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How To Store Tuna

Who doesn’t love a good tuna steak or sandwich? It’s not just delicious but also packed with good-for-you nutrients like protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

But, to make the most of your tuna, you need to know how to store it properly. So, let’s embark on a journey of preserving the tastiness of this incredible fish!

Fresh tuna steaks on a cutting board with a vine-ripened tomatoes on the side.

Store fresh tuna in the fridge and use within 1-2 days. For longer storage, freeze it, well-wrapped, for up to 6 months. Store unopened canned tuna in the pantry, and once opened, keep leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

How to store fresh tuna

Fresh tuna is a real treat, but it’s also delicate. You need to keep it super cold to maintain its freshness.

As soon as you get your fresh tuna home, put it in the fridge immediately. Wrap it in plastic wrap or put it in an airtight container to prevent any odors from spreading in your fridge.

The coldest part of your fridge is the best place for your tuna! Fresh tuna should be used within one to two days to ensure its best quality and taste. After this period, the risk of spoilage increases.

Also, learn how to store shrimp and salmon in these comprehensive guides.

How to store leftover tuna

Storing cooked tuna properly is just as important as storing it fresh. After cooking, allow your tuna to cool to room temperature, but be sure to refrigerate within 2 hours to prevent bacterial growth.

Place the cooked tuna in an airtight container or tightly wrap it in aluminum foil or plastic wrap to maintain its moisture and prevent it from drying out.

In the refrigerator, cooked tuna can last for about 3-4 days. If you’re not going to consume it within this timeframe, you can freeze it.

Before eating your leftover tuna, always check it for any off smell or change in texture to ensure it’s still good to eat. If in doubt, it’s better to be safe and discard it.

Find out more about how to tell if leftovers are bad to ensure food safety and prevent foodborne illness.

How to freeze fresh tuna

Freezing fresh tuna is a fantastic way to preserve it if you’re not planning to use it right away. To freeze your tuna, first, rinse it under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.

Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil, and finally put it in a freezer bag.

This triple protection helps avoid freezer burn and keeps your tuna in top shape!

When properly stored, fresh tuna can last in the freezer for up to six months. If you’ve cooked your tuna and then decided to freeze it, you can expect it to maintain its quality for about two months.

How to store canned tuna


Once you’ve opened a can of tuna, don’t leave it in the can. Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and put them in the fridge.

This way, it can last up to three days. Make sure to keep it away from any strong-smelling foods, as tuna can absorb these odors!


Unopened canned tuna can be stored at room temperature in your pantry or kitchen cabinet. Just keep an eye on the ‘best by’ date printed on the can, but generally, it can last for years!

Even though canned foods can last years it is important to learn how to tell if your canned foods are bad.

In the freezer

Yes, you can also freeze canned tuna — but only if it’s out of the can! Like an opened can of tuna, you want to put it in an airtight container before you freeze it.

It can stay good in the freezer for up to two months. Remember to label it with the freezing date.

How to choose your tuna

When you’re choosing fresh tuna, look for these signs of freshness:

  1. Color: Fresh tuna should be bright, shiny pink, or red, not brown or dull.
  2. Smell: It should have a fresh, slightly salty smell — not a strong, fishy odor.
  3. Texture: It should be firm and spring back when you press it.

How to tell if tuna is bad

Here are a few telltale signs that your tuna, whether fresh or canned, has gone bad:

  1. Smell: If it has a potent, sour, or unpleasant smell, that’s a clear sign it’s spoiled.
  2. Color: If your fresh tuna has turned dark or your canned tuna looks overly mushy or discolored, it’s time to toss it.
  3. Texture: Fresh tuna that feels slimy or overly soft is likely bad. Canned tuna that seems excessively dry or chalky should also be thrown out.


Now, you’re armed with all the info you need to store tuna like a pro! From keeping fresh tuna in your fridge to stockpiling canned tuna in your pantry and even freezing it, you can enjoy your favorite tuna dishes anytime.

And with your newfound knowledge about how to pick the best tuna and tell when it’s gone bad, you’re all set for the tastiest, freshest tuna experiences.

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