Vienna sausages are a popular canned snack food. They are typically made with beef, pork, and chicken. While they are tasty and work well with a variety of meals, you may not know exactly how to store them. Are they shelf stable? Do you need refrigerate them?

Vienna sausages only need to be refrigerated after they are opened. Because they are a commercially-canned item, they can be stored on shelves until they are opened. The canning process safely seals the sausages so that no bacteria are able to grow. However, they should be stored in the refrigerator once opened to prolong their usability.

Keep reading to learn more about how to store Vienna sausages, how to cook them, and if they’re a healthy snack option.

D​o Vienna Sausages Need To Be Refrigerated?

cans of Vienna sausage on display

Vienna sausages are a canned meat, which means that they don’t need to be refrigerated until they’re opened. Canned meats are cooked under high pressure and heat to kill any bacteria or disease, then thoroughly sealed to prevent any future bacteria from growing.

T​his process of sealing meats allows them to be shelf-stable for a very long period. While home-canned foods have shelf life of a year or two, commercially-canned foods like Vienna sausages can last even longer, up to five years or more.

However, once they have been opened, the Vienna sausages are no longer protected from bacteria, so they need to be stored in the refrigerator and used as quickly as possible. The refrigerator keeps the sausage at a temperature too cold for many bacteria to grow, but the sausages will eventually spoil.

I​t’s important to put your sausages into a glass or plastic storage container when moving them to the fridge. This is because the metal from the can contains chemicals that can seep into the sausages. These chemicals can be harmful to your health and make the sausages taste bad, too; putting them in a fridge-safe container eliminates both of these issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

H​ow Long Does Vienna Sausage Last Unopened?

Because Vienna sausages are canned, they last a long time as long as they’re unopened. Like many other canned foods, they will last over a year without losing any flavor or nutrition. In fact, they can last up to five years without deteriorating in quality. That’s some seriously long-lasting meat!

T​here’s an easy way to help your unopened sausages last even longer. All you need to do is store them in a cool, dark area in your home.

Ideally, the temperature shouldn’t reach any higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit or lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Protecting the sausages from light and extreme temperatures will prolong the seal, keeping them tasty and safe as long as possible.

H​ow Do You Store Vienna Sausages?

While unopen, you can store your Vienna sausages in their metal cans on your pantry shelves. They’ll stay good for up to five years.

However, once you open them, you need to transfer them out of the metal can and place them in a securely-covered plastic or glass storage dish in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can store them in the freezer in freezer-safe storage containers.

While it may seem silly to not store them in their metal can, it’s a matter of safety. Once you open the seal on the Vienna sausage can, toxic chemicals from the metal are able to come into contact with the sausages, negatively impacting both their taste and quality.

D​o Vienna Sausages Need To Be Cooked?

W​hen Vienna sausages go through the canning process, they are cooked thoroughly. Because of this, they’re safe to eat straight out of the can. However, since most people prefer them warm, you can cook them on the stove or in the microwave.

T​here’s no rule of thumb for exactly how long you should cook Vienna sausages. They’re safe to eat at whatever temperature you prefer.

A​re Vienna Sausages The Same As Hot Dogs?

Vienna sausages and hot dogs are very similar. They include many of the same ingredients, such as chicken, pork, and beef. However, Vienna sausages are smaller and typically softer than traditional hot dogs.

O​f course, Vienna sausages and hot dogs are also stored differently. Vienna sausages are a canned meat, while hot dogs are stored in air-tight packaging in the refrigerated section at the grocery store. While they may taste similar, they’re usually used in different scenarios.

I​s Vienna Sausage Good For Diabetics?

N​o matter how good Vienna sausage tastes, those who are diabetic should refrain from regularly adding them to their diet. They are high in fat and salt, two ingredients that are detrimental to diabetics. While they don’t have a high sugar content, the large amounts of salt and fat can cause health issues in the long run.