Does Sushi Go Bad? How Long Does Sushi Last?

Over the years, sushi has become a favorite dish from Japan to the United States. Many of us will pick up a box from the grocery store or bring home leftovers from a restaurant. But how long does it last?

Quick Answer

Any sushi you get should be consumed within 4 hours if left at room temperature. You should refrigerate all sushi that you do not plan to eat right away. If your sushi contains raw fish or avocado, it should be eaten within 24 hours. Sushi that contains cooked fish, or only vegetables, can maintain its quality for up to 3-5 days in the fridge.


There are a wide variety of ingredients that can make up your favorite sushi roll. It is important to remember that overall, sushi will only last as long as its quickest expiring ingredient.

Does Sushi Go Bad? How Long Does Sushi Last?

Fresh sushi can be a delicious and healthy choice that will often both satisfy you and leave you craving more. Eating spoiled sushi, however, can cause a lot of problems that no one wants to deal with. It is not worth the risk to avoid wasting the money you have already spent.

How Long Does Sushi Last At Room Temperature?

Bite-sized and beautifully displayed, sushi can seem like the perfect addition to a party spread. If you choose to serve this exotic dish, you will want to try to keep it as cold as you can for as long as you can.

Most varieties of sushi should be eaten in 2 hours or less if not refrigerated. Raw fish is notorious for bacteria that can cause food poisoning, even if it smells fine.

Sushi does not last more than 4 hours at room temperature. Even if the roll you have does not contain raw fish, bacteria can grow on rice, seaweed, and veggies.

How Long Does Sushi Last in the Fridge?

A cold refrigerator can significantly slow the growth of bacteria in sushi. Especially in varieties that contain raw fish, it is important to store sushi in the fridge if you do not intend to eat it immediately.

Sushi that contains raw fish should be consumed within 24 hours. Store it carefully and watch for signs of spoilage. If your sushi has been in the fridge for more than 24 hours, it is probably best to cut your losses.

Sushi that contains cooked fish or only vegetables may be safe for up to 5 days. It is typically recommended to eat it within 3 days, depending on the ingredients involved.

How Long Does Sushi Last in the Freezer?

It is generally not recommended to freeze sushi. Although it may seem wise to freeze it, the seaweed, rice, and other ingredients will not maintain their flavor or texture in the process.

While it thaws, most sushi ingredients will become soft. You may end up with a ball of mush, instead of a fresh-looking roll. It may be technically safe to eat, but it will not be appetizing.

If you make sushi at home, it is possible to freeze some of the ingredients. Raw sushi-grade fish, by itself, is best kept in the freezer until it is time to use it, or up to 3 months.

Always use your best judgement when considering whether it is safe to eat leftover sushi. Many sushi lovers err on the side of caution and throw out any leftovers that have been in the fridge for longer than 24 hours.

How To Tell If Sushi Has Gone Bad / How To Know Sushi is Fresh

It is imperative to eat sushi that is fresh and avoid sushi that has begun to spoil. Whether in a restaurant or analyzing your leftovers, you should be able to identify the signs of spoilage on your plate long before you try to digest any raw fish or common sushi ingredients.

Smells fishy. Contrary to initial belief, raw fish should not smell like fish. Fresh raw fish has been described as smelling like the ocean. If it smells like fish at all, it is probably time to throw it out. A restaurant that serves sushi should smell fresh and clean, like cucumber or watermelon.

Slimy texture. Sticky rice and seaweed that have absorbed too much moisture will create a slimy environment for the rest of your sushi ingredients. Fish that is spoiled will also form a milky sort of film over it and should be avoided.

Gray and discolored. Fresh fish should always appear bright pink or white, depending on the type of fish. It should never look dull, grayish, or blotchy. It may also appear to have browning at its edges when it is going bad.

Limp and squishy. Fresh fish should be firm, yet springy. If you press on it, it should spring back into shape without leaving a fingerprint. If it leaves an indent, or feels mushy, it is no good.

Hardened rice. Sushi rice dries out quickly when it is not stored just right. If it is not binding the sushi roll together, or it tastes almost as hard as if it had never been cooked, it is likely the rest of the ingredients will also have gone bad.

How to Store Sushi?

It is highly recommended to always store sushi in the fridge. With that said, there are still some things you will want to do to keep your sushi at its freshest until you get the chance to eat it.

Wrap it up. Especially if you made your own sushi at home, you want to wrap it tightly with plastic wrap in addition to storing it in an airtight container. This keeps excess moisture out, but also keeps necessary moisture in, so the rice will not dry out.

Right temperature. To get the most out of refrigerating your sushi leftovers, your fridge should be set to 41 degrees Fahrenheit or 5 degrees Celsius. If this is not entirely possible for you, you may be able to simply keep your sushi in the back of your fridge, closest to the cold source.

Can You Freeze Sushi? How?

As stated earlier, most sources warn you not to freeze sushi. Most of the ingredients in sushi do not hold up well in the freezing or thawing process, and you will likely be disappointed by the outcome.

You can freeze raw fish separately. If you make sushi at home, freezing the fish for up to 3 months is common. In fact, any producer of sushi (restaurant or grocer) that is worth your money will use frozen fish.

You can freeze vinegared rice separately. It is recommended to store the rice in the freezer while it is still steaming. Be sure to use an airtight container, and you may want to use plastic wrap to help seal air away from the rice.

Frozen sushi is technically safe to eat. If you ignore the advice and choose to freeze your sushi, it is technically safe to eat for up to 3 days. Keep in mind, rice, seaweed, and other ingredients will become mushy. Avocado will turn black.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sushi’s Shelf Life

Can expired sushi make you sick? Absolutely, it can! Salmonella, Listeria, and even tapeworms can be found in fish that is not in good condition. Salmonella can contaminate vegetables. Even the rice needs to be cooked with vinegar to reduce the growth of bacteria that can make you ill. Be cautious when eating sushi that you are not confident in and throw away anything that exhibits signs of spoilage.

How long does vegetarian sushi last? Sushi made only with vegetables can last 5-7 days. When raw fish is not part of your meal, you can expect sushi to last a little bit longer. It should still be kept in the refrigerator, as vegetables can still grow bacteria that can make you sick. Imitation crab and other ingredients should be accounted for when you are deciding how long to let your sushi sit.

Wrap Up

All in all, the shelf life of sushi depends greatly on the ingredients used and the conditions of its preparation. You should expect it to spoil quickly and plan to consume it while it is fresh. Avoid eating any sushi that makes you wonder. It is not worth the risk.

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