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How Long Does Cooked Fish Last In The Fridge?

Is it really worth rolling the dice on that day or two old cooked fish?


Perhaps... Perhaps not so much. Here's our suggestion on whether or not your leftover cooked fish in the fridge is safe to eat, or if it should promptly end up meeting its demise in the compost bin. So, how long can you keep that piece of cooked salmon in the fridge?


This applies to all different types of cooked fish such as cod, sole, tuna, tilapia, mahi-mahi, swordfish, catfish, halibut, sea bass, branzino, flounder, snapper, and more!


salmon in a bowl with garlic and greens
Should I keep or toss that leftover fish?

It doesn't matter if AWG Private Chefs prepared you an amazing fish dinner last night, you if cooked it yourself, or are bringing it home from your favorite local restaurant or brasserie. You're still left with a partial, or full portion of leftover cooked fish, and now what to do with it? A day goes by, and you already have your meals pre-planned for lunch or dinner. At last, you get around to eating it two days after it was cooked, but you're still wondering, "Is it really safe to eat?".


The answer should be a resounding YES!


Leftover fish should be safe for you to eat for an absolute maximum of up to 3 days after it has been cooked, according to the USDA.


The secret to leftover fish lasting up to 3 days after being cooked, is the QUALITY OF THE FISH. If the fish was of very high quality, to begin with, before being cooked, (ie: freshly harvested, firm skin, doesn't have any sort of foul odor or off-gassing of ammonia) then it should last in the fridge for 2-3 days. But ALWAYS be sure to eat it within 3 day maximum.


take out sign
Use extra caution to leftover fish from restaurants!

When dining out at a restaurant, our suggestion is to eat with fish within a maximum of 24 hours of bringing it home. As you have no idea how fresh the fish was in the first place before it was actually cooked and served to you! Restaurants can often leave their fish out days longer than it should be. This isn't something you really want to risk. So our suggestion is to enjoy your restaurant leftovers within 24 hours of bringing them home.


Always trust your nose!


Go ahead, give it a good sniff. Whenever you're even in the slightest bit in doubt... THROW IT OUT!


There is always a distinct difference between slightly fishy-smelling fish, that smells like actual fish, and something acrid, pungent, or almost chemical-like. Always pay attention to texture, if the fish has become mushy, slimy, or is overly dried out then it's past its prime and needs to go in the compost bin straight away. Always remember, when in doubt, throw it out!


Foodborne illness is no laughing matter, each year tens of thousands of people suffer from foodborne illness due to negligence in proper reheating, storing at improper temperatures, or keeping their leftovers way past their prime.


Suggested temperatures for your fridge
Credit: Julia Bowen

Pro Tip: Always make sure that your fridge is set to a temperature of below 40 degrees F (4 degrees C.), (We set ours to 37 degrees to allow for frequent opening and closing and quicker recovery times) and your freezer set to 0 degrees F, (-18 degrees C.) Also always have a reliable appliance thermometer inside your fridge and your freezer to double-check against your fridge temperature settings to ensure accurate reliability.


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About the Author: Certified Master Chef Sean Andrade is Executive Chef/Owner of AWG Private Chefs, named the #1 Private Chef company in California. Chef Sean has worked in the restaurant and hospitality industries worldwide for more than 25 years. His company AWG Private Chefs offers highly custom-tailored, bespoke private chef dining experiences, select location meal delivery, and event catering in over 30 countries around the globe.