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Can You Freeze Cooked Fish?

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By Ross Young

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Fish is an excellent source of protein and is much loved all around the world. There are so many ways to prepare and enjoy it, too, making it an ideal addition to your weekly meal planning.

But what should you do if you have some cooked fish leftover from a previous meal? Can you freeze cooked fish?

Cooked fish can be frozen for up to 2 months. Regardless of the type of cooked fish that you have, wrap it tightly and place it in a freezer-safe bag. You can then defrost and reheat it as and when you want to enjoy it. 

Does Cooked Fish Freeze Well? Sometimes

Can You Refreeze Cooked Fish? No

How to Freeze Cooked Fish

Although it’s best to freeze fish when it is still fresh, you can also freeze it when it has been cooked without any issue. This is ideal if you’ve cooked too many fillets or have prepared a fish-based meal and have some leftovers. 

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when you’re freezing cooked fish is that you need to wrap it tightly, as you don’t want its odour to ruin any of the other foods in your freezer. Fish-tasting ice cream, anyone? 

Here are the steps you need to follow to freeze cooked fish the right way. 

  1. Cool
    Once your fish is cooked, leave it at room temperature for an hour or so or until it has cooled completely. You should never put warm fish directly into the freezer. 
  2. Wrap
    Place your cooked fish on a sheet of tin foil and wrap it tightly, making sure you don’t leave any of the fish exposed. 
  3. Bag Up
    Place the wrapped piece of cooked fish into a freezer-safe bag. Press as much air as possible from the bag before sealing it. 
  4. Label and Freeze
    Write the use-by date on the front of the bag and place your fish in the freezer. Remember, you can freeze cooked fish for around two months. 

3 Tips for Freezing Cooked Fish

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing cooked fish to have the best results:

Don’t Leave Fish Sitting at Room Temperature
It’s really important that you store your leftover fish in the fridge or freezer. Your leftovers should only be at room temperature to allow them to cool for a maximum of 1-2 hours. If you leave your cooked fish sitting out for any longer than this, it will spoil and should be discarded. 

Defrost Before Reheating
You need to be careful when reheating cooked fish, as you don’t want it to dry out. Therefore, it’s a good idea to allow it sufficient time to thaw before you reheat it, so it will reheat evenly and thoroughly. We explain how to defrost cook fish in one of the sections that follow. 

Freeze Plain or as Part of a Dish
You can reheat cooked fish as a fillet or as part of a dish (like a fish pie). The rules stay the same – you just need to make sure your fish is wrapped well and frozen as quickly as possible to preserve its freshness and flavour. 

How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Fish?

You can freeze cooked fish for around two months. If your fish is fresh, you can freeze it for longer, but we’d advise using cooked fish within two months to ensure its taste doesn’t start to deteriorate.

You can keep your fish in the fridge for 2-3 days after you have cooked it, so if you plan on enjoying the leftovers within this timeframe, you don’t need to bother freezing your fish.

You Can Freeze Cooked Fish for up to 2 Months

How Do You Defrost Cooked Fish?

When you’re ready to defrost your cooked fish, remove it from the freezer and place it in the fridge. It’s best to do this the night before you plan to reheat your fish, as this will give it sufficient time to thaw.

You should never defrost cooked fish at room temperature as it will spoil.

While you can defrost fish in the microwave to speed things up, you risk overheating it, so the fridge is the best option. Once warmed through, try serving it alongside samphire.

Can You Refreeze Cooked Fish?

No, you should only freeze cooked fish once. This is because your fish has likely already been frozen, and it’s not safe to freeze seafood several times.

If you’re concerned about wasting your cooked fish and have considerable amounts leftover, you should separate it into serving sizes before freezing it, so you can easily remove what you need from the freezer at any given time.

Does Cooked Fish Freeze Well?

Although it doesn’t freeze quite as well as fresh fish, you shouldn’t encounter any issues when you come to freeze cooked fish.

Just make sure it’s tightly wrapped and protected from freezer burn, and it should still be tasty for up to two months after you cooked it initially.

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing cooked fish or fish in general, then these may help:

Is It Safe to Freeze Cooked Seafood?

Assuming that you’ve stored it correctly and not left it sitting at room temperature then cooked seafood can be frozen safely.

How Long Does Cooked Fish Last in the Freezer?

Cooked fish will last for around 2 months in the freezer. Beyond this, it is likely to remain safe to eat but the texture can change dramatically.

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