Can You Eat Leftover Sushi? How Long Does It Last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on July 28th, 2022

You’ve got a sushi dinner, but there’s no more room in the fridge. Do you toss it out or find a way to preserve it for later?

Leftover sushi may seem like a lost cause, but there are ways to salvage your leftover raw fish. Here are some tips on how to store and eat leftover sushi.

person holding tuna sashimi

Why Is Eating Leftover Sushi Bad?

Nori gets chewy and difficult to bite when exposed to air and moisture. The texture of the rice likewise changes, becoming dry and hard.

Furthermore, sushi frequently contains raw seafood, which can become contaminated if refrigerated for longer than a few hours. Fish is a good incubator for germs on its own, but it may be disastrous when paired with fridge humidity.

As a result, two-day-old leftover sushi is not only flavorless but also hazardous.

In general, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that leftovers be kept at room temperature for no more than 2 hours and no more than 1 hour if you’re dining outside and the temperature is above 90oF (32oC).

Type of sushiRoom temperatureRefrigerator
Raw sushi or sashimi2 hours1–2 days
Cooked sushi2 hours3–4 days

How Does Store-Bought Sushi Stay Fresh for So Long?

You might have observed that store-bought sushi has a longer shelf life than restaurant-bought or handmade sushi. This is because it is frozen as soon as the sushi is prepared.

This can extend the life of the meal at the expense of taste. As a result, if you want to enjoy sushi to the maximum, don’t prepare it to be frozen and enjoyed later.

How to Tell If Your Sushi Is Bad

Let’s start with sushi from a restaurant or a grocery. If the sushi contains raw fish, you may take some home and preserve them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

The flavor and texture of the sushi may vary (e.g., softer fish, limp seaweed paper, tougher rice), but it should be OK to consume it 24 hours after it was produced.

The essential thing to remember is to keep it refrigerated since germs can form on raw sushi, such as spicy tuna rolls and sashimi (just slices of raw fish).

Assume you have a sushi box in your refrigerator and, after calculating the time, you determine that your remaining sushi is rapidly nearing hour 25. What are you going to do?

Bacterial activities can cause sushi to deteriorate and generate an unpleasant odor. Therefore, before eating sushi stored in the refrigerator, sniff it for unpleasant aromas.

Though refrigerating sushi may somewhat alter its flavor and texture, carefully examine the sushi for substantial color changes or other indicators of decomposition, such as mold.

Slime is commonly formed when meals, particularly rice, go bad. If you see or feel slime on your remaining sushi, throw it out.

Can you eat expired sushi?

Raw fish and seafood, such as sushi and sashimi, are more likely to have parasites and bacteria that can infect people and cause foodborne diseases.

In Japan, anisakidosis (gut larval infection) is a frequent foodborne illness connected with sushi, and sushi has been related to salmonella outbreaks. Though individual symptoms may vary, the most frequent foodborne disease symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach cramps.

What Factors Influence Sushi’s Shelf Life?

Because sushi and its associated meals are made mostly of fresh ingredients, two major factors will influence the shelf-life.

When working with fish, it is especially crucial to understand the aspects that influence its shelf-life:

Ingredients’ Freshness

Any animal-based product has a substantially shorter shelf life when processed for use in anything else. This is because the clock starts ticking as soon as any protective coverings are removed.

It begins with the capture of the fish or crustacean for seafood (meats).

A significant amount of time has gone by when it arrives at the shop to be processed into various cuts. As a result, it has lost most of its skin protection against environmental conditions.

After the pieces have been sliced, they are stored before being served at the sushi bar.

Many fish parts are also frozen to prevent them from spoiling. However, this does not guarantee that the fresh fish flavor will be preserved. You have to utilize the portion a day or two after it has been defrosted.

The exception, of course, is sushi restaurants that only utilize freshly caught fish and create their sushi to request.

Plant-based components have a substantially longer shelf life than fish-based products. This is because they typically dissolve only after removing the exterior protective layer.

Varied ingredients have different shelf lives. Therefore, it is critical to understand each component’s shelf life to produce the safest product possible.


The cold chain is a critical aspect that affects the entire shelf-life of the crop. The cold chain is the process of handling perishable food at cold temperatures.

If the chain remains intact, food is chilled and less prone to spoil. Conversely, decomposition might be accelerated if food is not stored at the right temperature, especially seafood.

Sushi should be stored in a cool place from start to end. To remove as many dangers as possible, keep the food completely refrigerated.

How Long Do Different Sushi Varieties Keep in the Fridge?

Sushi has an expiry date determined by the components in your roll. Leftovers of any kind, whether sushi or your grandmother’s chicken soup, should be refrigerated as soon as feasible.

