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Can You Freeze Sushi?

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If you love sushi like we do, then you know that sometimes your eyes are bigger than your stomach.

You order several different rolls to try and before you know it, everyone is stuffed but you have leftover sushi that you have to figure out what to do with.

Sushi is made with a lot of different ingredients and flavors. However, it still consistently has a select range of ingredients that are just used in different ways, and raw fish is one ingredient that you don’t want to take chances with.

Most of the time, you can judge whether the ingredients in your sushi would be preserved if you save it. But what’s the best way to save sushi for later?

Can you freeze sushi? The good news is that you can typically freeze sushi but you also need to be aware that certain ingredients could cause the quality of your sushi to change slightly when you remove it from the freezer. 

In this guide, we will dig deeper into the topic of freezing sushi, including the best food safety practices to follow. We will also talk about what you can expect from the results if you decide to freeze it.

Keep reading to learn how to freeze sushi and more. 

Freezing Sushi

You absolutely can freeze sushi for a short amount of time in order to extend its shelf life.

However, there are some ingredients that when frozen together might not give you the most desirable results. Sushi is made in so many different ways, so if you understand the different parts and pieces, you can best understand how to freeze things. 

Now, if you’re making your own sushi, it would actually be better to just freeze your ingredients separately and then roll them together to finish creating your sushi closer to the time that you plan to eat them. 

Of course, if you purchased sushi or you’ve already rolled it all together, that’s quite alright too. What you should know is that rice and nori paper can sometimes get a little bit soggy after they’ve been frozen. 

Chances are, you won’t notice it a whole lot of difference, but it is possible that when you pull your sushi out of the freezer and use it, you will have to contend with this potential side effect. With that in mind, it’s still ok to freeze your sushi.

If you are freezing sushi that is homemade, you can easily just freeze ingredients separately. That’s not an option if it’s already rolled though, so that’s what we’re really here to talk about. 

Sushi will always taste its best when it is freshly made. If you can avoid freezing it, you should. However, when you just need to be able to freeze it so you can preserve it, then that’s where this guide will come in. 

First of all, consider your ingredients. What exactly is in your sushi? Does it have raw fish or does it have something like crab meat or shrimp? The sushi rolls with crab meat or shrimp typically will freeze better, but you can freeze sushi that has raw fish. 

The difference will be that raw fish is more likely to be negatively affected by the freezing process because of the formation of ice crystals. If you freeze sushi with raw fish, just be aware that the taste might be different than when the sushi was fresh. 

The biggest potential downside to some of your ingredients is that the freezer can cause them to soften and then potentially seem a little bit soggy when you do try to eat it.

Exercise caution though. If the sushi has been in the fridge for a couple of days or even left sitting out at room temperature for a couple of hours, it’s probably better to just toss it out for safety purposes. 

How To Freeze Sushi Rolls

If you’ve read all of these details and you still want to freeze your sushi rolls, we’ve got you covered. They are pretty easy to freeze but you’re going to want to make sure they are 100% airtight to help preserve them as well as possible. 

You also need to freeze them right away. Don’t wait two days or even two hours. When you are finished eating, freeze them then. 

Follow these simple steps to freeze sushi:

  1. Roll up each sushi roll (not each piece, just individual rolls) in plastic wrap. Be sure it’s freezer-safe plastic wrap. We recommend a couple of layers just to be sure it’s completely wrapped. 
  2. Take the wrapped sushi rolls and place them into a freezer bag or an airtight container. 
  3. Label and date the storage containers. You might even want to label each sushi roll so you know which is which when you take them out of the freezer. 
  4. Seal everything up really well. You want it to be airtight. 
  5. Place in the freezer and freeze in this manner for up to 3 months. 

Sushi certainly cannot be frozen long-term. The longer it is in the freezer, the more likely you are to experience issues with it when you take it out of the freezer, so just keep that in mind. 

Freezing isn’t so hard but you do need to make sure it’s sealed and wrapped really well. 

What To Expect After Freezing

Let’s think for just a moment about the types of ingredients in your sushi. You probably have a wrap of some sort and meat or even multiple meats.

Sushi has rice and it might also have other vegetables included in the wrap. Some sushi has cream cheese or avocado. 

When you think about freezing rice, cream cheese, avocado, and other soft ingredients, you know that a lot of them just simply don’t hold up all that well in the freezer.

Now the good news is that all of these ingredients actually being in a roll is probably going to work in your favor to some degree. Some of the elements might be protected from turning soggy in the roll. 

However, you still have a likely possibility that one or more of these ingredients will turn a little bit mushy or soggy. Your most likely victims will be the rice and the nori paper that are used closest to the outside of the roll. 

The real challenge is found when you thaw out a sushi roll. This is when things start to happen. As the roll thaws, it is likely it will fall apart or become a little bit soggy. Some things simply won’t look the same after freezing. 

The flavors will probably all still be intact; you just face the risk of your sushi not tasting or looking the same exact way that it did when it was fresh. 

How To Defrost Sushi

If you are proactive, you might be able to defrost your sushi in such a way that it won’t fall apart.

Follow these steps to defrost sushi:

  1. Unwrap sushi and remove it from all of the freezer packaging. 
  2. Either roll the sushi in a few paper towels or layer a plate with paper towels under the sushi. This will help to soak up some of that extra moisture that could cause sogginess. 
  3. Allow the sushi to thaw in the refrigerator for about 3 hours in this manner. You should change the paper towel every hour to be proactive with removing moisture. 
  4. When the sushi is thawed out, you can remove it from the fridge and enjoy!

There are some other methods you can try as well. If you don’t want to wait for the thawing process, you can pop a roll of sushi in the microwave.

This will probably take a couple of minutes and you should only microwave in 30 second intervals so you don’t end up overheating it. Beware that you are more likely to experience mushy or soggy ingredients when you do it this way. 

The other method that works fairly well is to leave the sushi wrapped and in a Ziploc bag. Place that Ziploc in some warm (not hot) water and let it soak for 20-30 minutes.

This will thaw it out and hold it together while it does so. It actually works pretty well and your sushi might not fall apart or seem as mushy when you finish. 

Know When To Toss It

Not all sushi should be saved. Remember that sushi with raw fish is harder to preserve. If you remember these few tips, you can make sure your sushi is safe to keep and eat. 

  • If the sushi looks or smells off, toss it
  • Don’t freeze after it has been refrigerated
  • Don’t freeze if it has been left out for more than 2 hours
  • Thaw completely to be sure it is safe to eat

Up Next: Boston Roll Sushi – Recipe

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