Can I Refreeze Salmon and Is it Safe?

We have all been there, haven’t we? We have made a delicious meal, one we might have painstakingly labored over for hours on end, only to realize we have made too much. Our bellies are full to the hilt, and we aren’t going to fancy leftovers later. 

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Thoughts turn to our freezer, offering shelter for leftovers or bulk purchases until the time is right. But there are times when we defrost something and then change our minds, or are surprised with a romantic date night, and we frantically scour the internet to see if it can be refrozen and the safety of this. 

Well, for those salmon lovers, there is no need to scour anymore, as we are here to save the day! So can you refreeze salmon? : Is it safe? Let us tell you all the answers right now!

Can you freeze salmon?

The short answer is, yes, you can refreeze salmon. It is best to ensure that the salmon has been thoroughly thawed before refreezing and has not been out for too long; ideally, it will be kept in the fridge. 

Before we go into how to refreeze your salmon, let’s look at some factors you should consider before freezing your salmon. 

Generally, the salmon you will have purchased from a store will already have been frozen beforehand to ensure its freshness when you bought it. Freezing salmon maintains its freshness; after all, we don’t all live on top of a wild salmon source, do we? 

Usually, it is recommended to purchase salmon frozen to ensure its freshness. Now, let’s look at some of the factors you should consider when refreezing your salmon to get excellent quality and taste still.

Uncooked or cooked?

You can refreeze both uncooked or fresh salmon and cooked salmon! It is worth noting that whether the salmon is raw or cooked, the same rules to refreeze the fish would apply, don’t worry, keep reading to find those out! 

Refreezing cooked salmon will give you a chance to enjoy your delicious meal again, with hopefully less time than it took to cook initially! 

When you are refreezing fresh salmon, you have the opportunity to cook it differently, maybe even experiment with it! You won’t need to cook the salmon before refreezing your salmon; simply follow the instructions further down in the article to ensure your salmon’s freshness. 

Neither way is preferred, which means you can freeze your salmon as and when the situation arises, whether it is cooked or raw! Just make sure it is still fresh and good to eat before you freeze it. 

But why?

You may be wondering, why would anyone want to freeze salmon?

There are a few reasons you may wish to refreeze your salmon; let’s take a look at some of those now. 


Fresh salmon, as I'm sure you know, has quite a short shelf life. Even keeping it in the fridge cannot save it. Usually, fresh salmon needs to be cooked and consumed within a day or two of purchasing, which is not always ideal. 

Even your grocery store has this issue, and it will have most likely been frozen to ensure its freshness. Freezing your salmon will keep its freshness, even if it has already been thawed!

Stop that waste

As a country, we waste an unbelievable amount of food every day. We should all try to avoid food waste, where possible. That being said, leftovers after a meal are commonplace across the country, so what can we do?

You can repurpose your dinner as a lunch for the next day, or you can refreeze your salmon to use again later on! If the food is still in date and fresh, why let it go to waste? 


You don’t need me to tell you that salmon is not cheap, especially compared to other fishes in the sea. Wasting it by letting it go off is essentially the same as burning your hard-earned money, and you wouldn’t do that, would you? 

Freezing your salmon gives you more time to enjoy your salmon and allows you to stock up if you find a good deal. Why not make the most of a bargain? 


Salmon is very healthy seafood to have as part of your diet. It's rich in omega-three and nourishing oils to look after your insides. Having salmon in your home, ready to eat is a great idea! 

Those wanting to look after their bodies and live a healthier lifestyle should take some time to prepare their kitchens for their health. By refreezing your salmon, you are ensuring that your diet can continue to be healthy. Consider it as a meal prepping pat on the back! 

It is worth remembering that salmon has high mercury levels and should only be consumed 1-2 times a week. Be sure to speak to a healthcare professional if you are unsure about its inclusion in your diet, especially if you are pregnant. 

Before refreezing, consider:

How long has your salmon been left out? If your salmon has been left out at room temperature, we recommend refreezing it within a 2-hour window. Any longer than this, and you run the risk of freezing salmon, which has already gone off, could result in food poisoning if ingested! 

If the salmon is out in warmer temperatures, that time window is going to narrow. Salmon left out at 90 degrees Fahrenheit will need to be refrozen in less than an hour to avoid food poisoning. 

What about the fridge? The best place to defrost and thaw frozen items is always the fridge, so those who have thawed their salmon and kept it in the refrigerator will have more time. 

You will get at a maximum, three days in the fridge before the salmon needs to be refrozen. The sooner you refreeze once it has thawed, the less likely you will encounter any safety issues. 

