Can You Freeze Lunch Meat?

Lunch meat is a fantastic addition to any sandwich. There are many different types of lunchmeat you can choose from such as ham, chicken, beef, and turkey. They are all tasty. 

For many families, lunch meat is a household essential and something you may always seem to be stocking up on when you go to the grocery store. Although it is a must-have for the majority of families, once opened, a packet will only keep fresh for a few days.

Given this, buying a large packet can seem like a waste, especially if you have to throw away any excess.

But, what if there was a simpler way of keeping lunch meat without it going bad? You may have considered freezing lunch meat, but, is it safe to do so?It is safe to freeze lunch meat.

It can be a great way to save a little extra money, especially if your favorite brand is on offer. Instead of throwing away lunch meat, you could freeze it and defrost it as and when you need it.

If you have a large family this is a great solution. You can buy lunch meat in bulk and freeze and excess to use at a later date. This will help to save you time and money!

In this article, we will be going into detail about the best ways to freeze and defrost lunch meat. We will also be discussing some factors you should take into consideration before freezing.

How To Freeze Lunch Meat

The process of freezing lunch meat could not be simpler. Ideally, you should try to freeze it as quickly as possible.

However, as long as you freeze it before the expiration date it will be safe for consumption when defrosted. Always ensure to keep the meat in the refrigerator before freezing.

The best way to freeze lunch meat is in a sealable plastic bag. This will help to protect the meat from freezer burn while in the freezer. It will also take up the least amount of room. 

When you place the lunch meat into the bag, you will want to take as much air out of the bag as possible before you seal it. When you place the meat in the freezer, put it in the coldest part of the freezer until you are ready to take it out to defrost.

Lunchmeat has a slightly longer freezer life in comparison to other types of meat. If frozen correctly, you can keep lunch meat in the freezer for up to six months to a year! 

Given how long this is, we would recommend putting the date you froze the meat on the bag, along with the date the meat needs to be used. While it is not essential to do this, it will help you to keep track of how long the meat has been frozen.

How To Defrost Lunch Meat

The process of defrosting lunch meat is simple and easy to do. 

We always recommend defrosting your lunch meat in the refrigerator. This will help to prevent any build-up of bacteria. If you defrost meat at room temperature, while it is quicker than the refrigerator, it can increase the risk of some unwanted foodborne illnesses, such as food poisoning. 

As the refrigerator will allow the meat to defrost slowly at a safe temperature, it is much more recommended. For best results, we recommend defrosting your lunch meat the night before you are planning to use it. This will allow the meat to defrost fully. 

You do not want to eat partially thawed lunch meat, even if you are cooking it as part of a food dish.

You can defrost your lunch meat in cold water if you need to defrost it quickly. To do so, place the meat in its packaging, in a bowl of cold water until defrosted. You may need to change the water regularly.

Although you can defrost the lunch meat in this way, we would still recommend the refrigerator method.

When defrosting the lunch meat in the refrigerator, place it on a plate to help catch any moisture that will potentially escape.

Factors To Consider Before Freezing Lunch Meat

Consistency When Thawed

While the overall texture and taste of lunch meat when defrosted is fairly similar to when it is fresh, it can have some differences. 

The main potential issue you will have with thawed lunch meat is moisture. Typically when lunch meat has been defrosted, it will excrete some moisture that it was holding. While this is completely harmless, it may make your lunch meat taste slightly watery. 

Its texture, smell, and taste should be very similar to what it was like before it was defrosted. If you have any concerns about the lunch meat’s smell or taste, we would not recommend eating it, just in case, it has gone bad.

Freezer Burn

Freezer burn is annoying and can affect how your lunch meat tastes. While it does not mean your lunch meat has gone bad, it will not taste particularly great.

To help prevent freezer burn, we recommend placing your lunch meat in a sealed bag instead of its original packaging, especially if it has already been opened. 

Always ensure that the packaging has been completely sealed and that there are no small holes in it at all. 


We hope this article has helped you to understand the best ways to freeze and defrost lunch meat. As you can see, it is easy to do and will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. 

You will be able to buy your meat in bulk and freeze it ready to use whenever it is needed. Always remember to carefully seal the bags you freeze your meat. 

Given how long lunch meat can be stored in the freezer, it is always useful to write the date you froze the meat and its freezer life on the packaging. This will help you to keep track of when you will need to defrost it.


Hi there! My name is Caroline Stevens, and I am an American mom of three wonderful children. I started this blog to help everyday families be more sustainable and save money by preventing food waste. I currently live in Wisconsin, and enjoy crafting, cooking at home, and traveling. I have a degree in art and previously worked in the restaurant business.