How Long Is Summer Sausage Good For? (All You Need to Know)

December 23, 2022
Written by Kristy J. Norton

Summer sausage is a type of cured meat known for its long preservation periods. Raw, sealed summer sausage can be stored for up to 3 months in the fridge. However, once cooked, it only lasts for a week or two in the fridge or freezer, respectively.

Sausage getting spoilt earlier is bad news! Especially if you don’t go grocery shopping regularly, and love stocking up for convenience. Don’t worry though, you can still make adequate preparations while stocking up on groceries if you have enough information about their shelf life. So, given my extensive professional cooking experience, I will answer some important questions about stocking summer sausages.

How Long Is Summer Sausage Good For

How Long Does Summer Sausage Last?

So, how long is summer sausage good for? When kept in a refrigerator, unopened or uncooked sausages can last up to 3 months, according to the USDA. This is enough time to plan your next grocery shopping.

To determine how long your summer sausage meat will last, you need to consider three key points:

  1. Is it open?
  2. How do you store it?
  3. Is it cooked?

While summer sausages are prepared to be more durable than other sausage types, every food item becomes inedible with time. 

To extend the life of your summer sausage, it is best stored and refrigerated. You will often see in many summer sausage packs the instructions to refrigerate it once opened.

According to the sausage storage chart from USDA, you can store an unopened summer sausage in a refrigerator for up to three months. 

According to the same chart, once you open it up, you can store it for up to three weeks in a refrigerator. If it’s a well-regulated freezer, the opened summer sausage can last up to 2 months.

However, I usually prefer consuming all my opened frozen summer sausage once thawed, since refreezing it can decrease its peak quality.

Once you cook summer sausage, it has more accumulated moisture content, drastically reducing its longevity. When stored at room temperature, cooked summer sausages generally last up to two hours

Again, you can give it a long shelf life by keeping it in a well-regulated freezer or refrigerator so that it tastes fine.

Another important thing to consider when storing your summer sausage is its expiry date. You wouldn’t want to store your sausage beyond its expiration date since it can become unsafe to consume after this time. 

I also make sure to follow the specific manufacturer’s storage instructions since this can differ from one product to another.

For the best safety practice, you should always get and consume your sausage while it is fresh. You should not eat summer sausage past its expiration dates to avoid food poisoning.

Does Summer Sausage Go Bad?

Sure, every edible item goes bad at some point, including summer sausages.

While it is prepared to last longer than other meat, summer sausages will also go bad once their maximum longevity reaches its expiration date.

If you want it to remain good for long, you should always store summer sausages in a well-regulated refrigerator or freezer. Also, ensure they are wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Store it in a well-sealed container, and dry area. This is especially important for cooked summer sausages as the accumulated moisture significantly reduces their durability.

Lastly, manufacturers usually have specific instructions that you need to adhere to. So, make sure to get familiar with these storage instructions to get more out of your summer sausage.

Do You Need to Refrigerate Summer Sausage?

Generally, you don’t need to refrigerate summer sausages. However, I recommend you keep them refrigerated immediately after you open them.

As long as you don’t open a summer sausage, you can securely store it without refrigeration for 6 weeks, unlike your regular sausage.

Once a summer sausage is opened, it becomes prone to contamination due to its moisture content. So to reduce the risk of getting worse, it’s recommended that you refrigerate an opened summer sausage. A well-refrigerated summer sausage can last up to three months in a well-regulated freezer.

Fried Summer Sausages with Garlic and Herbs

What’s the Shelf Life of Summer Sausages in The Fridge?

Although the USDA says 3 months, some sources also claim you can keep the summer sausage unopened in the fridge for more than six months.

When not opened, summer sausage lasts for at least 6 weeks provided you keep it in a cool place free from humidity. However, it lasts even longer in a well-regulated refrigerator or freezer. You are sure to get an additional storage life of up to 6 months.

However, this cannot be the same when the sausage is already opened. The shelf life of an open summer sausage is shorter than the unopened one. 

How Do You Tell When Summer Sausage Goes Bad?

A bad summer sausage smells foul, has a slippery texture, and a stale taste.

When you notice a foul smell coming from your summer sausage, it indicates that it’s gone bad. At first, you may not notice the smell, if it is just starting to get spoiled. Over time, you will perceive the smell as it gets stronger.

Another thing to check is its texture. If it’s slippery or slimy to the touch, then you know your summer sausage is getting spoiled. You should dispose of it as it is not recommended to consume decaying food to avoid food poisoning or stomach cramps.

What is Summer Sausage?

Summer sausage is cured meat prepared with several preservative ingredients to prevent it from spoiling during the hot weather of the summer months. Essentially this increases its longevity.

This type of sausage originated in Europe before the invention of refrigerators. They use several preservation methods to prepare the sausages to prevent them from spoiling easily. 

Since this technique is predominantly used to increase sausage longevity during the hot climates of the summer, this type of sausage is known as “summer sausage”.

Summer sausages are prepared differently, so you will often see different variations in the market. 

Some of these variations include pepperoni, salami, and Spanish chorizo. They are usually pre-cooked, cured with garlic salt, or any other salt curing process before being sold. My favorite is the traditional German summer sausage. 

Salami, pepperoni, and chorizo on a Wooden Board

Unlike the ready-to-eat sausages, I listed earlier, they are semi dry sausages and softer. This helps to retain most of the natural goodies of the meat for a delicious meal.

Another thing to note about sausages is that they are processed meat and can be high in saturated fat. So, limit the amount you consume to avoid unnecessary health hazards.


Summer sausage is a type of sausage that has been produced to increase its shelf life in preparation for the summer. Given the promise of a longer shelf life, you may wonder how long the shelf life really is, and how you can store it properly. 

Ideally, you can store unopened summer sausage for 6 weeks, and when refrigerated, for 3 months. However, you shouldn’t expect a similar duration if you have opened or cooked your summer sausage.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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