How long can defrosted salmon stay in the fridge?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can defrosted salmon stay in the fridge?”, how to thaw salmon, how to store salmon, how long does cooked salmon last, how long can salmon sit out, and how to tell if the salmon has gone bad.

How long can defrosted salmon stay in the fridge?

It depends on how you thawed your salmon. If the salmon was thawed in the fridge overnight, you can keep it for an additional 1-2 days in the fridge. Never think of refrigerating your salmon that was thawed in the microwave or on the counter. 

Note that 1-2 days in the maximum you can keep your defrosted salmon in the fridge. After that, you will start to observe noticeable changes in its quality. Because the fridge merely slows down the microbial and enzymatic reactions. It does not stop them completely.

How to safely thaw salmon?

The best and the safest way to taw salmon is to leave it in the fridge for several hours or overnight. A little meal-planning is appreciated in this regard. 

However, if you have a crowd to feed and no time on your watch for defrosting, you can take your salmon in the microwave or on the counter. None of these two methods are recommended but they come in handy in a pinch.

Turn on the defrosts setting of the microwave and turn out your frozen salmon onto a freezer-safe dish or plate. Microwave until loosened up. 

Cook the thawed salmon and eat it right away. Refrigerating leftovers threatens the safety of the salmon as it allows sufficient time for the microbes to grow slowly. This is the quickest way to defrost any frozen food. It does it quick enough to not allow the pathogens to grow.

Alternatively, you can dump the bagged and frozen salmon in a bowl of cold water. Make sure the container of the salmon is leak-proof. 

Another critical point is to use cold water instead of warm because the latter will raise the surface temperature of the salmon quickly, allowing the microbes to proliferate.

How to store salmon?

In the fridge 

If you intend to cook your salmon in the coming -3 days after the purchase, your best bet is to refrigerate it. If you want a shelf-life of months, say 2-3 months, out of your salmon, freeze it. 

Your best bet is to refrigerate the salmon in its original vacuum-sealed package. If the original package is damaged, consider transferring the salmon to an air-tight container.

Do not worry if the salmon passes its sell-by date during refrigeration. The salmon remains safe and good past the sell-by date as long as it is stored correctly. 

In the freezer 

You must decide to whether freeze or simply refrigerate the salmon within the 1-2 days after the purchase. 

The initial quality of the salmon is a strong determinant of how long it will last in the freezer. The sooner you freeze it, the longer it will freeze. 

Correctly frozen salmon stays good indefinitely if kept at 0F without any temperature fluctuations. But the quality may degrade gradually over time.

For bonus protection, double wrap the original package of the salmon with foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper. Alternatively, you can put the package in a heavy-duty freezer bag. The goal is to protect the salmon from freezer burn.

How long does cooked salmon last?

If stored correctly, cooked salmon can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. If frozen, cooked salmon stays good for up to 4 months. Make sure to let the cooked salmon come down to room temperature before packing it away. 

Otherwise, the steam from the freshly cooked, piping hot salmon will collect on the underside of the container lid and harbor microbes, leading to spoilage.

How long can salmon sit out at room temperature?

No perishable or semi-perishable food commodity should be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Salmon, being a perishable food product, is no exception. 

If the outside temperatures are warmer, that is, almost or above 90F, salmon is deemed unfit for consumption after only an hour of sitting out. Food kept at temperatures between 40F-140F is considered unsafe if they have been left out for more than 2 hours. This temperature range is called the ‘Danger Zone’.

How to tell if the salmon is bad?

If the salmon smells sour or fishy, feels slimy, or develops a mushy texture, and a discolored appearance, it has gone bad. The disappearing of the white albumin threads on the salmon is also a telltale sign of spoilage.


In this article, we answered the question “How long can defrosted salmon stay in the fridge?”, how to thaw salmon, how to store salmon, how long does cooked salmon last, how long can salmon sit out, and how to tell if the salmon has gone bad.


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