How Long Does Salmon Last In The Fridge After Thawing?

Salmon, the jewel of the sea, tantalizes our taste buds with its delicate flavor and rich, flaky texture. It is also adorned for its nutritional prowess. 

However, when it comes to savoring this oceanic gem, understanding the basics of thawed salmon storage is essential and the most common question that dances on our minds is about its longevity and we wonder: How long does salmon last in the fridge after thawing? 

Well! the secret of salmon’s exqsite taste lies in its proper storage and method of thawing because it is not merely a matter of taste but also a matter of health and safety. 

Properly stored thawed salmon can last for 2-3 days maximum and it should be used before to enjoy optimal taste with safety. 

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of salmon storage, offering insights into proper thawing methods, refrigerator storage, shelf life, signs of its spoilage, and much more. 

By the end, you will be well-equipped to savor the flavor and quality of your salmon while ensuring it remains safe for consumption. 

So, let’s embark on a gastronomic exploration to unravel the secrets behind the longevity of thawed salmon in the refrigerator.

How to thaw salmon?

Thawing salmon properly is crucial to maintain its flavor, texture, and safety. There are several methods for thawing salmon, each with its own advantages. Here are three most common methods that you can try:

Refrigerator Thawing

This is the safest and most recommended method for thawing salmon. It allows for a slow and even thaw, preventing the growth of harmful bacteria.

  • Place the salmon in its original packaging or an airtight container to prevent any leakage.
  • Put the salmon in the coldest part of your refrigerator on a plate or tray to catch any potential drips.
  • Allow approximately 24 hours for each 1-2 pounds of salmon to thaw completely.
  • Once thawed, cook the salmon within 1-2 days for the best quality.

Cold Water Thawing

This method is quicker than refrigerator thawing but still safe if done correctly.

  • Place the salmon in a leak-proof plastic bag to prevent water from seeping in.
  • Submerge the sealed bag in a large bowl or sink filled with cold water.
  • Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure it remains cold.
  • Small salmon fillets may thaw in about 1-2 hours while larger cuts might take 3-4 hours.
  • Cook the salmon immediately after it is thawed.

Microwave Thawing

Microwaving is the fastest way to thaw salmon but should be used as a last resort as it may result in uneven thawing and could begin to cook the edges of the fish.

  • Use the microwave’s defrost setting or lower power setting.
  • Place the salmon on a microwave-safe plate and use short 30 second bursts, flipping the fish in between.
  • Be very cautious not to cook the salmon during the process. It is better to under thaw it slightly and finish thawing in the refrigerator.
  • Cook the salmon immediately after microwave thawing.

How long does salmon last in the fridge after thawing?

After thawing, salmon can be safely stored in the refrigerator for only a limited period. Typically, the shelf life of thawed salmon in the fridge is approximately 1 to 2 days. 

However, several factors can influence how long it lasts after thawing including the temperature of your fridge, the freshness of the salmon at the time of refrigeration, and the effectiveness of your storage container.

Salmon that was exceptionally fresh and well-handled before refrigeration tends to have a longer shelf life after thawing. 

The lower initial bacterial load and superior handling can grant an extra day, enhancing the overall quality and safety of the salmon. 

Additionally, the use of airtight and vacuum-sealed packaging at the time of refrigeration can help preserve the integrity of thawed salmon and reduce the risk of spoilage.

How to utilise the thawed salmon?

Thawed salmon can be utilized in a variety of delicious and creative ways. Here are some ideas to make the most of your thawed salmon:

  • Grilled or Pan-Seared Salmon: Marinate the salmon with your favorite herbs, spices, and seasonings then grill it on the barbecue or pan-sear it in a hot skillet. This method adds a smoky flavor and a crispy exterior while keeping the inside tender and moist.
  • Baked Salmon: Second is baking. Preheat your oven and bake the salmon with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, and your choice of herbs. You can also add a flavorful glaze like honey mustard or teriyaki for a tasty twist.
  • Salmon Salad: Flake the salmon and use it as the protein in a refreshing salad. Mix it with greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and your favorite dressing for a healthy and satisfying meal.
  • Salmon Tacos: Another yummy way to utilise the salmon is making tacos. You can make salmon tacos by grilling or pan-searing the salmon and serving it in soft tortillas with a variety of toppings such as slaw, salsa, and avocado.
  • Salmon Sushi or Sashimi: If you have high-quality, sushi-grade salmon, you can use it to make sushi rolls or sashimi. Slice it thinly and serve with pickled ginger and wasabi.
  • Creamy Salmon Pasta: Lastly, you can incorporate flaked salmon into a creamy pasta sauce with garlic, cream, and parmesan cheese. Toss the sauce with cooked pasta for a rich and indulgent meal.

Can you refreeze thawed salmon?

It is generally not advised to refreeze salmon once it has been thawed. When you thaw salmon, ice crystals within the fish begin to melt and moisture is released. 

