How To Know If Salmon Is Bad?

Spoiled salmon can make you sick so it’s always best to learn how to know if salmon is bad! Salmon is one of the most loved fish because of its rich flavor and versatility. Fresh salmon is loaded with the maximum nutritional content and has the utmost optimal taste. It can be really dangerous if you consume anything that is not safe to eat. Today, I’ll give details about how to know if salmon is bad. There are only a few things you need to look for to tell if salmon is safe or has gone bad. Read on to learn how to know if salmon is bad.

How To Know If Salmon Is Bad?

In this section, I will teach you how to know if salmon is bad in detail. It’s important to be sure your salmon is good whether you’re cooking a fresh piece of salmon or reheating the leftovers. Fortunately, it’s really easy to check your salmon quality and figure out the signs of spoilage.

You can consider the following signs of spoilage to learn how to know if salmon is bad.

  1. Smell

One of the best ways to determine if your salmon has gone bad is to smell it! Fresh salmon should not have a fishy odor. It should have a mild scent and smell like the ocean. If you get a sour or ammonia-like smell it’s probably not fresh and is a sure sign of bad fish. Make sure you check your salmon smells fishy while cooking.

After knowing how to tell if salmon is a bad smell, let us check other spoilage signs.

  1. Color

A fresh piece of salmon should have a bright pink-orange color with shiny silver skin. If your salmon’s skin looks a bit dull and lifeless it is probably not fresh. Check if the flesh has faded to gray or has any dark spots or discoloration. Other things to look for are milky residue or mold anywhere on the fish. When you see any of these spoilage signs, your salmon is spoiled.

  1. Texture

Before cooking your salmon, you should check the texture of the fish. Fresh salmon should always be firm and the flesh should spring back after you push into it. To check the freshness, run your hand along the fillet to check for bones. Your hand should glide easily without sticking.

When you press into its flesh and you notice it is breaking apart, the fish isn’t fresh anymore. It is better to discard the fish immediately if you notice fragile flesh.

You can keep on reading to learn more about how to know if raw salmon is bad.

  1. Inspect Salmon’s Eyes

You can even inspect your salmon’s eyes to check if it appears discolored. Usually, fresh salmon with the head still on should have bright, clear eyes with a dark pupil in the middle. Sometimes, the eyes of fresh salmon may even appear slightly bulged or dull. When the fish goes bad, its eyes will appear discolored.

You can keep on reading to know more about how to know if salmon is bad.

  1. Expiry date

Another important thing you should check while buying salmon is its expiration date. You will find the expiry date on the outer package if purchased frozen. If you are in doubt about the quality of your salmon, simply check the best-before date on the packaging.

However, an expiry date is not a definite prediction of when your fish will go bad. But it will surely give you an idea of when it might spoil. You can even look at the sell-by date on the packaging to know how much time has passed.

When you buy salmon from the butcher counter, you won’t see any expiration date. In this case, raw salmon will stay fresh for 1 to 2 days when stored in the fridge. Raw salmon will stay fresh for an hour if you store it at normal room temperature. And will last for 3 months if is kept frozen.

Now, you must be wondering how to know if frozen salmon is bad. Many people prefer to freeze salmon to extend its shelf life. You can use your senses to figure out if the fish is bad or spoiled.

Let us now check out how to know if salmon is bad after cooked.

Spoilage Signs of Cooked Salmon

I hope you’ve now understood how to know if salmon is bad raw. It is better to know that your salmon is rotten in advance to protect yourself from a serious illness. You can consider the following spoilage signs to learn how to know if cooked salmon is bad.

  • You can perform a smell test to check if your salmon gives a mild, fresh smell. If your fish gives a foul fishy, sour, or rotten odor, it has gone bad.
  • You can examine your leftover cooked salmon to see if it has a slimy texture or consistency. If you notice it has lost its thick, flaky texture, it’s starting to go bad.
  • When your cooked salmon becomes dull, grey, or has any amount of dark spots, it has gone bad.
  • If you leave your cooked salmon at room temperature for more than 2 hours, bacteria will start growing on it. Check if you see any molds, white, green, or gray impurities stuck around the salmon.

Never store your cooked salmon for more than 2 to 3 days in the fridge. Bacteria and mold start growing after a few days and can make you really sick.

It is very risky to put bad salmon in your mouth but do you know what does bad salmon taste like? Bad salmon will taste rotten, strongly of fish, and have an ammonia flavor as well.

You must be wondering how to know if smoked salmon is bad. The visible signs of spoiled salmon include the presence of slime, discoloration, off smell, or dull surface areas. 

Side Effects Of Eating Bad Salmon

After learning how to know if salmon is bad, you must also know what happens if you eat bad salmon. Eating salmon that has gone bad may cause food poisoning from the overgrowth of bacteria.

You may suffer from the following side effects if you eat bad salmon.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches

Thus, you will develop these symptoms after 20 to 30 minutes of eating the affected fish.

How To Tell If Salmon Is Cooked?

The simplest way to determine if your salmon is cooked properly is to press down on the top of the fillet. You can do this by using a fork or with your fingers. When the fish is cooked properly, it will easily break into flakes when nudged. Let it cook for longer if it feels rubbery or appears translucent. Fully cooked salmon will have a solid opaque color.

Note: Never eat uncooked salmon as it could make you sick.

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What Does Bad Salmon Smell Like?

It’s the bad fish that smells strongly of that characteristic “fishy” smell. Beyond “fishy” aromas, if you take a whiff of your salmon and notice any hints of ammonia, or anything rancid or sour, do yourself a favor and toss it.

Does Salmon Go Bad In The Fridge?

Yes, salmon can go bad in the fridge. It is important to take note of how long you have stored your seafood products and how long it takes for bacteria to grow on them. Eating spoiled fish can cause severe food poisoning, so always make sure to check how fresh your salmon is before consuming.

How Can You Tell If Salmon Tastes Bad?

You may also see discoloration, or brown spots on the flesh, kind of like faded freckles. Should you not notice any of these signs, the taste of rotting salmon is unmistakable. It will have an overpowering ‘rotten fish’ flavor that is sour and slimy in your mouth.

Can Raw Salmon Last 3 Days In The Fridge?

Fresh salmon can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 days after purchase, but it is best to follow the use-by date on the package. Cooked salmon can last up to 3 days in the fridge, while you should only keep raw salmon for up to two days. After that, it begins to spoil, and it is better to keep it in the freezer instead.

Is Week Old Salmon OK?

If cooked salmon is properly refrigerated, it should remain safe to consume for up to 5 days. Be sure to inspect the cooked salmon before consuming it and discard if there are signs of spoilage present.

Is It OK To Eat Expired Frozen Salmon?

Any frozen fish or shellfish will be safe indefinitely; however, the flavor and texture will lessen after lengthy storage. For best quality, freeze (0 °F / -17.8 °C or less) cooked fish for up to 3 months. Frozen raw fish is best used within 3 to 8 months; shellfish, 3 to 12 months.


In the above post, I’ve discussed how to know if salmon is bad on Reddit. When there is a milky, slimy residue, looks gray, and has dark spots this is a clear indication that the salmon is bad. Salmon when expires may even have discoloration or mold. You can give your salmon a smell test to check if it’s fresh or not. It is better to discard the salmon if it smells fishy but is not expired. Once you understand how to know if salmon is bad, you can enjoy a delicious piece of salmon without any fear!

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