Can You freeze salmon?

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “can I freeze salmon?” We will also discuss how you can freeze salmon, What are the benefits and drawbacks of freezing it and how to safely defrost frozen salmon. 

Can I freeze salmon?

Yes, you can freeze salmon, both fresh and cooked. Freezing salmon can considerably extend its shelf life. It is recommended that you move it to the freezer where it can be kept for up to three months (1,2).

How to freeze salmon?

Freezing salmon is not a hard task, however, you do need to follow several steps to assure the best quality of your fish. So, if you need to freeze salmon these are the steps you need to follow (1,2).

  • First, depending on the place you got the salmon, you might need to clean and gut the fish. If you caught your own fish, you need to perform this messy job as soon as possible. If you bought it, there is no need to do this step, most of the time.
  • Cut the salmon into steaks or filets. Think about the way you want to prepare your fish, so you portion it appropriately.
  • Deboning your salmon can be done before or after freezing, feel free to decide.
  • If your salmon was bought, it is likely that it is stored in an airtight container, so keep it in that container, it will help avoid freezer burn.
  • Once your salmon is portioned, it needs to be wrapped in plastic wrap. Try to squeeze out the air when you are wrapping. If you leave it in its original packaging, you can skip this step.
  • Place the wrapped portions of salmon in a vacuum bag. You can even use some aluminum foil to protect it from freezer burn. 
  • Label the container and put it in the freezer, and that is it!

What are the benefits and drawbacks of freezing salmon?

Benefits of freezing salmon

  • When you freeze salmon you can preserve its freshness by inhibiting the growth of spoilage-causing microorganisms and enzymes (1,3).
  • Freezing also helps to extend the shelf life of salmon, allowing it to be stored for several months without significant loss of quality (1).
  • The freezing process also retains the nutritional value of salmon, including essential omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals which are, according to studies, important for heart health, brain function, and overall well-being (4).

Drawbacks of freezing salmon

  • During freezing ice crystals can form and damage the delicate protein structure, potentially leading to a slight loss of texture and juiciness (5).
  • Additionally, if not properly packaged to prevent freezer burn, the salmon’s flavor and quality may be negatively affected (6).
  • While freezing does help preserve the nutritional content of salmon, there may be minor losses in certain heat-sensitive vitamins and antioxidants such as vitamin C and some B vitamins during the freezing and thawing process (7,8). 

How to safely defrost frozen salmon?

According to the USDA the safest method to defrost frozen food is in the refrigerator for the most dependable results. 

The wrapped salmon should be moved from the freezer and placed on a plate or tray to collect any drips as it slowly defrosts in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. This method of slow thawing prevents bacterial growth and preserves the fish’s freshness (9).

If you are in a hurry you can use the cold water method, keeping the bag with salmon cool, and submerging it in cold water that is changed every 30 minutes (9).

How to safely reheat salmon?

To safely reheat salmon, utilizing a cooktop or oven is the most effective approach. Set the salmon in an oven-safe dish and cover it with foil to keep the moisture in the oven at 325°F (163°C). 

By cooking until the salmon achieves an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C), dangerous microorganisms are guaranteed to be destroyed while the salmon’s quality is preserved (10). 

As an alternative, use a medium-hot skillet on the stovetop.The salmon should be reheated for a few minutes on each side to bring it up to the ideal internal temperature (10). 

You can also reheat in the microwave, but you have to rotate fully cooked food for even heating, otherwise it may cause uneven heating and even bacterial growth (10).

How long does salmon last in the freezer?

Different types of salmon have last for a extended period when frozen (1,2,):

  • Fresh Salmon: 6 to 9 months
  • Smoked Salmon: 6 to 9 months
  • Canned Salmon: 9 to 12 months
  • Cooked Salmon: 6 to 9 months


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “can I freeze salmon?” We have also discussed how to freeze salmon, What are the benefits and drawbacks of freezing it and how to safely defrost frozen salmon. 

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.


1. Freezing and Food Safety. USDA, 2013.

2.  Garden-Robinson, J. Food Storage Guide Answers the Question: How long can I store. North Dakota State University Extension Service, 2013. 

3. Amit, S.K., Uddin, M.M., Rahman, R. et al. A review on mechanisms and commercial aspects of food preservation and processing. Agric & Food Secur 6, 51 (2017).

4. Polvi, S.M., et al. Stability of lipids and omega-3 fatty acids during frozen storage of Atlantic salon. J Food Processing and Preservation, 2007, 15(3):167 – 181.

5. Zhu, S., et al. Ice crystal formation in pressure-shift freezing of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) as compared to classical freezing methods. J Food Processing and Preservation, 2007, 27(6):427-444.

6. Schmidt, S.J., Lee, J.W. How Does the Freezer Burn Our Food?. J Food Science Education, 2009, 8.

7. Water-Soluble Vitamins: B-Complex and Vitamin C. Colorado State University Extension. 2020.

8. Gimmel, A., et al. Effects of Storage Time and Thawing Method on Selected Nutrients in Whole Fish for Zoo Animal Nutrition. Animals, 2022, 12(20):2847.

9. The Big Thaw – Safe Defrosting Methods. USDA, 2013

10. What methods of reheating food are safe? USDA, 2023.

11. Al-Jeddawi, W., Dawson, P. The Effect of Frozen Storage on the Quality of Atlantic Salmon. J Food Sci Nutr Res, 2022; 5 (2): 552-569.

12. Shelf-Stable Food Safety. USDA, 2015.

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