Tilapia goes very well with all kinds of soups, savory dishes, and more. You can even consume fresh tilapia after baking, grilling, or steaming it. However, what if you’ve bought a good quantity of fish that can’t be consumed at once? You can store the leftover tilapia in the fridge.
But how long does tilapia last in the fridge? A properly stored cooked or raw tilapia can last for up to four days in the fridge. To further increase its shelf life to six to eight months, storing tilapia in the freezer is recommended.
When it’s the time for the next tilapia party at home, thaw it properly before cooking. Wondering how? Read on as this article will answer all your questions.
Table of Contents
- 1 How long does tilapia last at room temperature?
- 2 How long does tilapia last in the fridge?
- 3 How long does tilapia last in the freezer?
- 4 How to thaw frozen tilapia?
- 5 How to store tilapia?
- 6 How to know if tilapia is still good?
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 8 How Long Does Tilapia Last In The Fridge Summary
How long does tilapia last at room temperature?
Being a freshwater fish, tilapia can stay fresh at room temperature for about a couple of hours. This is because bacterial growth occurs at a quick rate between temperatures of 40°F and 140°F. Thus, don’t leave the fish out for more than 2-hours.
However, if you live in a hot environment with high humidity and above-normal room temperature, tilapia can only be left out for an hour at most.
Tip: It’s recommended to store tilapia or any fish in the refrigerator if you wish to consume it in a few days. For extended shelf life, the freezer is the best option.
How long does tilapia last in the fridge?
As aforementioned, tilapia can stay fresh and consumable for days when kept in the refrigerator. Whether you’re stocking cooked tilapia or its raw form, tilapia can last for up to four days in the fridge.
For this to happen, make sure you pack it suitably. You must stuff the originally packed fish into the fridge. Or if you tend to cook tilapia before storing it, make sure to remove any excess moisture from its surface through kitchen towels. Wrapping a plastic wrap around the cooked fish is another useful suggestion.
How long does tilapia last in the freezer?
Tilapia lasts for six to eight months in the freezer at 0°F (or -18°C). However, it’s not a wise decision to store tilapia for that long as there have been instances of freezer burn by doing so. Additionally, the texture and taste of tilapia may also change if stored under 0°F for that long.
If you still prefer storing tilapia for a long period, say, months, always use a freezer-safe airtight container instead of any regular container you may have been using till now. Further, wrap a heavy-duty plastic wrap around the fish for better protection against freezer burn.
How to thaw frozen tilapia?
Though there are ample ways to defrost or thaw fish, you can’t apply those methods to thaw tilapia. The main reason behind this is cross-contamination and food safety. Here’s how you’d thaw tilapia without encouraging bacterial growth and contamination.
- Defrosting tilapia in the refrigerator
Defrosting tilapia in the refrigerator is the best thing you can do. Simply transfer the required quantity of fish from the freezer to the fridge before going to bed to consume it the next day. This will ensure the fish never gets warm enough for food-borne bacteria to grow.
Note: Never refreeze any fish, including tilapia once it has been thawed. That’s why you’d mind the proportion of fish you are defrosting.
If you had wrapped any plastic wrap around tilapia or kept it in an airtight container, keep the fish as it is on the shelf of the fridge. Don’t keep the packet on the fridge’s door as its temperature fluctuates every time the door is opened.
A quick tip: You can even transfer the fish from the freezer to the fridge in the morning if it’s cut into thin and small pieces.
- Defrosting tilapia in cold water
Another quick and safe way to thaw tilapia is by using cold water. To do so, follow these steps.
- Take a deep pan or dish
- Fill it with cold water
- Place the seal packed tilapia fish at the center of the deep pan or dish
- Make sure water completely envelopes the fish. If not, add some more water
- Let tilapia sit in cold water for at least 15-30 minutes
Once done, take out the fish from its packet, rinse it under cold water, pat dry, and it’s ready to consume.
A quick tip: After placing tilapia in the cold water-filled pan, transfer the entire setup to the fridge. This will ensure your fish remains fresh for a few hours after thawing.
How to store tilapia?
Let’s now learn how to store raw tilapia in the fridge without contaminating it properly.
- Cut off the head and tail
- Rinse it thoroughly with cold water
- Dry it with a paper napkin or a cloth
- Remove the fins
- Slice the fish and open the fillets
- Remove the small bones
- Dry the fillets for the last time
- Wrap the fish with a heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap
- Pack this wrapped fish in an airtight container
- Transfer the container to the freezer or fridge
When you’re about to consume the fish, thaw it using the earlier mentioned techniques.
How to know if tilapia is still good?
No matter how carefully you store tilapia, it can go off pretty quickly. Since consuming an expired tilapia (or any fish) poses serious threats to your health, make sure you inspect it before usage. Here’s how to do it.
- Touch tilapia with your fingers. If your fingers feel sticky afterward, the fish has gone.
- For packed tilapia, see if a thick liquid is oozing from its fillets. If yes, discard the fish immediately.
- Smell the fish and discard it if a bad odor is present.
- If tilapia flakes are coming off the body, consuming the fish isn’t recommended.
- Is the fish soft to touch? Discard it if yes.
So, these are the different ways to check if tilapia has gone bad or not.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How to store cooked tilapia?
To properly store cooked tilapia, wrap it around heavy-duty aluminum foil or your regular kitchen wrap to extend its shelf life in the fridge. Alternatively, you can store it in airtight containers to consume it later, say, in the next 3-4 days.
How to handle raw tilapia?
To handle raw tilapia, you must store it at a suitable temperature. Raw tilapia should be stored at 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to increase the shelf life of tilapia?
To increase the shelf life of tilapia, you can try any of the four best methods. These are freezing at low temperatures, canning, curing (salting or smoking), and pickling.
Should I cure my tilapia?
Yes, curing your tilapia is another way to store the fish. It was highly used before the invention of refrigerators and is still in use today. You can either preserve the fish through salt or smoke it over any fire source.
How Long Does Tilapia Last In The Fridge Summary
So, here you go. Just like you’d store any other fish for later consumption, you can use similar storing methods for tilapia. If properly stored once cooked, it can embrace your dish for the next 3-4 days.
The best way to store tilapia (cooked or raw) is by freezing it at 145°F. This temperature will ensure no growth of parasites. To use the frozen tilapia, you must thaw it as discussed above. Otherwise, it won’t cook suitably.