How Long Can You Freeze Lunch Meat?

How Long Can You Freeze Lunch Meat

If you often wonder whether you can freeze lunch meat and how to do it properly, the article will help. Here, we have discussed everything you need to know about freezing lunch meat, right from its preparation for freezing to thawing. 

What is Lunch Meat?

Lunch meat is also known as Deli meat or cold cuts. Typically, lunch meat is served cold. It comes in various flavors and textures, such as cooked, smoked, cured, or dried meat that is often sliced and served in sandwiches or as different varieties as a party platter.

Lunch meat is one of those items that always comes in handy when you make sandwiches, snacks, lunchbox filler, a party platter, or just want to add a flavorful addition to the cooked dishes. It makes preparing a lot of delicious dishes easy and less time-consuming. 

Types of Lunch Meat

Lunch meat comes in two types of preparation, cured meat and cooked meat. Both are generally sliced and served either cold or hot.

  • Ham: It comes from the hind leg of a pig and can be found in many varieties, such as smoked, honey-glazed, and black forest.
  • Pepperoni: It is a spicy Italian-American sausage made from beef and pork.
  • Salami: It is a type of cured sausage seasoned with spices made from beef or pork.
  • Bologna: It is a type of sausage made from beef, pork, or a combination of both.
  • Cured meat: It is made by preserving the meat with salt, sugar, or nitrate. This process imparts a unique, savory flavor, allowing the meat to last longer.
  • Chicken: It is made from cooked slices of chicken breast. It’s a lean and low-fat option for healthy eaters, commonly called deli meat.
  • Turkey: It is made from cooked turkey breast and is also popular as deli meat. It is also a lean and low-fat option.


How To Preserve Lunch Meat?

lunch meat

When preserving deli meat, you might wonder if freezing is feasible. 

Yes, you can freeze the lunch meat. While deli meats are usually eaten as soon as they are purchased, freezing them is also a safe way to preserve them for longer. Knowing how to handle, package, and store is essential to prolong its shelf life and quality.

What To Do Before Freezing Lunch Meat?

Before freezing the lunch meat, it is essential to follow a few steps to ensure the meat remains fresh and tasty when used later. Here are a few things one need to keep in mind-

  • If the package is unopened, toss it directly into the freezer.
  • Store lunch meat in an airtight container or a freezer bag. Proper layering will save it from freezer burn.
  • Wrap the meat tightly in aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or vacuum seal to provide an extra barrier against air and moisture.
  • Ensure that the freezer temperature is set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit for freezing to prevent the growth of bacteria and help preserve the quality of the meat.

How To Freeze Lunch Meat?

The right freezing process of lunch meat is the best way to maintain its quality and taste for longer. Here’s how you can freeze the lunch meat in the best ways possible-

  • Separate the slices: To prevent the meat slices from sticking to each other, stack the slices alternatively, one slice of meat and one layer of wax paper.
  • Portion and package: Before freezing the lunch meat, portioning it into serving sizes you may want to use at a time is essential. This way, it will be easier to thaw and use only what you need. You can use aluminum foil, freezer bags, plastic wrap, or wax paper to wrap the meat tightly. Vacuum sealing is the best option if you have the instrument, otherwise an air-tight container can also work instead of vacuum seal.
  • Labeling: Labeling your packaged lunch meat before placing it into the freezer will make it easier to identify if its chicken, turkey, beef or ham to avoid confusion later. At the same time, mentioning the type of meat and the freezing date will also help you understand how long the meat has been preserved.

How To Thaw Frozen Lunch Meat?

The preparation and separating portion might seem to be a task before freezing the lunch meat, but it will be easier to pull out of the freezer whatever portion you need and thaw and use it. There are different ways to defrost the frozen meat and it can be done in the following ways-

  • Refrigerator method: Take the meat out of the freezer and keep it in the refrigerator. Keep it there overnight. It is advised not to defrost it at room temperature on the countertop due to susceptibility to bacterial growth.
  • Water bowl method: Place the sealed packet in a bowl of cold water and change the water frequently to speed up the process.
  • Microwave method: If needed to be used immediately, defrost the lunch meat in a microwave. Make sure to use the defrosting function and not the standard heating function. Use a paper towel to dry the drops of water remaining from the meat slices after the defrosting process.

How Long Can You Freeze Lunch Meat?

Lunch meats are recommended to be kept at 0 degrees Fahrenheit inside the freezer for safety considerations. At this temperature, the microbes that can cause food poisoning stay dormant, and the food remains safe. However, the quality may suffer with long freezer storage. Therefore, as long as the lunch meat is handled, stored, and thawed correctly, lunch meat can be safe to eat.


Lunch meat is a quick and easy product to make any of your meals, but it has a short shelf life. It means that you should buy only the required amount at a time to prevent wastage. 

However, if you have more quantity and wonder if you can freeze lunch meat, the answer is YES. 

Freezing is a convenient way of increasing the shelf life of lunch meat and also helps from food waste. Lunch meat should always be kept in the refrigerator or freezer using the right methodology to keep its quality and taste intact. 

Related Articles

Was this article helpful?