How to know if Salmon is spoiled

In this article, we’ll explain how to tell if your salmon is going bad. We’ll also discuss how to extend salmon’s shelf life so you can store it and keep it fresh for longer, all at your home.

How to know if Salmon is spoiled?

The easiest way to tell if salmon has gone bad is if it’s taken on a greyish color, or has dulled in color as opposed to the bright pink of fresh salmon. When spoiled, salmon may also exhibit dark spots or a milky residue on its surface, as well as develop a pungent smell as opposed to its normal mild scent.

How to tell if Salmon has gone bad

There are a few ways to tell if your salmon has gone bad. The following are the easiest and most reliable.

  1. Smell

Fresh salmon has a very mild, appetizing scent, which grows stronger and more foul as it goes bad. If your salmon has a pungent, ammonia-like smell, it’s spoiled and not fit for consumption.

  1. Color

Fresh salmon has a bright pink or orange appearance. If it has dulled and greyed or has developed dark spots, it is not fresh anymore. Moreover, fine white lines running through it indicate freshness.

  1. Texture 

If your salmon has gone bad, it might have developed a milky film on it. Check to see if there’s any kind of opaque or translucent film on it. If that is the case, your raw fish has gone bad.

  1. Firmness

Touch the fish with your fingers. Fresh salmon should always be firm and hold together. If it feels like it has a weak consistency and is breaking up underneath, discard your fish.

  1. Eyes

If the fish still has its head on, check the eyes. Fresh salmon will have bright, clear eyes with a dark pupil in the middle, whereas spoiled salmon will have hazy, discolored eyes. Moreover, the eyes should be firm and slightly bulging. If they are sunken, the salmon is spoiled.

  1. Packaging

Look for the “best before” or “use by” date on the packaging if possible, as it is a convenient and reliable indicator of shelf life.

  1. Taste and Flavor

If you’re wondering about leftovers or takeout, taste is another way to determine if salmon is edible or not. An off-putting tase is an easy way to determine that it’s time to throw the fish out.

  1. Left out

Left out at room temperature, salmon can go bad in as little as an hour and should be discarded in that case.

How to store Salmon for the best shelf life

When refrigerated, salmon lasts only about 3-5 days when raw, whereas cooked salmon even less, about two days at the maximum. We’ve compiled a list of ways to store your salmon for the longest possible shelf life.

  1. Refrigeration

Raw salmon from the supermarket can last up to 5 days in the fridge. Be sure to not let it sit at room temperature for too long, though. For leftovers, a good practice is to not store for more than a day, that too with refrigeration.

  1. Freezing

Freezing can drastically extend the life of your salmon, up to 2 months or even longer. However, it’s important to note that freezing salmon requires a bit of preparation. The more you can decrease the moisture in the fish and the air around it in the freezer bag, the longer it can last.

The easier way to do it is to put it in a freezer bag and force out all the air in the bag, perhaps vacuum seal it. Then put it in a resealable container and place it in the freezer, away from all other foods.

You can also choose to salt the fish beforehand to force out as much moisture as you can, decreasing the risk of microbial growth and therefore spoilage.

Dangers of consuming spoiled salmon

As with most other types of seafood, eating spoiled salmon can make you seriously ill. The greatest risk is food poisoning, which leads to abdominal pains and cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and convulsions.

Scombroid poisoning is another risk of consuming spoiled salmon, especially if it hasn’t been properly stored after being caught. This can cause flushing, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and headaches.

Moreover, once salmon has gone bad, cooking it will kill the microbes but not the toxins that they produce, so if your fish has gone bad, throw it out.


In this article, we have explained the method to tell if your salmon is going bad. We have also discussed how to extend salmon’s shelf life so you can store it and keep it fresh for longer, all at your home.


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.