If you refreeze it, these moisture changes can lead to the formation of larger ice crystals which can negatively impact the texture, flavor, and overall quality of the salmon. 

Additionally, the process of thawing and refreezing over and over can increase the risk of bacterial growth, potentially compromising the safety of the fish. 

However, if you still want to refreeze thawed salmon to maximize its shelf life, you can follow these super simple steps; 

  • Seal the salmon in airtight, freezer-safe packaging to prevent moisture loss and freezer burn. 
  • Double wrapping with plastic wrap and aluminum foil can be effective.
  • Clearly label the packaging with the current date to track the storage time.
  • Place the salmon in the coldest part of your freezer.

How to properly store salmon?

Proper storage of salmon is necessary to maintain its freshness and prevent spoilage. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it effectively:

  • Step 1: Choose Quality Salmon: Start with fresh or high-quality frozen salmon. The better the initial quality, the longer it will stay good in storage.
  • Step 2: Refrigerator Storage (Short-Term): If you plan to use the salmon within 1-2 days, store it in the refrigerator. Keep it in its original packaging or place it in an airtight container. Place the container on a plate or tray to catch any potential liquid leakage.
  • Step 3: Freezer Storage (Long-Term): For longer-term storage, consider freezing the salmon. Wrap the salmon tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent air and moisture exposure. Place it in an airtight, freezer-safe container or a vacuum-sealed bag if possible.
  • Step 4: Label and Date: Label the packaging with the date of storage to keep track of its freshness.
  • Step 5: Avoid Air and Moisture: Whether refrigerating or freezing, the key is to minimize exposure to air and moisture as these factors can lead to deterioration in quality and safety.

Does salmon go bad in the fridge?

Yes, like any perishable food, salmon can go bad in the fridge if not stored and handled properly. Fresh salmon has a limited shelf life and if it is not stored at the right temperature or in an airtight container, it can spoil relatively quickly. 

The moisture within the fish evaporates quickly leading to a change in texture and a loss of freshness. Also, exposure to oxygen can cause the salmon’s fats to oxidize which results in a rancid odor and awful flavor.

How to tell if the salmon has gone bad?

Like other foods, you can determine if salmon has gone bad by observing its appearance, smell, and texture. Here are some common indicators that can help you identify spoiled salmon:

  • Off Odor: Fresh salmon has a mild, ocean-like scent. If it emits a strong, unpleasant, or sour odor, it is likely spoiled.
  • Color Changes: Salmon typically has a vibrant pink or orange color. If the flesh appears faded, grayish, or has a significant color change, it is definitely a sign of spoilage.
  • Texture: Fresh salmon should be moist and have a firm texture. Spoiled salmon can become slimy or mushy to the touch.
  • Mold or Discoloration: Any visible mold growth or unusual discoloration on the salmon’s surface is a clear sign of spoilage.
  • Freezer Burn: If you notice signs of freezer burn such as dry or discolored patches on the salmon, it is better to discard the fish because it will likely have a compromised texture and flavor.

Tips to prolong salmon’s freshness

To prolong the freshness of salmon, consider the following useful tips:

  • Store salmon in the coldest part of the refrigerator and use it promptly to minimize bacterial growth.
  • Store salmon in airtight containers or tightly sealed plastic wrap to prevent exposure to air and moisture.
  • If not using salmon immediately, freeze it as soon as possible in freezer-safe packaging to preserve its quality.
  • Clearly label and date the packaging to track how long it’s been stored in the fridge or freezer.
  • When thawing frozen salmon, use safe methods like refrigerator thawing to prevent bacterial growth and maintain quality.
  • Limit the frequency of opening and closing the storage container to minimize air exposure.


Can you eat salmon 3 days after defrosting?

Yes, you can eat salmon 3 days after defrosting if it has been stored in the refrigerator and shows no signs of spoilage. Thawed salmon typically has a refrigerator shelf life of 1-2 days so consuming it within 3 days is generally safe if handled and stored properly.

Why can’t thaw salmon in plastic?

Thawing salmon in plastic can be problematic because some plastics may not be safe at higher temperatures and the thawing process can generate heat. This can cause the plastic to release harmful chemicals or melt, potentially contaminating the salmon and making it unsafe to consume.

Is it bad to thaw salmon in water?

Thawing salmon in water can be safe if done correctly. Cold water thawing is a recommended method where the salmon is sealed in a leak-proof bag and submerged in cold water, ensuring a continuous flow to prevent bacterial growth.

Can you eat salmon skin?

Yes, you can eat salmon skin and it is rich in healthy fats and flavor. When properly cooked, the skin can be crispy and adds a delightful texture to the dish.


Proper salmon storage is key to preserving its quality and safety. Properly stored and handled thawed salmon can last for 2-3 days maximum. Whether refrigerating or freezing, safeguarding against air, moisture, and temperature fluctuations is essential.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the delectable taste and health benefits of salmon while minimizing the risk of spoilage and food waste.

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