How To Tell If Salmon Is Bad? The Quickest Guide with Tricks

Salmon is a very popular fish due to its flavor, adaptability, and remarkable health benefits. Numerous people worldwide appreciate this tasty and nourishing fish. Still, in order to prevent eating potentially hazardous fish, it’s essential to recognize the warning indicators of spoiled salmon. So, how to tell if salmon is bad?

To avoid getting sick and make sure your food is safe, you must be aware of the telltale signs and symptoms of rotten salmon. It’s important to think about the color, texture, and scent of salmon before making a purchase.

However, no one wants to consume bad salmon. It’s not fun at all to get sick from spoiled salmon! Therefore, it’s best to always inspect raw salmon for signs of spoilage before cooking it.

How To Tell If Salmon Is Bad? Top 6 Signs

Checking the salmon’s expiration date, appearance, smell, and texture are among the things you should do. Old or spoiled salmon may have a white, filmy residue and a dull or gray appearance. Therefore, know here how to tell if salmon is bad. Follow the following factors below:

1. Strongly fishy smell

Salmon that is raw should smell fresh. A strong fishy smell is a warning flag to stay away from it. However, salmon will naturally have an aroma because it is still a type of fish. Raw or cooked, fresh salmon should have a subtle flavor. Simply put, it shouldn’t be intrusive. 

2. Fragile flesh

The flesh of fresh salmon is firm. It should bounce back and fully hold together as soon as you touch it. You should throw away the fish immediately if you press into its flesh and see it breaking apart. This indicates that the fish is no longer fresh.

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3. Changed color 

Salmon can be red or brown, but it’s usually pink with orange undertones. On the other hand, the salmon is probably spoiled if you see any color changes, like gray or dull brown patches or spots. 

4. Texture changes

Fresh salmon should feel firm and slightly springy to the touch when it comes to texture. It’s probably gone bad if the flesh has a sticky texture or seems mushy or slimy.

5. Cloudy eyes

Examine the eyes of your salmon carefully. The eyes should be shiny, bright, and clear when the fish is still fresh, not shaded and murky. With protruding eyes, the pupils ought to be visible and dark. Sunken-in eyes are a sign of a bad salmon.

6. Gets a milky coating

On the outside, salmon can develop a translucent film when bad. This gives it a creamy look and indicates that the salmon has become bad. Such a white coating makes it clear that this fish should not be eaten.

Should You Eat the Salmon That Goes Bad?

Although it’s never pleasant to discover that a perfectly good salmon has gone bad, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The risk of consuming spoiled salmon is not worth the unpleasantness of food poisoning or other illnesses. 

If you consume bad-quality salmon that has gone bad, an overabundance of bacteria or other microorganisms may cause food poisoning. It’s crucial to pay attention to the expiration date on the label or packaging when buying salmon. 

Since salmon is at its freshest and safest to eat before this date, it is generally best to consume it before then. Dates of expiration, however, are not always absolute and can change based on things like salmon variety and storage circumstances.

How Long Does Salmon Fish May Last and Which Temperature is Required?

Follow this chart to get a complete idea about how long salmon may last: 

Salmon Temperature Frozen Refrigerated
Raw Salmon 2 hours 2 – 6 months 1 – 2 days
Cooked Salmon 2 hours 2 – 3 months 3 – 4 days
Smoked Salmon 2 hours 6 – 9 months 4 – 5 days
Canned Salmon (opened) N/A 9 – 12 months 3 – 4 days
Canned Salmon (unopened) 3 years N/A 4 days


When it comes to buying and preparing salmon, it’s important to know how to test the fish’s freshness and spot any signs of spoiling. So, you must know how to tell if salmon is bad. Hopefully, you have found the proper guidelines in the above sections.

You can enjoy salmon’s delicious flavor without jeopardizing your health if you abide by these guidelines. Choose fresh, premium salmon for your meals instead of taking any chances with spoiled or expired fish.

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