Can sushi be frozen? This is what happens to sushi

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  May 28, 2020

“What am I supposed to do with leftover sushi?”

I’m sure you’ve asked yourself that at least once before.

If you have leftover sushi, what do you do with it?

Those are the questions I’m going to answer for you.

Plate of sushi and woman placing container in freezer

Can you freeze sushi?

Sushi tastes best when it is eaten within 3 or 4 hours of preparation. It’s best to consume fresh sushi, especially if it contains raw fish. As a general rule, it’s best not to freeze sushi because it just won’t taste as good as the fresh stuff!

Sushi is one of those dishes that doesn’t freeze well, so keep that in mind before deciding to freeze rolls.

You can store sushi in the fridge, but it must be consumed within a maximum of 24 hours; otherwise, it’s not safe to eat, and you risk food poisoning.

If the sushi has raw fish, it’s recommended that you consume the rolls within a few hours, even if refrigerated.

Can you freeze it?

Yes, technically, sushi can be frozen just like other cooked foods, but certain conditions have to be followed.

The most important factor to consider when freezing sushi is what the ingredients of the sushi are.

There are so many varieties of sushi, and it all depends if the sushi contains raw fish or not.

The raw fish can form ice crystals which can alter the taste, but it won’t affect the food, you can still eat it.

With that recommendation in mind, remember that it’s best not to freeze sushi.

Remember that certain fillings in sushi should not be frozen if you want to maintain that original sushi taste.

This is especially true with vegetables and cooked seafood, as these can go soft and fall apart.

You should be careful with the sushi you freeze. If it is leftover sushi that has been lying around your kitchen, it might be contaminated, so don’t freeze it.

How do I freeze sushi rolls?

Freeze sushi immediately after you finish eating, don’t leave it out or in the fridge.

Whether it’s your homemade sushi or leftovers from your takeout order, just take the leftover rolls and place them in a plastic airtight container and seal well with the lid.

Write down the date and remember to eat it in a couple of days.

Will the rolls be altered?

If you freeze sushi rolls, the reality is that they won’t taste the same once you thaw them.

If your sushi is made with veggies and cooked seafood, it will last well in the freezer.

The ingredients that are at risk of falling apart and hardening or going mushy are the Nori paper and the rice.

Once you thaw the rolls, they might start looking less like rolls and more like a mushy ball.

In most cases, the frozen sushi rolls will fall apart, break apart, and start to become soggy once wholly thawed.

Also, be aware that some of the sushi fillings may be altered in appearance once frozen. Avocado tends to go black, and the cucumbers can become very soft.

The rice can become chewy, almost rubbery, and the Nori paper can be very sticky. The texture will not be the same as it is for fresh rolls.

Can I freeze raw fish sushi?

You can freeze sushi rolls that contain raw fish because freezing destroys parasites and prevents the formation of harmful bacteria like salmonella, which causes food poisoning.

Frozen raw fish sushi with tuna, crab, and salmon is safe to eat, but it’s still not recommended that you freeze sushi.

It’s best to freeze the sushi for a few days only – about three days at most.

Even though the raw fish can technically be frozen for a longer period, even up to three months, the Nori, the rice, and the fillings won’t taste good if frozen for longer than three days.

How do I defrost sushi?

After you take the sushi rolls out of the freezer, keep them on a dry plate for about three hours until they completely thaw.

If you are really hungry and can’t wait, try placing the sushi in the microwave on the defrost setting for a couple of minutes.

You can also place sushi rolls in a Ziplock bag and put them in warm water for 20 minutes or so. They should thaw well this way.

There should be no ice or frozen parts in the sushi and no odd smell. If you smell something that is off, do not eat them!

If you’re convinced that you want to freeze some sushi for later, be prepared to eat it in the next few days and don’t expect the sushi to taste just like fresh sushi!

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The ingredients in sushi just don’t freeze well in sushi roll form so you might get soggy rice and blackened avocado.

However, the sushi will taste fine, and you can eat it, no worries!

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.