Can You Freeze Sushi?

Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish which is loved all over the world for its unique texture and flavor.

It consists of vinegared short-grain rice, vegetables, and cooked or raw fish, wrapped up in nori seaweed, always beautifully presented.

The ingredients that make sushi so special are also very prone to temperature changes, and they degrade rapidly at room temperature, so is it a good idea to freeze them? 

Should You Freeze Sushi?

Some believe that freezing sushi causes huge changes in texture, forming ice crystals and therefore breaking down the delicate structure of the ingredients.

However, the seafood used for sushi is required by US law to be frozen once caught, to help it last for as long as possible. 

It’s only when the seafood is ready to be cut and incorporated into sushi that it is defrosted.

So, if you’re thinking about freezing the seafood element of sushi, you can go ahead and freeze it, and it will be absolutely fine.

The short-grain rice used for making sushi can be difficult to freeze, however. If you’re making it from scratch, the easiest way to pack sushi for the freezer is to freeze the ingredients separately. 

It’s also helpful to pack the rice while it’s still throwing out steam, as this will stop it from going hard or brittle.

When it comes to freezing leftover sushi, this is a little more difficult than if you make it from scratch yourself. Nori pretty much disintegrates in the freezer, and the rice may lose its shape and its consistency. 

The appearance of sushi is half the pleasure of eating it, but having said that, thawed sushi is safe to eat, so it depends on your personal preference when it comes to freezing sushi or not.

The Shelf Life Of Sushi

Always keep sushi in the fridge to prolong its very short shelf life. Sushi will only last between 10 and 24 hours in total when kept in the fridge. 

Freezing sushi will extend the shelf life to a maximum of 3 months, making it worth the trouble of freezing it. To enjoy it at its best, eat it as soon as possible.

How Do You Freeze Sushi?

How To Freeze Homemade Sushi

The best way to freeze homemade sushi is to divide the components and freeze them individually. You can put the sushi together after everything has been defrosted.

In order to freeze homemade sushi, you’ll need to prepare the ingredients as normal, washing the fish, making sure to cook the rice normally, and stopping when it comes to assembling everything together.

Grab several airtight containers, preferably some that are rigid so nothing gets crushed in the freezer. Put the fish (see also Freezing Tuna) in its own container. Save slicing it for later, when you’re preparing the sushi to eat immediately. 

This will help limit freezer burn, preserving the texture of the fish. Seal the container and label it, and put it into the freezer. 

With the rice, pop it into another airtight container while it’s still warm, which will help retain its high moisture content. 

Shut the container, label it, and freeze it. Be careful when you put the rice in the freezer (see also Freezing Uncooked Rice). If it’s too hot, you risk defrosting food which is already in the freezer.

You don’t always have to freeze nori. If you bought it as dried sheets of seaweed, this can stay in the cupboard. If it’s fresh, put it into a resealable freezer bag, making sure to get rid of any excess air. Seal it, label it, and freeze it.

How To Freeze Leftover Sushi

There will be some noticeable changes once you freeze and thaw leftover sushi, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Pack the leftovers into an airtight container, seal it, label it, and freeze it.

How Do You Defrost Frozen Sushi?

The only safe way to defrost frozen sushi is to transfer it straight from the freezer, into the fridge. Let it defrost for as long as it takes, and this may be only a few hours, or overnight.

Don’t be tempted to try and make the process quicker by leaving it out on the counter. This has a high risk of bacterial growth growing on the sushi, causing food poisoning and rendering it unsafe to eat.

Once it’s fully defrosted, you can serve the sushi as you normally would, or you can assemble it as needed and then serve it.


Sushi is perfect for when you want to have something different which is still very healthy. There is a delicate balance within the ingredients that make up sushi, and it is partly what makes it so enjoyable to eat.

You may not get freezing sushi right the first time, but you’ll soon find what works best for you, while also preserving this great dish for a later date.

Leave a Comment