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How Long Does Fish Last in the Fridge?

A salmon steak on a blue background
A salmon steak on a blue background

getty images / Krasyuk

From cod to halibut and salmon to tuna, there are plenty of fish in the sea. But once those fish are out of the ocean and in your fridge, exactly how long can they stay there before they need to be cooked? Find out how long fresh and cooked fish can last in the fridge—plus, get tips for storing fish safely.

How Long Does Fresh Fish Last in the Fridge?

Fresh fish can last in the fridge for one to two days. Whether it's from your local fishmonger or from the grocery store, be sure to refrigerate it as soon as possible after buying. Fresh fish should smell, well, fresh or like the body of water they came from. If the fillet or whole fish has a fishy, sour or ammonia-like odor, that's a sign it should be tossed. Another indicator fish should be thrown out is if there is discoloration, darkening or drying around the edges of the fillet. If you've purchased whole fish, the eyes should be clear and not cloudy.

When refrigerating raw fish, place it on the bottom shelf to minimize risk of cross-contamination. Also, be sure your fridge is set at a safe temperature, 40℉ or below, to avoid bacterial growth. Bacteria grow quickly between 40℉ and 140℉, also known as the "Danger Zone." If you open your fridge frequently, you could also store your fish with ice or ice packs. If storing cut fish or fillets, wrap them in plastic wrap before icing. Whole fish does not need to be wrapped beforehand.

How Long Does Cooked Fish Last in the Fridge?

Cooked fish can last in the fridge for three to four days. Place cooked fish in an airtight container to protect it from any odors in the fridge. Unlike raw fish, cooked fish can go on any shelf, excluding the bottom shelf where raw meat, fish or poultry is stored, in the fridge.

How to Freeze Fish

While fresh and cooked fish may only last a few days in the refrigerator, its usability can be extended when you freeze it. To freeze raw or cooked fish, place in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. Be sure to label and date the container or bag so you know when it was originally frozen. For the best texture and taste, plan to use raw fish within eight months and cooked fish within three months.

Bottom Line

Fresh fish can last in the fridge for up to two days, while cooked fish can be refrigerated for up to four days. If the fresh fish smells fishy or sour, or has any discoloration around the edges, it's best to throw it out. To extend the shelf life of fish, raw or cooked, it can be frozen and will last multiple months in the freezer.