Can You Freeze Tuna?

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Quick Answer: Can You Freeze Tuna?

Yep, you can freeze tuna! Whether it is fresh, raw, canned, or cooked, tuna freezes quite well. The methods are simple enough, and if done properly and carefully, should ensure your tuna holding up in freezer storage for up to 3 months and even more. Whether it be because you have pre-cooked tuna in bulk, or have leftovers, freezing is an excellent option to store it.

This comprehensive guide details step-by-step instructions, among other things you must know in order to freeze tuna successfully and safely at home.

With hours’ worth of research along with time-tested personal experience and expert opinion to back it up, this guide covers everything!

Without further ado, let us get right into the first method!

How to Freeze Tuna

How to Freeze Tuna

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Storing raw, uncooked tuna is a great way to store it in the freezer for extended periods of time.

I would always advise you to freeze your tuna, or any other food for that matter, in serving portions so that it is easier for you to defrost the amount you need at a time.

However, storage space is a very valid issue, so if freezing raw tuna all together is what is more convenient for you, you can go ahead! Just be careful during the defrosting – you might have to thaw and use up all of it at one go.

Materials

  • Airtight heavy-duty resealable freezer container or airtight freezer bags

Tools

  • Cling film or aluminum foil

Instructions

    1. Divide the raw tuna into portions – Or not, whichever you decide.

    2. Wrap tightly in double layers of cling film – You can also use aluminum foil or plastic wrap, but cling film works excellently.

      Remember to double-wrap, and very tightly and securely so that there is no part or surface of the tuna exposed and it is airtight.

    3. Bag it up – Pack the wrapped tuna pieces inside an airtight freezer-safe container, or in airtight resealable freezer bags.

    4. Seal securely, label and freeze – If you are using freezer bags, squeeze out all of the excess air before sealing very tightly and securely. In case of a container, snap on the lid tightly and securely.

      Your tuna will find it hard to survive even past a few weeks in the freezer if the containers you are freezing it in are not secured tightly and carefully.

      Label the container or bag with the storage date to ensure you do not forget about your frozen tuna and end up freezing it indefinitely. It is ready to freeze!

Freezing Canned or Tinned Tuna

Time Taken: 20-30 minutes

What You Need:

  • Airtight heavy-duty resealable freezer container 
  • Cling film or aluminum foil
  • Sturdy spoon

Tuna is very popularly sold in cans and tins, and if you are a tuna lover, chances are that you have at least a few extra or leftover tins lying around you are not sure how to deal with.

Worry not, we have the solution for you! Freezing canned or tinned tuna is an excellent option.

You can freeze them just fine, as long as you remove them from their original metal packaging and transfer them into a freezer-safe container, even if the tins are unopened.

This is because metal is not a good idea to freeze food in. It is too rigid and can even cause freezer burns for the tuna inside.

As long as you follow these instructions though, you should be fine!

Transfer the tuna from the original metal packaging and into a freezer-safe container

Use a sturdy spoon to carefully scoop out the tuna and transfer it into a freezer-safe container with a tight-fitting lid.

Cover the container with aluminum foil or cling film

This is the added layer of protection that ensures your tuna will freeze well, and safe from the freezer flavors and freezer burns.

Seal tightly, label and freeze

Remember to have used a rigid container with a tight-fitting lid. Snap the lid tightly on the container, ensuring it is totally airtight and watertight. 

Label the container with the storage date. It is then ready to freeze! 

In case you would like to invest some more time, effort and money in this, you can check out this guide that discusses pressure canning and other methods to freeze tuna:

Freezing Cooked Tuna

Time Taken: 20-30 minutes

What You Need:

  • Airtight heavy-duty resealable freezer container or airtight freezer bags
  • Cling film or aluminum foil

Freezing cooked tuna is also not a complicated process at all. Whether leftover or cooked in advance, you can freeze cooked tuna just fine.

All you need is good quality materials including rigid, airtight freezer-safe containers or airtight freezer bags.

Just in case you were looking for recipe options with tuna, feel free to check out this very helpful recipe guide!

