Here’s How Long You Can Keep Fish in Your Fridge

Plus, the best way to store fish in the fridge.

Fish can be a healthy option for dinner, but most of us can’t make it to the store every night. So how long is it safe to keep those salmon fillets in the fridge?

First, make sure you’re storing fresh fish the right way: Remove the paper wrapping, and seal the fillets in plastic bag, squeezing out the air, MarthaStewart.com recommends. Then, place the plastic bag with the fish in a bowl of ice water in the fridge. Here are 15 food storage guidelines you didn’t know.

According to Stephanie Harris-Uyidi, chef and cookbook author, fish can be stored in the fridge for up to two days if it will be used immediately after purchase. The FDA also recommends you keep fresh fish, shrimp, scallops, and squid for just one to two days in the fridge.

That said, you may have a little more leeway with different types of fish and how fresh they are. Bass, flounder, tuna, swordfish, trout, and salmon can keep from three to five days, according to MarthaStewart.com. However, oily fishes like mackerel, bluefish, and sardines have a slightly shorter window. You should make sure to cook and eat them within three days. Just look out for the 9 ways you’re probably cooking your fish wrong.

If your fish won’t be consumed within two days, you need to wrap it tightly in a moisture proof freezer paper or foil to protect it from air leaks and store it in the freezer, says Harris-Uyidi. When thawing frozen fish, you need to place it in the refrigerator, and allow 18-24 hours per one-pound package to thaw.

There are also things to be on the lookout for when shopping for fish to make sure you’re buying the freshest options. Good fish filets or steaks should be shiny and bright, not gray or dry-looking, according to Harris-Uyidi. The gills should be red, while the fins and tail should look fresh and bright. The flesh should also be unblemished. The gills should also be moist, and finfish should have firm and elastic flesh.

“If you walk into a market and it smells like seafood, the fish is likely not stored properly and you should avoid these places at all costs!” says Harris-Uyidi.

Of course, once you’ve prepared the fish, you may have some leftovers. How long will those stay good? Most cooked fish maintains quality in the refrigerator at 32-34 degrees Fahrenheit for two to three days, while grilled wild salmon can last for about four days in the fridge, according to Harris-Uyidi. Now that you know how long you can keep fish in your fridge, check out the 26 storage tricks to make your foods last longer.

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Jen McCaffery
Jen McCaffery is an associate editor for Reader’s Digest. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Prevention, Rhode Island Monthly, and other publications and websites. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s growing veggies or trying to figure out the way home from assorted trails.