Does smoked salmon go bad?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Does smoked salmon go bad?” and discuss how to properly store smoked salmon. We will also tell you what happens if you eat spoiled smoked salmon.

Does smoked salmon go bad?

Yes, smoked salmon can go bad because it has a limited shelf life. Unopened and in its original packaging, smoked salmon can last for about 2-3 weeks when stored properly in the fridge. Smoked salmon usually comes with an expiry date label on its packaging. 

Smoked salmon which remain unopened can be consumed for 2-3 days past its expiry date given that it has no signs of spoilage and was stored properly.

The shelf life of smoked salmon also depends on the type of smoked salmon. There are generally two types. One is hot-smoked salmon which is smoked at higher temperatures which also kills microorganisms.

The other type is old-smoked salmon which is smoked at lower temperatures which is not sufficient enough to kill a lot of microorganisms. Thus, hot-smoked salmon has a little longer shelf life than cold-smoked salmon.

Opened smoked salmon will last for about 5 days but it can last for up to 7 days if it is stored properly and handled carefully.

How to properly store smoked salmon?

Generally, smoked salmon should be stored in the fridge whether it is opened or unopened. It should be placed inside the fridge in its original packaging once unopened and should be transferred to an airtight container or a ziploc bag after being opened before placing it in the fridge. 

If the packaging is resealable, then seal it back tightly and let it remain in its original packaging, then place it inside the fridge. 

Some manufacturers claim that you can store your smoked salmon at room temperature. If the packaging says so, then keep the smoked salmon in your pantry away from heat, direct sunlight and moisture.

Can you freeze smoked salmon?

Yes, you can freeze smoked salmon. Before placing it in the freezer, make sure you transfer it to a heavy duty freezer bag so that it does not get a freezer burn. Freezing the smoked salmon will extend its shelf life to 2 to 3 months. 

How to tell if smoked salmon has gone bad?

You can tell if smoked salmon has gone bad by looking for any discolorations. If you see any discolorations or if the salmon appears dull, then it most probably has gone bad. Another way to tell if smoked salmon has gone bad is by looking at its texture. Smoked salmon that has gone bad will have a slimy texture. 

You can also give it a sniff test to see if it has gone bad. Spoiled smoked salmon will have a funky odor. Lastly, look for any growth of mold on the salmon.

Learn more about the shelf life of smoked salmon here.

What happens if you eat spoiled smoked salmon?

Like any other spoiled or contaminated food, smoked salmon can also cause food poisoning. Smoked salmon should never be left out for more than 2 hours because then it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. 

The same is true for frozen smoked salmon. If you wish to store salmon for longer periods of time, it should be frozen uniformly at 0 degree and then defrosted properly in the ways described above.

Smoked salmon should not be taken out during this time and refrozen. For this reason, we recommend you to store smoked salmon in smaller portions in resealable bags so you only take out one bag for cooking and use all of the smoked salmon without the need for refreezing the rest of it.

Food poisoning can occur if you eat contaminated smoked salmon. The symptoms can range from mild to moderate depending on the amount of bacteria ingested. The symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, malaise, headache, and loss of appetite.

Continuous vomiting can lead to weakness and dehydration which almost always requires hospitalization. So it is important to take care of what you eat before you eat it. 

Other FAQs about Smoked Salmon that you may be interested in.

Can dogs eat smoked salmon?

Can you eat smoked salmon without cooking it?

Can you eat cold-smoked salmon without cooking it?

How to can smoked salmon


In this brief guide, we answered the question “Does smoked salmon go bad?” and discussed how to properly store smoked salmon. We also told you what happens if you eat spoiled smoked salmon.