A bologna sandwich is my favorite pick-me-up for mornings when I don’t have the time to cook. Sometimes I get a bit carried away and make a few too many; sometimes, my co-workers treat me to a dish (which I always repay). In such cases, I have a few leftover bologna meals, and I believe no food should go to waste.
Bologna is so delicious you can easily buy too much of it and then wonder:
“Can you freeze bologna?” The answer is yes, you can freeze bologna and keep it in your freezer for about a month, and it will still be (almost) as delicious as it was before freezing.
Bologna can be frozen, whether you put it in a salad, a sandwich, or use it as a topping. Depending on the other ingredients, it can stay frozen quite well, and defrosting it is a piece of cake.
If you wish to freeze bologna, I recommend using a recipe without mayonnaise, soft cheeses, and cream-based topics.
If you’re preparing a feast and you’re thinking along the lines of ‘can you freeze bologna slices?’, that’s even easier. An airtight container and a bit of freezer space are all you need. In a nutshell, you can freeze bologna. It won’t lose its texture, and it will taste practically the same.
Today, we’ll talk about the most important things to consider when freezing bologna, so without any further ado, let’s dive straight to the main course.
Does Bologna Freeze well?
Lunchmeat freezes amazingly well. My pantry is overstocked with bologna and salami more often than it’s not, and I freeze all my deli meats almost every week. Given that its texture is chunky and not too moist (at least when it’s ‘healthy’), bologna can sit in your freezer for days on end.
Pros of Freezing Bologna
Aside from saving it from going to waste, there are several other benefits to freezing bologna, with the most notable ones being:
- Can be frozen indefinitely – yes, bologna can spend years, decades, or even centuries inside a freezer, at least in theory. The only condition is that it needs to be kept at a constant zero-degree temperature, which is virtually impossible to attain in practice.
- Delays it from turning bad – once bologna becomes sticky, you’ll know it will turn sour quickly. Freezing it will delay this and potentially kill the pesky microorganisms that have invaded it.
- It tastes excellent once thawed – if you’re freezing high-quality bologna, it will taste marvelously well when you defrost it.
- Chunks, slices, sticks, and sausages can be frozen – not only can you freeze sliced bologna, but you can also freeze bologna sticks, sausages, and bologna in any other form.
Cons of Freezing Bologna
Bologna may taste good when it’s thawed, and it won’t turn bad even months after you’ve frozen it. However, there are a few drawbacks you may want to know more about, including:
- Loses its chewiness – its physical structure will be less dense, and eating it may feel a bit odd until you get accustomed to it
- Thawed slices can fall apart – according to a study conducted by Maria Solas, Jose Carballo, and Francisco Colmenero, thawed meat products become flimsier upon thawing. The smaller the chunk is, the more likely it will fall apart.
- Reduced thermal stability – in simpler words, thawed bologna becomes freezes and thaws more rapidly after each freeze-thaw cycle. Eventually, it will either split into pieces or become rock solid.
This may also be interesting for you: Can you freeze salami?
Thawed Bologna Taste
Freezing bologna impacts its taste, but you can affect its magnitude. Let me share a few helpful tips to keep bologna tasting good once it’s thawed:
- If you have a poor-quality freezer, defrost your bologna after a week tops.
- Invest in better airtight containers. Cheap and ‘expensive’ containers are cents apart, and the latter will keep your bologna’s taste intact for more extended periods.
- Keep the temperature of your freezer at a constant temperature; consistency is more important than intensity.
- Avoid freezing a bologna dish if you’ve used sour cream or mayonnaise.
How to Freeze Bologna
Freezing bologna is the easiest if it’s a standalone dish, meaning that it doesn’t have any additional ingredients. If you wish to slice it up, make sure the slices are even for taste consistency. Buy airtight containers, and let’s prepare for freezing:
Step 1: Prepare Bologna for Freezing
Some people prefer to have their bologna wrapped before freezing it, but this is, in my opinion at least, an unnecessary step. If you’ve purchased pre-wrapped bologna, there’s also no reason to unwrap it just yet.
You can season it, but don’t cook, fry, or boil it before freezing it. If any of this was already done and you wish to freeze it, make sure it’s dry and cold.
Step 2: Place it in an Airtight Container or Freezer Bag
The ‘airtight’ in an airtight container doesn’t imply it’s ‘air-less .’Once you’ve bought a few, place your bologna inside and seal it. Tap it on all sides to push the air out, and put the container in the freezer. As I’ve mentioned earlier, you may want to consider buying a set of quality containers to ensure the optimal quality of meat.
