Cured vs. Uncured Bacon: What’s the Difference?

We’d be hard-pressed to find many people who don’t love bacon—it’s an incredibly popular food, and can be added to a variety of dishes to give them an extra kick. But when it comes to selecting the type of bacon you prefer, you may not know the difference between cured and uncured bacon. Are they exactly the same? Or is there a difference? Let’s take a close look at the two to understand their unique characteristics.

What Exactly is Cured Bacon?

Cured bacon is bacon that has been processed with salt, added sugars, nitrates, and other compounds to give it a distinctive flavor and to extend its shelf life. The curing process enables it to stay fresh for a longer period of time without spoiling, as opposed to uncured bacon, which does not have the same preservations and has a shorter shelf life.

Advantages of Cured Bacon

Cured bacon has a few advantages to consider.

• Flavour: Cured bacon has a sweeter and saltier flavor than uncured bacon.
• Longer shelf-life: Cured bacon can last in the refrigerator for up to 6 months without spoiling, whereas uncured bacon will go bad in about a month.
• Easier to cook: The curing process reduces the amount of fat in cured bacon, which helps it cook more evenly.

Disadvantages of Cured Bacon

In addition to its advantages, cured bacon also has some notable drawbacks.

• Added preservatives: Cured bacon contains preservatives that some people may want to avoid in their food, such as nitrates, sodium erythorbate, etc.
• Greater sodium content: Cured bacon has a much higher sodium content than uncured bacon due to the curing process.
• Risk of botulism: The potential for botulism does exist with cured bacon, as the preservatives used in the curing process can provide a breeding ground for the bacteria.

What Exactly is Uncured Bacon?

Uncured bacon is bacon that has been processed without any added nitrates or preservatives—meaning that it has a much shorter shelf life than cured bacon and must be consumed within a month of purchase. It’s often made with natural ingredients such as sea salt, and is therefore considered a healthier alternative to its cured counterpart.

Advantages of Uncured Bacon

Here are some of the advantages to consider when looking at uncured bacon.

• No preservatives: Because there are no added nitrates or preservatives in uncured bacon, it’s a much healthier option than cured bacon.
• Lower sodium content: Uncured bacon has a naturally lower sodium content than cured bacon, making it the better choice for people watching their sodium intake.
• Natural flavor: Uncured bacon has a more natural flavor due to the natural ingredients and lack of preservatives, which many people prefer.

Disadvantages of Uncured Bacon

Of course, uncured bacon comes with some drawbacks as well.

• Short shelf-life: Uncured bacon has a much shorter shelf-life than cured bacon, meaning that any leftovers must be frozen or consumed within a month.
• Can be difficult to cook: Since there is more fat in uncured bacon, it can be more difficult to cook evenly.
• Can be expensive: Since it’s not as widely available as cured bacon, uncured bacon can be more expensive to purchase.

Cured vs. Uncured Bacon: Which is Better?

When it comes down to it, deciding which type of bacon is better is largely a matter of personal preference. If you’re looking for a bacon that has a longer shelf-life, then cured bacon is probably the better option; but if you’re looking for a healthier alternative, then uncured bacon is the way to go.

Ultimately, it all comes down to what you’re looking for in bacon. Do you care more about the flavor and shelf-life? Or are you looking for a bacon with fewer preservatives and a more natural flavor? Whichever option you choose, it really comes down to personal preference.

Cured and uncured bacon have a few key differences that make them both worthwhile options for many different dishes. While cured bacon is more widely available and has a longer shelf life, uncured bacon has fewer preservatives, a more natural flavor, and is healthier overall. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference and what you’re looking for in a bacon.