Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon?

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Can you freeze smoked salmon? When stored properly, frozen smoked salmon can last up to 2 months, according to the FDA.

A few slices of smoked salmon on a freshly baked bagel with some capers and a smear of cream cheese? That’s an exquisite combination packed full of flavor and nutrients.

It’s one of my favorite ways to start the day.

But salmon is notorious for spoiling quickly. And if you buy too much, is it possible to safely store this delicious food?

The answer is yes! You can freeze smoked salmon. What’s better, the smoked variety oxidizes slower than fresh salmon, so it should have a longer shelf life.

If you’re looking to freeze cooked salmon, look no further. In this article, I’ve explained how to freeze, thaw, and preserve smoked salmon.

I’ve also answered some questions on storing fresh fish versus smoked fish.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon?

Smoked Salmon Bagel on a platter

Yes, it is 100% acceptable to freeze smoked salmon. According to the FDA, it should last up to 2 months in the freezer. Just be sure to use proper storage guidelines.

You should ask yourself these basic questions to help you before freezing salmon:

Are There Other Ingredients with the Salmon?

While wrapped salmon should last for up to 2 months in the freezer, other foods might react differently.

For instance, that cream cheese that pairs so well with the smoked salmon? Freezing it will cause curdling. The same goes for milk-based sauces and cream.

However, if you’ve paired that salmon with herbs? You should be fine since most herbs freeze without difficulty.

Peas and other crunchy vegetables will be hit or miss. They shouldn’t spoil, but some might lose their crunchy texture.

Is the Freezer Bag Air-Tight and Sealed?

This might seem like an obvious question, but it can’t be overemphasized. When it comes to frozen fish, oxygen is the enemy.

All those healthy unsaturated fats, like Omega-3, that motivated you to get the salmon in the first place? Yeah, those fatty acids are super susceptible to oxidation.

The result? Nasty fish odors and flavors that can be gag-worthy. You don’t want to risk it.

Is The Salmon Already Close to Going Bad?

If the smoked salmon is on its last leg (or fin?), don’t waste your time and effort freezing it.

If the cold smoked salmon has been in the refrigerator for a week or less, you should be fine freezing it.

However, you don’t want to freeze smoked salmon that’s been in the fridge for longer than a week. At that point, it’s better to eat it or toss it. (But please eat it and lower food waste. Pretty please?)

How Long Can Smoked Salmon Be Frozen?

You can let smoked salmon freeze for up to 2 months. Be sure to check for signs of spoilage, however, and throw out any fish that has developed white residue or a rancid smell.

Properly Freezing Smoked Salmon

If you want to properly freeze smoked salmon, follow these easy steps to ensure maximum freshness for as long as possible.

  1. Place your smoked salmon in a vacuum-sealed or hand-sealed freezer bag. If you plan on freezing smoked salmon regularly, you might want to purchase a vacuum sealer to help remove all the air.
  2. Ensure that the freezer bag is completely sealed. We’re talking 100%, entirely, totally sealed. Trust me, you don’t want the smells that come from a partially open bag. Not to mention the freezer burn or potential food poisoning. Seal those freezer bags!
  3. Leave the sealed bag in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to use it, follow the guidelines for safely defrosting smoked salmon. Then you’re good to go!
  4. Bonus tip: I like to write the “use by” date on the sealed bag so I never have to wonder if the salmon is still good or not. (I may have learned that lesson the hard way.)

If you’re freezing sliced smoked salmon on top of each other, you can put a layer of greaseproof paper in between each layer to prevent slices from sticking together.

Can You Freeze an Opened Package of Smoked Salmon?

Yes, you can freeze open smoked salmon packages. Just be sure to wrap it air-tight to avoid ice crystals from developing on the freezing smoked salmon.

I recommend transferring the leftover smoked salmon to a freezer bag before freezing it.

Does Smoked Salmon Freeze Well?

Fresh smoked salmon is delicious, but you can also freeze it to use at your convenience.

If you freeze smoked salmon, be sure to tightly seal the salmon prior to freezing it. It’s also important to follow safe thawing techniques to ensure harmful bacteria can’t grow.

It’s best to consume the salmon within two months. And remember that the longer the salmon freezes, the more it loses its signature smoky flavor.

How Long Does Smoked Salmon Last?

If stored properly in the refrigerator, smoked salmon slices can last up to 14 days. When stored properly in the freezer, frozen smoked salmon can last up to 2 months.

How to Defrost Smoked Salmon

There are two methods you can use to defrost smoked salmon. I prefer the “slow thaw” method. Read more about each of these methods below:

  1. Slow thaw– Place your smoked salmon in the refrigerator 24 hours ahead of the time you want to use it. Let the temperature naturally rise to 38°F (3°C). Remove the cold smoked salmon 20 minutes before cooking. That is unless you want to eat it cold. In that case, you’re ready to eat!
  2. Controlled thaw– This is perfect for those who, like me, tend to forget to put the smoked salmon in the fridge the night before. Thawing smoked salmon this way involves submerging the sealed bag of smoked salmon in a bowl of cold water. Leave it in the cold water for 1-3 hours, until it’s thawed completely.

I prefer to thaw smoked salmon overnight because changing temperatures too drastically can change the flavor and texture, and not in a good way.

