Can You Freeze Tuna? The Best Way

One of the most popular choices of fish eaten each day around the world is tuna.  Tuna is not only very tasty, but it’s also a great source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.  Additionally, it’s packed full of essential nutrients such as Niacin, vitamins B12 and B6, and protein.

Australia offered the first canned tuna in 1903.  Today, who doesn’t have a can of tuna sitting in their cupboard at this very minute? 

As a staple in households across the world, it has its place in a huge variety of recipes. Tuna pasta, tuna noodle casserole, potato salad – there are tons of simple but delicious recipes starring the tuna fish. Of course, tuna also plays a huge role in sushi.

But what do you do if you have too much? Can you freeze tuna? Yes, you can! 

In this article, we’ll discuss the best way to freeze your tuna leftovers, what ever variety you have.

Can Tuna Be Frozen?

So yes, the good news is that you can freeze tuna!

However, there are some things to keep in mind.

Freezing tuna must be done carefully to prevent the possibility of freezer burn or an end product with a foul taste and smell.

Tuna that is stored incorrectly can also cause serious food poisoning.  So, taking the time to freeze tuna properly will ensure it is free of disease-causing bacteria and, when thawed, will provide a delicious cooked dish.

How to Freeze Tuna

There are several freezing methods for tuna, depending on whether you start with canned, whole tuna, or even tuna steaks.

Freezing Canned Tuna

Canned tuna is a staple in many households and holds a significant place in many kitchen cupboards. 

Tinned tuna is great for stocking up on when there is a sale. Like other canned food, as long as the can has not been opened, it will remain shelf-stable for months. You don’t need to freeze unopened canned tuna. 

However, once you do open it, you can freeze any unused contents to prolong their shelf-life.

It’s important to note that freezing tuna in the can is not recommended. Instead, you must remove the contents and transfer them to another container.  The recommended option is a plastic container with an air-tight lid.

After opening the can of tuna and moving it to the airtight container, you will need to cover the container with either plastic wrap or aluminum foil. This will help to prevent freezer burn.

Pop the lid on the container, then place it in your freezer to enjoy fresh tuna whenever you want -even months later.

Freezing Fresh Tuna

If you’ve bought fresh tuna for sushi and need to store it for a later date, freezing it can extend its shelf life.

Raw tuna needs a bit of prep before freezing to ensure the best results.

Items you will need include: water, ¼ cup of salt, some plastic wrap, and a resealable freezer bag.

  • Begin by creating a solution comprised of salt and water.  The salt will aid in preventing the fresh tuna from losing moisture.
  • Take the raw tuna and dip it into the saltwater solution, leaving it to soak for around one minute.
  • Once removed from the saltwater solution, wrap the tuna in plastic wrap.
  • Take the wrapped tuna, pop it into a resealable freezer bag, and store it in your freezer.

Freezing Tuna Steak

Freezing tuna steaks will require a little bit of prep work. 

First, you will need to pat the steaks as dry as possible using a paper towel.  By patting them dry before freezing, you will ensure that ice crystals will not form, which, if present, can change the overall texture and flavor of the fish.

Once you have finished patting the tuna steak dry, wrap it in either aluminum foil or cling wrap and then place it in a resealable plastic freezer bag-the more heavy-duty, the better.  Make sure to date the contents on the outside of the bag and put it in your freezer.

You can also place the tuna steak in a resealable zipper top bag and fill the bag with water, creating an ice block. 

You must ensure that you squeeze out all of the air before sealing the bag.  This method will allow the tuna steak to last for up to three months.

How Long Does Tuna Last in the Freezer?

You are probably wondering to yourself, exactly how long will raw tuna last if frozen? 

If the steps above are correctly followed and the tuna is appropriately stored, it will maintain its overall quality of taste and texture for at least two to three months.  However, it will still be safe to eat beyond two to three months.

For the best quality of raw frozen tuna, you must constantly keep it at the freezing temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  If kept at this temperature, frozen tuna will remain safe indefinitely. 

How to Thaw Frozen Tuna

Frozen fish should never be left out to thaw on the counter at room temperature.  Doing so runs the risk of making the food unsafe for consumption.  The safest method is to thaw the frozen fish in the refrigerator overnight.  

However, if you are short on time, there is a quicker method for defrosting tuna.

The steps for quickly defrosting frozen tuna are:

  • Place the frozen tuna in a resealable plastic bag, removing as much of the air as possible.
  • Next, place the bag of tuna into a bowl of cold water for approximately 30-60 minutes.  
  • Do not use warm water, only use cold, or the taste of the fish will spoil. You also run the risk of enabling the spread of harmful bacteria. Additionally, make sure that at no time is the tuna exposed to direct sunlight.
  • After 30-60 minutes, remove the tuna from the cold water and use it in your chosen recipe.

You can also defrost tuna under running cold water for 15-20 minutes.  Depending on the size of the piece of tuna you are defrosting, this can take anywhere from 20 minutes up to 1 hour.

How to Use Tuna After Freezing

Once you have defrosted your tuna, you may use it in the same manner you would in any recipes as if it were being used fresh. 

The freezing and thawing process should not interfere with the taste and texture of the fish if done correctly.

Can You Refreeze Tuna?

If you choose to thaw out the tuna in the refrigerator rather than quickly defrosting it, then you do have the option of refreezing the tuna without cooking it. 

Keep in mind that if you refreeze the tuna, there is the risk of loss of overall quality since previously thawing the tuna would have caused a significant loss of moisture. 

Avoid refreezing tuna if you have defrosted it using one of the quicker methods above.