How To Tell If Smoked Salmon Is Bad?

It may seem complicated to know how to tell if smoked salmon is already bad, but it’s a straightforward process if you know how to spot a fish that’s past its prime. You can either refrigerate the fish or put it in a freezer bag. In the latter case, you should wrap the fish in plastic wrap to prevent odors and other foods from affecting the flavor.

bake salmon

Smoked Salmon Nutrition Facts

nutrition facts of baked salmon

How To Tell If Smoked Salmon Is Bad?

Smoked salmon spoils, which should come as no surprise. And determining if it’s still safe to consume is typically simple.

  • First and foremost, look for any visible signs that the fish is finished. It can technically become moldy, but only after you’ve opened the package and kept it for at least ten days. A change in hue or the appearance of slime is a common symptom. While a few minor discolorations are acceptable, if vast sections of the salmon have gone greenish or dull in color, it’s time to remove it.
  • The fragrance is the next thing to examine. If something doesn’t smell right, or if it doesn’t smell like smoked fish, it isn’t good, or at the very least past its prime. Remember that fragrance is one aspect that contributes to food’s flavor, so if it’s off, that salmon won’t taste as nice.
  • In most circumstances, if the salmon looks and smells good, the flavor will be good as well. However, if it’s a day or two past the expiration date on the label, give it a taste before serving. Although there’s a good chance there’s nothing wrong with it; it’s always best to be safe than sorry.
  • If your smoked salmon is more than 5-7 days past its expiration date, it’s time to throw it out, even if it’s still unopened. Technically, it may still work, but I don’t think it’s worth the risk.

If you always have out-of-date smoked salmon, try switching to a different brand or variety with a longer shelf life. Because not all smoked fish is created equal, and some last significantly longer than others. Let’s take a closer look at that.

How Long Does Smoked Salmon Last?

  • At first, assumed that all smoked salmon is the same and only lasts two to three weeks after being packaged. But things aren’t always as straightforward.
  • Of course, standard smoked salmon has a shelf life of roughly 21 days, while other options, such as honey smoked salmon, can last up to 90 days unopened.
  • There’s also Sea Bear’s smoked salmon, which claims to have a four-year shelf life if the box is kept intact, though I’d be cautious to keep it for that long.
  • Thankfully, every smoked salmon comes with a sell-by date on the package, so you don’t have to keep track of which ones survive the longest.
  • And that date is an excellent predictor of how long the fish will keep its freshness. Of fact, depending on the salmon’s general shelf life, it usually keeps fine for a few days after that date.
  • So, a product with a 3-week shelf life should last a day or two over its expiration date, whereas one with a 90-day shelf life should last five days or even a week.
  • The clock starts ticking as soon as you open the package. Again, the variety and the supplier determine the amount of time it takes to complete the fish.
  • Organic food should be consumed within two days of opening, whereas average food can be kept for five days.

How To Store Smoked Salmon?


I believed that the only way to store smoked salmon was in the refrigerator (except freezing, of course). However, after conducting some studies, I discovered that I was incorrect. Sea Bear, the firm I mentioned before, creates vacuum-sealed smoked salmon that may be kept at room temperature. I’m confident they’re doing the right thing. However, most smoked salmon, both unopened and after opening, requires refrigeration. After you’ve broken the vacuum seal, ensure the leftovers are neatly wrapped before returning them to the fridge. If you can’t get a good seal or plan to keep the leftovers longer than a day, a freezer bag or plastic wrap may be a better option. A decent wrap is required to keep both the moisture and the odor within. You don’t want your entire fridge to smell like smoked fish, no matter how much you enjoy it.

Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon?

Yes, you can, to put it briefly. Smoked salmon freezes nicely and preserves its quality for at least 2 to 3 months, if not longer. There are two possibilities on how to proceed with the process.

  1. You can freeze your smoked salmon as is if it is still vacuum-packed and you plan to eat it all within a few days of thawing. Place it in the freezer, and you’re done.
  2. However, if you need a tiny amount at a time, portioning the salmon will come in handy. So, open the package or remove the leftovers, divide them into amounts that make sense for your needs, and freeze each piece separately. Before carefully sealing each bag, make sure to push out as much air as possible. If you like to keep things organized in the freezer, store all of the bags in a single container to keep them all together. Add a label with the name and date to each bag if you find it useful.

The fridge is the way to go when it comes to thawing. The package should be delivered the night before you need it, and it will be ready in the morning.


Smoked salmon can go bad after a few weeks. If it is frozen and kept in the fridge, it will stay fresh for about five days after it’s been opened. If you find that the smoked salmon is bad, you should discard it. You should also check the packaging of smoked sardines and check for the expiration date on the packaging. Most smoked salmon has a two- to three-week shelf life.