How Long Can Fish Stay In The Fridge (And Why)?

How Long Can Fish Stay In The Fridge (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Up To 2 Days

Fish is one of the delicious foods which is a staple for many people and one of their favorite seafood. Many people cannot go without fish for even a day. It is one of the low-fat, high-quality proteins. It is also rich in iodine, zinc, and omega 3 fatty acids.

This is why it is important to freeze the fish so that one can enjoy a sumptuous dinner or lunch. Understanding how long a fish can stay in the fridge without going bad is also essential. Make sure to use a plastic bag to store the fish.

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How Long Can Fish Stay In The Fridge?

Type of fishDuration
Shrimp2 days
Tuna3 to 5 days

The FDA recommends that people eat their fish within a day after purchase, but the length can vary depending on the type of fish. This is because, for example, Wild-caught salmon will go bad faster than tilapia from farmed sources. 

Fresh fish from some types of water can stay fresh for as long as five days to two weeks. Fish stored in saltwater will maintain their freshness for longer than those stored in freshwater. 

The fridge controls temperature and smell, but it doesn’t prolong shelf life because bacteria are everywhere around us, including one’s fridge. Hence, unless one cooks or freezes it, bacteria has already started to work and proceed with the spoilage process. This way, it will deplete the nutrients.

Most fish can be stored for up to 2 days in the fridge, while some types of seafood should last for only a day before spoiling. Experts recommend storing fresh fish in butter or oil and freezing it when one gets home from the store. Most fish will last 4 months in the freezer without any additional cooking after frying or baking if it is properly stored.

The secret is to always check their eyes and gills before cooking them according to the proper instructions. Overall, fish is a perishable item and will go bad after a certain time, so it’s important to either cook or freeze it as soon as possible after buying it from the store.

Why Would Fish Stay In The Fridge For So Long?

Fish can stay in the fridge for a few days as long as it’s wrapped well. Fish that have been gutted can last up to two days in the fridge. 

The colder temperature slows down the deterioration process, giving more time to consume the fish. However, if there is any discoloration or unpleasant smell, it’s best to discard the fish.

Overall, it also depends on the type of fish. Generally, fish spoils within two days after it has been caught. However, some types of fish can last up to a week.

It’s important to pay attention to the signs that a fish has spoiled. These signs include slimy or sticky skin, bad odor, change in color, and change inconsistency. If one sees any of these signs, it’s best not to eat the fish.

This happens when the fish’s enzymes and bacteria break down the tissue, and as a result, it produces toxins that can make people sick. The spoilage process begins as soon as the fish dies, and it speeds up with heat, light, and exposure to air.

The best way to tell if fish is spoiled is by smell. If it smells rank or sour, it’s gone bad and should not be eaten. 


Ultimately, one must cook the fish within 2 days of purchase. Extending it may fail to bring any flavor or crispy texture to the fish.

If the fish does go bad, one can also look for signs of spoilage such as discoloration, sliminess, or a change in texture. 

Seafood like shrimp and scallops can only last for 2 days in the fridge, while fish like tuna, salmon, trout, and swordfish can last for 3 to 5 days.  

Also, fishes like mackerel, sardines, and bluefish have shorter windows for cooking. Therefore make sure to wrap the fish in a tight wrapper and use moisture-proof paper to avoid air from leaking.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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