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Can You Freeze Tilapia?

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By Ross Young

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Tilapia is a delicious fish that is a staple in various parts of the world. It can be roasted, fried, or boiled, depending on how you plan to enjoy it, and it is a delicious change to the seafood options that are so common in the supermarket these days. But what’s the best way to preserve it?

Can You Freeze Tilapia?

Yes, you can freeze tilapia for up to 3 months. As soon as you bring it home, wrap it tightly in cling film and add it to a freezer-safe bag before sealing, labelling, and freezing. This way, your tilapia will be frozen while it’s still fresh.

Does Tilapia Freeze Well? Yes

Can You Refreeze Tilapia? Yes

How to Freeze Tilapia

Tilapia freezes just as well as any other fish. You can freeze it whole, or after it has been filleted, it’s entirely up to you. You can also freeze tilapia after you’ve cooked it, but it’s best to freeze it before as it will last longer and taste better when you come to cook it in the future.

Here are the steps you need to follow to freeze tilapia correctly: 

  1. Wash
    Take your tilapia and place it in a colander before running it under the cold tap. Rinse it thoroughly, and then pat it dry with a paper towel. You should do this whether you’re freezing fillets or an entire fish. 
  2. Wrap
    Place each tilapia fillet in reasonably strong cling film or a large sheet of tin foil before wrapping it tightly. Make sure there are no gaps or tears in the wrapping, as they could lead to freezer burn. 
  3. Bag Up
    Place your tilapia in a suitably sized freezer-safe bag, pressing out as much air as you can before sealing it. If you have several tilapia fillets, you can freeze them all in the same bag, providing you have wrapped them individually first. 
  4. Label and Freeze
    Write today’s date and the use-by date on the front of the bag and place it in the freezer. Remember, you can freeze tilapia for around three months.

3 Tips for Freezing Tilapia

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

Freeze Before Cooking
While you can freeze tilapia that has been cooked, it’s much better to freeze it before doing so. This ensures you can cook it from scratch in the future, giving you much more control over how to prepare it. Reheating fish from frozen can sometimes cause it to dry out and go rubbery.

Fillet First
If you’ve bought a whole tilapia, it’s a good idea to fillet and prepare the fish before freezing it. Not only will this save you freezer space, but it will also limit the smell that emanates from your freezer.

Wrap and Bag Up
While you might think that wrapping and then bagging up tilapia is a bit excessive, it’s actually a really important step to take. As you know, fish has a pretty strong odour, which can actually influence the flavours of other foods in your freezer.

As such, it’s really important to wrap tilapia tightly before bagging it up to ensure that your frozen fruits don’t taste like fish in your morning smoothie!

How Long Can You Freeze Tilapia?

You can freeze tilapia for around three months. Freezing fish is actually the best way to preserve it, as it keeps it fresher for much longer. Just make sure that the tilapia is fresh when you freeze it and hasn’t been lying in the fridge for a few days.

If you cook tilapia before freezing it, we’d recommend using it within six weeks, as it won’t do as well in the freezer as when it’s fresh.

You Can Freeze Tilapia for up to 3 Months

How Do You Defrost Tilapia?

Defrosting tilapia is straightforward.

The night before you plan to cook and enjoy it, transfer the tilapia from the freezer to the fridge, leaving it in its original wrapping. Then, by the time you come to cook it, you will find that it has thawed completely and is ready to prepare in any way that you see fit.

You should never thaw tilapia or any other fish at room temperature, and it’s best not to defrost it in the microwave. Although it takes a little longer, defrosting tilapia in the fridge is your best option.

Can You Refreeze Tilapia?

We would only recommend freezing tilapia once. This is mainly because you don’t know how many times the tilapia has been frozen already (unless you caught it yourself, of course!).

If you have several tilapia fillets, make sure you freeze them individually, so you can easily remove whatever you need at any given time from the freezer.

This should reduce wastage and means you don’t have to worry about refreezing tilapia.

Does Tilapia Freeze Well?

Just like many other types of fish, tilapia freezes really well. Just make sure that you wrap it tightly and bag it up, as this will protect it from freezer burn and prevent the odours from the fish contaminating other products in your freezer!

Providing you follow the steps and tips above, you can freeze tilapia for around three months.

If you’ve still got questions about freezing tilapia, then these may help:

Is Frozen Tilapia Safe?

Yes, it is perfectly safe. As long as you store it in the freezer soon after buying it, and you don’t defrost it at room temperature, then it will be safe.

How Long Does Tilapia Keep in the Fridge?

Unfortunately, the shelf life of tilapia is only going to be 2 days, at most, when kept in the fridge. This is why freezing it is such a good option.

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