Illness-causing germs may quadruple in 20 minutes at room temperature, so the sooner you cool your food, the better.

If your sushi contains raw fish, you should eat it within 24 hours. Raw, fresh food increases your chances of food poisoning, including nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Cooking or freezing your food is the most effective way to eliminate germs, which is why fresh, undercooked foods are so dangerous.

If you exclusively use fresh vegetables in your sushi, your rolls may last 5 to 7 days. On the other hand, your vegetarian sushi, like a fresh salad, may wilt in quality much sooner.

If your sushi contains other ingredients such as imitation crab, cream cheese, or mango, remember that the eat-by dates might differ.

When it comes to enjoying sushi safely if you can’t eat it right away, here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Your roll will last as long as your freshest component.
  • Toss your sushi if it smells fishy or unpleasant or has a poor hue.

The adage “when in doubt, throw it out” applies to food.

Can Sushi Be Refrigerated?

When it comes to sushi, refrigeration is a requirement — no exceptions. Sushi, as previously said, must be kept in the refrigerator. Under no circumstances can it be set aside to be eaten later.

If not, any components that have been processed and handled by humans are at a very high risk of harboring hazardous and even lethal microorganisms.

You should never eat fish that has been out of the cold chain (unrefrigerated) for more than 4 hours. This is an essential guideline since fish have several health concerns, particularly when taken raw.

How Can Sushi Be Kept Fresh Overnight?

Using the procedure mentioned above, you may retain sushi till the next day. Then, wrap any leftover sushi in saran wrap and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

If you are doubtful about the quality of the sushi, it must be consumed or tossed the next day.

Is Sushi Freezable?

Although it is feasible to freeze sushi, we do not suggest it.

One of the most important reasons is that the texture of the sushi will radically alter. Additional health dangers are associated with defrosting rice; the texture will become quite mushy and unappealing.

The same may be said for seaweed (or nori) and cucumber. These are the components that will not be able to be frozen.

Another important element to consider is how the sushi was produced. When freezing cooked fish or seafood and prepared vegetables, use caution.

As a general rule, you should never freeze store-bought sushi. You have no clue how long the ingredients have been sitting out, how many hands they have been through, or how good they are.

If you’re preparing sushi at home and have an excess of a certain component, don’t use it all to make the sushi. Instead, remove any leftover ingredients and freeze them individually so you may use them later to make new, fresh sushi.

Sushi Storage Methods

Although the restaurant’s Styrofoam box is good, sushi should be wrapped securely in plastic and placed in an airtight container. Before wrapping in the plastic wrapper, ensure no extra water is on the rolls because this can stimulate bacteria development.

Finally, ensure your refrigerator is set to 41oF (or 5oC) to guarantee no warmth is accessible to spoil the sushi.

Now that you know how long sushi lasts, go out and eat as much as you want. There is so much to enjoy, from sashimi (raw fish slices) to maki (cut rolls with seaweed on the exterior) to nigiri (no seaweed, just fish on rice).

What Should You Do With Leftover Sushi?

If you don’t want to consume leftover sushi as is, there are numerous ways to incorporate it into a meal. Here’s a tasty recipe for you to try:

Take the remaining fish and separate it from the rice. Heat two teaspoons of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the fish for 3 to 4 minutes on high heat.

Combine 4 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 teaspoon sugar in a mixing bowl—Cook for roughly 5 minutes on low heat.

Combine the remaining rice and top with the cooked fish. Add some fresh mint leaves and sesame seeds for a special touch. The meal is now ready!

Miso soup, bean curd pouches, fried rice, sushi salad, and dispersed sushi are some more plate possibilities for leftover sushi.

How to Soften Your Refrigerated Sushi

If you are a true sushi fan and prefer to eat your sushi raw, keep in mind that there are certain ways you can soften your remaining sushi if the rice becomes firm, which is entirely normal after one night.

To avoid this, wrap the sushi in plastic wrap and set it in an airtight container before placing it in the refrigerator. This will keep the rice from drying out and going stale.

Sushi Heating Instructions

I’m sure many of you are asking, what about heating sushi? Is it possible to heat sushi? The answer is yes, and all you’ll need is a microwave. The method is simple: microwave the sushi for roughly 30 seconds at 500 watts.

Please keep in mind that this approach will cook the sushi; nevertheless, it will guarantee that the taste of newly purchased food will be restored.

If you bought prepared sushi, don’t worry; it can be warmed in the microwave without a problem. If you merely want to heat sushi rice, pour 1 tablespoon of water over the rice in a bowl. Then, wrap it in microwave-safe plastic storage bags.


Editorial Staff

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