Can Sushi Be Refrigerated? Is it Safe to Refrigerate Sushi?

How Long Does Sushi Last in the Fridge

A colorful spread of sushi in all its delicate iterations is a tempting sight. Picture rows upon rows of sashimi, nigiri, and maki rolls, and see if that doesn’t make your mouth water.

So, it’s no surprise if you hoard this indulgent treat every time you visit a sushi bar. You might wonder:

Can sushi be refrigerated? No. You can’t. Let’s find out the the reasons!

Can You Refrigerate Sushi?

The star ingredient for most styles of sushi is fresh, raw fish, which is why it’s best eaten fresh. For the most authentic experience, you consume it as soon as it’s made.

The US FDA advises against keeping leftovers at room temperature for over two hours. Since sushi contains raw fish, that window is much shorter at 30 minutes.

Raw fish are more likely to contain bacteria and parasites than cooked fish. Unrefrigerated, they can become fertile breeding grounds for disease-causing germs. Contrary to common belief, the vinegar in sushi rice isn’t enough to act as a preservative.

If you need to store homemade sushi for more than a day, put it in the fridge to enjoy later. The cold temperature can impede the growth of bacteria, ensuring the fish stays safe for consumption.

However, we don’t recommend storing leftover restaurant sushi overnight. If you factor in the preparation time, assume it has spent a long time simmering at room temperature by the time you took it home.

How to Store Sushi in the Fridge

Here are the steps for refrigerating sushi:

  1. Wrap the leftover sushi in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
  2. Place sushi in an airtight container and seal the lid securely. Not only will this help to preserve moisture, but it’ll prevent it from absorbing odors from other food.
  3. Store the sushi in the fridge, ensuring the temperature is 40°F or below.
  4. When you’re ready to eat the refrigerated sushi, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to help restore its texture and flavor.

How Long Does Sushi Last in the Fridge?

Based on the USDA guidelines, you can store sashimi (fresh raw meat) and nigiri (sushi rice with a raw fish topping) in the fridge for up to two days. Meanwhile, you can refrigerate cooked sushi, like California rolls, for 3–4 days.

However, the texture and quality of individual components in the sushi will start to decline after 24 hours. When refrigerated for extended periods:

  • Sushi rice becomes tough and crumbly.
  • Raw fish and seafood lose their flavor.
  • Nori (Japanese seaweed wrapper) loses its umami taste and becomes limp or brittle.
  • Vegetables and fruits, like cucumber and avocado, turn brown, soggy, or slimy.

While refrigerated sushi is safe to eat, you’ll miss all the things that make it such an indulgent treat in the first place.

Why You Shouldn’t Store Sushi in the Freezer

It’s not a good idea to store sushi in the freezer for these reasons:

  1. Texture

Sushi rice is moist and shiny, but freezing can dry it out. Not just that, but the delicate fish can become rubbery too.

Frozen vegetables with high water content, like cucumber, also turn to mush when defrosted.

Additionally, cold temperatures affect the structure of nori. When thawed, it softens and loses its crispness, which can cause a less pleasant texture.

  1. Moisture

Even if tightly wrapped in plastic, sushi can dehydrate inside the freezer, causing it to lose its exquisite flavor and quality.

Cooked seafood, like crabmeat in a California roll or salmon in a Philadelphia roll, is good for up to 2–3 days. However, rice and seaweed will lose their freshness and taste, impacting the overall flavor of the sushi.

  1. Safety

Freezing doesn’t necessarily kill bacteria and parasites in the fish.

Some pathogens can survive at freezing temperatures, and the thawing process can create conditions that promote bacterial growth.

How to Store Sushi in the Fridge

How to Tell if Sushi Has Gone Bad

To avoid food poisoning, look for these signs and discard the sushi immediately:

  • The fish has a strong, stinky odor.
  • The sushi has a sour or pungent smell.
  • The fish appears dull or discolored.
  • The rice is soggy or slimy.
  • The veggies and fruits are mushy.

We also have pages dedicated to other interesting topics like Do All Probiotics Need To Be Refrigerated?Can Warmed Cow Milk Be Refrigerated Again? and Do Apple Pies Need To Be Refrigerated?

Wrapping Up

Overall, it’s best to enjoy sushi as fresh as possible. If you need to store leftover sushi, keep it in the refrigerator for a short period—ideally no more than 24 hours.

Lastly, it’s essential to prepare and handle sushi properly to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses.

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