Is It Safe to Eat Leftover Sushi? (For How Long?)

By Autumn Ellenson

The shelf life of sushi is quite short. So, whether you have restaurant, store-bought, or homemade sushi, you must properly store it to make it last as long as possible.

The good news is that you can safely enjoy day-old sushi (and older) with the proper precautions!

The following explains different types of sushi and how long sushi leftovers are good for. I also cover how to keep your leftover sushi fresh and how to know if it has gone bad.

Sushi Food Safety Concerns

Since sushi uses ingredients that need to be handled carefully, there are some concerns about its safety. But if you use food safety precautions, you can enjoy this delicious food and its leftovers!

Risk of Bacterial Growth

Sushi left at room temperature for too long can be a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to food poisoning. I will outline ways to keep your leftover sushi safe from harmful bacteria.

Raw Fish Concerns

Raw fish in sushi is particularly susceptible to bacterial growth and should be consumed as soon as possible after being made. If not eating it immediately, you want to wrap it and get it in the fridge as quickly as possible.

Vegetable and Egg Concerns

Vegetables and eggs in sushi can also become unsafe if left at room temperature for too long. They are less susceptible to bacterial growth than raw fish, but you want to get them in the fridge within two hours.

Is It Safe to Eat Leftover Sushi?

happy woman eating sushi safely

Yes, it is safe to eat leftover sushi if you refrigerate it quickly. The USDA’s rule of thumb is to not leave any perishable leftovers out for more than 2 hours. However, if it contains raw fish, the sooner, the better. If you refrigerate the sushi within that timeline, it should be safe to eat later.

How much later?…

How Long Is Leftover Sushi Good For?

sushi on table and in fridge

It’s recommended to eat sushi within 24 hours for best quality, but it can last a little longer if stored properly. How long depends on whether it’s raw or cooked. Raw sushi can be good for 2 days, and cooked sushi for 3-4 days. However, you’ll need to watch for signs of spoilage from day one.

(Remember, these timelines are only if the sushi is refrigerated within 2 hours. You should throw it away if it’s left out at room temperature or above 40 F for more than 2 hours.)

How to Safely Store Leftover Sushi

sushi in airtight container in fridge

Whether you buy sushi at the grocery store or from one of the best sushi restaurants in town, you need to store it properly to enjoy it later. The best way is to wrap it properly and refrigerate it as soon as possible.

Proper Wrapping

Leftover sushi should be appropriately wrapped to prevent contamination and preserve its freshness. When wrapping leftover sushi, use an airtight container or plastic wrap to prevent air and bacteria from entering and affecting the quality of the sushi.

Do not store it in the styrofoam box it may have come in as that does not have an airtight seal.

Label the container with the date and time the sushi was made to track how long it has been stored. Proper wrapping and storage will help ensure the sushi remains fresh and safe for longer.


Leftover sushi should be stored in the refrigerator as soon as possible, ideally within two hours of being made. It should be kept below 40°F to prevent bacterial growth that could lead to food poisoning.

Should I Heat Up Leftover Sushi?

sushi and glass of water in microwave

Sushi is usually best served at room temperature or slightly chilled, and reheating can result in dry leftover sushi rice and dulled flavors. However, you can reheat leftover sushi if you so desire. Here’s how to easily reheat it without drying it out…

  1. Put leftover sushi on a microwave-safe plate
  2. Place it in the microwave WITH a glass of water
  3. Reheat it in short bursts of 15-30 seconds at a time until you reach the desired temperature.

The glass of water creates steam in the microwave, which keeps the sushi moist. This trick works for reheating pizza, bread, and more.

How to Tell If Leftover Sushi is Good or Bad

thumbs up or thumbs down on sushi

If you follow all food safety precautions, your sushi should last a few days in the fridge. But the best thing you can do is double-check your food for spoilage to avoid eating bad sushi.

The following are ways to check your sushi for safety:

  • Check the date: Look for the date the sushi was made and ensure it has been stored in the refrigerator for no more than 2-3 days. Store-bought sushi should have an expiration date on the packaging. Otherwise, use the date you ate at the restaurant as your starting date.
  • Check the temperature: Ensure 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 discard the sushi.
  • Check the appearance: Check for any visual signs of spoilage, such as discoloration. If the different components don’t look like their natural color, it is best to give it a hard pass.
  • Check the odor: Give your extra sushi the sniff test. While raw sushi may have a slightly fishy smell because it contains raw seafood, it should not have an unpleasant odor. If it has an overly fishy odor, that may indicate bacteria growth.
  • Check the texture: If the surface of the sushi appears to have changed, such as the rice being dry or the fish being mushy or slimy, it’s best to discard it.

By 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.