It is also worth considering if your salmon was properly defrosted initially? Providing the salmon was fully thawed correctly, it will be safe to defrost. However, if the fish was not appropriately thawed, then you should avoid refreezing the salmon. 

If the salmon did not thaw then and adequately refreeze it, you risk damaging the salmon’s cell structure. Moisture can enter the fish and end up with a different texture and a lower standard of taste. It is worth remembering that freezing products are not a 100% guarantee, nor does it restore freshness to the fish; at best, you are preserving the food in its current state. 

If your salmon is still fresh, has been fully thawed, and has not been left out too long, then success, you can refreeze it! Now we will look at how to do that.

How do you refreeze fish?

Refreezing salmon is a reasonably straightforward procedure; following these easy steps should make it a breeze! 

  1. Place parchment paper flat on the counter and wrap each salmon piece individually. Wrapping the salmon gives you another layer of protection from freezer burn. It also stops the salmon from freezing together to form one frozen pink lump of fish!
  2. Place the wrapped salmon in resealable freezer-safe bags. Be sure to squeeze out any excess air before sealing the bag. You can portion the salmon out into separate bags if you will only want to defrost a few pieces next time.
  3. Label the bag with the date of freezing to keep track of how long it is in your fridge.
  4. Place the bag on a flat surface in the freezer.

Yes, it is as easy as that!

How long is salmon good in the fridge or freezer? 

If you have followed the above steps and refrozen a safe piece of salmon, it can stay in the freezer for up to eight months! It is worth remembering that it will only be successful if the salmon piece is fresh and wrapped in the freezer. 

If the salmon is subjected to freezer burn, its taste and texture will be compromised and leave you with a soggy, tasteless piece of fish - yuck! 

How to defrost salmon or thaw salmon?

Now your salmon has been safely stored in the freezer; you will want to know how to defrost it again, yes?

You can use two methods to defrost salmon; both are reasonably easy to do and down to personal preference. Let’s take a look at those! 

Refrigerator method:

This method does take longer but is the easier of the two. So, here is how you do it: 

  1. Remove the salmon from the freezer.
  2. Place the salmon in the refrigerator; we recommend it on a plate or in a bowl.
  3. Leave for 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove the salmon and cook!

Coldwater method:

The second method is quicker, but it takes a little more of your attention! Let’s look at the cold water method now. 

  1. Remove the salmon from the freezer. 
  2. Place the salmon in a bowl of cold water. 
  3. Change the water every 30 minutes for fresh cold water. 
  4. Repeat step 3 until the fish has thawed completely. 

You are more involved in this method than the fridge method but will defrost your fish if you forgot to pop it in your refrigerator the night before. 

Can I microwave it?

Although it is a quick and handy kitchen appliance, we would not recommend using your microwave to defrost your salmon. 

The heat from the microwave can thaw the fish quickly, yes, but too quickly, which will impact your salmon’s structure and taste. You run the risk of burning your salmon, or it starts to cook in the microwave, which can be dangerous when you are eating the fish. 

It is best to use either the refrigerator or cold water method to ensure your salmon defrosts safely. 

Is it safe?

Safety is a big concern when you are cooking, especially when it comes to the freezing and refreezing of meat and fish. No one wants to poison themselves or their loved ones inadvertently. 

Providing you follow the tips and methods we have suggested, it is perfectly safe to refreeze your salmon to be enjoyed later. You must ensure the salmon has thawed fully before you refreeze and has not been left out for too long. 

There are physical signs you can look for if you are worried the salmon has gone off. If there are any color changes, we would not recommend freezing or eating! If there is a smell, we would consider the fish as gone off and not recommend anyone consume it. 

Make sure you dispose of any gone off fish correctly. A food waste bin, or general rubbish, depending on the recycling available in your local area. Remember not to feed any gone off meat or fish to your pets or wild animals!

Final Word

Before you leave today, let’s wrap everything up. Refreezing salmon is safe to do so, but you need to be careful and ensure that you follow the steps correctly to avoid any food poisoning or lower quality salmon. 

Ensure the salmon has thawed fully and correctly before refreezing and has not been left out at room temperature for too long. It is crucial when refreezing that you take care to avoid freezer burn so that your salmon does not lose any structural integrity. 

Safety is a concern for all of us when cooking; thoroughly thawing frozen food before cooking and taking steps to ensure it is refrozen successfully shall help keep your kitchen and your salmon safe!

Can you freeze salmon ? Yes. Frozen salmon (all frozen fish ) must be handled differently than fresh fish . Raw salmon is much different than smoked salmon, baked salmon, salmon patties, and canned salmon. Cooked fish must always be handled differently than raw fish or smoked fish.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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