How Long Is Cooked Sausage Good For In The Fridge? (Find Out Now!)

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf

Sausage makes for a delicious treat any time, day or night. Have some sausage links or patties with breakfast or a big fat brat with dinner. There really is no time of day or year where a sausage doesn’t work perfectly.

But what about leftovers? How long do you have if you keep your cooked sausage in the refrigerator? Typically, you are looking at 3 to 4 days at best even in the fridge. Pre-cooked sausages can keep for a couple of weeks, maybe a week at most if the package has been opened. Freezing is generally the best bet for cooked sausages.

Cooked Sausage in the Fridge

When you have some leftover cooked sausages, there is going to be the desire to keep them around for later snacking. The key is to know how long it will keep in the fridge before you have to start worrying about them.

Refrigerate Immediately

Typically speaking, you should ensure that those cooked sausages get into the fridge within 2 hours after they are cooked. Room temperature is the worst situation for foods that can spoil in relatively short order.

Proper Storage

When it comes to storing anything in the fridge, you want to ensure that they are properly stored. That means using airtight containers or bags and removing as much of the air from within as possible.

Even then, check the sausage before consuming it. Even though that 3 or 4-day benchmark is common, that isn’t to say that sausage can’t go bad prior.

Bacterial growth. As is the case with many other foods, the biggest concern with cooked sausage is bacterial growth. There is a range between 40F and 140F known as the “danger zone.” This is the temperature range where bacteria can grow rapidly. By storing the sausages in the fridge, you can reduce the chances of bacteria growth for at least a few days.

Type of Sausage Matters

With the basic rules in place, you probably have enough information to get by. That said, the length in which sausage will keep in the fridge also comes down to the type of sausage that you are dealing with. Some have longer shelf lives, others a shorter one.

Breakfast Sausage

Breakfast sausage has a little shorter shelf life. After cooking it, you are looking at two days at the most before it will begin spoiling. Unopened packages can last for a few weeks while opened and covered packages can go about a week or so.


Kielbasa is one of the more durable sausage options out there. Even when you have cooked it, it can last for up to two weeks provided you keep it in an airtight container. Packages of kielbasa sausage that have not been opened can last up to a month while remaining edible and tasty.

Turkey sausage

Your turkey sausage and other typical sausages will last for about 3 or 4 days in the fridge. Really, you should gauge for a few days at the most regardless of the type of sausage as that is the safest avenue to go.

Can You Freeze Cooked Sausage?

Yes, you can. As a matter of fact, freezing is probably the best avenue for keeping cooked sausage if you don’t think that you will get to it within a few days after cooking. Of course, you can help mitigate the need for storage by cooking closer to what you will eat.

Frozen Sausage

You can safely expect frozen sausage to keep for about 2 months. For most meats, anything more than 2 months is probably pushing it, so make sure you get to your sausage sooner rather than later.

While you may not necessarily face any health-related issues after 2 months, the quality may not be there. You could see textural issues or a drying out over time that will reduce the quality of the sausage. Date mark your sausage so you know when it was frozen. That way, you can get to it within that 2 month period and still enjoy it.

How Do You Freeze Cooked Sausage?

Plenty of people make cooked sausage in huge batches. They do so either because they plan to freeze it and come back to it continuously or because their eyes are bigger than their stomachs. Whatever the reason, freezing cooked sausage can be a great way to keep it for longer and have a tasty treat available whenever you want it.

  • Proper storage. When it comes to freezing anything, proper storage is undoubtedly the key. If you can find an airtight container or bag, have one ready. Those are specifically created to keep your food as fresh as possible for as long as possible. Just make sure that they are freezer-grade because improper containers can still experience freezer burn.
  • Remove air. If you have a vacuum sealer, it comes in handy for times like this. If not, make sure that you compress as much of the air out of the container or bag as possible. Air is the enemy of proper freezing and will reduce the timeframe for which you can keep your sausage frozen.
  • Label and date. Another common mistake that people make when freezing is not properly labeling. Put the date on the bag or container when you are first freezing. There is nothing worse than reaching into the freezer a month later and wondering how long something has been sitting there. Leave no doubt.
  • Thaw in the fridge. Where meat is concerned, never ever thaw frozen product in the sink. Put it in the fridge so that it can come back down to cookable temperature safely. When you thaw meat, ensure that you use it within a couple of days at most to prevent bacterial growth.

How Do You Know When Sausage Has Spoiled?

That said, even with the proper storing techniques, there is undoubtedly a chance that the sausage will go bad. It is totally normal and happens to us all. Still, you don’t want to take a bite into an unsavory sausage if you don’t have to. Here are a few telltale signs.

  • Smell. When it comes to spoiled food, your nose is the best place to start. When sausage goes bad, it will have a foul smell to it. You can’t quite pinpoint what the smell is but you know that it is not a good one. Toss the sausage if it smells bad.
  • Look. When sausage goes bad, it will have a grayish look to it. Sausage that looks like it has lost its color is likely past its shelf life and should be discarded immediately. Don’t risk it.
  • Texture. Another telltale sign that the sausage has gone bad is the texture. Notice that it has a slimy feel to it? That signifies bacterial growth. Don’t bother with the container either. Toss it all out as bacteria can grow even if you clean the container.
  • Longer than 4 days. If you leave sausage in the fridge for more than those 3 or 4 days, don’t risk it. After a couple of days, it is prime for bacterial growth. Assume that it has gone bad and cut your losses instead.

What Happens if You Eat Bad Sausage?

With all of the precautions, there may or may not come a time where you end up ingesting a bad sausage. That is why it is important to know what you may be facing in the event that you eat a sausage that has gone sour.

Probably nothing. In most cases, you are probably going to be fine. You may have to deal with the nasty taste that it carries with it, but you should be otherwise fine.

Upset stomach. You may also have a bit of an upset stomach. That is typically associated with meats that have gone bad, but it doesn’t automatically mean that you will get sick each time. It really depends on the level of bacterial infection that you are facing.

Food poisoning. In the worst of cases, you could be facing food poisoning or at least the symptoms associated with food positioning. That includes nausea, cramps, vomiting, and even diarrhea. Really, it depends on how bad the bacterial growth is.

Salmonella. When food has been allowed to grow major bacteria, it can carry salmonella. Salmonella can lead to an enhanced variation of all those symptoms. While it is rare for someone to go to the hospital from eating bad meat, it isn’t impossible.

If you feel like you have eaten spoiled sausage, just watch your body’s behavior. In most cases, you are looking at nothing more than an upset stomach. But if you begin to have extended bouts of cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, you may want to head to your local medical facility.

It’s not an emergency room situation, but a healthcare professional may be able to give you something that will treat the bacterial growth and balance out some of the symptoms. You can typically just wait out the symptoms and be fine as well.

Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

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