Have you ever wondered how long salmon can stay fresh in the fridge? Knowing how to properly store fresh, frozen, canned, thawed, smoked or even marinated salmon can make all the difference in being able to enjoy it safely.
We’ve all been there. You buy that gorgeous filet of vibrant red, fresh salmon with the best intentions of making it that night. Then something pops up and ruins your plans. A day or two roll around and you may find yourself wondering - can I even still eat that beautiful fish? How long does salmon actually last in the refrigerator?
I love salmon for so many reasons. It’s super versatile, delicious, and great when baked, poached, grilled, fried - you name it! Not to mention the health benefits - those omega-3 fatty acids? My whole body thanks me when I consume this fish. But, salmon has a bit of a shorter shelf life than other proteins and it’s important to understand how long it can safely remain in the fridge, whether it’s fresh, thawed, cooked, canned, smoked, or even marinated.
Read below for a complete guide on how long salmon will stay in the fridge, no matter what type of salmon you’re making.
The best type of salmon to consume (in my opinion!), there’s nothing like the taste of freshly prepared salmon. Raw or fresh salmon will last in the fridge for up to 2 days before starting to spoil. When buying fresh salmon, understand that it’s very perishable and should be prepared or frozen within a couple of days of buying it.
You can safely store fresh salmon by making sure it’s wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or placing it in a resealable plastic bag to prevent exposure to air and potential contamination.
Wondering how long you can store that leftover salmon? Cooked salmon can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to three to four days. Make sure to allow the cooked salmon to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container or wrap it tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Place it in the coldest part of the fridge to keep it as fresh as possible.
Thawed Or Defrosted Salmon
When thawing frozen salmon in the refrigerator, it can safely remain there for up to one to two days before cooking or consuming. When thawing the salmon, you’ll want to place it in a shallow dish or tray to catch any potential drips and prevent cross-contamination with other foods in your fridge.
One of my favorite breakfast treats and a great addition to scrambled eggs, smoked salmon is a bit more forgiving compared to fresh varieties. Smoked salmon undergoes a curing and smoking process, which extends its shelf life compared to fresh salmon. Unopened packages of smoked salmon can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Once opened, tightly wrap the remaining smoked salmon in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and use it within three to four days for the best quality and flavor.
If you have marinated salmon, the storage time will depend on the ingredients used in the marinade. Generally, marinated salmon can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to two to three days. However, it's best to consume it as soon as possible to enjoy the flavors at their peak. If you're unsure about the ingredients used or the duration of marination, it's best to follow the shorter storage time to ensure it doesn’t go bad.
I love using canned salmon for quick and easy meals. It’s easy to keep on hand, and can be used in a ton of different dishes from salads, salmon cakes, or salmon sandwiches. And, canned salmon has a much longer shelf life compared to fresh salmon. Unopened canned salmon can last for 6 years and still taste good. After that, while the salmon may be safe to eat, the quality will start to diminish.
If you’ve opened your canned salmon, it should last for 1-2 days in the refrigerator. Be sure to transfer the salmon from the can to an air-tight container - never store opened canned items in their original cans. Once the can has been opened, the increased air exposure can cause the tin from can to transfer to the can’s contents.
Frequently Asked Questions
Beyond the basic types of salmon above, here are answers to a few other frequently asked questions about storing salmon:
Two things will give it away - how it looks, and how it smells. Fresh salmon has a beautiful reddish pink color, appears shiny and has a mild scent. Fresh salmon should also be firm and will bounce back when pressed.
On the other hand, salmon that is past it’s prime will look a bit gray and could even have a white residue on it. It will also smell very fishy, or may even smell sour. If your salmon looks or smells like this, it’s probably a good idea to toss it.
Wrap the salmon tightly in plastic wrap, then add a layer of aluminum foil. Failure to do this can leave the salmon exposed to air and can cause it to spoil. Keep the salmon in the coldest part of the fridge - this may be in the very back of the fridge or in the bottom drawer. Do not eat salmon that has been stored in the fridge for more than 2 days.
Freeze salmon if you are not going to eat it within the recommended time frame. Thaw frozen salmon properly before cooking it.
Frozen salmon will stay fresh for up to 3 months in the freezer, but the quality of the salmon will decline over time. To freeze salmon, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and then place it in a freezer-safe bag or container. Be sure to label the bag with the date you froze the salmon.
You can also have your salmon vacuum-sealed, which will allow you to store it for up to eight months in the freezer.
When you are ready to thaw frozen salmon, place it in the refrigerator overnight. You can also thaw salmon in the microwave, but it is essential to cook it immediately after thawing.
Note that thawed salmon should not be refrozen.
If the salmon was thawed appropriately, it’s perfectly fine to refreeze it, as long as it hasn’t gone bad (see the note above to know how to tell if your salmon has gone bad), and is repackaged safely.
So there you have it. An easy guide to how long you can safely keep salmon in the refrigerator and some good tips on how to safely store it.
In the mood for a salmon dish? Check out some of the awesome recipes below!
- Easy Smoked Salmon Sushi Bowls
- Easy Lemon Salmon Pasta
- Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese And Everything Bagel Pizza
Be sure to follow me on Instagram @frontrangefed to see all my latest tips and recipes!