How Long Is Leftover Salmon Good For? Shelf Life and Safety Tips

Generally speaking, cooked salmon should be eaten within a three to four day window, once refrigerated.

This ensures both its freshness as well as mitigating any potential health risks.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) underscores that beyond this period, one runs the risk of foodborne illness as the quality of the fish deteriorates.

However, should the salmon be stored in a fridge operating at the recommended temperature of 0°C to 4°C—this time can be extended slightly.

This is a critical consideration, especially when dealing with seafood, which can be particularly susceptible to spoilage due to the proliferation of bacteria at temperatures above 4°C.

Not all leftovers are created equal, and the treatment of cooked salmon post-meal can directly impact its longevity.

Salmon that has been promptly refrigerated within two hours of cooking and stored correctly will maintain its quality better, compared to portions that linger at room temperature for an extended period before being chilled.

It is also important to store the salmon in an airtight container to prevent cross-contamination with other foods and to retain moisture.

Safety and Storage

Refrigeration Requirements

  • Refrigerate leftover salmon within two hours of cooking.
  • Store at or below 4° C to significantly slow down bacterial growth.
  • Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for three to four days before there is a noticeable risk of spoilage.
  • For optimal freshness, store salmon in airtight containers.

Freezing and Thawing Procedures

To extend the life of cooked salmon, freezing is a practical option.

  • Before freezing, ensure the salmon is completely cooled and placed in freezer-safe containers or wrapped tightly in freezer wrap.
  • Salmon will maintain its quality for up to six months in the freezer.
  • When thawing, it’s best to do so gradually in the refrigerator over several hours to maintain texture and flavour.
  • Once thawed, salmon should be consumed within 24 hours.

Consumption Guidelines

Proper assessment of leftover salmon is crucial for food safety.

The section below outlines how one can use visual and olfactory cues to judge the freshness of cooked salmon, and discusses the potential health implications of consuming spoiled salmon.

Visual and Olfactory Indicators

When assessing if cooked salmon is still fit for consumption, one should consider both its look and smell.

Fresh salmon should have a consistent colour and moist texture.

If the colour appears dull or the flesh has become slimy, it may not be safe to eat.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service suggests that cooked leftovers be refrigerated within two hours of cooking and should not be consumed if left at room temperature for over two hours—especially if the temperature exceeds 90°F.

The smell of the salmon is another key indicator.

Freshly cooked or refrigerated salmon should have a mild, sea-like scent.

A strong, sour, or ammonia-like odour indicates spoilage.

Avoid consumption in such cases.

Health Implications

The consumption of spoiled salmon can lead to food poisoning.

Symptoms range from mild to severe and can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain.

Leftovers can be kept for three to four days in the refrigerator.

The risk of food poisoning increases after this period.

To minimise this risk, one should ensure that the salmon is stored properly and consumed within the USDA’s recommended time frame of three to four days, and certainly no more than seven days.

If there is any doubt regarding the freshness of the salmon, it is preferable to err on the side of caution and dispose of the fish.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the maximum duration for keeping cooked salmon in the fridge before it spoils?

Cooked salmon can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

To maximise freshness and prevent spoilage, it should be kept in an airtight container.

How can salmon be correctly stored in the freezer to extend its shelf life?

To extend the shelf life of cooked salmon in the freezer, store it in airtight, freezer-safe containers.

Label each container with the date to ensure usage within optimal time-frames, ideally within the first month.

What are the signs that cooked salmon has gone bad?

Signs that cooked salmon has spoiled include a sour smell, slimy texture, and discoloration.

If cooked salmon exhibits any of these signs, it should not be consumed.

How many times can you safely reheat cooked salmon?

Cooked salmon should only be reheated once to maintain quality and food safety.

Ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) before consuming.

For how long can you keep raw salmon in the refrigerator?

Raw salmon should be kept in the fridge for no more than 1-2 days after purchase – to ensure it remains fresh and safe to eat.

Proper storage involves keeping it in the coldest part of the fridge.

Is there a risk in consuming salmon that has been refrigerated for over three days?

Consuming cooked salmon refrigerated for over three days can pose a risk due to potential bacterial growth.

While it can technically be stored for up to seven days, it is wise to adhere to the recommended 3-4 day window for optimal safety.

The above is based on a fridge temperature of 0°C to 4°C.


Want more?
See our storage guides for cooked Lobster and Crab.