Can You Freeze Lunch Meat?

Lunch meat is so delicious. With many different types to decide between, from salami to turkey, there is lunch meat to suit everyone’s tastes. It makes a great sandwich filler and lunchtime snack. 

If you have purchased too much lunch meat or have not got around to eating it,  throwing the leftovers into the garbage can seem like such a waste. The great thing about lunch meat is being able to buy it in bulk to eat over a few days. 

But what if there was a better way of storing the meat to make it last longer?

Perhaps you have wondered whether or not it can be frozen. Luckily, lunch meat can be frozen. This is great if you want to eat it at a later date. 

In this article, we will be going into detail about how to freeze lunch meat and will be covering some of the factors you should consider before freezing. We will also be telling you how you can safely defrost lunch meat.

How To Freeze Lunch Meat?

Freezing lunch meat could not be easier. Lunch meat usually comes in sealed packages. If you are going to freeze the lunch meat as soon as you get home you can freeze it in its original, airtight packaging. This will help to prevent throwing away any packaging unnecessarily.

When you freeze your lunch meat, ideally this should take place on the day you have purchased the meat. This guarantees that the meat will be as fresh as possible and has not gone bad. 

If you are planning to use some of the lunch meat and are going to freeze the leftovers, we would recommend purchasing sealable freezer bags. When you are ready to freeze the lunch meat, place it into the sealable freezer bags. Ensure that all of the air has been taken out of the bag and then seal it up. 

When you have done this, it is useful to write the date you froze the lunch meat on the bag. This will help you to keep track of how long the lunch meat has been frozen. 

If you are only planning to take a few pieces of meat out to defrost at a time, we would recommend freezing a few pieces of lunch meat together, instead of a big portion. This means that you will not have to defrost too many pieces in one go.

How To Defrost Lunch Meat?

Defrosting lunch meat is easy. You will need to take the freezer bag or package of lunch meat out of the freezer the night before you are planning to use it. By taking it out the night before, you are giving the lunch meat a chance to defrost fully. 

We would recommend placing the lunch meat on a small plate before putting it into the refrigerator. This will help to catch any moisture while defrosting. 

We would not recommend defrosting the lunch meat on the counter overnight, especially if it has been a warm day. Foodborne illnesses can quickly multiply at room temperatures. Food that defrosts in the refrigerator defrosts at a slower pace but at a safe temperature.

The larger the pieces of meat, the longer they will take to defrost, this is why you will need to ensure you are giving the meat plenty of time to thaw out thoroughly. Although deli meat is already cooked, you should always ensure it is thoroughly defrosted before consuming.

If you do want to freeze lunch meat quickly, you can place the meat into a bowl of cold water and ice, while it is still in the packaging or freezer bag. With this method, you will need to change the water regularly as it needs to remain cold. You will need to keep a close eye on the meat if you are doing this. The refrigerator is still a safer method.

You can leave lunch meat in the freezer for around two months and it will still be safe to consume when defrosted. If the meat has been in the freezer for longer than two months, we would recommend throwing it away instead of eating it. Once the meat has been defrosted, it needs to be kept in the refrigerator and eaten within three days. 

Factors To Consider Before Freezing Lunch Meat?

There are a few factors that you will need to consider before freezing lunch meat.

The type of meat

The type of lunch meat you are freezing is important and does affect how the meat thaws out. Lunch meat such as salami or pepperoni that has lower water content tends to taste the best when defrosted.

If the lunch meat has higher water content, the water will leak out of the meat when defrosted to some extent. Given this, the texture and taste may be slightly different after defrosting. It is still safe to consume, however. 

How long the meat has been open

Before freezing the meat you should consider how long it has been open. Ideally, the meat should be frozen on the day of purchase when it is fresh. It can be frozen a few days later, but you will need to ensure that you are checking the use-by date.

Do not freeze meat after its use-by date as it will not be safe to eat and will increase your chances of developing a foodborne illness significantly. The fresher the meat is, the better it will taste once it has been defrosted.


We hope that this article has helped you to learn how to safely freeze and defrost lunch meat. Freezing meat is a great way to prepare meals in advance. It also means that you have lunch meat to fall back on if you run out!

It is quick and easy to do. We would recommend following our instructions closely to ensure that you are freezing and defrosting your lunch meat safely. Writing the date you need to consume the lunch meat on the freezer bags, will help you to keep track of your frozen foods more easily.