Food & Drink

Can You Freeze Lunch Meat?

Last Updated on February 23, 2024 | 0 Comments
Can you freeze lunch meat? Yes indeed!

An abundance of cold cuts in your fridge may have you wondering, “Can you freeze lunch meat?” After all, it would be terrible for all those versatile meats to go to waste, plus you could save money on groceries by stocking up on lunch meats when they’re on sale.

Deli meat can turn bad surprisingly fast in the fridge, so it's only natural to wonder, can you freeze packaged lunch meat? And can you freeze deli lunch meat from the butcher counter the same way? While it is best enjoyed fresh, you can freeze lunch meat. Here’s what you need to know about freezing lunch meat so you can savor those tender cold cuts as long as possible. 


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Can You Freeze Lunch Meat?

Yes, you can freeze lunch meat! Freezing lunch meat may be a good option for saving money on groceries or storing leftovers when you’ve purchased more than you can consume. 

Can you freeze deli lunch meat? Not only can you freeze packaged lunch meat, but you can freeze cold colds from the deli counter too. In fact, cured meats like pepperoni, pastrami and bologna tend to fare very well in the freezer due to their lower water content. Lunch meats like sliced turkey, chicken, roast beef and ham can be frozen just as easily but may experience more changes in texture after thawing.

a variety of deli meats in a farmers market
via Canva

How To Freeze Lunch Meat

How can you freeze lunch meat to give it the best odds of staying fresh? When it comes to pre-packaged lunch meat, you can easily pop any unopened packages into the freezer — no other preparation required.

If you’ve already opened the packaged lunch meat or you’re freezing slices from the deli counter, you’ll need to do a little more prep work to ensure they store properly. Stack the deli meat with a piece of wax paper between each slice to keep them separated, then place in a plastic freezer bag or wrap with plastic wrap and press out all the air before stowing the meat in the freezer. 

When you’re ready to use the lunch meat, pop it into the fridge and allow it to thaw for several hours or overnight. Never thaw the lunch meat at room temperature, as this can allow illness-causing bacteria to bloom. Defrosting lunch meat in the microwave also isn’t ideal, as it may thaw unevenly and could affect the texture of the lunch meat. A little patience will pay off and have you enjoying those cold cuts in no time!

roast beef
via Canva

How Long Can You Freeze Lunch Meat?

Can you freeze lunch meat for months at a time? In theory, you can freeze lunch meat indefinitely. As long as it is kept below 0° Fahrenheit, it will still be safe to eat from a health perspective. 

However, freezing lunch meat for extended periods of time will likely start to affect its quality. After about 1-2 months in the freezer, thawed lunch meat may be tough, spongy or lose some of its flavor due to freezer burn. Cured deli meats like bologna may be able to last up to three months. For the best results, thaw and consume the meat as soon as possible, but certainly within two months.

You can freeze lunch meat for up to two months.
via Canva

Now that you know the ins and outs of keeping lunch meat in your freezer, the question is no longer, “Can you freeze lunch meat?”, but “How awesome will it be to have frozen lunch meat on rotation!” This versatile food becomes even more limitless once you know how to store it in the freezer and thaw it for use in sandwiches, wraps, omelettes and more.

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