Can You Freeze Sushi?

Can You Freeze Sushi?

We are reader supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Also, as an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Ah! I am familiar with that incessant pang of hunger when you want to quickly make sushi or order some from your favorite restaurant. When hunger takes over, it’s common to make more sushi or order extra than you can probably consume at once. So, what to do with the leftovers?

Can you freeze sushi? Yes, you can but only under certain conditions. Remember that sushi does not mean raw fish. It is a delicacy made from vinegared sushi rice containing raw fish, cooked fish, or vegetables as fillings. So, the freshness window of sushi may vary depending upon the type of fillings.

If the sushi contains vegetables or cooked seafood, it is as safe as any other type of cooked food leftovers. However, if the sushi contains raw tuna or salmon, freezing may preserve the fish but change the texture of sushi rice and Nori.

Refrigerating is more common than freezing, but you must consume the sushi within 24 hours to prevent risking your health. Read on to know more.


What Happens When You Freeze Sushi?

Regardless of the type of sushi, traditional or inside out, I would recommend that you consume it within 3-4 hours of preparing or receiving it by order. Almost all styles of sushi will have Nori seaweed on the outside or hidden inside. If you freeze sushi, the Nori may become tough and chewy

Sushi rice also tastes best when it’s fresh at room temperature. If left outside, it tends to dry out and become stiffer after a few hours. Storing in the freezer accelerates the drying process, and the soft texture immediately becomes hard.

If stored for long, sushi rice can change for the worse. Unfortunately, defrosting your sushi will completely change the texture of sushi rice, as it will have a thin layer of perspiration over it and not taste the same. 

If the sushi contains raw fish fillings, you may have some benefits by storing it in a freezer. While raw fish can turn bad after 24 hours of keeping in the refrigerator, storing in the freezer can extend the freshness window. However, let’s not forget that sushi is not just the raw fish, but it is wrapped in a layer of Nori and sushi rice that may lose their texture faster.

If your sushi contains cooked seafood, such as cooked crabmeat in California roll and cooked salmon in Philadelphia roll, the seafood may be eatable even 2-3 days. However, the sushi rice and Nori will turn bland and spoil the overall flavor of your sushi.

Vegetables like cucumber and avocado will considerably lose their texture and flavor when frozen. Avocado will change its color and probably turn black. The water content in cucumber will turn into ice and will lose its texture when it comes back to room temperature after defrosting.

How Long Does Frozen Sushi Last

Technically speaking, frozen sushi can last for 2-3 days, and the raw fish may stay good up to a month or two. Despite this, freezing sushi is not a good way to store the leftover pieces simply because frozen sushi does not taste well. The cooked sushi rice and Nori lose their flavor and become unappetizing when thawed. While it does not become unsafe for consumption, it certainly won’t taste like sushi anymore!

A better option would be to keep leftover sushi in the refrigerator where it can retain the texture and stay good for 24 hours. To stay safe and avoid getting sick from eating seafood that’s contaminated with bacteria, I would suggest you go by a 15-20 hours mark. If the sushi stays in the refrigerator longer than that, simply toss it out! Your health is more precious than the tempting ball of sushi!

Related Article: How Long Does Sushi Last? (Detailed Explanation)

How To Tell If Sushi Has Gone Bad

Raw fish tastes great, but you need to practice food safety techniques to enjoy it without getting sick. Whether you are making sushi at home or ordering from a restaurant near you, try to consume all the pieces while they are still at the peak of their flavor. If you need to wait for a guest or binge while watching Netflix, make sure you eat them all within 4 hours.

If you refrigerate or freeze the leftovers, there will always be a thin line of risk lurking around. No matter what the food experts say, remember that you are the best judge. Use your sense of taste and smell to tell if the sushi has gone bad.

If the fish looks slimy or smells fishy, it’s probably not safe to eat. You should better throw it away than take a risk. Allow frozen sushi to defrost and then take a look at it. If the rice feels too hard to touch and the vegetables have changed color, toss it out of the window.

