Can You Freeze Cooked Fish? – How to Freeze & Thaw Cooked Fish? – Shelf Life of Fish

Can You Freeze Cooked Fish?: Did you cook up a batch of your favorite baked or grilled fish but worry that you’ll have too many leftovers to eat in the next few days? Or, maybe you got a great deal on your favorite, fresh-caught fish, but there’s no way you’re going to cook it all before it spoils. What’s the best way to preserve your fish? Can you freeze cooked fish?

Well, handling leftovers safely is always an interesting challenge, and it’s especially the case with highly perishable foods like fish. You’ll need to cook or freeze your fish right away, and then after it’s cooked, you’ll only be able to use it for a few days. Let’s get into the details of freezing your fish, the right way.

Can You Freeze Cooked Fish

Can You Freeze Cooked Fish?

Yes, you can easily freeze your leftover cooked fish or fresh fish. But beware, there are a lot of common mistakes when it comes to freezing fish—mistakes that can mean your fish is either unsafe to eat, or just not as tasty as it could be. The two factors you want to avoid at all costs are moisture and air. Exposure to these will result in a decrease in quality as your fish sits in the freezer.

Any cooked fish can be frozen for up to 2 months. It’s best to freeze fish when it is still fresh, but you can also freeze it after it has been cooked without any issue. Freezing is ideal if you’ve cooked too many filets or have prepared a fish-based meal and have some leftovers. To freeze any type of cooked fish that you have, wrap it tightly and place it in a freezer-safe bag. Then you can defrost and reheat it as and when you want to enjoy it.

How To Freeze Cooked Fish?

The most important thing to consider when you’re freezing cooked fish is that you need to wrap it tightly, otherwise its odor may ruin any of the other foods in your freezer. Here are the steps you need to follow to freeze your cooked fish properly:

Step 1: Cool

Cook your fish and leave it at room temperature for an hour or so, or until it has cooled completely. Always remember to not put warm fish directly into the freezer.

Step 2: Wrap

Lay your cooked fish on a sheet of tin foil and wrap it tightly, making sure you don’t leave any of the fish exposed.

Step 3: Bag Up

Put the wrapped piece of cooked fish into a freezer-safe bag. Also, make sure to press out as much air as possible from the bag before sealing it.

Step 4: Label and Freeze

Write the freezing date along with the use-by date on the front of the bag, and place your fish in the freezer.

Follow these steps properly and voila! your cooked fish is saved for a long period of time. This way, you can freeze cooked fish for around two months.

How Long Will Cooked Fish Stay Fresh?

Normally, you can store cooked fish for about three or four days in the refrigerator. That’s just a guideline, assuming that your refrigerator keeps a steady, food safe temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Just make sure the temperature is low enough to discourage bacterial growth.

If not wrapped tightly your fish might get spoiled faster. This is because oxygen in the air reacts with the proteins, fats, and flavor molecules in the fish, and over time it’ll cause nasty-tasting compounds to form. If you’ve cooked up more fish than you can eat in the span of a few days, the best option for long-term storage is your freezer.

Instead of three or four days, the freezer keeps the fish fresh and usable for two to three months. And if you own a vacuum sealer, which extracts almost all of the air from a package, it’s the best way to prepare your fish for the freezer. Vacuum-sealed portions might last twice as long, or perhaps even longer before it develops “off” flavors.

Tips For Freezing Cooked Fish

Now that you know how to freeze your cooked fish, we’ve got our best tips, which we strongly recommend following when freezing cooked fish to get the best results:

Don’t Leave Fish Sitting at Room Temperature

It’s really important that you store your leftover fish in the fridge or freezer as quickly as possible. You can keep leftovers at room temperature to allow them to cool for a maximum of 1-2 hours. If you leave your cooked fish sitting out for any longer than this, it will experience bacterial contamination and should be discarded.

Seal it tightly

Just remember that fish must be packaged as airtight as you can get it, either in freezer bags with the excess air squeezed out or in containers with plastic wrap pressed right to the surface of the food.

Freeze Plain or as Part of a Dish

You can reheat cooked fish as a filet or as part of a dish such as a fish pie. Either way, you just need to make sure your fish is wrapped well and frozen as quickly as possible to preserve its freshness and flavor.

Defrost Properly

Be extra careful when reheating cooked fish, as you don’t want it to dry out. It’s always a good idea to allow the frozen fish sufficient time to thaw before you reheat it, so it will reheat evenly and thoroughly. We will explain how to defrost and cook fish in one of the sections that follow.

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How To Defrost Cooked Fish?

Defrosting cooked fish in the right manner is very important to truly enjoy its delicious taste. For defrosting your cooked fish, remove it from the freezer and place it in the fridge. It’s best to transfer the fish to the refrigerator the night before you plan to reheat your fish, as this will give it sufficient time to thaw.

Remember to never defrost cooked fish at room temperature, as it will spoil. Alternatively, you can defrost fish in the microwave to speed things up, but here you risk overheating it, so the fridge is the best option.

Can You Refreeze Cooked Fish?

No, you should not refreeze cooked fish. It’s recommended to freeze cooked fish once, because your fish has likely already been frozen, and it’s not safe to freeze seafood several times. If you’re concerned about wasting your cooked fish and have a lot of leftovers, you should separate them into serving sizes before freezing. This way, you can easily remove what you need from the freezer at any given time and avoid the need for refreezing.

Does Cooked Fish Freeze Well?

Cooked fish doesn’t freeze quite as well as fresh fish. Still, you shouldn’t encounter any major issues when you freeze cooked fish. Just make sure the fish is tightly wrapped and protected from freezer burn, and it should still be tasty for up to two months after you cook it initially.

For more interesting updates on fishes like salmon do refer to our quick guide on Can you Freeze Cooked Salmon and get an idea of the entire freezing method.

FAQs On Freezing Cooked Fish

1. Is it OK to eat cooked fish left out overnight?

No, seafood will definitely go bad if not refrigerated for several hours. It’s advised that any perishable food should be left out for no more than two hours at room temperature. When the fish passes the recommended hours, you must put it inside the fridge to extend its shelf life.

2. How can you tell if the fish is spoiled?

The best way to determine if your fish has gone bad is to smell it. If the fish has a mild ocean smell, it’s likely safe to eat—but if you aren’t certain, there are other signs you can look for. For example, if the fish smells sour or spoiled, it’s time to throw it out, and it’s a bad fish if it appears, feels slimy, or has a dull color.

3. What happens if you cook frozen fish without thawing it?

Cooking your fish straight from the freezer may produce a slightly different texture than fresh fish. It also depends on which recipes you are cooking, so we would advise on planning things ahead and gently thawing your fish if possible in order to keep quality at its best.

4. Is It Safe to Freeze Cooked Seafood? 

Yes, assuming that you’ve stored it correctly and not left it sitting at room temperature, cooked seafood can be frozen safely.

5. How Long Does Cooked Fish Stay Safe in the Freezer?

Cooked fish can last for around 2 months in the freezer. Beyond this, the fish is likely to remain safe to eat, but the texture can change dramatically.

Wrapping Up

Generally, it’s best to freeze fish while it is still fresh, but you can also freeze it after it has been cooked without any issues. Freezing is ideal if you’ve cooked too many filets or prepared a fish-based meal and don’t wish to consume the leftovers anytime soon.

We hope this article helps you freeze your cooked fish properly. If you’ve still got questions about freezing cooked fish or fish in general, then drop us a comment below. Check our website for more interesting articles on freezing salmon.

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