Does Smoked Salmon Go Bad? How Long Does Smoked Salmon Last?

Smoked salmon is a popular way to consume salmon. Since smoked salmon can be expensive, we may wonder, does smoked salmon go bad? Knowing if smoked salmon can go bad will help us prevent wasting it.

Quick Answer

Smoked salmon will go bad.

  • You should follow the best by date on the package.
  • An unopened package of smoked salmon will last 2-3 weeks in the fridge.
  • An opened package will last 5-7 days in the fridge.
  • An unopened package will last 3 months in the freezer.


Determining how to store your smoked salmon will help you consume it before it goes bad. You should check your smoked salmon to ensure it is still good before eating it.

Does Smoked Salmon Go Bad? How Long Does Smoked Salmon Last?

Smoked salmon typically has a short shelf life. Determining how long it will last outside, in the fridge, and the freezer will help you make the most out of your purchase.

How Long Does Smoked Salmon Last Outside?

Opinions vary regarding how long smoked salmon will last outside.

Some people suggest only leaving it out for an hour before it spoils. Some companies state their smoked salmon can sit at room temperature for 2 days before it spoils. As a best practice, check the package for details regarding how to store the smoked salmon.

Farm-grown smoked salmon will last longer than wild smoked salmon. Since farm-grown salmon is fed antibiotics and preservatives, it is likely to last longer. However, it is still best to check the package for details regarding how to store it.

How Long Does Smoked Salmon Last in the Fridge?

When in doubt, store smoked salmon in the fridge.

If no specific instructions are stating you can store the smoked salmon at room temperature, you should keep it in the fridge. Store the salmon on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator where it is the coldest. If the package is opened, store it in an airtight container.

Unopened smoked salmon will last 3 days past the best by date in the fridge. Once the package is opened, you will want to remember the date. Smoked salmon will last 5-7 days in the fridge after you opened the package.

How Long Does Smoked Salmon Last in the Freezer?

The freezer will extend the shelf life of smoked salmon.

You can freeze it in the package if it is unopened. Smoked salmon will last about 2-3 months in the freezer. Beyond this time, the quality will diminish but you can still consume it as frozen smoked salmon will stay good indefinitely.

If you need to freeze an opened package of smoked salmon, put it into a ziplock bag and squeeze out the extra air. You can also use aluminum foil to freeze the smoked salmon. You can use these options if you need to divide up the salmon into smaller portions instead of freezing the entire package.


Smoked salmon will taste best if you consume it sooner rather than later. Since it has a short shelf life, you will want to remember when you purchased it and opened the package.

How to Tell if Smoked Salmon Is Bad?

Knowing the signs that indicate if smoked salmon is bad will help you to decide when it is time to throw it away. There are three indicators you can use to help you decide if smoked salmon is bad.

Milky, slimy film: There may be a milky, slimy film on the top of the smoked salmon.

Discoloration: Fresh salmon should be a pinkish color if it is cold smoked or orange if it is hot smoked. Discoloration, such as a gray tint, of the smoked salmon may indicate it is bad.

Smell: Bad smoked salmon may have a sour smell.  Smoked salmon should smell a little bit fishy and smoky.

Best by date: If the best by date was more than a week ago, the smoked salmon is likely bad.

If any one of these indicators occurs, it is best to throw away the smoked salmon. It is important to check for these signs before eating smoked salmon. Eating spoiled smoked salmon can make you sick with food poisoning a few hours after consuming it. To maximize the shelf life of the fresh smoked salmon, check the best by dates at the store before purchasing it. Plan to eat the smoked salmon in the next few days to enjoy it at its freshest.

How to Store Smoked Salmon?

Properly stored smoked salmon will last longer.

Store smoked salmon in its original package until ready to consume. The vacuum-sealed package will keep the smoked salmon fresh until you are ready to eat it.

Once you open the smoked salmon, store it in a ziplock bag, aluminum foil, or an airtight container. The purpose of storing it this way is to contain the moisture and smell.

Unless the package states otherwise, store the smoked salmon in the fridge. Store it on the bottom shelf of the fridge where it is coldest. This will help preserve the freshness of the smoked salmon.

If you will not be able to consume the smoked salmon in the next 5 days after opening it, you can place it in the freezer.

Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon? How?

Freezing smoked salmon before its best by date will help you extend its shelf life for up to 3 months. Beyond 3 months in the freezer, the quality will diminish.

Freeze smoked salmon in an airtight container. The original packaging that smoked salmon is sold in is usually vacuum-sealed. Simply place the entire package into the freezer.

 If you have already opened the package, separate it into two to three slices. Then, place the leftovers in a ziplock bag, an airtight container, or wrap it in aluminum foil. Squeeze out as much air as possible before placing it in the freezer. It is very helpful to use a vacuum sealer if you have one.

Mark the date on the package to remind yourself when you put it in the freezer. Since smoked salmon is a delicacy, we want the quality to be at its best when we eat it. Marking the date will help you thaw and eat the smoked salmon within the 3-month timeframe.

How to Thaw Smoked Salmon?

Once you are ready to eat the smoked salmon, remove it from the freezer, and place it in the fridge to thaw. Smoked salmon should not take too long to thaw. If you remove it the night before you need it, it should be thawed by the next morning.

Thawed smoked salmon will last 3-4 days in the fridge. You should not refreeze smoked salmon after thawing it. Refreezing it will result in mushy smoked salmon.

Frequently Asked Questions About Smoked Salmon’s Shelf Life

Can I eat smoked salmon after the best by date? If it is 5 days past the best by date, it is best to throw away the smoked salmon. You can get sick from eating bad smoked salmon. The best by date along with the smell and color should be evaluated before eating smoked salmon to ensure it is still good.

Is smoked salmon healthy? Yes, salmon is a good source of protein and vitamin B12. Seafood in general can benefit your cardiovascular health. While salmon is beneficial for your body, the one downfall of smoked salmon is its high salt content. This is something to keep in mind if you are looking to cut down on salt in your diet.

Can I make smoked salmon at home? Yes, you can make smoked salmon at home. There are recipes available online and the process is simple. There are also ideas of how to add flavor to the brine to give your smoked salmon a different flavor. Homemade smoked salmon should follow the same storage and shelf life timeframe as store-bought smoked salmon.

Wrap Up

Smoked salmon is an easy ingredient to add to dishes for nutrients and flavor. Proper storage and knowledge of how to identify if smoked salmon is still fresh will help you eat it when it is at its best quality.

Leave a Reply