How Long Can You Keep Fish in the Freezer? (Short Answer)

Depending on the fat content, fish may be frozen for three to six months. The lower the fat content of a fish, the longer it will keep in the freezer.

When it comes to fish longevity in the freezer, it’s crucial to examine the packing techniques you choose since they affect how long your fish will last.

Continue reading to learn about the best procedures for freezing fish and how to utilize it in recipes after it has thawed.

Can You Freeze Fish?

Fresh fish freezes nicely if it is frozen within 48 hours after purchase. If you catch your own fish, be sure to keep it as cold as possible until you can gut and clean it. It’s best to put it in an ice bucket.

When preparing to freeze fish, never leave the fish in water. Otherwise, some of the tastes will be lost. Similarly, freezing fish in a bowl of water, which is a frequent method, is not recommended.

Related Article: Can you freeze cooked shrimp?

How to Freeze Fish: Step-by-Step Guide

Knowing that you can freeze fish is a good start, but how you freeze fish might be the difference between a good and awful eating experience.

There are various techniques for freezing fish, including:

  • Vacuum seal
  • Plastic wrap
  • Wrapping in freezer paper
  • Glazing the fish

Many individuals, as previously said, utilize the process of freezing fish in water. This is not recommended since it degrades the taste and texture.

You can, however, glaze a fish. Dunking fish in cold water and placing them on a pan in your freezer is the glazing technique for preparing them for freezing. When the initial layer of water surrounding the fish freezes, you dunk them in cold water again to freeze that layer.

You may continue this technique until you have a -inch glazing around your fish. After that, put the fish in a freezer bag and press out as much air as possible before keeping it in your freezer for long-term preservation.

Whatever technique you choose, the purpose of freezing fish should be to keep as much air out of the container as possible. An airtight closure will not only maintain the taste of your fish, but it will also avoid freezer burn.

Freezer burn, contrary to common opinion, is not detrimental to the human body. However, it happens due to moisture loss when frozen fish is exposed to air, resulting in a drier, less palatable dish.

As a result, we suggest employing a vacuum seal. If you do not wish to invest in this equipment, you may wrap your fish in plastic wrap or freezer paper.

In any scenario, put the fish in a freezer bag after wrapping them in several layers of plastic wrap or freezer paper. The purpose for this, as you may have guessed, is to keep air from reaching your fish.

How Long Does Frozen Fish Last?

Most fish will keep in your freezer for at least six months. To keep track of how long the bags have been in your freezer, mark them with the date you placed them in there.

However, fatty fish do not fare well in the freezer. As a result, you should consume fatty fish within three months after freezing it.

Examples of fatty fish include:

  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Bluefish
  • Mackerel

We won’t go too technical here, but there’s a biological reason why you shouldn’t keep fatty fish in the freezer for too long; it may oxidize, generating foul aromas and disagreeable tastes. The more unsaturated fat a fish contains, the more likely it may oxidize sooner.

Assuming you used the airtight freezing procedures we discussed earlier and removed your fish from the freezer at the right time, you may be wondering how to thaw them.

Although you can thaw frozen fish in the refrigerator, we do not encourage it. This is due to the fact that it helps germs to proliferate.

It is preferable to thaw your fish by running cold tap water over it. Make sure the packaging is still attached. If you don’t do this, some of the tastes will wash out of your fish.

Last but not least, never defrost frozen fish on the counter. This allows more germs to thrive than just defrosting it in the fridge.

How to Tell if Frozen Fish is Bad

So, here are some warning indications that you have a case of rotting frozen fish on your hands:

  • A strong fishy or ammonia smell
  • Slimy film
  • Lightweight
  • Flakes or patches that are white or grey

The first two indicators suggest that your fish has been exposed to microorganisms and is deteriorating. Although bacteria cannot survive at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, if your freezer malfunctions or there is a power outage, the temperature may climb to a bacteria-friendly zone.

The final two symptoms point to freezer burn. There’s nothing wrong with eating freezer-burned fish in terms of health. The fish will have a dry texture and an off-flavor on the palate.

It should go without saying, but freezing fish on the verge of spoiling will result in the same results. As a result, we suggest freezing fresh fish within 48 hours after purchase.

Frozen Fish Recipe Ideas

If you freeze a solid, non-fatty fish, you can cook it on the grill, in the oven, or on the stovetop just like fresh fish. However, if you freeze a fattier fish or use the glazing procedure mentioned above, which might cause the fish to soften, utilizing chunks of the fish as part of a bigger meal is often the best option.

