How Long Does Salmon Last in the Fridge? (And Signs It’s Bad)

Have you ever stocked up on a bunch of fresh salmon, only to forget about it in the back of your fridge? Or maybe you’ve just cooked a delicious salmon dinner and wondering how long the leftovers will last?

Fear not, because we’re diving into the topic of how long salmon lasts in the fridge, and we’ll make sure you don’t have to play “salmon roulette” with your taste buds. So, let’s get ready to tackle this fishy situation!

NOTE: This article was reviewed by Melissa Macher, Registered Dietician and Food Scientist for safety and accuracy.

How Long Does Salmon Last in the Fridge?

Salmon is often considered a superfood because not only is it tasty, but it also contains several of the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy. But everyone knows that salmon can go bad very quickly, so how long can you expect it to stay good in the fridge?

Raw salmon, unfortunately, goes bad fairly quickly and will only stay fresh for about 2 days in your fridge or until the best-by date on the package. Once salmon has been cooked, it will be good for another 2-3 days as long as it is stored in an air-tight container. 

But did you know that you can also freeze your salmon to keep it fresh longer? Read on to learn more information about how to store your salmon, so it stays fresh for as long as possible. 

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How to Store Salmon in Your Fridge

In order to keep your salmon fresh, you must store it properly in your fridge. Below are instructions for storing both raw and cooked salmon. 

How to Store Raw Salmon

Raw salmon is best stored in your fridge in an air-tight container. If you bought your salmon from a supermarket, it is likely that its wrapping could be punctured or not airtight, so you should slip it into a Ziploc bag when you arrive home before placing it in the fridge.

Also, check that your fridge is set to 32°F. If your fridge is warmer, it is a good idea to place your wrapped fish on top of a bowl of ice to keep it fresher and put this entire setup in your fridge. 

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How to Store Cooked Salmon

After cooking your salmon, you should place it in a container as soon as it has cooled to room temperature. Do not let your cooked salmon sit out, as this will allow bacteria to grow. 

Place your salmon in an airtight glass or plastic container and place it towards the back of your fridge. It is recommended to eat cooked salmon within 3 days of cooking it. 

How Long Does Salmon Stay in the Freezer?

Seeing that salmon only stays fresh in your fridge for 2 days can be a bit of a letdown. But the good news is, if you have salmon on hand that you won’t eat by then, you can put it in a freezer-safe container and place it in your freezer. 

When placed in the freezer, salmon will stay fresh for up to 3 months. For best results, you should store the salmon in an airtight Ziploc bag wrapped in foil to prevent freezer burn. 

If you have a vacuum sealer on hand, then you are in luck, as your salmon will stay fresh for up to 8 months when vacuum sealed and placed in the freezer. 

How Long Can Thawed Salmon Stay in the Fridge?

If you’ve had salmon in your freezer for a month or two, you will want to thaw it before you cook it. When you place the salmon in your fridge to thaw, you should do so only about 24 hours before you plan to cook it. Thawed salmon will only stay fresh for a maximum of two days in your fridge. After that, it is best thrown out rather than consumed. 

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How Can You Tell if Salmon Has Gone Bad?

The good news about fish is that it is usually pretty easy to tell if it has gone bad. 

1. Check the Look

Start by taking a look at the color of the meat. Salmon should be pink or orange, whether raw or cooked. If it is gray, green, brown, or any other color, it has gone bad. 

2. Check for Mold

Besides checking the color, also look for any signs of white fuzzy or green fuzzy mold. If you spot any on your salmon, even just a little bit, the whole salmon must be thrown away. 

3. Take a Sniff

Fish will smell rotten very quickly after it has gone bad. If you take a sniff and smell anything sour or rotten, then it’s best to throw your fish away.

If you are ever in doubt if your salmon is still good, it is never a good idea to gamble with your health, and you should throw the salmon away rather than risk getting food poisoning

How Long Does Cooked Salmon Last in the Fridge?

The good news is, cooked salmon is a bit more fridge stable than fresh salmon. Once you have placed your leftover cooked salmon in the fridge, you should plan to consume it within the next 3 days. 

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Can You Put Cooked Salmon in the Freezer?

If you have more cooked salmon on hand than what you plan to eat in three days, you can put your cooked salmon in your freezer. It will stay fresh for about one month this way.

Be aware, however, that freezing cooked salmon isn’t the same as freezing raw salmon and that it will change the consistency of the meat. For this reason, we do not recommend freezing cooked salmon and instead recommend purchasing portions of salmon that your family can eat in 1-2 sittings. 

Can You Refreeze Salmon After Thawing?

If you pull your salmon from the freezer, only to realize a few hours later that your dinner plans have changed, it is possible to refreeze your salmon safely. This is only safe, however, when it is within 1 day of removing your salmon from the freezer and only if it has been kept in the fridge the entire time. 

If you had your salmon thawing in the fridge for more than a day or left it on the counter for an hour or two, it must be cooked and consumed and cannot be refrozen. 

How Long Can Salmon Sit Out?

Like most other meats, it is never a good idea to leave salmon sitting out, as the quality of the fish will degrade quickly when the salmon is exposed to air. At a maximum, you shouldn’t plan to leave your salmon out for more than 2 hours. 

If you are throwing a party with fresh smoked salmon you wish to serve, store the salmon on a plate placed over ice and keep it covered with plastic wrap until it is actively being served. 

What is the Best Way to Thaw Salmon?

Like most other meats, the only safe way to thaw salmon is by removing it from the freezer and placing it in the fridge a few hours before you intend to cook it. While you can also thaw your fish using the cold water method or your microwave, we never recommend these as they can raise the fish to unhealthy temperatures. 

Photo of author

Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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