, frozen salami stays at its best for 2-3 months. It does stay safe to eat for up to 6 months although I recommend you use it within those first 90 days. Here’s how to do it:
- Freeze opened salami as soon as possible. It will have a better taste and texture if you freeze it while it’s still fresh.
- Wrap the salami in 2-3 layers of cling film or aluminum foil. This will protect it against drying out, oxidation, and freezer burn.
- Place the wrapped salami in a freezer bag and push out as much air as possible before sealing.
- If freezing sliced salami, keep it in the original packaging.
- Always thaw frozen salami in the refrigerator, overnight.
Opened dry salami lasts up to 3 weeks in the fridge, while opened cooked salami should be consumed within 1 week.
The shelf life might be shorter if you don’t store salami correctly. Make sure it’s wrapped tightly in several layers of aluminum foil or plastic wrap, or placed in an airtight container.
Unopened sliced deli meat lasts 3-5 days in the fridge. Once you open the package you’ll have even less time to eat it.
If you left the sliced salami deli meat on the counter for more than 2 hours it’s not safe to eat and it should be discarded.
Dry salami that’s opened and properly stored in the refrigerator lasts up to 3 weeks. Wrap it in 2-3 layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the back of the fridge to ensure it stays fresh for the recommended duration.
Once cut, tightly wrap the salami in multiple layers of aluminum foil or cling film especially around the cut end. Keep it in the fridge and use within 3 weeks.
Do not remove more skin than needed when slicing salami. Without the skin, the salami will have a significantly shorter shelf life.