How Long Does Tuna Last In The Fridge?

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Tunas are saltwater marine animals that belong to the same class as mackerel. They are known for their great swimming speeds among other pelagic fish, they are elongated and streamlined, with a rounded body that tapers at the tail, and they are dark at the top and silvery below. The uniqueness of tunas, among other fishes, is their ability to maintain their body temperatures above the surrounding water environment. These extraordinary marine animals are the most commercially valuable fish and form an important part of the diet of millions of people around the globe. It is a go-to protein option in many delicacies. Its affordability adds to its popularity. Welcome and keep reading to learn the best ways to keep and store both fresh and canned tuna. 

How long does tuna last in the fridge?

One can refrigerate tuna for two days taking into account both fresh and raw tuna. The sell-by date may expire during that refrigeration period, but they will remain fresh and safe to use if they have been properly stored. To maximize the shelf life of raw tuna, they should not be opened until you are ready to use them. The shelf life of tuna prepared delicacies is 3 days. Commercially canned tuna will keep for 3 to 4 days once opened.

How long can tuna stay in the fridge?

 Refrigerating the raw and canned tuna meat is essential as it prevents decay, makes them delicious and helps to keep the meat healthy and fresh.

For fresh and raw tuna skillets, they should be refrigerated immediately after returning from the fishmonger. They should be stored in the coolest part of the refrigerator, where they can last up to a maximum of 2 days. The taste and freshness of the tuna meat may be lost after the two days of purchase, affecting its safety

Cooked tuna are highly perishable thus can result in many-body illnesses from the contaminated meat consumed; therefore, bad tuna meat should be thrown away.

Open canned tuna is safe to be consumed within four days after refrigeration, while cooked tuna delicacies can be refrigerated for three days

How to store tuna

Tuna can either be refrigerated or deep-frozen. The following general steps should be followed before storing the fresh tuna.

  • Clean the fish with cool running water.
  • Thoroughly remove the excess moisture from the fish by rubbing it with a clean cloth.
  • Use plastic containers to store the meat.
  • Refrigerate the contents after sealing the containers.

To freeze fresh tuna;

  • First, place the tuna meat in freezer bags.
  • Fill the bags with water until the fish is wholly submerged.
  • Leave ½ inch headroom for freezing.
  • Seal and place the bags in the freezer.

How to store fresh tuna?

Proper storage of fish is important because it doesn’t have a pleasant smell despite its pleasant taste. To properly store the fresh fish (tuna), follow the following procedure.

  • Rinse the tuna under cool running water.
  • Pat the fish or pieces with a dry clean cloth.
  • Wrap the tuna meat tightly in aluminum foil or plastic paper.
  • The ends should be tightly sealed so that the meat is not exposed to oxygen. Oxygen in the air contributes to spoilage, especially if the tuna is fatty.
  • Leave some space on top of the cooler and add some baggies of dry ice. The ice baggies should cover the top of the fish.
  • The fresh meat should not touch the ice directly. Protect it by wrapping it around.
  • Use the lower compartments of the refrigerator to store the containers since the temperatures are relatively lower.
  • Lastly, put an empty bin beneath the refrigerator to drain away melted water. Consume the fish after two days.

For the case of freezing the fresh fish, the following procedure can be followed.

  • Wrap the cleaned fish in aluminum foil and then in moisture-proof-frozen paper.
  • Place the meat into a clean freezer container.
  • Pour water into the containers with the fish until they are fully submerged.
  • Seal the containers with their lids.
  • Keep the containers deep-frozen.
  • The ice surrounding the fish prevents oxygen from reaching the freshness of the fish.
  • Consume the fresh meat within 12 months after freezing.

How to store canned tuna?

One of the most commonly canned seafood is tuna. Canned tunas contain essential minerals, proteins, and fatty acids, important for normal brain and nerve function and a healthy heart. Canned tuna can stay fresh for 5 years, but it’s important to check the quality of the canned meat before storing them. The following defects or signs may indicate that the canned tuna is spoilt and not suitable for consumption.

  • A dented or rusty can.
  • Any opening in the can.

 Do not buy or consume any damaged can of tuna. Follow the following tips while storing canned tuna.

  • Place canned tuna in cool, dry, and away from moisture in the kitchen pantry or cupboard. The duration for storage is three years.
  • Keep canned tuna off the floor to prevent rusting of the can.
  • Do not put heavy items on top of tuna cans to prevent them from being destroyed.
  • Remember to use older cans first.
  • Refrigerate any canned tuna leftovers in containers. Do not leave tuna in opened cans as it can become rusty. They should be consumed after two days.
  • To maximize the shelf life of canned tuna after opening, keep them frozen. Place them inside heavy-duty freezer bags.
  • Frozen, canned tuna will maintain the best quality for three months but remain safe.

