How Long Does Smoked Salmon Last? Answered (2023)

Noticed smoked salmon on sale and stocked up on them in the heat of the moment? 

Trust me, been there, done that. But the question remains: How long does smoked salmon last in the fridge? 

Smoked salmon will stay fresh for about 5 days after opening the package. If you go overboard with the storage method, you might be lucky enough to have a week before it starts going bad, but that is about it.

Having said that, there are many other details to take care of. From what I have noticed, if you follow the best practices for storing smoked salmon, you can prolong its expiry by a good few days. 

How Long Can You Store Unopened Smoked Salmon?

You don’t have to constantly check with smoked salmon since it typically has a relatively long shelf life. If unopened, they can be in perfectly edible condition for 2 to 3 days after the date of expiry mentioned on the package, given you store them properly. Always note the “best by” date of the smoked salmon package. If stored well, you can leave it unattended on the counter without any refrigeration, and it might still be alright.

But, if you want to preserve your unopened smoked salmon for a bit longer, I strongly suggest freezing it. You can push its shelf life up to 2 to 3 months in the freezer. Will it go bad immediately afterwards? Well, not quite. But what will happen is that the quality and flavor profile of the fish will decline gradually.

Seasoning on salmon

How Long Can You Store an Opened Pack of Salmon?

This one is a bit tricky. If it has been opened, you are already on a clock. I would suggest eating it within a few days. If you cannot fit it into your immediate schedule, refrigerating it would offer you a week to have it. 

What’s even better is freezing it. You can have opened smoked salmon for up to 3 months when frozen. Simply keep it in a container or resealable bag in the coldest section of your refrigerator, and you are good to go! Think of the bottom rack or at the very back of any rack.

Also Read: Do Sunflower Seeds Go Bad?

DO NOT keep opened smoked salmon out in the open unless you plan to toss it right into the bin (cue a smelly bin till the garbage truck pulls up the next day). Opened, unrefrigerated smoked salmon does not last for more than 2 hours- give or take a few minutes here and there. After all, it is a perishable food.

How Long Does Smoked Salmon Last? 7 Tips to Store It Properly

Regardless of how well you preserve smoked salmon, it will go bad someday or the other. So it better to try some salmon recipes before it goes bad. Having said that, I can offer some great tips if you are trying to ensure your smoked salmon has the most prolonged shelf life- or the expected shelf life. 

salmon salad

Here are some tips I follow:

  1. Never miss the label when buying smoked salmon. It will tell you how long and where it is stored best. The label determines whether the package you buy is well suited for room temperature storage or fit for refrigeration.
  2. A good trick up your sleeve is to look for pre-frozen smoked salmon. This is one of the easiest ways to extend its shelf-life. 
  3. If you cannot finish the smoked salmon all at once, freezing individual portions is a good idea since it allows you to thaw them on a need-only basis.
  4. It is possible to have perfectly good unopened smoked salmon in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. But I would personally suggest consuming it within 2 days or freezing it if you plan to store it for longer. Why take chances with something that tastes so great? Wrap it well in aluminum foil or freezer paper, and store it in a zip bag before tossing it in the freezer.
  5. If you have a vacuum sealer lying around, now is the time to put it to good use. Remove all the extra air from the freezer bag before sealing it to avoid freezer burns.
  6. If you are trying to thaw smoked salmon, it is a good idea to refrigerate it overnight or run the sealed package under cold water. Anything but thawing it at room temperature if you want to avoid bacteria from growing on it (speaking from experience, and not a great one, mind you!)
  7. Once the smoked salmon is thawed, cook it or have it cold within 24 hours. Remove it from its packaging and make it a point to pat it dry with paper towels to do away with excess moisture. This will prevent your smoked salmon from drying out.

How to Tell if Salmon Has Gone Bad?

They can go bad much quicker than other items, and most importantly, they can cause food poisoning if consumed when rotten. But the question remains: how do you tell if your smoked salmon is rotten?

First and foremost, see if it is within the expiry period. If not, chances are it has gone bad or is soon about to. Sure, you can push the expiry date for a day or two, but it is usually not recommended. I suggest tossing it in the bin if it is past the expiry date. This holds true for both unopened and opened packages of smoked salmon. Better safe than sorry, right?