Here also, I advise that you freeze the cooked tuna in portions, as not only does it make the defrosting process much easier on you, freezing the tuna in smaller batches also increases the freezing speed too!

Divide the cooked tuna into serving portions

Or not, whichever you decide. 

Bag it up

Pack the cooked tuna inside an airtight freezer-safe container, or in airtight resealable freezer bags. 

Seal securely, label and freeze

If you are using freezer bags, squeeze out all of the excess air before sealing very tightly and securely. In case of a container, snap on the lid tightly and securely. 

Your cooked tuna will find it hard to survive even past a few weeks in the freezer if the containers you are freezing it in are not secured tightly and carefully.

Label the container or bag with the storage date to ensure you do not forget about your frozen tuna and end up freezing it indefinitely. It is ready to freeze!

How to Freeze Tuna Salad

Time Taken: 15-20 minutes

What You Need:

  • Airtight heavy-duty resealable freezer bag/container
  • A sturdy spoon or ladle

Tuna salads are among the most baffling creations known to us: with endless nutritional value and health benefits and a delectable tasty flavor allowing you to bring out while experimenting with several combinations, it really is the whole package in one.

And thankfully, you can freeze it too! Just follow these instructions carefully.

It works best if you freeze the tuna salad the day it was made itself if it is homemade. If store-bought, prep to freeze it the day it was bought, don’t delay it further.

All you need is some good quality airtight freezer bags or containers, whichever you prefer working with.

Also note here, that you can freeze tuna salad along with the leaves fine.

However, please do be mindful of the fact that it is more likely for the salad to experience freezer burns faster than the tuna. It is, therefore, more advisable to freeze the tuna solid for the only the time needed.

Transfer the tuna salad into the bag or container

Using a sturdy spoon, transfer the tuna salad in small quantities into an airtight freezer bag or container. Be sure to not fill to the brim; leave out some space at the top.

Seal securely, label and freeze

Make sure you squeeze all the air possible out of the bag, and try your best to make sure there is no excess air left in the container before you seal it tightly and securely.

Label the bag or container, and your tuna salad is ready to freeze! Just ensure that the container or bag stays in the freezer and the temperature is maintained.

You should be able to keep it in freezer storage for up to 2 months, given you store it carefully.

How Long Can You Freeze Tuna?

If frozen properly following the right method, with all the steps having been followed properly, and if made sure that the bags or containers have been sealed carefully, your tuna, whether raw, cooked or canned, can be frozen for two to three months.

However, it bears mentioning that the longer the tuna sits in the freezer, the greater are its chances of a deteriorating consistency and texture and even flavor.

So, it is a good idea to finish up your tuna at the earliest since freezing.

This is also why I always recommend always freezing with the storage date labeled. This way, you do not end up keeping the tuna in the freezer for too long.

How to Store Frozen Tuna?

As discussed, tuna can be kept in freezer storage in airtight containers with tight-fitting lids, whether leftover or freshly made or in portions, whether raw, cooked or canned, in small airtight freezer bags.

Whichever method you go with, the sealing and freezing need to be done very carefully; good quality airtight and watertight freezer-safe containers need to be used, and it needs to be ensured that the tuna is frozen at the same, consistent temperature in the freezer.

Remember that your tuna might not hold up well in the freezer even beyond a few weeks if the storage is not done properly, following all the instructions correctly and meticulously and making sure you use the best quality materials.

How to Defrost Frozen Tuna?

You can defrost frozen raw tuna by transferring it from the freezer to the fridge and allowing it to gradually to thaw overnight. If you are short on time, you can, submerge a sealed plastic bag of frozen raw tuna in a bowl of tap water. 

It should be ready within a few hours, at most. Once it has adequately thawed, you can use it in cooking the way you would with fresh fish.

In case of tuna salad, tinned tuna or tuna leftovers, you can easily thaw it in the fridge for a few hours, and then go on to reheat it in the microwave for a minute or two.

