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Simple Guide: How To Tell When Salmon Has Gone Bad

If you have had salmon sitting in your refrigerator for a few days, you might be wondering if the salmon has gone bad.

Simple Guide: How To Tell When Salmon Has Gone Bad

Eating salmon – or any type of fish for that matter – which has gone past its ideal time to eat it, may cause some form of food poisoning.

For this reason, it is paramount to be able to know when salmon has gone bad. If you are wanting to eat salmon which has been left for a few days, you will want to avoid becoming ill.

To do this is to know the signs of salmon going bad. This could be to do with its texture, smell, or even how it looks in general.

In this article we shall take a look at how to tell when a salmon has gone bad (see also “The Best Way To Tell If Shrimp Has Gone Bad“). 

How Long Can You Keep Salmon Before Eating It?

If you have raw salmon in your fridge which has been sitting there for a week, then it is time to throw it out. While that is a waste, it will only make you ill. Also, it might not taste very nice either.

As a rule of thumb, take a look at the below chart to understand how long you can keep raw, cooked and smoked salmon. 

However, this is only an estimate. If you have a colder refrigerator or freezer, then there is a good chance you can keep it a little longer.

Type Of Salmon | Temperature Of Room | Fridge | Freezer

  • Raw Salmon | One hour | One to two days | Up to 3 months
  • Smoked Salmon | One hour | Three to four days | Up to 6 months
  • Cooked Salmon | One hour | Four to five days | Up to 6 months

How Long Might Salmon Last For?

Salmon has a very short shelf life which is the same as the majority of fish. This means that if you want to buy salmon, either eat it within a couple of days or put it in the freezer.

Once you cook the salmon, then it will last a couple of days longer than fresh fish. This means you can place a cooked fish into the refrigerator and it will still be good enough to eat the next day.

However, this does not mean you should leave the cooked fish for a week. The salmon is still only likely to last around three to four days. 

How Can You Tell If Salmon Has Gone Bad?

One thing you want to avoid is risking the chance of suffering from food poisoning. Eating fish that has gone bad is one reason why people become ill after eating fish.

However, there are ways to avoid this. You just need to make sure the salmon is well looked after, and that you do not eat it once it goes bad.

Unfortunately, salmon can go bad rather quickly. So, how do you know if the salmon has gone bad? Let’s take a look!

Take A Look At Its Appearance

The first thing you might notice is its appearance, well, that is if the aroma hasn’t hit you first (see below).

The color of the salmon should have a red-orange to it which turns a pinkish color when cooked. 

If you notice that the color of the fish is more gray or opaque, then it means the fish has gone bad. You might also notice dark spots, a milky colored residue or even mold.

None of this should be consumed and you should throw the salmon away. 

Give It A Smell

If salmon is a fish which is supposed to have a fishy smell, how can you tell if salmon smells yucky? 

Well, fresh salmon doesn’t tend to have much of a fishy smell. In fact, you probably can’t smell much at all. However, if you do smell anything, it should be a fresh sea smell.

If the salmon smells musty, fishy or ‘off’, then it should not be eaten. It means it is time to throw it out. 

Feel The Fish

If the appearance or smell hasn’t given anything away, then you will want to feel the salmon. Understanding its normal texture will help you to identify whether it is starting to go bad or not.

A salmon should feel firm, so if it is gooey or starting to pull apart, then it means it has gone bad. 

Will Expired Salmon Make You Ill?

Because salmon can go bad quite quickly, eating expired fish may give you food poisoning. While most of the time it is obvious when salmon has spoiled, sometimes it isn’t.

For This reason, if the salmon has been uneaten for more than two days, you will want to check for signs that it might have gone bad.

This could be the smell or the texture. If you cannot tell, then it might be worth getting rid of it anyway. It is much better to be safe than sorry. 

How Do You Freeze Cooked Salmon Properly?

Putting cooked salmon into the freezer will help it to last much longer. In fact, it can stay fresh for up to three months when frozen. This is a great idea if you are planning to bulk buy.

However, despite the fact you can freeze and eat salmon for up to six months, the freshness and taste of the fish will start to decline. Who knows what the fish will be like in six months?

It is highly unlikely it will taste or look as nice as it should. However, it will still be fine to eat. 

When freezing cooked salmon, place it into an airtight container or bag. There are no other requirements to ensure that the salmon freezes well. 

Final Thoughts

Understanding whether a salmon has gone bad or not will help you to avoid suffering from something like food poisoning.

So long as you take note of its appearance, smell and texture, then you will be able to eat salmon when it is at its freshest.

Justin Roberts