Where Should You Store Raw Fish in the Refrigerator?

Where should you store raw fish in the refrigerator? It’s an important query for anybody concerned with preventing food spoilage and contamination in the kitchen. If you want to keep your raw fish fresh and avoid becoming sick from eating it, you need to know where to store it. The ideal place to keep raw fish in the fridge and why it matters will be discussed here. So, let’s dive in and discover where you should store raw fish in the refrigerator.

The Significance of Proper Fish Storage

Raw fish is a delicate component that may be used in a variety of tasty dishes but has to be handled with care. Preventing deterioration and sickness from tainted food depends on keeping it fresh and in good condition. So, before you start cooking, let’s talk about some of the most important things to keep in mind while keeping raw fish in the fridge.

Storing Raw Fish: Best Practices

The following steps should be taken to guarantee the freshness and safety of your raw fish:

Store Fish in the Right Location

Meredith Abbott, Manager of Culinary Content at Sur La Table, and other food experts agree that the bottom of the refrigerator is the best place to keep raw fish. The separation between raw and ready-to-eat meals eliminates the risk of infection. Additionally, separate, sterile containers should be used for each protein type. Pack or stack the fish with ice or ice packs to keep it as cold as it would be at a seafood store. This keeps it as cold as possible, ensuring that it stays as fresh as possible.

Properly Package Raw Fish

It’s important to remember to take fresh fish out of its packaging as soon as you get it home from the market. Dry the fish completely with paper towels. Next, place the fish in a sealed plastic or reusable bag. Before closing the bag, make sure to remove as much air as possible. The fish will remain cool and fresh on ice until you’re ready to prepare it.

Change Ice Regularly

Each day before you want to cook the raw fish, you should replace the ice that is around it to keep it at the proper temperature. This little measure aids in maintaining the freshness and quality of the seafood.

Shelf Life of Raw Fish

Cooking raw fish within two to three days after purchase is recommended for optimum flavor and safety. You can get the most out of the fish’s taste and avoid eating it after it’s lost some of its freshness if you buy it within this window.

Food Safety Protocols

It is crucial to observe correct food safety procedures while working with raw fish or any other protein. Never touch anything raw without first washing your hands. It is important to avoid spreading any bacteria from the raw fish by sanitizing anything that comes into touch with it. A clean kitchen is essential for preventing the transmission of disease and making food preparation safe for everyone.

Fish Leftovers

Having leftovers might be a time-saving choice, but you should always keep their expiration date in mind. Leftover fish should not be stored in the fridge for more than three days after cooking. Reheat just the amount you want to consume to preserve quality and flavor and be careful to reheat it correctly.

Recommended Temperature for Raw Fish Storage

Keeping raw fish at the right temperature is essential for avoiding spoiling and guaranteeing food safety. Raw fish should be refrigerated at a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) to 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). In this temperature range, microbial development is slowed, keeping the fish tasting fresh for longer.

Keep in mind that the refrigerator’s temperature might change depending on where you are. The rear or bottom shelf of the fridge is often the coolest portion of the fridge, making it perfect for keeping raw fish. These spots usually have a more constant temperature since they are nearer the cooling system.

Use a fridge thermometer to make sure the fridge stays at the right temperature. You can keep a close eye on the temperature with the help of this simple instrument. If you want your raw fish to last as long and taste as good as the day you bought it, make sure your fridge stays within the ideal temperature range.

Maintaining the right refrigerator temperature is more important than setting it. Opening and closing the refrigerator door or leaving it open might speed up raw fish spoilage. Thus, immediately close the refrigerator door after use.

Keep raw fish fresh, edible, and at its peak quality by keeping it at the right temperature and avoiding drastic temperature swings.

How Long Can You Store Raw Fish in the Refrigerator?

The safety and quality of raw fish depends on how it is stored. Even while the refrigerator is ideal for storing perishables, including raw fish, it has a short shelf life because of the lack of cooking. The kind of fish, its quality when purchased, and how well it has been handled and kept all affect how long it may be safely preserved in the refrigerator as raw fish.

Raw fish should be eaten within 1 to 2 days after being refrigerated at the very most. Within this window, the fish will be at its peak of freshness and quality. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, on the other hand, may have a shorter shelf life and are best eaten within a day of being caught.

Proper care and storage of uncooked fish may greatly extend its shelf life.  Here are several ways to keep raw fish fresher for longer in the fridge:

  • Choose fresh fish: Make sure the raw fish you buy isn’t stale. Keep an eye out for bright eyes, smooth skin, and a light, pleasant scent. Discolored fish with a strong stench should be avoided.
  • Store in airtight containers: To prevent the raw fish from being contaminated by airborne bacteria, seal it in airtight containers or securely wrap it in plastic wrap.
  • Use the coldest part of the refrigerator: Keep the raw fish on the fridge’s rear or bottom rack, where the temperature stays the coldest and most stable.
  • Avoid cross-contamination: Separate raw fish from other meals to avoid cross-contamination. Keep it apart from other goods by placing it on a tray or sealing it in a container.
  • Regularly check for signs of spoilage: Inspect the fish for symptoms of deterioration, including a strong odor, sliminess, or discoloration, before using it raw. The fish should be thrown away if any of these symptoms are present.

Please keep in mind that the following are only suggestions. It is better to err on the side of caution and not eat raw fish if there is any uncertainty about its freshness or if there has been any mishandling.

Keeping raw fish fresh and reducing the likelihood of food poisoning is as simple as following these storage and consumption instructions. Don’t take any chances with your health, and always use fresh fish in your cooking.

