The best way to eat sushi is as soon as possible, but it can still be delicious the next day or up to a few days if stored properly. How long sushi can last depends on the type of sushi, storage method, and how quickly you refrigerate or freeze it.
Raw meats, of course, present a higher risk, and sushi rice is prone to drying out. But it is possible to enjoy sushi leftovers if you know what to do. So, don’t fret if you ordered way too much sushi.
The following outlines the basics of storing sushi, including the proper techniques for storing sushi in the fridge or freezer.
Can You Put Sushi in the Fridge?
Yes, you can put sushi in the fridge. Sushi is safe to eat for 2-4 days if you refrigerate it within 2 hours. Whether it’s 2 or 4 days depends on whether it’s raw or cooked and the initial quality. You need to know the signs of spoilage to eat it confidently…
If the sushi ingredients contain raw meat products, they will not last as long because bacterial growth is quicker if not stored properly. To maintain the freshness and quality of sushi and avoid health risks, it is essential to store it the right way as quickly as possible.
The same is true for how long deli chicken lasts.
Shelf Life of Cooked vs. Raw Sushi
Knowing which types of sushi you’re storing is essential. Raw fish and sashimi, such as salmon sashimi, should be consumed fresh and chilled for up to 2 days. Cooked sushi, like California rolls, is similar but can stay fresh for 3-4 days when stored properly.
But, do note that you must store it quickly and correctly. The USDA’s 2-Hour General Rule states that no refrigerated food should be left at room temperature for over 2 hours. (This rule applies to how long coffee with creamer can sit out, too!)
Grocery store sushi should have an expiration date marked on the packaging to go by. If you are making homemade sushi, follow the timeline in this article.
Is Leftover Sushi Safe?
Yes, it is safe to eat leftover sushi. However, proper storage of sushi is essential to avoid food poisoning and maintain its quality. Sushi that is not stored correctly can spoil quickly, leading to an unpleasant taste and texture and potentially causing foodborne illness.
Therefore, understanding the basics of storing sushi is essential for anyone who loves sushi and wants to enjoy it safely.
The Basics of Storing Sushi
Even day-old sushi can be inedible if stored incorrectly, especially if it contains raw fish, which can quickly spoil and cause foodborne illness if not handled properly.
To avoid this, it is essential to follow these tips when storing sushi:
1. Wrap It Securely
Wrap sushi tightly in plastic wrap to prevent air from entering and causing oxidation. This will help preserve the taste and texture of the sushi.
2. Place in an Airtight Container
Next, use an airtight sealed container to store the sushi in a refrigerator at 40 degrees F or below. This additional layer of protection saves leftover sushi rolls from frostbite.
3. Enjoy Sooner Rather Than Later
To ensure its freshness, try to eat the sushi within 24 hours of storage. The shelf life of sushi with raw ingredients is two days if it has been appropriately stored. Cooked sushi can be kept for 3-4 days. Vegetarian sushi may last even longer.
Of course, the best thing to do is always inspect your food before eating.
Can You Freeze Sushi?
Yes, you can freeze sushi to preserve its quality and freshness for up to 3 months. Freeze it immediately if you cannot consume it within 2-4 days. You can also prepare fresh homemade sushi ahead of time and store it for later consumption. However, you must freeze it properly…
To properly freeze sushi, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container. Label the container with the date to track how long it has been frozen. Sushi can be stored indefinitely in the freezer, but after 3 months, its quality wanes.
Remember, it’s a good idea to freeze fresh sushi as soon as possible. If you wait until the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th day to freeze it, the growth of bacteria may have already started. You’ll end up freezing the bacteria along with the sushi. Or, at the very least, you’ll be freezing subpar sushi.
How to Thaw Sushi
For best results, thaw sushi in the fridge overnight to allow it to thaw slowly. Thawing sushi at room temperature makes it more susceptible to bacteria, and thawing in the microwave can greatly decline its quality. It should be kept at 40 degrees or less until you eat it and should be consumed within 24 hours of thawing.
Overall, freezing sushi can be a convenient way to preserve its quality and freshness. However, it is essential to properly wrap and label the sushi when storing it in the freezer and to thaw it slowly in the fridge to avoid any changes in texture or taste.
How to Tell If Sushi Is Safe to Eat
Even if you follow all food safety precautions, you will still want to look for any signs of spoilage of bad sushi.
The following are ways to check your sushi for safety:
- Date: Ensure the sushi has been stored in the refrigerator for no more than 2-4 days. Otherwise, use the date you ate at the sushi restaurant as your starting date. Store-bought sushi should have an expiration date on the packaging.
- Temperature: Be sure the leftover sushi temperature has been maintained below 40°F in the refrigerator. If the sushi sat above 40°F for more than 2 hours, it is best to toss it. When it doubt, throw it out!
- Appearance: Check for any visual signs of mold, such as discoloration. If the different components don’t look like their natural color, giving it a hard pass is best.
- Smell: Does the food have a foul odor? While the main ingredients of fresh fish sushi include raw seafood, it may have a slightly fishy smell. But the odor should not be unpleasant. If it has a strong fishy odor, that may indicate bacterial growth.
- Texture: Check out the sushi’s appearance. If it looks like the vinegared rice is dried out or the fish is mushy or slimy, toss it.
Following these steps, you can determine whether leftover sushi is safe to eat and minimize the risk of foodborne illness. However, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and discard the sushi if you have any doubts about its safety.
Go Enjoy Your Sushi!
The good news is that despite its relatively small freshness window, you can store sushi and eat it later with confidence. Especially now that you know all the above information.
So, go grab that California roll, sashimi, and some soy sauce from the fridge and dig in. Savor that cooked rice, nori seaweed, and sushi-grade fish while mentally thanking the sushi chef!
Storing Sushi Safely FAQs
Here is a quick Q&A about sushi if you want the cliff notes version.
Q: Is all sushi raw?
No, not all sushi is raw. While traditional sushi often includes raw seafood, it is not a prerequisite. Sushi can contain a number of different ingredients that are cooked or even be cooked as a whole. Baked sushi is a very popular example.
Q: How long can you keep sushi in the fridge?
A: The short answer is 2-4 days, with raw fish being the shorter end of that time span. Cooked sushi can last up to 4 days.
Q: Can you freeze sushi?
A: Yes, sushi can be frozen for up to three months if it is tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container. Thawing sushi should be done slowly in the fridge overnight to prevent changes in texture or taste.
Q: Can you leave sushi out at room temperature?
A: Sushi should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours. Bacteria growth occurs rapidly at room temperature, which can cause food poisoning if left out too long.
Q: How can you tell if sushi has gone bad?
A: If sushi smells fishy, has a slimy texture, or tastes sour or off, it has gone bad and should not be consumed.
Q: How important is proper storage of sushi?
A: Proper sushi storage is crucial to maintaining its quality and safety. Raw fish can quickly spoil and cause food poisoning if not handled properly. By following proper storage techniques, you can ensure that your sushi remains safe and delicious.