How Long Can Sushi Sit Out? Can Sushi Go Bad?

Sushi is one of the most famous and iconic dishes of Japanese cuisine. These small rolls are known for their healthy nutrition and light feeling to your stomach.

Besides, there are also different types of sushi that can satisfy both meat lovers and vegans. Even though you can store well-prepared sushi in the fridge to preserve it for later, do you know exactly “How long can sushi sit out?” or “When does sushi go bad?”.

In fact, sushi is not a long-lasting dish like canned foods. All ingredients inside sushi are made fresh to create a light, flavorful and healthy dining experience. So, if you want to enjoy sushi longer, look at how long sushi lasts in our post below!

Can Sushi Go Bad?

Can Sushi Go Bad

As with all perishable food, sushi can go bad when they pass their shelf life. To know “how long can sushi stay out of the fridge?”You need to learn what’s inside sushi. As the traditional Japanese cuisine often includes raw and light fish meat, it is also one of the popular toppings on a sushi roll, from raw salmon, tuna to scallops and bluefin belly.

It is commonly known that sushi contains raw fish, which can be dangerous to consume as fish meat is easily spoiled. That’s why many people tend to shy away from sushi, but sushi has more than just raw meat.

Unlike sashimi, a piece of raw fish meat dipped with soy sauce; most sushi types will have vinegar rice as the base. The block of seasoned white rice is packed evenly with mixed seaweeds inside. The toppings options of sushi are various as you can find avocados, egg omelet, tempura, cheese, cucumbers, carrots with different kinds of sauces on the menu to choose from.

How To Tell If Sushi Has Gone Bad

To know how long does sushi stay good, you need to know how to tell if sushi has gone bad to avoid food poisoning. Normally, you can check the freshness of the food by observing its color, texture, and smell.

Here are some common tips for you to spot when going to a sushi restaurant:

When checking bad sushi, you should check their exterior first to spot any signs of spoilage. In particular, a good sushi roll should have a compact structure. The block of rice should be firm and white to hold the toppings on top. If you find the rice falling apart or has any gray discoloration, it indicates spoiled cooked rice, which you should discard right away.

Regarding the toppings, there are many signs you need to look at for each type of topping.

For fishes, the meat should have a fresh look with a firm yet soft texture. If the color of the fish is dull and pale, it possibly loses its freshness. You can also poke the meat to check. If the texture falls apart or is too dry, there is a high chance of spoiled fish meat.

Another sign to look for when you’re having fish sushi is slimy fish. If a slimy film or milky discharge is coming off the fish, that’s a clear sign of spoiled and rotting fish. At this point, you should throw away the whole batch for your safety.

Suppose the toppings are fruits and vegetables; they should have a certain level of moisture and freshness. If there is any discoloration on the leaves, noticeable black or brown spots on them, the sushi might not give you an overall good taste, but they can still be edible.

In case you’re uncertain after looking at the sushi exterior, check the state by smelling it. Normally, spoiled food or rotten ingredients give off a sour smell. But you should not mistake the sour smell of rotting food with the intense and sharp aroma of vinegar or lime, which are normal in sushi rolls.

It is easy to detect a bad sushi smell with fish toppings, as spoiled fish can leave a foul and intense off-tasting smell. If you sense any of these smells, you need to throw them away.

How Long Can Sushi Sit Out?

When you combine raw food inside, the shelf life of sushi can vary from a few hours at room temperature to several days in the refrigerator. So, how long does sushi last unrefrigerated? And how long does cooked sushi last? Let’s get into details below.

How Long Can Sushi Stay Out?

How long can sushi be unrefrigerated? The USDA recommends a 2 hours rule of thumb for food to stay at room temperature. Some tropical weather places that even have a higher temperature should only keep their food for one hour. After that, your sushi becomes spoiled, and you should throw it away.

It is ideal for enjoying sushi at room temperature as you can enjoy the whole piece without worrying about burning your tongue. However, like many fresh foods, sushi doesn’t last long at room temperature.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), this is due to the rapid bacterial growth. When bacteria at the temperature range between 68 degrees Fahrenheit and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, they can grow to double their size in only 20 minutes.

