Fish is a healthy and delicious food choice. It is packed full of protein, vitamins, and minerals. You can enjoy a filet on its own or you can turn it into a dish such as fish pie, fish curry, fish florentine, fish stew, or fish chowder soup.
However, what do you do if you have some left over? You can keep it in the fridge if you plan to eat it within two to three days. However, if you don’t want to eat it within a few days, you can freeze the leftovers. You can freeze both filets and fish dishes. In this article, we will tell you how to freeze cooked fish and how to defrost it.
How To Freeze Cooked Fish
It is better to freeze fish while it is fresh but it is possible to freeze it when it has been cooked. Here are the steps you need to follow:
1. Cool down the fish.
You mustn’t put the cooked fish in the freezer while it’s still warm. It can bring up the temperature in the freezer and other food may start to defrost. When it refreezes, the taste and texture may be ruined. Cool the fish on your countertop at room temperature. To speed up the process, transfer the fish to a cold tray. You need to have the fish cooled down within two hours as after this time, bacteria can start to develop.
2. Wrap the fish tightly in foil.
It is a good idea to wrap each piece of fish separately so they don’t stick together, and you can remove only as many pieces as you need. Make sure that the fish is wrapped tightly to prevent freezer burn. Freezer burn will ruin the taste and texture of the fish.
3. Put the fish in a freezer bag.
Squeeze out as much air as possible from the freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. Alternatively, you can store your fish in an airtight container. Put a label on the bag or container with the date frozen and the contents.
Tips For Freezing Cooked Fish
- Don’t leave your leftover fish at room temperature for longer than two hours otherwise bacteria may start to form.
- Squeeze out all the air from the freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.
- It is best to defrost your fish before cooking it. If you reheat it while it is still frozen, it may dry out.
- You can freeze your cooked fish as a dish as well. Transfer the dish into an airtight container, cool it down, label, and freeze. It needs to be frozen as soon as possible to stay fresh and retain taste and texture.
For How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Fish?
You can keep your fish in the freezer for up to two months. After this time, it will lose taste and texture. This goes for both fish filets and for fish dishes. However, the sooner you eat it, the better it will taste. If you are going to eat the fish within the next few days, put it in the fridge rather than in the freezer.
How Do You Defrost Cooked Fish?
The one thing that you shouldn’t do is thaw out your fish on your countertop. It will probably take longer than two hours and your fish will spoil. Instead, remove your fish from the freezer the night before you intend to use it and defrost it in the fridge. This will help the fish retain taste and texture.
You can defrost your fish in the microwave but you have to be careful and do it in short bursts, checking it every time, otherwise you might overheat it and you will find that it dries out.
To reheat your fish filets or fish dish, put them in the oven and heat until piping hot.
Can You Refreeze Cooked Fish?
No, you should never refreeze cooked fish. The chances are high that the fish was frozen before you cooked it and you shouldn’t keep freezing the same piece of fish time and time again. Each time you freeze, defrost, and refreeze, ice crystals are formed, and they will make the fish go mushy. The best thing to do is to freeze in meal-size portions so that you can defrost only as much as you need for one meal. This will save on waste.
Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Cooked Fish?
Cooked fish doesn’t freeze as well as fresh fish (See also Can You Freeze Fish Pie?), but as long as you secure it tightly so that air doesn’t get into it, you shouldn’t have any problems. You should be able to keep it in the freezer for up to two months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing cooked fish but in case you are still curious, we have answered a few questions here.
Can you freeze cooked battered fish?
Yes, you can but the batter will become softer. Freeze it in the same way we have described in this article.
Can you freeze cooked fish in a sauce?
You can but you will find that dairy-based sauces tend to split. However, if you have leftovers, it is better to freeze them rather than throw them away.
Can you freeze fish soup?
You can and you have a choice of two ways of doing it. Firstly, you can freeze it in either a freezer bag or an airtight container. Secondly, you can freeze it in the slots of an ice cube tray. Once the cubes have frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. Squeeze out the air to prevent freezer burn. You are then able to defrost only as many cubes you think you will need for your meal.
Is It Safe To Freeze Seafood Such As Scallops and Mussels?
Yes, you can freeze seafood but it is best to take them out of its shells (see also Can You Freeze Crab?). It is a good idea to flash freeze them. Put them on a tray, making sure that the pieces aren’t touching. Freeze for a couple of hours and then bag up. The pieces won’t stick together so you can remove only as many as you need.