Can You Freeze Mackerel? How?


Quick Answer: Can You Freeze Mackerel? 

Yes, you can freeze mackerel, and it can last in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can freeze freshly caught, store-bought, or canned mackerel. The key is to wrap them thoroughly and freeze them in freezer-safe air-tight containers or Ziploc bags. 

Here is the ultimate guide on how to keep mackerel fish last for a couple of months by freezing them. 

I have found these methods and tips to work out wonderfully. 

Let’s dive right into it. 

How to Freeze Mackerel?

How to Freeze Mackerel?

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

The best way to freeze mackerel is to wrap them up and store them in air-tight freezer-safe containers or Ziploc bags. 


  • Mackerel
  • Cling Wrap or Foil Paper


  • Freezer-Safe Air-Tight Container or Ziploc Bag
  • Newspaper (Optional)


    1. Prep the Fish: If you have some freshly caught mackerel, you might want to remove its guts and clean it thoroughly. If it is canned mackerel, open the can and take the fish out.

    2. Wrap Them: Wrap each piece of mackerel with come cling wrap or foil paper. You could double wrap them for added protection.

    3. Pack and Seal: Place the wrapped mackerel pieces into a freezer-safe air-tight container or Ziploc bag and seal them in. When sealing a Ziploc bag, make sure to squeeze out all the excess air in the bag.

    4. Extra Protection: Optionally, when using Ziploc bags, you can wrap the bag with some newspaper for added insulation and protection.

    5. Label and Freeze: Add a label on the bag with the best before date, and you are all set to freeze the mackerel for the long term.

      For a clearer picture, check out this YouTube tutorial by “Thundermist Lures” -

How to Freeze Cooked Mackerel? 

Time Taken: 5 – 10 minutes 

What you will need: 

  • Cooked Mackerel 
  • Freezer-Safe Air-Tight Container

After a few quick and hassle-free steps, you can freeze cooked mackerel in freezer-safe air-tight containers for a couple of months. 

Cook and Cool

Once you have made the mackerel dish, allow it to cool to room temperature.


Divide the cooked mackerel into portions that you can easily consume in one go.

Pack and Seal

Transfer the portioned mackerel into a freezer-safe air-tight container and seal them in.

Label and Freeze

Add a label on the container with the date and you are all set.

How Long Can You Freeze Mackerel? 

You can keep fresh mackerel frozen for up to 3 months. Canned mackerel can also last for 3 months or so in the freezer if it is transferred into a freezer-safe air-tight container at 0° Fahrenheit.

Cooked mackerel can last for a little while longer but is best to consume it within the 4-month mark.

The best way to ensure that the mackerel stays fresh for longer in the freezer is to prep and freeze it as soon as you have bought it, caught it, or cooked it.

Although you can keep the mackerel in the fridge for a couple of days before freezing, it is better to freeze it sooner rather than later for the best results.

How to Store Frozen Mackerel? 

You can store frozen mackerel in any freezer-safe air-tight container or Ziploc bag. The key is to make sure that the fish is thoroughly protected from being exposed to air or freezer burns.

Double wrapping the mackerel not only helps to insulate it but also makes separating it later an easy task.

In the case of store-bought mackerel that comes in vacuum-sealed packaging, you can directly leave it in the freezer till you are ready to cook with it.

Do not freeze canned mackerel in its original packaging.

Once it is opened, the fish will deteriorate quickly because of exposure to air. So, transfer the fish into a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag. 

If you are pressed for freezer space, the Ziploc bags are your best bet. Place the wrapped mackerel side by side and freeze the bag lying down flat.

This allows you to stack multiple bags of fish without taking up too much space in the freezer.

How to Defrost Mackerel? 

The right way to defrost frozen mackerel is to leave the portion you need in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight and let it thaw slowly.

When you leave the fish in the fridge, leave it covered so that the odor from the fish does not affect the other things in the fridge.

It is best advised not to thaw the mackerel on the kitchen counter. Fish is generally more prone to bacterial buildup, and after 2 hours or so, it will most likely be unsafe to eat. 

Can You Refreeze Mackerel? 

No, it is best advised not to refreeze mackerel. Repeated freezing and thawing will not only affect the taste and texture of the fish but also increase the chances of bacterial buildup.

It is best to consume the fish as soon as you have defrosted it to avoid food poisoning. 

To avoid having to refreeze the mackerel once it thaws, you can wrap each piece of the mackerel separately and take out just the portion you need and seal the rest back into the freezer. 

Does Mackerel Freeze Well? 

Yes, mackerel freezes well, and if it is done right with care, it should stay fresh for up to 3 months in the freezer. Be it canned, store-bought, or freshly caught mackerel, you can freeze it without much worry.

As long as the mackerel is thoroughly wrapped and kept protected from being exposed to air or freezer burns, you are good to go. 

But because it is fish, it is best to consume it sooner rather than later to avoid it getting spoiled faster and to get the most out of its flavor and quality. 


Can you freeze the mackerel without gutting them? 

If the mackerel was bled correctly after catching, you can go ahead and freeze it without gutting it beforehand. But it is mostly recommended to gut it before freezing, which not only helps to keep the fish fresh for longer but also gets prep work out of the way.

Bottom Line

I hope this article helped you freeze and store mackerel fish for the long term. 

If you have any doubts or would like to share some freezing hacks of your own, it would be great to hear from you. 

Feel free to share this article with your family and friends who could use these tips. 

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About Judy Taylor

Judy has been fascinated with food and drinks since her teenage years. She loves experimenting with various cuisines, her favorite being pairing food with wine and drinks. She travels 7-8 months a year across the globe, exploring local food and culture. Her dream is to open a small Mexican outlet on a beach someday.

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