How long can you keep cooked fish in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How long can you keep cooked fish in the fridge?’. We will look in-depth at meat science that makes cooked fish either stay fresh or spoil. We will also look at the health benefits of regular fish consumption.

How long can you keep cooked fish in the fridge?

According to the USDA, cooked fish will stay edible and healthy for 3-4 days. Cooked fish has a longer shelf-life than raw fish.

There is an exception to preserved fish which lasts longer than average. Fish that was brined, smoked, or pickled will last longer. 

These particular fish-cooking methods prolong the shelf-life of fish by reducing the water activity of the meat.

Preserved fish will last for a week in the refrigerator.

While some cooked fish will take longer to spoil, others will sooner. Oily fish such as mackerel and anchovies are prone to oxidation hence deteriorate quicker.

There is always a checklist when it comes to food safety which in turn determines the shelf-life. For meats such as seafood, the standard starts right from the seawater. Assuming your fresh seafood are from the cleanest possible water body and then handled under ideal condition, you can make them last for long in the fridge. 

What are the refrigeration guidelines for cooked fish?

The life of seafood, in general, depends on the handling immediately after harvesting. Considering fish were chilled immediately after harvesting until you buy, it all comes down to how you cook, store and handle it.

The standard guideline for optimum refrigeration temperature is from 32 to 38 Fahrenheit. If the storage temperature doesn’t lie in the range, the shelf-life of seafood would be affected.

  • Even if you exceed the sell-buy date, careful handling deems the date insignificant. Even if you exceed the best before date, but it has only been a day since you brought the cooked fish home, you can still consume them.
  • Leave your cooked or uncooked fish in its original packaging until you are ready to consume them. If you open it up before you need to, you are only exposing the meat to environmental contaminants.
  • Keep the cooked fish tightly wrapped and leave them in the fridge.
  • If you leave them out of the fridge for longer than two hours, discard them promptly. Exposing cooked fish to temperatures between 40 F to 140 F encourages bacterial growth.

You can halt the bacterial growth that takes place on your protein once again, but you cannot reverse the toxic secretions of the bacteria that have been thriving on the seafood.

  • If you leave the raw fish at room temperature for more than a couple of hours before you cooked it, it is better not to consume it.

You can push the shelf-life of your cooked fish for more than four days, given that they were handled and stored adequately after harvesting. Also, you took the utmost care possible to ensure the longevity of your seafood.

Why must fish be part of your diet?

Fish is good for not only the heart and body but for brain function as well.

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week.

Fish generally has the following nutrients that differ with different classes of seafood and species. The nutrients serve particular functions in the body by ensuring the healthy function of various organs.

Seafood is rich in good fats and proteins. Nearly all fish have omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids benefit the body by contributing to the following functions:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • promoting brain function
  • aids fetal development
  • reducing the risk of mental illnesses
  • reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases

Other nutrients present in most fish are potassium, calcium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, iodine, vitamin D, and B2.

What are the signs that indicate spoilage of cooked fish?

  1. A change in smell, texture, or color is a good indicator that signals spoilt fish.
  2. The smell changes to a fishy, off-odor that worsens; and becomes like ammonia and then putrid.
  3. The texture of spoiled fish is soft and, a slimy layer appears on the surface.
  4. The color changes to gray or green and loses its shiny look.

Fish spoils because it undergoes physical and chemical changes caused by microbes and oxidative changes.

Some Bonus Pointers about handling cooked fish:

If you defrost after you have bought cooked fish from the market or thawed them at your home, refreezing is never an option.

You can halt the bacterial growth that takes place on your protein once again, but you cannot reverse the toxic secretions of the bacteria that have been thriving on the cooked fish.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, “How long can you keep cooked fish in the fridge?’. We looked in-depth at meat science that makes cooked fish either stay fresh or spoil. We also looked at the health benefits of regular fish consumption.

Citations

https://www.leaf.tv/articles/how-long-can-you-store-cooked-fish/
https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-long-can-you-keep-cooked-fish-in-the-refrigerator#:~:text=Cooked%20fish%20and%20other%20seafood,it%20spoils%20or%20becomes%20dangerous.
https://www.doh.wa.gov/communityandenvironment/food/fish/healthbenefits#:~:text=Fish%20is%20a%20low%2Dfat,iodine%2C%20magnesium%2C%20and%20potassium.

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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