Do not thaw smoked salmon at room temperature. This can allow the growth of unhealthy bacteria and potentially result in food poisoning. Instead, defrost slowly in the refrigerator.

How Long Does Smoked Salmon Last in the Fridge?

When properly stored, most smoked salmon can last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

How to Store Smoked Salmon

You can store the smoked fish in the refrigerator or the freezer. You should never keep smoked salmon at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.

Does Smoked Salmon Need to Be Refrigerated?

Yes. Leaving hot smoked salmon at room temperature for a long time is the best way to spoil it. You should refrigerate or freeze hot smoked salmon.

How to Tell if Smoked Salmon is Bad

If you have a sense of smell, you’ll probably be able to tell if your smoked salmon has gone bad. Salmon doesn’t exactly hide the signs. But just in case, here is what you should look for:

  • Rancid or strong fishy smell- Fresh or frozen salmon should have an almost neutral smell. Smoked salmon can have a smokiness smell, but shouldn’t smell rancid.
  • Discoloration or spotting- Smoked salmon should have a pink, fleshy color. If it’s turned gray or developed a milky-white residue, that’s a sign the salmon has turned bad. Also, avoid it if you see dark spots. That could be mold.
  • Texture- Fresh smoked salmon should have a silky texture that’s firm and bounces back after touching it. A slimy or sticky texture is a sure sign of smoked salmon spoilage. Frozen smoked salmon obviously won’t spring back after you touch it, but it shouldn’t be slimy.

Can You Refreeze Smoked Salmon?

Like most smoked fish, you cannot refreeze smoked salmon once you have defrosted it.

So if you freeze all the smoked salmon in one bag, you’ll need to use it all up after defrosting it.

That isn’t a problem if you plan to use the defrosted smoked salmon for a family dinner or brunch with friends.

But if you plan to use just a few slices for your morning bagel, you might decide to freeze smoked salmon in smaller, individual-sized portions that you can pull out one at a time.

FAQS About Freezing Smoked Salmon and Other Fish

Can You Freeze Other Smoked Fish?

Yes, you can. Cod, mackerel, and tuna are all fish that be smoked and then frozen. Remember to use proper freezing and defrosting techniques when freezing smoked fish.

Can You Freeze Lox?

Another name for cured salmon, lox is salmon that has been brined. Many times lox will undergo a cold smoking process after brining. Lox can be frozen in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months.

Can You Freeze Cold Smoked Salmon?

Yes, you absolutely can. Wrap the fish in an air-tight container and place it in the freezer. Use within 2 months.

Can You Freeze Hot Smoked Salmon?

If you have whole, hot smoked salmon fillets, wrap each fillet tightly in plastic wrap. Placed the wrapped fish into a bag and then into the freezer.

You should thaw smoked salmon overnight before freezing it. Do not leave smoked salmon sitting out at room temperature overnight.

I suggest freezing hot smoked salmon for only a couple of months to avoid any significant changes to the texture. And remember that refreezing smoked salmon is a no-no.

Can You Freeze Raw Salmon?

Worried about using uncooked salmon quickly? You can breathe a sigh of relief. You can freeze raw salmon and preserve it until you’re ready to use it.

Just be sure to freeze it immediately. It only has a day or two of freshness in the fridge, so you shouldn’t wait to freeze it.

Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon Pate?

If you can freeze salmon, surely you can freeze smoked salmon pate, right? Well, yes and no.

Even though technically you can freeze pate, there is a chance that the cheese loses its creaminess. Also, the water can form ice crystals, which takes away from the texture.

So can you? Yes. Should you? I’d recommend against it.

Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon Slices?

Yes, you can freeze smoked salmon slices. Just remember that slices can lose flavor more quickly than whole pieces.

I recommend storing the slices together with a piece of greaseproof paper in between each layer.

How to Smoke Salmon

Want to try your hand at smoking salmon? If you have a smoker, you can smoke your own salmon (and other fish, too)!

I like this recipe from Traeger. It gives you plenty of info and walks you through the process, step-by-step.

Smoked Salmon Recipes

If you’re looking for ways to use your thawed smoked salmon, there’s a myriad of recipes out there.

Fish Tacos

One of my favorite ways to use it is to make these easy and delicious fish tacos for a weeknight dinner. Topped with cabbage slaw, fresh lime, and served in corn tortillas, you can’t go wrong with this recipe.

Grilled Salmon

Or you can fire up the grill and make this tasty grilled salmon. Pair it with veggies roasted in olive oil and rice pilaf for an irresistibly healthy summertime dinner.

Appetizer Toasts

You can also serve it up at your next party as a light, refreshing appetizer with these smoked salmon toasts. They include delicate slices of smoked salmon, a mustard sauce, and fresh dill. Yum!

Everything Bagel

Or, if you want a classic, watch this simple recipe for an everything bagel topped with cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, cucumbers, and more. It’s truly mouth-watering!

How to Smoke Salmon

Want to try your hand at smoking salmon? If you have a smoker, you can absolutely smoke your own salmon (and other fish, too)!

I like this recipe from Traeger. It gives you plenty of info and walks you through the process, step-by-step. 

Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon: Yes or No?

So the final word– can you freeze smoked salmon? If you use proper freezing and defrosting methods, you can freeze smoked salmon without worry.

Looking for more recipes to try? Visit my page to find more delicious recipes for the whole family.