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How Long Does Salmon Last In The Fridge Before It Goes Bad?

The last thing that you want to eat is spoiled salmon. It has a limited life when stored and it is important to understand “how long does salmon last in the fridge”?

whole pink salmon

We will clarify that question and many others you might have about storing salmon.

Is Salmon Dangerous When It Goes Bad

Yes, it can be. Food poisoning, particularly from fish or seafood, can be a serious condition. The symptoms are most unpleasant and something you want to avoid at all costs. In severe cases, it can be life-threatening if not treated.

If correctly stored and prepared, salmon is a safe and delicious treat but you do not want to take any chances.

How To Store Salmon

Salmon is a tasty fish that offers multiple health benefits. It is also an extremely versatile ingredient that can be used in a range of delicious dishes. The way it is stored, however, is essential for safety.

Not only is correct seafood storage important for safety but safe storage also ensures that the nutritional benefits and flavor of often expensive salmon are preserved.

How Long Can You Safely Store Salmon?

Fresh seafood always has a bit of a risk.

Salmon comes in a range of forms so this is an important factor to consider and makes a major difference. What is also important is to check the “sell by” or “use by” dates on the packaging.

While most reputable retailers will not sell seafood stock that is out of date, it does happen. Always, always check!

What is also important is the cold chain. You want to get your salmon from the store to your fridge or freeze it as quickly as possible. Purchase it last when shopping, like you would with ice cream, and go straight home.

Let’s take a look at how long salmon can last in the fridge.

Fresh Salmon

Fresh salmon, in other words, raw salmon, is the most likely to spoil quickly. It does a bit better when still sealed in the original packaging. If stored correctly, it is safe for up to two days.

Fresh Salmon

If not refrigerated, raw salmon will only be safe for roughly 2 to 3 hours at average room temperature. Keep it in the fridge until you plan to eat it.

One way to extend the shelf life of fresh salmon is to salt it liberally to draw out excess moisture. If you know how to use this technique, you may be able to extend the storage time of fresh salmon by a few days.

Cooked Salmon

Once the salmon has been cooked it will last a bit longer. Cooked salmon lasts a good 4 to 5 days in the fridge once cooked. Naturally, salmon in the fridge must be cooked before the expiration date and stored correctly. We will discuss storage in more detail further on.

Much will depend on how fresh the salmon was when it was cooked. You need to consider this if you want your salmon fresher.

Leftover salmon should be treated the same way as cooked salmon.

Frozen Salmon

You can freeze salmon for later use. If done correctly, It can last up to two months without risk or deterioration.

Frozen salmon raw red salmon

By “done correctly” we mean that it is frozen soon after purchase and before the expiration date. It is also important that it is still in the original packaging when you are freezing the product.

If you purchase the salmon frozen and keep it at the correct temperature, salmon in the freezer can last up to a year. That is, provided it is properly stored.

Thawed Salmon

Once the frozen salmon has been thawed, it should be used immediately. It will be safe in the fridge for a day or two after thawing from the freezer. This refers to naturally thawed salmon.

If you defrost it in water or a microwave, you should cook immediately. It is then safe for another two to three days in the fridge.

You can freeze the salmon again but try to remove all of the excess moisture. You want to pat dry to ensure the best quality and nutritional value.

Canned Salmon

Canned salmon is typically safe for 5 to 8 months. You want to avoid excessive heat and light for correct storage and increased shelf life.

Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon should typically be treated the same way as cooked salmon. It does not have to be eaten immediately.

If, however, it is purchased before the sell-by date and kept in the original vacuum-sealed bag, it can last 2 to 3 weeks in a fridge.

It can also be frozen for up to three months. Any edges that have become a bit flaky can simply be trimmed off once the salmon has thawed out.

Increase The Lifespan Of Frozen Salmon

Proper storage is critical. One way to extend the life of frozen salmon or cooked salmon is to use a freezer bag (ideally even a vacuum-sealed bag – see the photo below), freezer paper, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap. You place this over the original unopened package. Vacuum sealed salmon will last quite well.

Frozen salmon fillets in a vacuum package

This will ensure the salmon does not get freezer burn and keep it fresh a bit longer. Alternatively, use an airtight container for peak freshness.

The best temperature for frozen salmon is 0 degrees Fahrenheit. As always, check the sell-by date before you buy salmon, and do not leave salmon at room temperature for too long. That is a big no-no.

Does Freezing Ruin Salmon?

Many people believe that salmon that has been frozen is not good. While it might not quite as succulent as good fresh salmon it works well and will extend the life of your salmon. Ensure that you wrap it correctly and freeze the fish before it is bad.

Once thawed out it can be used as you would with fresh salmon. You can also freeze cooked salmon. It might lose a bit of color and texture but will retain the taste as well as the nutritional value.

