How Long Does Tilapia Last In The Fridge

Tilapia is a freshwater fish that can be found in the United States and Asia. It has been around for centuries as an important food source for humans.

With that, we have come up with details on how long tilapia lasts in the fridge and tips in handling it. 

How Long Can Tilapia Sit Out

Raw tilapia can only sit out for 2 hours at room temperature. However, if you live in a very hot environment you may find it safer to not leave your fish out for more than 60 minutes.

Typically I will take out my tilapia from the fridge for about 30 to let the fillets come to room temperature before I start cooking. Doing this gives you a much better result and the fish cooks more evenly.

How Long Does Cooked Tilapia Last in The Fridge

Cooked tilapia can stay up to 4 days in the fridge. When storing cooked tilapia in the refrigerator, it should be kept in its original container, or put into a high-quality airtight container.  This will help prevent cross-contamination and spoilage. Make sure to remove any excess moisture from the surface by patting dry with paper towels before placing it back into the container. 

How Long Does Tilapia Lasts In the Freezer

Raw tilapia can be kept in the freezer for at least 6 to 8 months. It should be placed in freezer-safe airtight containers to avoid freezer burn. Keep in mind that you should maintain the freezer’s temperature at 0° F (-18° C). 

To extend the life of tilapia in the freezer, overwrap the original store packaging with airtight heavy-duty plastic wrap, or freezer paper, or place it inside a heavy-duty freezer bag to avoid freezer burn.

How to Thaw Tilapia

Thawing tilapia takes about 24 hours. There are different ways to  thaw frozen tilapia:

  • Transfer it to the refrigerator at least 24 hours before cooking.
  • Place it in a shallow dish and cover it with water.

Don’t refreeze Tilapia that has thawed. Furthermore, the chances of cross-contamination are high, which raises concerns about food safety.

Another important thing to know is that it should never be defrosted at room temperature. It’s not a good idea to thaw the fish on the counter since this will make it unsafe to eat. The main reason being is the outside of the fish will come to room temperature quickly whereas the inside of the fish will still be frozen. Therefore while you are waiting for the middle of the fish fillet to thaw outside will be growing bacteria.

How to Properly Store Cooked Tilapia
How to Properly Store Cooked Tilapia – Let It Cool for 1 Hour, Cover with Plastic Wrap in The Fridge.

How to Properly Store Raw Tilapia

Before anything else, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching raw fish. Also, do not touch the eyes, gills, fins, or scales of the fish. These areas are prone to bacterial growth that could contaminate the rest of the fish. 

Here are the steps on how to properly store raw tilapia fish on the fridge:

1. Remove the head (optional) and tail.

2. Rinse the fish with cold water.

3. Pat dry with a paper towel.

4. Place the fish on a clean cutting board.

5. Cut off the fins and discard them.

6. Slice the fish along the backbone.

7. Open the fillets and separate them into two halves.

8. Discard the bones.

9. Clean the fillets with a damp cloth.

10. Wrap the tilapia fillets tightly in plastic wrap.

11. Put the wrapped fillet in open zipper storage.

12. Place in the fridge and set the temperature at or below 40° F (4° C). 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does Vacuum-Sealed Tilapia Last in The Fridge?

If stored in the refrigerator, the shelf life of vacuum-sealed lean fish like tilapia is about 5 days in the fridge maximum – to be honest, I would only keep it for 3-4 days. If you do not plan to use the fish the next day it is best practice to get it into the freezer.

Does Tilapia Smell when Cooked?

Yes, but not in an unpleasant way – it has a normal sweet fishy smell but is not as strong as other types of fish.

How to Extend the Shelf Life of Tilapia?

You can freeze tilapia right away and then defrost it later.  This will give you a longer shelf life than freezing it straight away.

Can I Use Tilapia Instead of Salmon in My Sushi Rolls?

Yes, you can use Tilapia instead of Salmon in sushi. Just make sure to buy the kind of tilapia that’s been marinated in soy sauce and mirin.

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