You can have a look at my previous article for more info – Different Ways On How To Tell If Sushi Is Fresh

4 Ways To Keep Sushi Fresh Inside A Fridge

I always recommend that you make or order sushi only as much as you can eat in one session. However, in any case, if you have leftover sushi and need to store it for more than 4 hours, here are some safe and tested methods you may try:

#1. Plastic wraps and airtight containers

If your sushi roll has excess water, squeeze the sushi pieces gently to get rid of extra water. Now, wrap the sushi slices tightly in a plastic wrap and seal it to ensure that they are not exposed to air. Put the sushi wrapped in plastic inside an airtight container and keep it inside the refrigerator.

 I would suggest that you use a vacuum food container like this on Amazon to keep air away from the sushi. Make sure the temperature inside the refrigerator is above the freezing point. Sushi stored in this method helps in retaining the flavor, but it should be consumed within 24 hours.

#2. Paper towel method

Another good technique to store sushi overnight is to wrap each slice in a moistened paper towel. Wrap properly and enclose all sides by tucking the paper to ensure that the sushi does not come in contact with air. Now place the wrapped sushi inside an airtight or vacuum-sealed container, and put inside the refrigerator. This will prevent the sushi rice from hardening and keep sushi fresh until the next day.

#3. Microwave method

Let me remind you that this is not a conventional way to store sushi and keep it fresh for the next day. However, this method can work fine if you don’t want sushi containing raw fish to go bad after sitting in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Raw fish is susceptible to bacterial contamination, so I suggest microwaving sushi for a minute to cook the fish. It will also soften the sushi rice further. You can then wrap it in a plastic bag or paper towel, put it into an airtight container and store it in the fridge.

This method will change the flavor of your sushi as the fish is no longer raw, but you can preserve it a little longer than usual.

#4. Using damp kitchen towels

Another method to keep the sushi rice from becoming too dry is to use some clean kitchen towels soaked in cool water. Squeeze the towels to remove any excess water. Spread one wet towel on the plate, put the sushi pieces over it and cover with another towel. Put the towel wrapped sushi inside a plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator. 

While this method helps in retaining the texture of sushi rice, the seaweed will become soggy. It works best for the inside out styles such as California rolls.

Related Questions

Why prepackaged store sushi has a 2-3 day shelf life?

Freshly prepared sushi can last for 24-hours in the refrigerator without sacrificing quality. But, have you wondered how the store-bought sushi lasts up to 2-3 days? The sushi rice in the prepackaged stuff contains oversaturated dressing to prevent drying out. Additional corn syrup and preservatives are also added to extend the shelf life. Furthermore, the store bought sushi mostly contains cooked meat and vegetables as fillings.

How to defrost sushi?

You can defrost the frozen sushi by putting the sealed plastic bag containing sushi in lukewarm water for about 30 minutes. You may also microwave the sushi by setting it in defrost mode for 2 minutes or leave it at room temperature for 2-3 hours. The flavor usually stays good for at least 6-8 hours after thawing.

Related Article: Can You Eat Sushi The Next Day?

The Final Words

No matter how careful you are with your orders or measurements, it is normal to have leftovers that are too good to throw away. When you make sushi at home, you may eat them even after 4 hours if kept outside or store in the refrigerator for maximum 24 hours. Anything beyond a 24-hour limit should be tossed out.

When you order sushi from a restaurant, use a lower limit because you don’t know when the sushi was prepared or how long it had been sitting outside. So, eat them immediately, or you may refrigerate them for 10-15 hours.

Freezing sushi may preserve the raw part of the fish, but the other ingredients like sushi rice, Nori and vegetables will lose their original texture and become unappetizing.  So, try to cook or order only as much required and eat fresh! Bon appetit!


  1. Pingback: Maki Sushi: All You Need To Know(Recipes) - Easy Homemade Sushi

  2. Pingback: How Long Does Sushi Last? (Detailed Explanation) - Easy Homemade Sushi

Leave a Comment