How To Cook Salmon That Has Been Frozen

Salmon fillet or sliced salmon in the freezer should be thawed before cooking. You want to ensure that you reach a safe and optimal internal temperature of at least 145° Fahrenheit.

You can thaw the salmon in the microwave or under cold water. The best way to do it is to simply leave salmon in the fridge overnight.

There are many ways to enjoy salmon and it is a quick and easy, tasty, and healthy choice.

Raw salmon is a popular component in many sushi dishes. This is one of the best ways to enjoy fresh salmon.

Cooked salmon, especially salmon fillets, make an excellent meal. It is easy to cook and requires little to no preparation. There are thousands of scrumptious recipes and dishes you can make.

How To Tell If Salmon Is Safe Or Bad?

Before assessing if salmon is bad, you want to ensure you have followed the above guidelines. If you buy and store the salmon correctly you will have a good idea of how long the salmon will be safe.

With fresh salmon, you will need to use your nose, a bit of observation, and instinct. The smell is the first thing that will alert you if the salmon is past its time. If it smells bad it probably is. It will smell sour or have an exceptionally fishy smell.

The texture of a bad salmon is somewhat slimy and it will appear to be grey or dull compared to fresh salmon. You want to observe clear white lines. When you press into the flesh of the salmon you want it to bounce back to shape. If it does not it could be an indication that it is past its prime.

Salmon is relatively expensive so you do not want to waste it. At the same time, it is not worth the risk of eating salmon that is no longer good. Take the time to check before you use the salmon.

How To Buy Fresh Salmon

How you store fresh or frozen fish is important but the first step is to buy quality fish. This will ensure that you get the right shelf life for your seafood.

buying fresh salmon

The process is similar to checking if your salmon is fresh but you might not be able to smell it as you would at home. You will have to rely more on feel and observation.

What you want to look for is a fish with a good orange to red color with white lines and some marbling. If not vacuum packed, give it the press test. The salmon fillet or fish slices should be firm and return to their original state.

Avoid any salmon that is flakey, cracked, or dry. The fish color is also important so stay away from salmon that has started to grey. A slimy texture is a sure sign that the salmon is bad.

Most stores’ fresh salmon is typically flash-frozen at first. The shop will then defrost salmon. This is not a cause for worry but needs to be considered.

If you are able to smell the salmon, this is always a good test. Anything that smells sour or fishy is probably a bit old.

The best way to buy quality fresh salmon is directly from the people that catch it. This will obviously depend on where you live but if you can, this is a great option. Still, take care to ensure you are getting fresh salmon for a delicious flavor.

Buying Frozen Salmon

This can be a bit more tricky. The salmon is normally vacuum-packed or at the least, tightly wrapped. You will not be able to smell the fish or use the push test. The first step is to check the dates on the packaging. It also helps to source your fish from a trustworthy supplier.

When you thaw salmon and remove it from the packaging you want to inspect the salmon carefully. The fish will never be the same as fresh salmon but should still have a good bright color and not an overpowering smell.

Farmed Or Wild Salmon?

Most salmon you will come across, especially raw salmon, is farmed. This is not a major issue and is still a tasty and delightful treat. Most farmed salmon is known as Atlantic salmon, despite where it is raised.

Wild salmon tends to be a bit more expensive. Both options are delicious and versatile. Work with what you can get.

What Are The Symptoms Of Food Poisoning?

Symptoms range depending on the person as well as how bad the case is. The most common symptoms are:

  • Stomach cramp/ abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever/high temperature

You will naturally lose your appetite when suffering from food poisoning and it is important to keep hydrated and nourished. You will also feel weak and tired. If the symptoms are bad or persist for more than a day or two consult your doctor.

One tiny bite when salmon is bad could lead to disaster. It does not matter if it is raw salmon, smoked salmon, or cooked salmon, you should avoid it if it has gone bad.

Health Benefits Of Salmon

Salmon is a delicious fish that is easy to cook. It also offers many benefits for your health. Salmon is high in omega-3, a healthy fatty acid. This can help to reduce the risk of heart disease. It is also known to be good for skin, hormonal balance, brain functioning, and joints.

It has protective qualities thanks to astaxanthin, an antioxidant. Many reports indicate the fish helps with the aging process. It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Final Thoughts

Salmon fillets or sliced raw salmon and even cooked salmon have a limited life. Buying right and correct food storage are essential. We hope this article has explained how to do this and also how to tell if salmon is bad.

That way, you can enjoy the nutritious and delicious benefits without any risk.

About the Author Sabrina

Sabrina is our head writer and expert researcher. She spends countless hours of research on each topic or product she writes about. She also tests products and recipes when she can and is known as a kitchen appliance junkie who is always trying new gadgets. Plus, she's a fairly decent cook above all else!

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