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How Long Does Pastrami Last? Does Pastrami Go Bad?

Pastrami is a cured meat that tastes delicious.

It’s traditionally served on rye bread with mustard or horseradish sauce but can be used in many different dishes.

Today, pastrami can be found on many grocery store shelves and at delis all over America.

This article will cover how long pastrami lasts, how to store it and how you can tell if it’s bad.

What is Pastrami?

what is pastrami

Pastrami is a smoked, cured beef that originated in the Ottoman Empire.

It can be made from either fresh or salt-cured meat and then immersed in hot spices such as peppercorn, paprika, and coriander.

Pastrami typically has an exterior of yellow mustard with visible pepper seeds sprinkled on top for added flavor.

The process usually takes about two weeks to complete, but many pastramis are smoked over cherry wood which adds intense coloration to smoke flavoring.

Other additions may include garlic, onion powder, and celery seed, among others, depending on the preference of the cook/chef preparing the dish after completion of curing time (Wikipedia).

Pastrami can be used as sandwich meat, for appetizers, and in salads.

It is typically served cold but can be heated to different degrees of temperature depending on preference.

How to Store Pastrami?

how to store pastrami

Sometimes the pastrami you buy may not be sliced to the thickness that you want.

Use these tips for storing it, so the meat stays fresh and juicy, but there’s no waste.

  • If your pastrami is too thick and doesn’t fit in a sandwich, allow it to cook all of the ways through first before slicing as thinly as possible.
  • If you’re going to be eating the pastrami in a few days, wrap it tightly with plastic and store it on the fridge’s bottom shelf.
  • Or you can store it in an airtight container and place it in the crisper of your fridge.
  • Don’t leave the pastrami at room temperature for longer than a day or two.
  • And if it’s not going to be eaten within the next week, freeze it for up to three months.
  • When you’re ready to eat the pastrami frozen, thaw in a refrigerator and then cook as usual before eating.
  • The whole point of freezing is that when you need some later on down the road – it’ll stay fresh until then.

If your family likes deli sandwiches with thick slices of meat piled high, wrap the leftover pieces in aluminum foil and store these wrapped leftovers in an airtight container or a freezer bag up high so that they are easy to reach from inside of the refrigerator door shelf.

Use these tips for storing your pastrami at home so that you don’t have wasted portions.

If there are any leftovers after finishing off.

How Long Does Pastrami Last?

how long does pastrami last

We all know that the best pastrami sandwich is one you never have to refrigerate.

But, since not everyone has a deli in their kitchen or lives close to an authentic Jewish delicatessen, we’ve put together some guidelines you can follow at home for storing and using your purchases of this flavorful treat.

Pastrami lasts about three days in the refrigerator before it starts showing signs of spoilage, like moldy patches on its surface or sour smells emanating from it.

However, if wrapped properly, old-fashioned beef pastrami can last up to five days without spoiling if stored well.

If you don’t plan on eating all of your pastrami soon after purchase – and want an added layer of protection against spoilage – you can freeze it.

Wrap the pastrami in foil or freezer paper, and then place it inside a Ziploc bag to protect against leaks.

Pastrami is best when eaten cold or at room temperature, so if you plan on thawing your meat before eating it, take care not to refreeze any leftovers after cooking.

Properly frozen pastrami can last up to a year in the freezer before it starts showing signs of spoilage.

How to Tell if Pastrami is Bad?

how to tell if pastrami is bad

The last thing you want to do is eat a spoiled pastrami sandwich.

The easiest way you can tell if the meat has gone bad or not safe for consumption is by looking at it and smelling it BEFORE adding any condiments like mustard or mayonnaise.

If there is a slimy, wet film on the meat or oozing liquid/gunk from any part of the package, I would not recommend eating pastrami.

If the pastrami has a strong odor that is not pleasant, I would also recommend not consuming the meat.

A pastrami sandwich might still be safe to eat if it only has an unpleasant smell but does not have any slime dripping from the package or off of pieces of meat located on its edges.

If you are unsure and want to err on the side of caution, throw out your pastrami.

That way, there will be no risk for food poisoning.

Otherwise, enjoy that tasty sandwich with confidence, knowing that this step has been completed successfully.


In conclusion, the pastrami is a cured, smoked beef that typically has spices and seasonings added to it.

The best way to preserve pastrami is in the freezer or fridge since this will kill any bacteria living on its surface.

If you plan to store your pastrami for longer than six months, then be sure to place it in an airtight container with a date on it.

Keep these tips in mind when shopping for pastrami, and you will never have to worry about whether it is bad.

Yield: 1 Serving

How Long Does Pastrami Last? Does Pastrami Go Bad?

how long does pastrami last
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Pastrami
  • Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags
  • Labels and markers


  1. Read the guide thoroughly to learn how long it lasts.
  2. Label your container with the content and date and keep track of how much you're using!
  3. Make sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (pantry or fridge).

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