Does Salami Need to Be Refrigerated? Does It Go Bad?

Does Salami Need to Be Refrigerated?

Salami is a relatively popular and versatile food that’s commonly used as an addition to sandwiches. But does salami need to be refrigerated? It depends on the type of salami and whether or not it’s been opened. Dry-cured salami can last for a long time if left unopened, while cooked salami does not last nearly as long. Regardless, refrigeration is very important to preserving salami, especially when it is opened.

This article will discuss how to store salami properly, how long is salami good for in the fridge, and other important things to know about dry-cured and cooked salami.

Types of Salamis & Why Some Need to be Refrigerated?

Generally, there are two types of salami – the dry-cured salami and the cooked salami. While the cooked salami needs to be refrigerated, dry-cured salami does not necessarily have to be refrigerated. Dry-cured salami is cured by adding salt and spices and subjecting the meat to drying and fermentation for a set period of time. This process considerably reduces the likelihood of bacteria growing inside the salami.

Dry Cured Salami

Dry-cured salami is also known as hard or dry salami. It is cured by adding salt, nitrates, and spices and left to dry for weeks or months. The process dehydrates and slows down the growth of decay-causing bacteria while encouraging good bacteria growth. This is why dry salami lasts longer than other salamis.

If left unopened, dry-cured salami will remain good for up to six weeks unrefrigerated and for much longer when refrigerated. However, when dry is opened and cut, it becomes exposed to bacteria and won’t last as long as it would if left unopened.

Dry salami is arguably the most popular salami type in many locations, with popular examples including the Genoa salami, the French salami, Pepperoni, and Soppressata.

Cooked Salami

With cooked salami, the meat and other ingredients are cooked or smoked in a casing. It is not uncommon for cooked salami to be cured and fermented after cooking, but most variants are only cooked. The lack of curing predisposes cooked salami to rapid bacterial growth, and as a result, it has lower shelf life than dry sausage.

Cooked sausage will only last for about two weeks when refrigerated and unopened and about one week after opening. Freezing is the only way to make cooked sausage last relatively longer.

Does Uncured Salami Need to Be Refrigerated?

The salami that’s not fermented and cured should be refrigerated, but generally, salami is shelf-stable and can stay good for some time without refrigeration. However, this remains true only when the salami is whole and unopened.

When salami is cut or sliced, it becomes predisposed to bacteria and can go bad very quickly as soon as it is cut. The fermentation and curing process that dry salami goes through makes it less likely for bacteria to grow easily, unlike uncured cooked salami. 

Also read: Do Hotdogs Need to Be Refrigerated?

Does Sliced Salami Have to Be Refrigerated?

Once you slice into salami, the protective casing becomes compromised, and the meat becomes exposed to harmful bacteria. Note that harmful bacteria growth in salami can be rapid at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F. To prevent this, sliced salami should be refrigerated within two hours of slicing.

How Long Can Sliced Salami Stay Unrefrigerated?

How long sliced salami can stay unrefrigerated depends on a couple of factors, but generally, you shouldn’t leave out sliced salami for more than two hours before refrigerating. You may wonder if you can leave out sliced salami overnight, but this is strictly not recommended.

While the smell and look might remain pretty much the same, you can’t be sure of the bacterial growth level inside the meat. Eating it puts you at the risk of food poisoning and related health issues, so the safest option is to throw out sliced salami that’s been left out for more than a couple of hours.

What Happens if You Eat Bad Salami?

Eating bad salami puts you at the risk of food poisoning and several other health issues. Nausea, diarrhea, and fever are other symptoms you could experience when you ingest bad salami. To avoid getting food poisoning from salami, you should properly store/refrigerate your salami and learn how to identify salami that’s gone bad. Some signs that could indicate that salami has gone bad include:

Color Change

It is pretty common to see white mold growing on salami. That’s the good bacteria that prevent harmful bacteria from growing. When salami starts to spoil and bad bacteria start developing, you may see black, brown, green, or other distinct spots and growth on the salami.


When salami goes bad, it can be pretty easy to tell from the kind of texture it has. Generally, good salami should not be too hard or too soft, and an extra hard, extra wet, or slimy texture could mean that salami is no longer safe to ingest.


It is not always easy to tell bad salami by smell because its typical smell is quite distinct. Considering the fact that good salami has natural mold growth, the acidic and cheesy smell is to be expected. Nevertheless, if salami gives off an awful smell, somewhat like a rotten egg of sewage, it’s probably a sign that it has gone bad and should be thrown out.

Also read: Does Cheesecake Need to Be Refrigerated?

How Long Can You Eat Salami After Opening?

How long you can eat salami after opening depends on the type of salami and whether or not you refrigerate.

Dry Salami

According to USDA safety recommendations, dry salami can last for up to three weeks in the refrigerator when it’s opened, but it will last for much longer when unopened. However, it isn’t safe to leave opened salami unrefrigerated, as it can go bad in just a matter of hours.

Cooked Salami

Cooked salami has a very low shelf life compared to dry-cured salami, and it should always be refrigerated whether it’s opened or unopened. After opening, cooked salami can remain safe to eat for up to one week if it is refrigerated, and when unopened, it can stay good for up to two weeks in the fridge. 

Can You Eat Warm Salami?

While salami can be eaten without cooking or warming it, you warm it up when the recipe calls for it. The fermentation and cooking processes prevent bacterial growth on salami, so you can eat it cold if it’s been properly stored. Nevertheless, if your personal preference is warm salami or if you’re adding it to a hot dish, then it’s perfectly ok to eat warm salami.

How Do You Dry Salami?

Making salami may not be the most straightforward thing to do with meat, but with the correct information, attention to detail, and practice, you can master the art in no time. Here’s the process to follow when making dry salami:

  • The first step is to grind and mix your meat based on the recipe you’re going with.
  • Next, add the bacterial culture and mix. Note that chlorinated water can prevent the culture from growing, so distilled water is advised.
  • Stuff the meat mixture into the casing
  • To properly monitor the progress of the drying process, note and record the starting weight of your salami.
  • Next, you can hang the meat to incubate for about two to three days. This process allows the bacterial culture to reproduce well enough and ensures a PH level that will prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. The best temperature for this is between 65 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Now you need to dry the sausages and turn them into salami. To do this, hang them in a controlled temperature area of 50 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit with about 70% humidity.
  • Pay attention to the salami during the drying process and keep an eye on the temperature level and humidity. Mold growth is a regular occurrence when curing salami, and what you want is enough good mold growing and subduing harmful mold on your salami. 
  • Good mold generally looks like white chalk, and as the meat begins to cure, you’ll notice it covering parts of the meat. In addition to subduing bad mold, good mold prevents case hardening in the meat and helps retain moisture.


So, does salami need to be refrigerated? It depends on the type of salami and whether it’s opened or unopened. Dry-cured salami tends to last much longer than cooked salami, but generally, salami doesn’t remain in good condition for long after it is opened. Refrigeration is very important to prevent and slow down bad bacteria growth in salamis. Whether you’re dealing with pre-packaged or homemade salami, make sure to refrigerate if you hope to keep it safe for consumption.

Leave a Comment