Can You Refreeze Seafood? (Explained for Beginners)

Can You Refreeze Seafood

Any type of seafood is delicate and could easily be gone bad. Freezing and thawing should be done properly to keep seafood’s quality.

One of the most common questions that people ask is whether thawed seafood can be refrozen.

Can you refreeze seafood?

You can refreeze any kind of seafood as long as it is thawed properly in the refrigerator. Seafood that is thawed on the counter cannot be refrozen.

There are so many ways to thaw seafood. But not all of them are safe. If you currently have leftover seafood, then this post is for you.

What is the correct way of thawing seafood?

If you have bought more seafood than you can consume once, freezing is the way to go to preserved their freshness.

Seafood such as fish and scallops (these are just examples) can be frozen. They can last long in the freezer than in the fridge.

When you need some to cook, you can just get them from the freezer and thaw.

However, things can go wrong along the way. As mentioned, not all thawing techniques are safe.

The correct and safest way to thaw seafood is by placing it in the fridge. Leave it there for hours until completely thawed.

The reason why refrigerating is the best thawing method is because you can always refreeze the excess.

Although refreezing is not the best thing to do, it keeps seafood safe and last long.

Avoid thawing at room temperature. Although you can do it (most people do it too), it is not safe.

Frozen foods that are left at room temperature are vulnerable to bacterial contamination.

If you thaw seafood at room temperature, make sure that you cook it immediately and do not refreeze.

Refreezing seafood left at room temperature for more than 2 hours is not safe.

The bacteria may have already multiplied and refreezing will not kill those microscopic intruders.

What happens if you refreeze seafood thawed at room temperature?

Most food experts would agree that seafood thawed at room temperature will not be safe to refreeze.

The main reason for this is that, if you leave seafood or any kind of meat at high temperature, the bacteria grow rapidly.

This happens quickly. Thus any food that is exposed to room temperature especially for more than 2 hours will not be safe.

Refreezing seafood thawed at room temperature will not solve the problem. The seafood remains unsafe because the bacteria remain in the flesh.

Refreezing will simply prevent the bacteria from multiplying rapidly but they won’t die at 0 degree Fahrenheit.

The best thing you can do in this case is to cook the seafood first before freezing it.

You can do the same with your leftover seafood. As long as it is cooked and stored properly, it can last long in the freezer.

Why do we need to store seafood properly?

Seafood like fish can easily be gone bad if not handled properly. The key to prolonging the quality of seafood, you need to store it properly.

Do not leave fresh seafood at room temperature because it will be prone to rapid bacterial growth.

The main problem with bacterial contamination is that you cannot normally see it. In most cases, you can only notice that seafood has gone bad when you see some changes in color and smell.

When any of these happen, it is already late. There is nothing you can do to bring back the seafood.

If you bought both meat and seafood from the market, I recommend that you clean and freeze the seafood first (unless you cook it immediately).

This what I do oftentimes because seafood can go bad faster than meat. Work with seafood first and store it in the freezer properly.

How to freeze seafood properly?

As mentioned seafood can easily go bad if not handled and freeze properly. If you are a beginner, this is something that you might want to take into consideration.

The safety begins in handling the seafood from the grocer to your house. The best thing you can do is to transport the seafood in a freezer bag rather than in any plastic bag or cloth.

This way you can keep the seafood safe and fresh.

Before freezing seafood, I like to make sure that it is clean by washing it. Place it in zip-lock plastic or anything resealable. Remove the air to prevent freezer burn.

But if you plan to use it in the next day, you can use a container in storing seafood in the freezer.

The problem with using the container is that it is difficult if not impossible to remove air from the container.

This is the main reason why you should not place the seafood in the container if you plan to store the seafood in the freezer for weeks.

Can you freeze seafood twice?

Seafood can be refrozen twice only if it is thawed in the fridge especially if not totally thawed.

But if it is left at room temperature for too long, it should not be put back into the freezer.

If seafood is thawed at room temperature, it should be cooked immediately. You can freeze the leftovers later (if there are any).

Can you defrost seafood in the microwave?

Yes, seafood can be defrosted in the microwave. You just need to remove the packaging or the plastic bag and place the seafood in a microwave-safe dish.

Turn on the microwave defrost function and thaw the seafood for a few minutes.

After thawing this way, do not forget to cook the seafood immediately. Do not leave the thawed seafood at room temperature for too long.

How long does leftover seafood last?

If handled properly in the refrigerator, leftover seafood can last 3-4 days. But I recommend consuming leftover seafood within 1-2 days for the best quality.

However, it is important to remember that there are many factors that could affect the overall quality of leftovers especially if stored in the fridge.

The way it is handled before storing in the fridge can affect the texture and taste of the leftover seafood.

Make sure that you follow and apply all the safety measures of refrigerating leftovers.

Final Thoughts

Seafood is one of the foods that can go bad pretty quickly especially if not handled and stored properly.

The best way to store seafood is freezing. You can also refreeze seafood if needed.

But you can only refreeze seafood if it is thawed in the refrigerator. Seafood that is thawed at room temperature should not be refrozen.

The main reason for this is bacterial contamination. If foods are left in a warm environment, they are not safe to freeze and refreeze. I hope this helps. If you want to learn more about freezing foods, visit this page.


USDA: Food Safety and Inspection Service