How To Tell If Salmon Is Bad? Knowledge To Protect Your Health

Salmon is a solid, crimson fish with soft and red flesh. Many dietitians believe that salmon is a nutritious food that may lower risk factors for various illnesses. Furthermore, it tastes nice and is widely accessible. As a result, salmon has become a popular ingredient worldwide, from fine sushi establishments to family kitchens.

Although everyone is aware of the advantages of salmon, not everyone realizes how critical the preservation process is. Furthermore, eating rotten salmon increases your chances of contracting an illness. So, how to tell if salmon is bad? Let’s find out together!

The most important factor in causing spoiled salmon is environmental conditions. They influence the outside of salmon in various ways, including salmon flavor, fragrance, color, and texture. 

In the content below, we will guide you on how to distinguish bad salmon vs good salmon!

How To Tell If Raw Salmon Is Bad

How To Tell If Salmon Is Bad
Signs of Raw Salmon Is Bad

To spot out the symptoms of rotten salmon, you must first understand how to tell if salmon is fresh.

First, look at the fish’s eyes; if they are clear, not opaque, and do not become yellow, the fish is fresh! Furthermore, the fish body assures brightness and luster with a lovely pink color.

Now, in detail, we’ll go over “how do you know if salmon is bad” and “is slimy fish ok to eat or not”.

  1. Salmon Look

For most people, external signs of bad salmon are often the simplest way to detect. They will usually be brown salmon meat or dark spots on salmon fillet, both of which are signs that you might suspect expired salmon

You should only expect bright red in the gills and the flesh to always be pinkish-white, even when raw. Chefs frequently utilize the trick of gently pressing down on the fish’s body and seeing if it rises back up or not.

Home cooks should also keep an eye out for any changes caused by mold growth. It would be best not to buy fish whose gills have turned dark red or pale. In addition, the gills should also be free of clumps of blood, and slime or dirt should not appear if your fish is still fresh. 

  1. Salmon Smell

While it is the most obvious symptom, changes in appearance usually occur after the microorganisms have overgrown. When it comes to how to know if salmon is bad, you should never overlook their smell.

Here, many people would wonder, “does salmon smell fishy” because if it already has an unpleasant smell like tilefish, how can you tell if salmon has gone bad by smelling it? 

Well, the answer is fresh, and delicious salmon doesn’t have any fishy smell. As soon as you smell them, you’ll get a whiff of fresh seafood and the salty smell of the sea, similar to how you felt the last time you stood on a beach.

You need to pay attention to the sour smell similar to bad chicken, which occurs when microorganisms are active and produce sulfur gas. So, the next time someone complains to you, “oh, my salmon smells fishy,” tell them to throw them away as there is a higher chance that the salmon has gone bad. 

  1. Salmon Taste

What does bad salmon taste like?  We would say it tastes a bit fishy and viscous to the touch of your tongue. Besides, some people even find it chewy and lacking in sweetness.

How To Tell If Salmon Is Bad When Already Cooked

How To Tell If Cooked Salmon Is Bad
Signs of Cooked Salmon Is Bad

Typically, cooked salmon is smoked or canned salmon. Food safety professionals often advise rigorously adhering to the expiration date on the product.

However, if you’re still unsure, here’s how to know if smoked salmon is bad:

  1. Salmon Look

Smoked salmon, like fresh salmon, exhibits visible indicators of deterioration.

These signs include typically mucous, viscous, bubbling on the surface, and a change in color, with a white layer on top of your salmon. Some bad smoked salmon products may also appear flaking. 

There are numerous explanations for this phenomenon, such as the impact created during transportation, which causes the food in the can to react, resulting in overflow or foaming. 

Most of the time, if you open a can and notice salmon white mucus on the surface along with a sour scent, it’s best to throw it away because the salmon has gone bad!

Another common sign is the lack of cohesion of the fish flesh. After processing, the salmon will normally still stick together very firmly, firm and unbroken. Otherwise, it is very much likely that your dish will no longer be usable.

  1. Salmon Smell

Cooked salmon will often have a pleasant aroma of spices and can even make finding signs of a musty smell harder. Yet, as soon as you detect just a slightly sour or rancid smell, we recommend that you discontinue using it in your dishes.

  1. Salmon Taste

The final way to answer the question” how to tell if canned salmon is bad” is to look for differences in taste. Because of the activity of dangerous microorganisms that produce putrefaction, damaged canned salmon frequently has a sour taste. 

Still, we advise you to avoid using this method and always check with your eyes first, as eating spoiled salmon might result in food poisoning!

Can You Get Sick If You Eat Bad Salmon?

Without a doubt, there is a high risk of illness and poison.

We can assure you that eating expired salmon can cause many health concerns ranging from minor to severe. When you eat damaged salmon, you open up the door for bacteria, germs, and viruses that cause spoilage to enter your body. In normal situations, you will most likely have abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. 

More significantly, you can get food poisoning and, in rare cases, require hospitalization for treatment since it can lead to grave complications.

Scientists also have concerns regarding the presence of listeria bacteria in expired smoked salmon. This type of bacteria is a major cause of serious illnesses such as encephalitis, blood infections, and even death. 

As a result, we strongly advise you to avoid eating any rotten food in general and salmon in particular.

How Long Does Salmon Last?

Putting raw salmon in fridge is a habit of many people to prolong its life. How long does raw salmon last in the fridge and the freezer, then? Find out now!

How Long Is Salmon Good In The Freezer

The first point to highlight is that your salmon is still at risk of deterioration even in the freezer. So, can frozen salmon go bad?” – Of course, you can keep it edible for a much longer time than at room temperature, for up to two months.

There are, however, a few points to keep in mind. Please ensure that your container is airtight and made specifically for the refrigerator, as bacteria continue to breed even when the temperature is below freezing. If you do not utilize an appropriate container, they will quickly infect the salmon!

Another thing is that home cooks should avoid defrosting salmon in the microwave or soaking in water, as this can increase the possibility of foodborne illness and reduce the palatability of the dish. This is the same for cooked vs uncooked salmon.

How Long Is Raw Salmon Good For In The Fridge

When keeping the raw salmon in the fridge, you should consume the food within two days. By the third day, there is a good possibility that it could already be spoiled and unsafe to eat. You can use the same storage box as when you put it in the freezer.

Although the storage time is much shorter, the dish’s taste will definitely be better, and the nutrients in the salmon will remain the same as at the beginning.

How To Store Salmon

The best option for salmon storage is to store it in the refrigerator all the time. For most smoked salmon, you shouldn’t leave them at room temperature. After only a few minutes of exposure to the air, your food is already at risk of being invaded by bacteria.

Some manufacturers, such as SeaBear, claim that the salmon does not need to be refrigerated. If so, keep the salmon in a cool, dry spot away from direct sunlight. However, to maintain the highest product quality, we still recommend storage in the refrigerator.

Home cooks can also freeze salmon. Follow the steps below, and your dish will be edible for a long time:

  1. Slice the leftover fish into small bits. This way, when you defrost later, you won’t have to worry about the inside freezing.
  2. Put the fish in an airtight container or zip lock bag and place it inside the freezer.
  3. Label the cooking date on the box, making sure you don’t forget their shelf life later.


To answer the question “How To Tell If Salmon Is Bad,” you need to pay close attention to the salmon’s smell, color, appearance, and flavor. If you notice any unusual changes in any of the above factors, likely, your salmon is no longer edible. At this point, remove them to avoid affecting health.

That’s the end of our post today. Thank you for reading!

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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