Can fish be refrozen? It really depends on these things

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  December 17, 2020

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Ever wondered whether you can refreeze your fish once it has been defrosted? Well, if you work with fish regularly, then it is important that you know the answer to this question.

If you do things wrong, then you are going to end up with fish that have been completely laden with bacteria.

Can fish be refrozen

Whether fish can be refrozen will be dependent on what fish you have. Raw fish can never be refrozen, while cooked fish can be frozen in certain circumstances.

Let us explain what we mean.

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Raw Fish

Once raw fish has been defrosted, it can never be refrozen.

When you purchase frozen fish (suitable to eat raw), it will have been frozen incredibly quickly after being caught. Many are going to be frozen right there on the fishing boat. This doesn’t really give any bacteria time to grow on the flesh of the animal.

Once you defrost a raw fish, the bacteria is going to start to multiply incredibly quickly. In fact, it won’t be long before the flesh is riddled with bacteria. The process is so quick that if you do not cook the raw fish within 24-hours, it needs to be thrown away.

If you refreeze that raw fish, then you are basically freezing all of that hideous bacteria. It will just return when the fish is defrosted again. It is just dangerous.

Cooked Fish

Cooked fish are a whole different ballgame.

There are no issues with refreezing fish once it has been cooked. Although, this does not mean that you can refreeze cooked, frozen fish. You can only ever refreeze cooked fish once.

If you have cooked fish and are planning on freezing it, then you will need to make sure that it has fully cooled before placing it in the freezer. Try to freeze as soon as it has cooled down. Don’t wait too long. This will help to prevent all of that awful bacteria accumulating on the fish.

It is suggested that if you do freeze cooked fish, you do it in batches. This way you can defrost small amounts at a time. After all, if you are defrosting more than you need, you can’t refreeze the stuff that you do not use. That is going to need to be thrown away. It is a waste.


You can refreeze fish, but it is dependent on whether it is cooked or raw. Make sure that you never refreeze raw fish. That is going to be dangerous. Cooked fish can only ever be frozen once.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.