Bluefish, for example, has a distinct feel when it comes out of the freezer owing to its fattiness. As a result, it’s a fantastic fish for making fish cakes and spaghetti.

Fish stews and curries are some delicious ways to use frozen fish. There are several recipes to pick from, ranging from hot to sweet tastes. However, you should usually add your defrosted fish as one of the final stages. Defrosted fish cooks rapidly, just like fresh fish.

Another fantastic dish for frozen fish is hearty fish pies. Fish, like stews and curries, is one of the final components to be added to a fish pie. You’ll also want to use thoroughly thawed fish since you’ll need to split it into bits by hand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have any more questions regarding freezing fish? The following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Can you store cooked fish in a freezer?

Yes, cooked fish may be kept in the freezer for approximately a month.

How long can you store thawed fish in a fridge?

You should never put thawed fish in the fridge. Thawing frozen fish in cold water with the wrapper still wrapped around it is the best method.

If you must keep thawed fish in the refrigerator, do so for no more than 24 hours and thoroughly boil the fish to destroy germs.

What are some tips for preserving fish for longer?

Before freezing your fish, wash it well and pat it dry with a paper towel to increase its life and flavor. Before freezing, store the fish in a cool area.

Also, before putting the fish in a freezer bag, use a vacuum seal or wrap it in many layers of plastic wrap or freezer paper.

What does freezer burn do to fish?

Freezer burn dehydrates the fish. As a consequence, the texture of the fish becomes dry, and it may feel chewy. Furthermore, freezer burn degrades the taste of the fish. It may also lead the fish to absorb tastes from other foods surrounding it, particularly if the fish is not properly packaged.

How do you know if fish is still good?

If your frozen fish does not have a slimy texture on the surface or a greater than normal fishy odor, it is still safe to consume.


When someone asks, “How long does fish last in the freezer?” You’ll be able to inform them in three to six months. You may have wonderful, frozen fish all year long if you store your fish in airtight containers and keep note of the date you placed them in the freezer.


How long does fish last in a freezer?

Fish may be preserved in the freezer for up to two years if vacuum-sealed and carefully stored. When frozen fish is properly thawed, there should be little to no textural difference between it and fresh fish.

What is quick freezing of fish?

Because the temperature immediately below 0°C is the key zone for protein denaturation spoilage, an early UK definition of fast freezing required that all fish be decreased from 0°C to -5°C in 2 hours or fewer.

How long can fish last out of the freezer?

How long may uncooked fish be stored in the refrigerator? In general, raw fish should be refrigerated for no more than 1 or 2 days. You may freeze the fish if you are not planning to consume it right away. To keep fish fresh, freeze it as soon as possible.

Why fish should be rapidly frozen?

Safer: The blast freezing method is a great way to keep microorganisms at bay. Bacterial growth typically occurs between 4°C (40°F) and 60°C (140°F). Bacteria don’t have much time to proliferate since the freezing happens so rapidly. These germs are not present in the diet.

How do you store fish in the freezer for a long time?

Fresh Fish Freezing
Take the fish out of the shop packing.
Rinse it with cold water and dry it with paper towels.
Fill freezer bags or containers with the fish.
Bags or containers should be labeled and dated.
Place in a freezer set to zero degrees Fahrenheit or colder.

What fish is best to freeze?

Fish with dense and substantial flesh (such as rockfish, cobia, or mahi) freeze well. Softer bodied fish, especially those that are rich and oily (such as bluefish or Spanish mackerel), do not freeze well and should be consumed fresh. Because salmon and tuna contain a lot of fat, they store well, but they taste great fresh.

What happens when fish is frozen?

The rate of protein denaturation in frozen fish is mostly temperature dependent and slows when the temperature is decreased. When the temperature is lowered, changes in the lipids of frozen fish will likewise slow down.

What happens to fish when you freeze it?

Some fish, such as koi and gobies, may burrow into soft sediments and hibernate, similar to frogs and other amphibians, but the majority of fish simply school in the deepest pools and take a “winter rest.” Fishes’ heartbeat slow down in this resting condition, their demands for food and oxygen diminish, and they move very little.

Is fish frozen for 2 years safe to eat?

Cooked fish (-17.8 °C or below) may be stored for up to 3 months. Frozen raw fish should be utilized within 3 to 8 months, and shellfish within 3 to 12 months.Any frozen fish or shellfish can keep eternally; but, the taste and texture may deteriorate with time. Freeze (0 °F) for optimal results.

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