Also Read: How Long Does Asparagus Last? 

As for tell-tale signs of a smoked salmon gone bad, look for these:

  • The flesh of smoked salmon should be red or pink. If you notice a brown or grayish tinge, it’s not fit for consumption.
  • One of the easiest ways to detect a rotten or about-to-be-rotten smoked salmon is its odor. If the smoked salmon gives off any smell that is not mild and fresh, rest assured it is past its expiry. Smoked salmon definitely should not smell sour or anything along that line.
  • The texture of smoked salmon can also tell you if it is fit for consumption. If the flesh seems sticky or slimy in any way, you know what to do with it- toss it right in the bin.

Usually, these tell-tale signs (especially the odor) will guide you toward the right instinct. Our ancestors have provided us the ability to tell poisonous food from healthy ones, so trust your gut instinct. Salmon is not expensive enough to risk your life for.

salmon on the plate

Why Should You Steer Clear of Rotten Salmon?

The first thing you should be scared of is food poisoning. With smoked salmon often sold cold, they might not have been cooked well. Smoked salmon is usually consumed raw or lightly cooked, so the chances of food poisoning if it is not fresh are multiplied.

Have you ever heard of Listeria Monocytogenes? It is a bacteria that causes a potentially fatal infection, and guess what? Rotten smoked salmon can pose a threat to that. If you are serving smoked salmon to women in gestation, older people, or someone with a weak immune system, do a double-take when in doubt.

Rotten smoked salmon can lead to vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea. In extreme cases, it can cause dehydration, fever, or abdominal cramps. If you suspect that you might have consumed rotten salmon, I suggest you drop by the nearest doctor’s clinic right away. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine!

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q1.  How to reheat smoked salmon?

Ans: Keep the smoked salmon on an aluminum foil sheet and place it in a preheated oven to reheat it. Also, wrap the smoked salmon in damp paper towels and microwave it on low heat for 30 secs to a minute. Alternatively, placing it on a skillet in low heat is also a good idea, as long as you do not dry it up by overheating.

Q2. How long do hot and cold smoked salmon last?

Ans: Cold-smoked salmon can last up to a week at most when refrigerated, but it will be great for a month if it is frozen. As for hot-smoked salmon, refrigerating it will keep it safe for consumption for about 2 weeks. Freezing it will prolong its shelf life to 2 to 3 months.

Q3. Can you refreeze smoked salmon?

Ans: I would not recommend refreezing smoked salmon as it gradually ruins the quality of the fish. If you do not intend to consume all the smoked salmon in one go, divide them into individual packages and defrost the required amount each time.

Q4. How much does smoked salmon cost?

Ans: Smoked salmon is usually sold by the pound. They can cost $12-$24 per pound, depending on the type of salmon, its quality, and the place you purchase it from. Wild salmon is a bit more expensive than farmed salmon. The same holds true for smoked salmon sold by premium brands compared to local supermarket varieties. 

Q5. Can you get worms from smoked salmon?

Ans: It is improbable to get worms from consuming smoked salmon. However, if the smoking process does not kill the parasites present in the fish, you stand a small risk of contracting worms. In general, falling sick from eating smoked salmon is rare. If you still have doubts (and rightfully so), you can choose to cook it. That will ensure there are no parasites present. 

The bottom Line

Long story short, it all depends on:

  • the condition of the smoked salmon you pick from the store
  • the method you use for storing- including the physical container or otherwise you use to store the smoked salmon in 
  • the time you store it for

I speak from experience when I say, yes, smoked salmon certainly goes bad, and it is best consumed within its expiry date. 

Once in a blue moon, you might be unlucky enough to get a pack of smoked salmon, which seems iffy even before it reaches the expiry date. Trust your gut instincts, be it for lack of fool-proof packaging or mishaps in storage. If it looks odd, toss it out.

Share your love
Melissa Baker

Melissa Baker

I am a food lover and the founder of FoodQueries. I have years of experience when it comes to food. I have been cooking since childhood and I know a thing or two about storing, cooking and freezing food in the right way.