How Long is Salmon Good For? Make That Amazing Fish Last

Just a week ago, while I was doing my weekly grocery shopping, I saw a good bargain sale for a large piece of salmon that I just had to grab. Now I know I love salmon, but there was no way I could finish this in a week. So I check the net and looked for ways to I can store this magnificent fish. Here is what I found out.


The mighty salmon, long considered by chefs, home cooks, and foodies from around the world as fish royalty when it comes to fine cuisine. Salmon meat color ranges from bright orange to a darker shade of red. Professional chefs typically look for more fat content when it comes to salmon meat so they normally go for the caught in the wild variety rather than the farm bred ones.

Salmon comes to us in a variety of ways like canned, smoked, fresh, and even salmon jerky. Most health expert considers salmon as a “superfood” because of its high omegy-3 fatty acids and vitamin count. Nowadays, salmon is still enjoying a growing popularity evident by the high demand for the fish.

Types of Salmon

First of all, let me tell you about the different types of salmon available on the market.

1. The Chinook Salmon

You might know this salmon by its other name King Salmon. It is a large fish that can weigh well over 50 kilograms. The largest of the pacific salmon, this fish has a high fat content, which gives it an amazing flavor.

2. Sockeye Salmon

Red-orange in color, is also another type of salmon with a high fat content. Sockeye is the salmon preferred by chefs in sushi and other dishes that require raw fish.

3. Pink Salmon

Pink salmon is a small variety of salmon that normally weigh around 2 kilograms. This is the species that you normally find in canned salmons. It has a sweet and light flavor in making burgers or sandwich fillings.

4. Atlantic Salmon

Since most of the Atlantic salmons are now farmed, the taste of today’s variety has gotten a bit milder. The color of its meat ranges from pink to orange. It has good fat content (a little lower than the Chinook and sockeye), which also gives it a full flavor.

5. Chum Salmon

Also known as keta salmon, the chum’s claim to fame is its roe. Chefs tend to stay away from this salmon as it has low meat and fat content. If you really want to use this fish, a good advice is to pour sauce on it to moisten the meat as well as flash frying it as to refrain the fish from drying out too quick.

6. Coho Salmon

This salmon has a more complex flavor than the other species on the list. Grows really large and weighs in at about 15 kilograms. The coho salmon’s meat is bright red and has a gamier taste to it than the other salmon varieties.

  • Pro Salmon Buying Tip: Always check if the fish looks moist to indicate freshness, one indication of old salmon is browning on the flesh.

How long is salmon good for?

Proper knowledge of salmon storage life is really essential if you are planning to deal with this fish. I learned this the hard way. When I bought a whole fillet of Alaskan salmon some months ago and I just plain forgot about it after cooking a few slices the night I got it. It already turned bad a few weeks later as I left it in the chiller part just below the freezer (All that beautiful salmon straight down the garbage chute).

Basically, fresh salmon can last about 2-3 days inside the fridge but can last about 2-3 months when properly frozen. Cooked salmon, on the other hand, can last 4-5 days inside the fridge while it last 2-3 months when frozen.

  • Pro Tip: If you keep it zero degrees Fahrenheit the salmon will last longer (About 6-9 months). 2-3 months is the timeframe to ensure it is still of best quality.

How do you know if your salmon has turned bad?

If your salmon has the following traits then a good trip to the bin might be your next move:

  1. Slimy and slippery feel when you touch the meat
  2. Bad, fishy, and sour odor
  3. Mold or milky residue anywhere on the salmon
  • Pro tip: Do a finger test; if you press against the meat and it does not spring back the salmon might already be near spoilage

What are the best ways to store your salmon?

1. If storing your salmon inside a fridge, make sure that you keep it at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below for optimal keeping. Always remember to base the 2-3 days on the freshness of the fish when you bought it. A good tip would be to place you salmon inside airtight or ziplock containers.

2. If storing your salmon in the freezer make sure to double wrap it to make thawing easier (plastic first and then freezer paper). Optimal freezing temperature is zero degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Another method is freezing the fish in a block of ice. Basically, you need a container large enough for the fish to fit as well as tall enough so you can pour in some water where you freeze the fish.

  • Pro tip: A good rule of thumb is not to open the original packaging of the fish if you are not going to cook it immediately. Most fish packaging in the market today are airtight and freezer ready so you might as well take advantage of that.

Keep this handy guide in mind the next time you are faced with the dilemma of storing salmon. This premium fish fetches an equally premium price so it is such a shame to just throw it away because of improper storage.

Do you have any experiences in making your salmon last longer? Feel free to tell me in the comments below.

Mia Chambers

I'm Mia. I love cooking because it makes me feel closer to my family and my friend. In my early years, I was spent hours cooking alongside my mom. I really grateful and love the time in her kitchen. And the memories inspire me to get an apron & whip up something incredible.

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