Did you know that proper fish storage is essential to keep it fresh and taste good? Storing it the wrong way also increases the risk of the fish going rancid. You don’t want to eat rotten fish! Just imagine you catch the biggest fish of your life, salivating at the thought of biting into it later, but realize you can only eat one meal that night and have no clue how long it will last and how to store it for the long term. Is it safe to eat tomorrow, next week, or next month? Let’s answer these questions and learn everything you need to know to store fresh fish for a long time.
Note: This article is not medical advice or dietary advice.
How Long Can You Store Raw and Cooked Fish?
Storing fish is a fishy business, but cooked fish is delicious. Fish n’ chips or a salmon salad are go-to meals for any food snob.
Storing fish depends on which type of fish and whether you fished it or bought it. If you purchased it, where did you buy it from? An outdoor market, an indoor supermarket or grocery store, or straight from the fish delivery truck? You might assume that a fish you caught yourself is fresher than the ones frozen or fished commercially.
How long can cooked fish stay fresh at room temperature?
Here are the facts: You should only store cooked fish at room temperature for 2 hours. After two hours, the bacteria start growing faster, so it’s best to refrigerate or freeze the fish to reduce the speed at which bacteria multiply. If there are too many bacteria, you can get sick from eating the food. Next time you go fishing, bring a cooler if you are fishing for a long time to ensure the fish stays fresh throughout.
How long does cooked fish last in the fridge?
After you cook fish and put it in your fridge, you can keep it there for up to 3-4 days, especially if you store it in an airtight container. Cooler temperatures slow the bacteria’s growth, and keeping it airtight prevents microorganisms from oxidizing the food (oxidation is when oxygen reacts with another chemical, thereby changing it). Wrapping food in a plastic glad cling wrap or aluminum foil keeps it fresh longer and retains moisture in the food, so it doesn’t dry as quickly.
But even if it’s within the 3-4 days timeframe, remember the rule of thumb: if it smells terrible, it’s probably gone bad. Many food producers around the world recommend a sniff test and a smell test and give their customers guidelines and recommendations rather than strict expiry dates, best-before dates, and use-by dates.
How long can cooked fish stay in the freezer?
Cooked fish can stay frozen for up to 6 months, but that’s not a guarantee. It depends on the type of freezer, the kind of fish, the condition of the fish, the temperature of the freezer, and whether there are outages during that time.
Also, remember that frozen food can change its taste, moisture and texture the longer it is kept in the freezer. Most people prefer to consume frozen food within 3 months, and some freezers come with guidelines and recommendations in the instruction manual about how long they can store different foods.
Always thaw the fish in a fridge and not on the kitchen counter at room temperature. Thawing in the refrigerator allows for a more balanced process, keeps it fresh, and prevents bacteria from growing too rapidly.
How long can raw fish stay in the fridge uncooked?
If your fish is uncooked, it can last in a fridge for up to two days, but eating it the first day is generally safer and keeps the taste fresh. If you have uncooked fish and don’t want to eat it within 1-2 days, you can freeze it, cook it immediately, and then keep it for 3-4 days in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer. Just like with cooked fish, use an airtight container or wrap the fish to prevent oxidation and cross-contamination of uncooked fish onto other food sources.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you eat cooked fish after 5 days?
No. Food manufacturers of fish generally do not recommend eating cooked fish after 5 days as the bacteria growth increases after 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
How do I store cooked fish in the fridge?
Put the fish in an airtight container, or wrap it in plastic glad wrap or aluminum foil which keeps it fresher and moister. It tastes better, and you prevent cross-contamination.
Can you eat cooked fish the next day?
Generally, yes, as long as you store it properly in a refrigerator. Do not store cooked fish at room temperature; it will go bad quickly.
How long does cooked cod last in the fridge?
Cooked cod can last up to 3-4 days in the fridge.
How long is cooked frozen fish good for?
Cooked frozen fish can last for up to 6 months, but for the best taste and safety, it’s recommended to consume it within the first 3 months.
Cooked fish can be delicious if you know how to prepare a nice meal, but shelf life and food storage are vital for safety when dealing with fish. Using your sense of smell and taste is an extra protection against any “fishy” food that doesn’t feel right. If you are unsure, trust your gut feeling and discard it. Better safe than sorry.