How Long Can Sushi Rice Sit Out?

With this type of sushi, how long can sushi be left out? You can keep sushi rice at room temperature for longer than just a few hours. If you have quality vinegar sushi rice, you can keep it covered with a plastic container for 3-6 days at room temperature.

In detail, sushi rice is made of short-grain white rice mixed with vinegar and a bit of sugar. According to its history, the added vinegar is to prolong the shelf life of the rice when there is no refrigerator at that time yet.

How Long Does Sashimi Last?

How long is sashimi good for? It is best to digest them before 2 hours at room temperature. You can also put them in the fridge or freezer to extend their shelf life.

Specifically, Sashimi is the raw fish block that you can eat without the sushi rice. Good sashimi needs to have a fresh and raw taste. However, as fish meat starts to spoil as soon as they are captured on the ship, it is required to have a strict storing process to keep the fish meat fresh until they are served in restaurants.

How Long Can Sushi Sit In The Fridge?

Sushi might not last long at room temperature, but as soon as you put them in the fridge, the sushi can stay fresh for your future usages. With fresh ingredients, refrigerating sushi can stay for four days inside the fridge.

How To Store Sushi?

Whether you have store-bought sushi or make them at home, it is always important to store them properly because of the fast spoilage process of the fresh ingredients.

Can you refrigerate sushi?

Prepped sushi can be stored at a cold and dry place to prevent bacteria and mold growth. That’s why it is very common to store sushi in the fridge so you can enjoy the yummy sushi rolls for several days. Before storing sushi, you should only keep those that look fresh.

If there are any signs of bad sushi, you need to throw them away. When you order sushi with raw fish meat, it is critical as unrefrigerated fish shouldn’t be left out for more than four hours. Raw meat can spoil quickly, leading to a higher risk of food poisoning.

Firstly, you need to prepare all the sushi pieces by wrapping them with plastic wrap or saran. Then, leave them in an airtight container to keep their structure and integrity during storage time. Once they sit firmly in the container, you can put them inside the refrigerator for days.

Can you freeze sushi?

Yes, you can freeze sushi. Still, leaving sushi in the freezer allows their shelf life to extend significantly longer; it is not a great method for storing our Japanese delicacy.

When the sushi rice is frozen at a cold temperature and defrost later, the rice’s texture becomes mushy and broken apart. Moreover, cooked ingredients like seafood and vegetables can also turn sideways with their texture after the defrosting stage. It is best not to freeze the whole sushi piece together. If your sushi has only raw ingredients, you can freeze them separately so you can save them for your new batch of sushi.

How Long Can You Store Sushi?

Before storing the food, please be mindful of the change in the texture of the ingredients. Mushy rice is one of the results of frozen and defrosted sushi rice. 

How Long Does Sushi Stay Good In Fridge?

When storing sushi in the fridge, you can extend the shelf life of a sushi piece up to 5 days.

How Long Can You Store Sushi In The Freezer?

When it is frozen, the ingredients can be stored for up to a month.


1.      What Can I Do With Leftover Sushi Fish?

It is common to have some leftover sushi fish from your homemade sushi batch. Firstly, you need to store them in the fridge so you can reuse them later. Leftover sushi fish can be eaten raw with a splash of soy sauce. You can also try to reheat them and add in your fish cakes, tacos or combine them with some hot fried rice.

2.      What Does Sushi Taste Like?

Sushi is famous for its light flavor and small portions that don’t give you a heavy stomach later. Normally, sushi should have a tangy and umami flavor because of the vinegar rice dipped in soy sauce. However, each sushi type can have a different texture and flavor due to its toppings. You can check out this true sushi taste post for a detailed description.


How To Store Sushi

When sushi passes the expiration time, it starts to go bad rapidly. Because sushi is such a delicate dish, we recommend using them right away to enjoy the freshest taste of ingredients. As mentioned above, though you can freeze the food for storage, it can destroy the texture of the ingredients.

If you wonder, “How long can sushi sit out?” we hope you have found the answer to store them properly and enjoy these tasty pieces safely.

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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