How Long Does Guanciale Last? – You Should Need to Know

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Do you love cooking with guanciale? This delicious Italian pork product is a great way to add flavor to your dishes. It has a rich, fatty flavor and is used in many Italian dishes. But how long does guanciale last?

The answer is tricky, guanciale’s lifespan depends on its freshness while buying and how you store it. Usually, you should eat guanciale in 6 months, but it may last up to 3 years if you store it in a sealed glass container in the freezer. The solid piece usually lasts longer than the sliced piece.

This article will discuss how to store guanciale and how long it will last if properly refrigerated. We will also provide tips on freezing any leftover guanciale before it goes bad.

Storing ProcessTime
Wrapped and kept in room temperature10 days to 2 weeks
RefrigeratorUp to six months
FreezerUp to three years

How Long Does Guanciale Last?

How Long Does Guanciale Last

Guanciale is made from pig’s cheeks and is known for its rich, fatty flavor. You can eat guanciale fresh or aged. Many people, in fact, believe that it only gets better with age.

But how long can I store Guanciale?

It might be your foremost concern if you have bought guanciale in bulk.

The shelf life of guanciale depends on how you store it. If you keep it in a cool, dry place, it can last up to a year. However, if you store it in a humid environment, it will spoil more quickly. 

Most commercial brands of guanciale have a shelf life of six months to one year. After that, the flavor of the meat may begin to degrade, and it will no longer be suitable for eating.

Commercial brands such as Alma Gourmet Italian Guanciale and Licini Guanciale will get you six to 12 months of shelf life.

Also, remember that a solid piece of guanciale will last longer than any sliced piece because sliced guanciale may contaminate with bacteria more quickly than solid ones.

Again it all depends on storing process.

How To Store Guanciale?

How To Store Guanciale

While the countryside farmers preserve guanciale in a cool, ventilated area, it is best to store in a freezer. However, you may also store it in a refrigerator.

The best way to store it is wrapped tightly in butcher paper or plastic wrap and put it in the freezer or refrigerator. If you want to store it for longer, you should store it in the freezer.

Whether you want to preserve it in a freezer or refrigerator, place the wrapped guanciale in a container with a tight-fitting lid. The best containers for storing meat are glass ones with a Snap-On lid. You can also use a plastic container such as GladWare, or individual freezer bags.

How Do You Freeze Guanciale?

How Do You Freeze Guanciale

Should I freeze Guanciale?

Yes, you should. You can freeze guanciale by wrapping it in plastic wrap and then placing it in a container. However, if you are placing it in a plastic bag, make sure to remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing it. Guanciale can be stored in the freezer for up to one year.

Some chefs also say that most guanciale may up to last three years in the freeze if you seal the container properly.

You can refreeze it once it has been frozen. To speed up the defrosting process, you can place the bag of guanciale into a bowl of warm water. Keep the water level to a minimum, and don’t let it get too hot, or you will risk losing the nutrients in the meat.

Tips To Freeze Guanciale

As guanciale is cured meat, it has a definitive shelf life. Hence, freezing will not increase the storage life significantly. But you can follow some tips to prevent your guanciale going bad.

  • Freeze the guanciale whole instead of cutting it into pieces. Freezing guanciale whole makes it much easier to slice out and use as needed. Just remove the wrap, and cut it into small pieces according to your needs. And then wrap it up again.
  • If you prefer to freeze the small pieces, choose your cuts wisely. Make sure the meat you choose is cut into large enough pieces that it will freeze well. Thin slices will not freeze well, while thicker slices will.
  • Read the instructions. The guanciale packages will always contain the storage instruction. So, it is important to read the instructions properly before you store them. The storage instruction will assure you that your guanciale will remain fresh.

How Long Does Guanciale Last Once Open?

You can store guanciale in the fridge for up to 6 months after opening. But you have to make sure that you store it in air-tight or vacuum-sealed bags.

Six months is a good enough time to eat your guanciale, even if you eat it once in a while. If you have a small family, we recommend buying a small piece of guanciale such as 2lbs.

Does Guanciale Expire?

Guanciale is an Italian delicacy that is pretty challenging to get in the US. So, obviously, if you get your hand on it, you would like to enjoy it as long as possible.

As we know, guanciale is a cured meat that is cured for about three weeks and matured for three months to get the final outcome. All the fats melt away during the curing process, but you will get the fatty flavor.

However, it’s cured; it doesn’t imply guanciale can’t expire.

Like all cured meats, guanciale does have an expiration date. And, it may go bad for many reasons.

Why Guanciale May Go Bad?

Like all cured meats, guanciale is preserved through salting, smoking, or drying in a controlled environment. This controlled environment prevents the growth of bacteria that would otherwise cause the meat to spoil. 

However, if not stored properly, guanciale can go bad. Several reasons are there.

  • If too much moisture is in the air, the meat will sweat, and the salt will draw out the moisture from the meat, causing it to become dry and hard.
  • If the temperature is too hot, the fat in the meat will melt and turn rancid.
  • If you store it in a freezer, the moisture in the air may cause the meat to freezer burn.

Hence, proper storage is key to preventing them from going bad.

How Do You Know if Guanciale Gone Bad?

How Do You Know if Guanciale Gone Bad

Guanciale can go bad if it is not stored correctly. Storing it in a humid environment will make it moldy, whereas if you keep it in a dry place, it can become hard and dry.

If you are unsure whether your guanciale has gone bad, you can try smelling it. If it smells sour or rancid, it has gone bad, and you should throw it away.

In addition, text the surface of the meat. If you see any mold or changed texture, you should trash it without a second thought.

Can You Eat Raw Guanciale?

Raw guanciale, or cured pork jowl, is a traditional ingredient in Italian cuisine. It has a sweet, savory, buttery flavor and a firm texture, which makes it a desirable delicacy.

In fact, many chefs – home or professional – use it in pasta dishes and salads.

However, you are cooking guanciale while making pasta and other dishes; you can eat it raw if it is dry cured. However, if you are not sure if it is dry cured or not, cook it to stay on the safe side so that the flavor isn’t too intense.


  • Can You Use Pancetta as Guanciale Substitute?

Pancetta is also made from pork, but it is cured belly meat. However, the preparation is very similar to the guanciale. Hence, both tastes almost the same, and you can use pancetta as a guanciale substitute.

But pancetta’s storage time is not the same as the guanciale.

Smoked pancetta can last in the fridge for up to three weeks. However, it is best consumed within a week of being purchased. Pancetta is seasoned with salt, pepper, and other spices. It is then cured and smoked.

The storage process is similar to guanciale. In addition to that, if you want to store leftover loose dice of pancetta, make sure you keep them in a sealed container.

Final Words

So, how long does guanciale last?

Guanciale is a sweet, savory, buttery pork jewel best enjoyed fresh. It can last six to three years. But we recommend not storing for more than a year. However, if you want to relish it longer, keep the meat in the freezer in an air-less glass container.

Guanciale is a delicious and versatile pork cheek cut, perfect for any occasion. So, if you want something special to serve at a dinner party, consider cooking up some guanciale.