How Long Can You Marinate Fish? (Must-Read)

How Long Can You Marinate Fish

Fish is a popular food. It’s healthy and tastes good especially if you take time to marinate it.

The marinating process can make a huge difference. But how long can you marinate fish?

Marinating fish can take between 30 minutes to 2 hours. However, in most cases, the marinating time depends on the cut of the fish and the flavor you want to achieve. If you store it in the fridge, you can leave the marinated fish there for 24 hours.

However, it is important to remember though that fish will go bad if left in a refrigerator for more than 24 hours because bacteria will grow and spoil it.

That’s why I recommend not letting your prepped filet sit around too long before cooking especially when using acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar.

Can you marinate fish too long?

I do not recommend marinating fish too long. That’s why I recommend marinating your fish for a maximum of 2 hours before cooking.

If you place the marinated fish in the refrigerator, it is safe for up to 24 hours. But not beyond that time limit.

How long does it take to marinate fish?

Fish will only need 30 minutes to 2 hours of marination time. In most cases, you won’t need more than this amount of time to get the taste that you want from your fish.

It is better to cook the marinated fish in less than 2 hours to enjoy its best quality.

How long can you marinate fish in the fridge?

Most often, people think that if they marinate the fish for longer than 24 hours the flavors will get way more intense and delicious.

While this may be true in some cases, there are actually more chances for bacteria to grow on the fish than before which makes it unsafe to eat.

This is the reason why I only recommend marinating in the fridge up to 24 hours. Longer than that may not be safe anymore.

People who are making tuna salad on a Saturday night might plan to go on a picnic Sunday afternoon with their families and consider marinating the tuna early in the morning.

If you are one of them, you need to be careful about how long you marinate your fish. This is because aside from bacterial threat, marinating fish for too long, the acid in the marinade could make the fish mushy and stringy.

In this case, though, if you decided to grill or sear your tuna steak after marinating it, make sure that you have at least 45 minutes to let the excess marinade burn off.

This also applies if you are planning on doing a quick stir-fry with some ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and white wine vinegar. Let it cook for 2 hours so that the flavors have time to fully develop.

Otherwise, if you are just making a quick fish fillet to go with some vegetables or salad, then you could leave it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Can you marinate fish overnight?

Yes, you can marinate fish overnight in the fridge. But this is not always recommended.

It is not a good idea to marinate fish for more than 24 hours before cooking it because the fish will go bad and become unsafe to eat.

Also, fish should only be marinated in the refrigerator, never at room temperature.

Marinating fish can also affect the flavor. If you plan on searing the fish after marinating, you need to allow some time for the marinade to cook off.

This can take from 45 minutes up to 2 hours depending on how much marinade is left on the fish.

The best way to marinate fish is to only do it for the minimum amount of time possible. If you notice that your fish starts to turn color, then the marinade has over-cooked the fish and it should be thrown away immediately.

How long to marinate fish in lemon?

You can marinate fish in lemon for about 2 hours.

If you need to sear your fish after marinating, you’ll need to let the marinade cook off first.

This takes around 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on how much sauce was left behind and whether or not additional ingredients were added.

So the marinating time and amount of ingredients and leftover sauce will all affect cooking time.


In summary, you should marinate your fish for 2 hours maximum and cook it immediately if you need to sear the outside.

If you want to sear the fish after marinating, you’ll need to keep in mind this waiting time as well. Remember that it can take up to 2 hours for the sauce flavor to cook off.

Related Questions

How long do you soak fish in lemon juice?

You can soak fish in lemon juice for up to 2 hours. If you soak the fish any longer than that, it will go bad and become unsafe.

How long can you marinate tilapia in lemon juice?

You can marinate tilapia in lemon juice for about 2 hours. Beyond this point, you will begin to risk the fish going bad.

Does lemon really cook fish?

Yes, lemon will help cook your fish. If you marinate the fish in it for an hour or two, the acidity of the lemon will get rid of any bacteria present and make your fish taste great!

How long can you marinate salmon in lemon juice?

You can marinate salmon in lemon juice for about 2 hours. After this point, the fish will go bad and become unsafe.

If you need to sear your fish after marinating, remember that the sauce needs about 45 minutes to 2 hours to cook off depending on how much was leftover in the bowl and in what quantity additional ingredients were added.

How to marinate fish for grilling?

Marinating fish is simple. Here are the steps you might want to consider:

  1. First, you need to choose the right type of fish. You should always grill with salmon or swordfish. It depends on personal preference though. You must clean the fish after you get it home from the supermarket.
  2. Next, wrap your fileted fish in aluminum foil and sprinkle salt all over it.
  3. Then, place the fish on top of a baking pan and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Finally, remove the fish from the fridge and let it rest on a plate for another 5 to 10 minutes.

When you’re done marinating your fish, you can start grilling around 5 to 7 minutes after you’ve set it out on the plate.