Unopened cans of tuna can still be refrigerated; however, this is pointless since the idea of canning is to make food safe to store at room temperature.

Some of the places you should never store canned tuna includes;

  • In a moderately wet basement area.
  • In the car maintenance area
  •  where there is running water
  • An outdoor storage facility.
  • In a cupboard near any source of heat.
  • Any place exposed to sunlight and high temperatures. 

Does canned tuna go bad on heat?

Excessive exposure to direct sunlight and heat will shorten the shelf life span of canned tuna from the regular three years. Therefore, exposure to high temperatures will spoil the canned tuna and make it unsafe to eat. Canned tuna exposed to too much light will cause nutrient loss as well as discoloration.

It is therefore important to plan the storage of canned tuna in regions where temperatures soar high. Canned tuna thrives well at temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the refrigerator. Above this temperature, the shelf life of canned tuna will be decreased.

Canned tuna should also be kept away from moist heat. Hot moisture can cause the tuna cans to rust, resulting in unsafe tuna.

Canned tuna storage temperature

According to FDA (Food and Drug Administration) guidelines, canned fish is safe if not exposed to temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. When the storage temperature rises, the risk of fish spoilage is high. Temperature fluctuations greatly diminish the quality and shelf life of canned tuna.

The optimum temperature for keeping canned tuna is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Frequently asked questions

Q. How long can you leave tuna out unrefrigerated?

Tuna fish is highly perishable; hence keeping them for a long period at room temperatures makes them bad. The benchmark room temperature of tuna is 70 degrees Fahrenheit out of the fridge.

Cooked tuna can remain fresh and out of the fridge for two hours. However, the temperature of the surrounding environment is dependent on it. At high temperatures, it will spoil more quickly.

An unopened can of tuna last for three years out of the fridge. The shelf life can, however, be longer depending on storage conditions.

Once the opened can of tuna is taken out from the fridge, its shelf life will diminish within the first two hours.

Q. an you freeze canned tuna once opened?

Yes, canned tuna can be frozen. Empty the contents in the can to a freezer-safe container. The reason is freezing the tuna while in the can risks tainting the taste of the tuna. There is also the risk that the liquid in the can will begin to expand in the tin, and there may not be enough room for it. One should follow the following general steps.

  • Unseal the lid from the container containing the tuna.
  • Pour out the canned tuna in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag.
  • Squeeze the air from the Ziploc bag.
  • Write the expiry date on the freezer bag when you expect to consume them. It is for three months.
  • Maintain a moderate temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit for the frozen bags of tuna.

Q. How long does raw tuna steak last in the fridge?

The average keeping condition for raw tuna steak is two days while still in the refrigerator. The meat group itself is highly perishable; therefore, it cannot be stored for too long. It is essential that the fridge maintains a constant temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or below for the fish steak to remain fresh. High temperature propagates bacterial growth and degrades the fish steaks.

Q. How long does canned tuna last in the fridge

The average period canned tuna is safe to eat is three years. One should take care of the cans for defects such as dents and any leakages. The recommended shelf life of canned tuna is normally written in the can. Therefore, one needs to read and understand the labeled information before storing the tuna. Once you open it, it will remain fresh for two days while still in the refrigerator. To maximize the shelf life of canned tuna after opening, transfer the leftovers to a container or a plastic bag, squeeze out the air, and seal the bag. Lastly, put the contents in the refrigerator.

A canned raw tuna will remain fresh for two days, but the refrigeration enhances the shelf life up to five days

Q. How long does canned tuna last after opening

The shelf life of unopened canned tuna is 3 years. Any unused canned tuna can safely be refrigerated for future use. Canned tuna contains a liquid inside the can that should be drained off before refrigerating.

After opening canned tuna, you should treat it like any other perishable seafood. You should refrigerate any unused canned tuna within the first two hours. Storing them keeps the tuna safe to eat.

Transfer the tuna to a storage container with a well-fitting lid. Store the fish at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They will be saved to consume after three days. Freezing the canned tuna improves the shelf life for longer. It is safe to use before three months.

Q. Can you eat canned tuna after the expiration date?

Yes, you can eat canned tuna years after the expiry date. They are packaged to keep for a long period. Their expiration date is 3 years. Beyond this date, if the can is not damaged, you can consume the contents without any risk to your health.

However, precaution must be taken when the can is expired. Suppose any unpleasant odor is encountered after opening with a liquid of uncertain color. In that case, it is a sign that the can is infested with various bacteria and has come under pressure. The result is a fatal foodborne illness.


It is safe to eat raw, cooked, and canned tuna. Tunas provide essential proteins to the human body, which are suitable for general body development. At this point you know how long your tuna can safely last in the fridge.

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