Is Sushi Always Rolled?

nigiri, chirashi, maki, and temaki sushi

Sushi is a traditional Japanese delicacy consisting of bite-sized portions of vinegar rice combined with various ingredients, such as raw fish, vegetables, and egg. The components are generally rolled up in seaweed (nori sheet) and served with soy sauce and wasabi. But it’s not always rolled…

Sushi can also refer to dishes that don’t involve rolling, such as chirashi, a bowl of sushi rice topped with various ingredients. There are many variations of sushi, with new and creative combinations constantly being created.

It is important to note that while raw fish is a common ingredient in sushi, not all sushi contains raw meat. Many cooked, vegan, and vegetarian sushi options are available.

Types of Sushi

There are many different types of sushi on the market. The following are the most popular types of sushi you can find:

Maki Rolls

maki sushi roll wrapped in seaweed

Maki rolls are the most common type of sushi and are made by rolling the ingredients in nori (seaweed sheets) and then slicing the rolls into circular pieces. These sushi rolls contain various vegetables, fish, and other fillings rolled in seaweed and rice.

There are many different types of maki rolls, including these popular options:

  • California Roll: A famous maki roll that contains avocado, crab meat (or imitation crab), and cucumber. It’s a “go-to” for picky eaters and newbie sushi eaters.
  • Tekka Maki: A traditional maki roll containing tuna, sometimes called a “tuna roll.”
  • Avocado Roll: A simple maki roll that contains sliced avocado.
  • Kappa Maki: This roll contains cucumber, often called a “cucumber roll.”
  • Salmon Roll: A maki roll that contains salmon.
  • Unagi Maki: This maki roll contains grilled eel.
  • Philly Rolls: A maki roll that contains smoked salmon, cream cheese, and avocado.
  • Spicy Tuna Roll: Spicy tuna rolls contain tuna mixed with spicy mayo.

These are just a few examples of the many different types of maki rolls. The fillings can vary widely and be combined to create various flavors and textures.


salmon on top of rice

Nigiri is a type of sushi consisting of a small ball of rice topped with fish, seafood, or other ingredients. Many times it will come with wasabi smeared across the top.

Here are the most common types of nigiri with their defining ingredient:

  • Maguro: raw tuna
  • Hamachi: yellowtail fish
  • Ebi: cooked shrimp
  • Uni: sea urchin roe
  • Ikura: salmon roe
  • Takuan: pickled yellow daikon radish
  • Tamagoyaki: egg
  • Inari: fried tofu skin filled with sweetened sushi rice

These are some of the most common types of nigiri, but many other ingredients, such as squid, octopus, eel, and shellfish, are used. The combination of flavors and textures can vary widely, making it a versatile and popular dish in Japanese cuisine.


salmon and cucumber on top of rice bowl

The word “chirashi” means “scattered” in Japanese, referring to how the ingredients are arranged on top of the sushi rice. Chirashi is a bed of sushi rice topped with various ingredients, such as raw fish, vegetables, eggs, and seasonings.

Chirashi is often a main dish served in a large, shallow dish.

There are many different types of chirashi, each with unique ingredients and flavors. Some of the most popular selections are:

  • Tuna Chirashi
  • Salmon Chirashi
  • Ebi Chirashi (shrimp)
  • Unagi Chirashi (grilled eel)
  • Vegetable Chirashi (such as cucumber, avocado, and carrots)
  • Tamagoyaki Chirashi (sweet custard-like egg)
  • Ikura Chirashi (salmon roe)

The ingredients can vary widely, and the flavors and textures can be combined in many ways to create a variety of delicious and satisfying dishes. These are just a few examples of the many different types of chirashi found in Japanese cuisine.


Inari is a type of sushi consisting of seasoned sushi rice stuffed inside a deep-fried tofu pouch called “aburaage”. It is often garnished with sesame seeds or other toppings. Inari is often served as a snack or as part of a sushi platter.


cone-shaped temaki

Temaki is a type of sushi that is shaped like a cone and typically wrapped in nori seaweed. Eating this hand roll is kind of like eating an ice cream cone!

Here are some common types of temaki:

  • California roll temaki: This roll has imitation crab meat, avocado, and cucumber.
  • Spicy tuna temaki: This sushi is filled with spicy tuna and other ingredients such as avocado, cucumber, and green onion.
  • Salmon temaki: Filled with fresh or smoked salmon and other ingredients such as cucumber and cream cheese.
  • Eel and avocado temaki: A temaki containing grilled eel and sliced avocado.
  • Vegetable temaki: Filled with various vegetables such as cucumber, carrot, and avocado.
  • Scallop temaki: This sushi contains cooked or raw scallops, mayonnaise, and other ingredients such as cucumber and tobiko (flying fish roe).

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