Signs of Spoiled Raw Fish

The freshness and safety of raw seafood is dependent on how it is handled and stored. However, it is possible for raw fish to rot and become harmful to eat if it is not kept properly or if it is consumed beyond its expiration date. Knowing how to spot rotten raw fish can help keep you and your loved ones safe from potentially deadly food poisoning. Some of the most frequent warning indicators include:

  • Strong, unpleasant odor: The aroma of fresh raw fish ought to be somewhat saline. The fish has gone rotten if it has a strong, nasty stench similar to ammonia or a “fishy” scent that is overpowering and unpleasant.
  • Sliminess: The texture of fresh raw fish should be silky and wet. The fish is likely ruined if it has an unusually slimy or sticky texture. Bacterial slime is a potential habitat for disease-causing organisms.
  • Discoloration: The flesh of freshly caught, uncooked fish is often bright red and transparent. Spoilage is indicated by any kind of discoloration, especially a grey or yellowish hue. Also, if the fish has any discolored areas, it’s not safe to eat.
  • Deteriorated texture: The texture of fresh raw fish should be firm. A sign that the fish has begun to deteriorate is if it has a mushy texture or breaks apart easily.
  • Mold or growth: Raw fish that has visible mold or growth on the surface has likely gone bad. Never eat anything that has mold on it, no matter what color it is (green, black, or white).

Important to remember that food poisoning and bacterial diseases might result from eating rotten raw fish. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever are all possible side effects of these diseases. If you have any reason to believe that the raw fish you have purchased has gone bad, you should exercise extreme care and not eat it.

Keep in the sense that fresh and healthy raw fish requires careful storage, handling, and consumption of time. Cooking with raw fish may be both tasty and safe if you know the warning signs of deterioration and follow other basic food safety guidelines.

Safety Precautions When Handling Raw Fish

In order to avoid becoming sick from eating raw fish, it’s important to follow proper food safety procedures. Like other raw meats, fish may hold germs and parasites that can cause illness if they aren’t properly cooked. Here are some vital guidelines for keeping yourself safe while working with raw fish:

  • Cleanliness and hygiene: Before and after touching raw fish, always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Doing so helps get rid of any germs or dirt on your hands.
  • Separation and cross-contamination: To prevent food poisoning, never store raw fish near other meals, particularly pre-prepared foods like cut fruits and vegetables. Make careful to wash any utensils, bowls, or plates that come in contact with raw fish in hot, soapy water after use.
  • Proper storage: To prevent the spread of harmful microorganisms, keep raw fish refrigerated at or below 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). Avoid leaking or cross-contamination by storing fish in airtight containers or wrapping it securely in plastic wrap.
  • Thawing: Be careful while thawing frozen raw fish. You may thaw it in the fridge, sink with the cold water running, or microwave on the defrost option. Avoid thawing at room temperature if at all possible; doing so may encourage the development of microorganisms.
  • Avoiding cross-contact: Avoid contaminating your raw fish with the bacteria from other raw meats and seafood by keeping it away from any surfaces, utensils, or hands that may have touched it. Any area that could come into touch with raw fish should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized to remove any germs that might be present.
  • Cooking temperatures: To eliminate dangerous microorganisms, boil raw salmon to 145°F (63°C). Use a food thermometer to precisely detect fish’s internal temperature.
  • Prompt consumption or refrigeration: Keep the raw fish in the fridge as soon as possible if you’re not going to cook it right away. Don’t risk spreading germs by letting raw fish sit out at room temperature for too long.
  • Personal protective equipment: If you have any injuries or wounds on your hands, disposable gloves are a good idea to use while handling raw fish. Gloves are a great way to provide an additional layer of defense against possible contamination.

You may reduce your chance of becoming sick from eating raw fish by following these guidelines. If you want to enjoy the delightful tastes of seafood without worrying about becoming sick, it’s important to remember that good handling and cleanliness measures are key.


In conclusion, it is crucial to know where to store raw fish in the fridge to keep it fresh and avoid any health problems. The quality and safety of your raw seafood may be preserved by following the suggestions provided. To avoid any possible contamination and to keep your raw fish fresh for as long as possible, remember to store it in a separate area of your refrigerator. You’ve found the solution to your inquiry, so Where should you store raw fish in the refrigerator? You can confidently handle and store your fish with ease. Stay safe and enjoy your delicious seafood dishes!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I store raw fish with other types of food in the refrigerator?

Refrigerate raw fish separately from other foods. Raw fish may spread germs and cause foodborne diseases. To avoid cross-contamination, refrigerate raw fish in a container or firmly wrapped in plastic.

What should I do if I accidentally leave raw fish out of the refrigerator for too long?

Discard raw fish left out for more than 2 hours. Room-temperature bacteria proliferate quickly, increasing foodborne disease risk. Handle raw fish correctly and refrigerate it immediately to maintain food safety.

Can I refreeze raw fish that has been thawed?

Thawed fish should not be refrozen. Thawing fresh fish releases moisture and ice crystals, making it more bacterially vulnerable. Cook and refrigerate thawed raw fish if you don’t intend to use it right away.

Are there any alternatives to using a refrigerator for storing raw fish?

Due to its temperature control, refrigerating raw fish is suggested. If refrigeration is unavailable, store raw fish in a refrigerator with ice packs or in ice water. To guarantee food safety, check and refill the ice or cold water often to keep the fish cool.

How can I tell if raw fish is fresh or not?

Certain signs indicate raw fish freshness. Fresh fish should have clear, bright eyes, glossy, moist skin, and a subtle, sea-like smell. Firm, non-slimy flesh is ideal. Discard fish with a strong odor, sliminess, or apparent deterioration.

Emma is the wordsmith behind the insightful articles and guides on our website. Her extensive research and passion for fishing shine through in every piece she creates. Whether sharing angling tips or delving into the latest conservation efforts, Emma is dedicated to providing valuable and engaging content.