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How Long Can Salmon Stay In the Fridge?

Plus, can you freeze salmon?

<p>Dotdash Meredith Food Studios</p>

Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Salmon is a delicious, versatile, and nutritious protein staple. While there are many ways to cook salmon, you may want to try a different salmon recipe or eat something entirely different at the next meal. So what should you do with the whole salmon or the salmon fillets you bought in bulk and the cooked salmon you batch-prepped? Read on to find out how long salmon lasts in the fridge (and when it’s time to toss it).

How Long Does Salmon Last In the Fridge?

How long salmon lasts in the fridge depends on its state before being placed in the fridge, the storage conditions, and how it was handled at the time of storage.

How Long Does Raw Salmon Last In the Fridge?

The USDA recommends consuming raw salmon in the fridge within 1 to 2 days. The fridge's temperature is also important — make sure it is set to 40 degrees F or below.

<p>ALLRECIPES / DIANA CHISTRUGA</p>

ALLRECIPES / DIANA CHISTRUGA

How Long Does Cooked Salmon Last In the Fridge?

Under the same refrigeration conditions, cooked salmon will last 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Cooked salmon only lasts a couple of days more than its raw counterparts, as the temperature in the refrigerator only slows down bacterial growth and spoilage.

If you plan to reheat the baked salmon from last night's dinner, don't panic when you see white stuff oozing out of the fish. This is albumin, a liquid protein that has solidified during cooking. It’s flavorless and only indicates that the fish may be overcooked.

Allison TX
Allison TX

How Long Does Smoked Salmon Last In the Fridge?

Smoked salmon has a longer shelf life than raw and cooked varieties. However, it also doesn’t last forever. Smoked salmon's shelf life varies, depending on how it is smoked and packaged.

When the smoked salmon is sealed in its original packaging, cold smoked salmon can last anywhere from two weeks to one month in the fridge. Vacuum-packed cold smoked salmon will last a bit longer than smoked salmon stored in a different container. Both varieties can last up to one year in the freezer.

Photo: Cara Cormack/Food: Alice Ostan/Allrecipes
Photo: Cara Cormack/Food: Alice Ostan/Allrecipes

How to Store Salmon

Whether the salmon is raw, smoked, or cooked, you should never leave the fish at room temperature for over two hours.

If you plan to eat your salmon right away, you can leave it in its (sealed) original packaging in the fridge until prep time. If you have multiple pieces of salmon in bulk, you can divide them into portions and place them into food-grade sealable bags or airtight containers. Depending on when you plan to use the fish, you can store them in the fridge for up to two days or in the freezer to extend their freshness.

<p>KGORA</p>

KGORA

Can You Freeze Salmon?

Salmon and other types of seafood can be stored in the freezer indefinitely, per the USDA. The downside is that the texture and flavor could deteriorate the longer they are frozen and thawed.

To avoid freezer burn, use a paper towel to pat down the fish's extra moisture before placing them in a food-grade bag or an airtight container. Making sure any excess air is removed also helps slow down spoilage. Date your salmon-containing bags or containers so you know when you made the purchase — it’s always best to follow the first-in-first-out method.

When the salmon is stored in the freezer under 0 degrees F, it should stay at peak freshness for two to three months.

How to Thaw Salmon

When you are ready to cook the salmon, defrost them by placing them in the fridge overnight, using the cold water thawing method or using the microwave.

  • If you decide to use the cold water method, place the food package completely in water and change the water every 30 minutes until it is thawed.

  • Using the microwave to thaw salmon may be a timesaver. Make sure to remove the raw fish from its packaging and place it in a microwave-safe dish.

No matter how you thaw the salmon, it's important to cook it properly — there is a risk of bacteria growth during the thawing process, but cooking the food thoroughly will take care of it.

<p>Dotdash Meredith Food Studios</p>

Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

How to Tell When Salmon Is Bad

As much as you might want to keep your fish for a future recipe, perishable foods like salmon don't last forever.

Aside from mold growth that gives a clear indication of spoilage, here are some other signs the fish may have gone bad:

  • The flesh might look dulled, gray, or appear bruised, slimy, or mushy.

  • If you’re working with a whole fish, the gills may have gone brown or the eyes look cloudy.

  • The scent of the fish also tells you whether the fish has gone bad. Fresh salmon doesn’t smell fishy, but spoiled salmon might have a strong fishy and ammonia scent. If the odor seems off at any time, throwing the fish out is best.

Since fish can also harbor pathogenic bacteria, parasites, and viruses that can make you sick, following a thorough clean-up procedure is essential to lower the risk of cross-contamination.

After handling raw salmon, clean up any countertops, surfaces, dishes, and utensils with which the fish has come in contact with hot, soapy water. Sanitizing these surfaces, dishes, and utensils or placing the utensils into the dishwasher could also destroy any germs. 

Read the original article on All Recipes.