Raw, Leftover, Canned Tuna: Your Fridge Shelf Life Guide

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Hey there, seafood lovers! John here, back with another deep dive into the wonderful world of fish. I spent years as a chef at the beloved Boat Basin Cafe in New York, and now I’m sharing my seafood secrets with you!

Today, we’re tackling the burning question: how long does tuna last in the fridge? (And yes, there are tricks to make it last longer!)

Before we dive into the details, here’s your quick answer:

Tuna TypeFridge Life
Raw1-2 days
Leftover (cooked)3-5 days
Canned (unopened)2-3 years
Canned (opened)3-5 days

Now, let’s dig into the juicy details!

How long does tuna last in the fridge? – Read this before storing tuna!
BBC How long does tuna last in the fridge – Read this before storing tuna pin

Raw Tuna: The Freshest Catch

Raw tuna on a stone board with rosemary and tomatoes.
raw tuna on a stone board with rosemary and tomatoes

If you’re lucky enough to snag some fresh, raw tuna, you’ll want to use it within 1-2 days. Back at the Boat Basin Cafe, we’d create a bed of ice to keep our tuna in prime condition.

💁🏻‍♂️ Pro tip: if you’re starting with frozen tuna, thaw it completely in the fridge for the best texture.

Leftover Tuna: Recipes and Shelf Life

Raw, Leftover, Canned Tuna: Your Fridge Shelf Life Guide 1

Cooked tuna, whether it’s a classic tuna steak or your grandma’s famous tuna casserole, will last 3-5 days in the fridge. But did you know that shelf life can vary by the type of tuna? Check it out:

  • Skipjack: 4 days
  • Albacore: 3 days
  • Yellowfin: 4 days
  • Bigeye: 4 days
  • Bluefin: 2-3 days

Now, let’s talk leftover tuna recipes.

RecipeFridge Life
Tuna salad sandwich3 days (mayo shortens life)
Tuna patties2 days
Tuna tomato curry2 days
Tuna pasta4 days
Tuna fried rice*4 days

Tuna fried rice is a tasty twist on the classic dish, using canned or leftover tuna instead of the usual proteins. Give it a try!

Canned Tuna: The Pantry Powerhouse

Raw, Leftover, Canned Tuna: Your Fridge Shelf Life Guide 2
Guidelines to store tuna in the fridge

Canned tuna is a true pantry staple, lasting an impressive 2-3 years unopened. But once you crack that can, transfer any leftovers to an airtight glass container and refrigerate promptly.

Use it up within 3-5 days for the best quality and safety.

As food safety expert Dr. James Rogers always says, “Even if a can is unopened, steer clear of any bulging, dents, or leaks – those are major red flags for spoilage.” Store your unopened cans in a cool, dry place, and you’ll be all set.

Tuna Storage 101: Tips for Maximum Freshness

Raw, Leftover, Canned Tuna: Your Fridge Shelf Life Guide 3
Additional factors that impact tuna shelf life in the fridge

When storing tuna in the fridge not all factors are under your control. Some of the additional factors

Whether you’re working with raw, cooked, or canned tuna, proper storage is key. Here are my top tips:

  1. Use single layers to help your tuna chill evenly and quickly
  2. Always use airtight containers to lock in freshness
  3. Keep your fridge below 40°F to slow down bacterial growth

Has Your Tuna Gone Bad? Trust Your Senses

Raw, Leftover, Canned Tuna: Your Fridge Shelf Life Guide 4
fresh tuna

Spoiled tuna is no joke. Keep an eye out for these warning signs:

  • Discoloration or mold (think dark streaks or fuzzy growth)
  • A strong, unpleasant odor
  • Leaking or corroded cans
  • A “pop” sound when opening a can

If you notice any of these, it’s time to toss that fish. Better safe than sorry!

My Chef’s Secret for Extra-Long Lasting Tuna

Want to keep raw tuna tasting fresh for up to 2 weeks? Try this chef’s trick:

  1. Rinse 1 lb of tuna, pat dry, and cut into portions
  2. Simmer the tuna in 1.5 cups of olive oil for 10 minutes
  3. Turn off the heat and add 1 clove of crushed garlic and your favorite aromatics (like thyme or bay leaves)
  4. Transfer everything to a glass jar and let it cool before covering and refrigerating

Voila! Tuna that stays delicious for days.


So there you have it, folks – your ultimate guide to tuna’s shelf life, straight from a chef’s mouth. With these tips and tricks, you can confidently stock up on this tasty, versatile protein without worrying about waste.

Got a favorite tuna recipe? Share it in the comments below! And for more seafood guides and kitchen wisdom, be sure to check out the rest of my blog. Until next time, happy cooking!


Is tuna good after 4 days in the fridge?

Yes, tuna is fit for consumption even after four days in the fridge. The only exception to this is raw tuna, in which case it is good for only 1 to 2 days.

Can you eat tuna after five days?

Yes, you can eat tuna after five days only if you have kept it in the fridge. However, if you’re speaking about raw fish, you can consume it only within two days. In case you have stored raw tuna fish for more than that, it will get spoilt, and you need to discard it.

How long does tuna casserole last in the refrigerator?

Tuna casserole can last for two days in the refrigerator. The condition, however, is that it should be airtight. If it is not airtight, it will hardly last for a day.
A much better option is to either transfer the contents into a freezer bag or an airtight container, in which case it can last for up to 5 days. If you want the tuna casserole contents to last for a longer time, freeze them instead.

Can you freeze canned tuna to extend its shelf life?

Unopened canned tuna can be transferred to a freezer bag or an airtight container for freezing. In that case, it will last for up to 3 months. If the can is closed, and you haven’t opened it, you can directly place it in the freezer, and it will be good till the best-by date.

What is the highest temperature allowed for refrigerating tuna salad?

The highest temperature allowed for refrigerating tuna salad is 39°F. At 39°F or below, tuna salad in the fridge can last 3 to 5 days. Anything beyond that will help the bacteria multiply, and thereby soon enough, the tuna salad will be inedible.

Can canned tuna go bad in heat? 

Yes, canned tuna can undoubtedly go bad in the heat. Even if tuna’s unopened can is exposed to direct sunlight or direct heat for around two hours, the bacteria growth will be so high that tuna will be inedible. If you’re speaking about opened canned tuna directly exposed to heat and sunlight, it can spoil in less than 90 minutes.

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