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How Long Does Cooked Sausage Last? Does It Go Bad?

Sausage is a beloved food item worldwide, with various cooking methods and styles to suit diverse tastes and cuisines.

However, once the sausage is cooked, it raises questions about its shelf life.

How long can you store cooked sausage, and can it go bad?

Cooked sausage is still perishable food and can start to go bad if not stored correctly. It can last up to four days in the refrigerator if stored in an airtight container or plastic wrap. For the best quality, we recommend consuming cooked sausage within one to two days of cooking it.

The answer to these questions depends on various factors, such as the storage conditions and the type of sausage.

In this article, we will explore the shelf life of cooked sausage and how to recognize spoilage signs.

Types of Cooked Sausage

Before diving into how long cooked sausage can last, it’s essential to distinguish the various types of sausage. Cooked sausage comes in several types, including fresh and smoked sausage, summer sausage, and salami.

  • Fresh sausage: This type of sausage is made from uncooked ground meat and comes in various flavors. Examples include bratwurst, breakfast sausage, and Italian sausage. Fresh sausage should be cooked and consumed immediately or stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.
  • Smoked sausage: Smoked sausage is typically cooked during production and can either be ready-to-eat or may require heating before consumption. Examples include kielbasa, andouille, and chorizo sausage. Smoked sausage stored in the refrigerator will keep for up to seven days, while a frozen cooked sausage can last up to two months.
  • Summer Sausage: Summer sausage is a fermented and dried sausage that is sometimes smoked. It is also known as landjaeger or beef stick. This kind of sausage is fully cooked and can last up to four weeks without refrigeration, but it will still need an airtight container.
  • Salami: Salami is a type of dried sausage that is sometimes smoked or fermented. Salami is also fully cooked like summer sausage but may require refrigeration for longer storage. Due to the drying process, salami can last for a long time unrefrigerated.

Storage of Cooked Sausage

Cooked sausage should always be stored correctly to prevent bacterial contamination and spoilage. It is crucial to keep the sausage at safe temperatures to maintain its quality and prevent foodborne illnesses. If cooked sausage is left at room temperature for an extended period, it can start to spoil.

The best method to store cooked sausage is to wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate it. Cooked sausage should be refrigerated within two hours after cooking or left out at temperatures under 40°F. Smoked sausage can last longer and can be stored safely in the refrigerator for up to a week. However, it depends on maintaining its taste and freshness.

Ways to Tell If Cooked Sausage Has Gone Bad

It is essential to recognize the signs of spoilage to avoid the risk of consuming bad sausage. Spoiled food can cause bacterial infections and food poisoning. Here are some ways to tell if your cooked sausage has gone bad:

Color Changes: Fresh sausage that has a dark color or turns grey or brown may be a sign of spoilage. For smoked sausage, color change is more challenging to tell since it is already smoked and cooked.

Odors: If the sausage starts to develop an off or sour scent, it’s a sure sign that it has started going bad.

Texture: Cooked sausage that has a slimy texture can be a sign of spoilage.
Mold: If the sausage starts developing mold or white spots, it is a sure sign of spoilage.

Taste: If cooked sausage tastes sour or has an off taste, it is a clear sign of spoilage.

It is recommended to discard any sausage that has gone bad to avoid the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Ways to Keep Cooked Sausage Fresh Longer

There are a few ways to help your cooked sausage last longer and maintain its quality.

Freezing: Freezing cooked sausage is a great way to extend its shelf life. It can be stored for two to three months in the freezer. Make sure to wrap the sausage tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and place it in a sealed container.

Vacuum-seal: Vacuum-sealing cooked sausage is an excellent way to prevent air from reaching the food and extending its shelf life. Cooked sausage can last up to four months when vacuum-sealed.

Store in small batches: It is best to separate the cooked sausage into small batches and store them separately according to your needs. This method allows you to reheat the sausage as needed and avoid wastage.

Store in the right place: Always store cooked sausage in the refrigerator in an airtight container to prevent air exposure and bacterial growth.


Cooked sausage is a delicious and versatile food item consumed worldwide. However, it is crucial to store it properly to maintain its quality and prevent spoilage. Cooked sausage can last up to four days when stored in the refrigerator. It is essential to recognize the signs of spoilage to avoid consuming bad food. Freezing, vacuum-sealing, and storing in small batches are excellent ways to help cooked sausage last longer. By following the storage guidelines, you can enjoy cooked sausage safely in various meals and recipes.

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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.