Alternatively, place it in a freezer bag
I recommend using freezer bags for meat when freezing bologna slices, as they do a remarkable job of minimizing damage caused by freezer burn. They’re typically used to prolong the lifetime of frozen dishes; given that bologna can remain frozen for incredible amounts of time, the main advantage of freezer bags amounts to little.
Step 3: Set your Freezer Temperature to 0°
I always check the actual temperature of my freezer on the built-in thermostat and rarely rely on what the settings display. If you’ve set the temperature to zero, make sure the thermostat reads zero as well.
Top-tier freezers can keep the temperature consistent, which is the key to freezing any kind of meat properly.
Step 4: Mark the Container
If you don’t have a habit of marking your containers, it may be an excellent time to start. It’s easy to forget that you’ve frozen a dish; even though bologna can sit inside for months, you’ll do yourself a favor by knowing what it is, where it is, and when you’ve placed it in the freezer.
How Long can You Freeze Bologna?
Theoretically, bologna can remain frozen until your freezer dies out or malfunctions. If you’ve set the temperature to precisely zero degrees, no harm can be done to your dish. Temperature fluctuations will degrade it, as will repetitive freeze-thaw cycles.
Similar to freezing hot dogs, you should keep bologna frozen for about two months. In my experience, this is the time span in which it remains tasty, and its texture is more or less the same.
How to Defrost Bologna?
For those wondering ‘how long does bologna last after opening?’, I’ve prepared a simple step-by-step guide, starting with:
- Fridge-thaw it – take the frozen container/wrap out of the freezer, and place it in your fridge.
- Fill a basin with cold water – if fridge-thawing isn’t an option, fill a basin with cold water and put the frozen package inside.
- Keep changing the water every 20 minutes – as ice thaws, it will cool the water. Refill the basin with cold tap water once you notice it’s too cold.
Freezing Different Types of Bologna
Wondering if you can freeze different types of bologna? We have compiled information on some of the most popular varieties:
|Can you freeze garlic bologna?||Yes, but garlic will lose its crunchiness.|
|Can you freeze homemade bologna salad?||Depends on other ingredients. Avoid creams, ketchup, mayonnaise, and similar toppings.|
|Can you freeze smoked bologna?||Yes, it freezes even better than regular.|
|Can you freeze sweet bologna?||Yes, but I don’t recommend it. Its taste will change even more than its texture.|
|Can you freeze stick bologna?||Yes, but you should use airtight containers instead of freezer bags.|
|Can you freeze trail bologna?||Yes, in the same way you would freeze bologna chunks or slices.|
|Can you freeze sweet Lebanon bologna?||Yes, but it’s not recommended. Its flavor and texture can change quite a bit.|
|Can you freeze unopened bologna?||Yes, although it may be a bit more challenging to store.|
|Can you freeze Oscar Mayer bologna?||Yes. Oscar Mayer deli products generally freeze better than average.|
And in case you’re wondering, we’ve talked about freezing ring bologna here.
Recipes – What can I use bologna for?
Bologna is such a versatile deli meat that it can be used in nearly all meals. In my experience, bologna is the main ingredient in these recipes:
Easy to make and as rich (or simple) as you want it to be. Grab two slices of bread, put bologna on each, and stuff it with your favorite ingredients. Sour cream, a boiled egg, and several slices of tomato on top of iceberg salad go so well with bologna.
While preparing your barbecue, mix slices of bologna and a bit of cheddar with your meat. Grill and enjoy the rich taste of back-to-back quality meat.
If you’re at least somewhat proficient in baking, you can prepare quite a few dishes and use bologna as filling. French poodles taste fantastic with it.
Eggs and Baloneys
While eggs and bacon may be a staple recipe for many, replacing bacon with bologna is just as great—another excellent pick-me-up for people who don’t spend too much time in the kitchen.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does Bologna Last in the Fridge?
It can survive a week, but it usually tastes good only for the first three to four days once you’ve opened it.
How Do You Know if Bologna has Gone Bad?
There are several stages. At first, its texture will slightly change, although many won’t notice it. Once it becomes sticky, it’s more than halfway bad. A pungent smell is the final stage, and you should definitely throw it in the bin.
How Do You Cut Frozen Bologna?
Ideally, you should thaw it first. If you really need to cut frozen bologna, I recommend using a high-quality electric knife.
Can bologna be frozen? Can you freeze bologna meat, and how long does bologna last after opening? Hopefully, I’ve answered these and some of the most typical questions you may have had about freezing bologna, thawing it, and making sure it tastes good at the end of the day.
If you have a tasty bologna recipe that I didn’t touch upon, or if you know a more efficient freezing/thawing method, I’d be thrilled to see your comments below.
I’d appreciate it if you could take the time to check out my content, and I hope you’ve found this guide helpful—best of luck, and Bon Appétit.