How long does salmon stay fresh?

Updated February 21, 2017

Salmon is a very versatile dish. It can be baked, grilled, smoked, poached, stewed, made into pies, salads and whipped into dips and spreads. But salmon is not so versatile when it comes to maintaining freshness. The best way to ensure freshness is to always eat salmon the day you buy it. But with the right techniques, you can keep salmon for two days or even eight weeks.

Finding fresh salmon

The most important part of keeping wild salmon as fresh as possible is to buy the freshest salmon possible. Fresh fish will generally be available from June until August, frozen September to May, and farmed or smoked salmon is on sale all year-round. When selecting fresh salmon, you'll want to look for a fish with bright (almost alive) eyes. The skin will be shiny with tightly adhering scales and a faint aroma. The flesh should be firm and bounce back quickly if touched. If selecting fillets, look for moist, semi-transparent flesh.

Storing in the fridge

Salmon will keep fresh in the fridge for up to two days. When you bring home your salmon, unwrap it, wipe it over with a damp towel, wrap in plastic and store it in the coldest part of your fridge, generally the bottom drawer or the very back. It needs to stay well-chilled, or around 0C.

Storing in the freezer

Salmon will stay fresh in the freezer for up to eight weeks. After bringing the salmon home, unwrap it, rinse it in cold water and pat it dry. Then cut the salmon into desirable portions. Keep the salmon portions in freezer bags, freezer wrap, foil, or airtight freezer-friendly containers. It is best not to stack the portions until they are frozen. Always make a note of the date they were frozen.


To thaw previously frozen salmon, simply move the portions from the freezer to the refrigerator for an overnight thaw. If time is of the essence, use running water to thaw the salmon. Do not try to refreeze partially thawed or cooked fish.

Storing after cooking

If you have any leftover cooked fish, wrap it tightly and keep it in the coldest part of the fridge for up to two days.

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About the Author

Lily Obeck is a copywriter based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She writes for print, online, outdoor and broadcast marketing, with expertise in health, education and lifestyle topics. Obeck holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Texas and works as a part-time children's library assistant.