Avoid re-heating your frozen tuna, as this increases the time and chances for the growth of bacteria. Also, once defrosted, do not keep the tuna for beyond a few hours. Eat immediately.

Can You Re-freeze Frozen Tuna?

Yes, you can refreeze tuna even after it has been thawed, but with a few specific conditions. You can refreeze tuna, but also not if it was defrosted in a microwave or kept in water.

When thawing, make sure that you do not place it under tap water or place it on the counter.

In such warm conditions, bacteria can multiply rapidly, in which case it would not be safe to refreeze it. If you refreeze tuna that was thawed at room temperature, it is likely to get spoilt.

And if after thawing the tuna does not look great to you, (definitely always check all frozen foods for signs of spoilage before you consume,) it is best to discard it.

Does Tuna Freeze Well?

If stored, frozen, and thawed correctly, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to tuna, whether raw, cooked or canned. It freezes quite well and holds up well in the freezer for a good two to three months.

Tuna is known to have thick, dense meat that stays fine without spoiling even when exposed to ice crystals.

Just make sure you use good quality containers that are sealed well to keep out freezer burns and airs.

There is a hack involving prepping tuna before you freeze that you could attempt if you are looking to make it freeze well for beyond 3 months. 

There are actually two ways to prep fresh tuna for freezing. One is to pat the meat dry with paper towel. This makes sure that no water crystals change the texture and flavor of the fish. 

Then, you can go ahead and wrap the tuna in cling wrap or aluminum foil and place the fish in a resealable plastic bag, the heavy-duty kind. 

The second method involves dipping the tuna in a solution made with dissolved ascorbic acid crystals (about 1 tablespoon) or salt (about ¼ cup) and 1 quart of water. 

Once the tuna has been dipped in the solution, wrap it tightly in cling wrap or aluminum foil, and then place in a plastic resealable bag then stick in the freezer.

These methods should help preserve your raw tuna in the freezer for even longer than 3 months.

FAQs

How do I know if my frozen tuna has gone bad?

As with all other frozen foods, it is highly advised that you check for signs of spoilage before consuming frozen tuna. 

In the case of tuna, if you see discolorations of the surface in the form of greyish-green tinges, it indicates the growth of molds and bacteria. Discard it immediately.

Another sign to look out for is the texture. If the tuna feels excessively soft or even slimy, the chances are that it has gone bad. If the slimy feeling does not go away even after rinsing the tuna, it is a good idea to discard it as it is no longer safe to consume.

Lastly, the most common warning sign of spoilage is the smell. If the frozen tuna develops a nasty, ammonia-like smell, it is very likely to have gone bad.

Is frozen tuna still healthy?

Absolutely! Tuna is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acid among other benefits, which is still there even after freezing. So, yes, tuna retains most of its health and nutritional benefits even after freezing and thawing. 

How long can I keep tuna in the refrigerator?

Tinned or canned tuna and tuna salads have a shelf life in the refrigerator of about 3 to 5 days. Fresh tuna should ideally be consumed at the earliest, however, you can also keep it in the fridge for up to 2 to 3 days.

So, if you can refrigerate your tuna for this time, no worries! However, if you are looking to store the tuna for longer, I highly recommend freezing as the best alternative. 

What will happen if I freeze a can of unopened tuna?

It is really not safe and not the greatest idea to freeze canned unopened tuna. Because the containers are usually too rigid to properly facilitate freezing, you risk tainting and flavor and taste of your tuna significantly. 

Additionally, there is also a risk that the liquid inside the tin, be it water, brine, or oil, starts to expand during the freezing process within the can, and there is lack of room.

Can I freeze old tuna?

I would recommend against it as chances are it will not freeze will and will simply get completely unappetizing by the time you thaw and reheat. Always freeze the freshest possible tuna for optimal results. 

Bottom Line

We hope this comprehensive, step-by-step guide covering the best methods to freeze tuna successfully at the safety and ease of your home has helped you!

For any further questions you may have regarding freezing tuna, please do let us know by reaching out to us!

If you have any other tips and tricks that you have discovered about freezing tuna, feel free to reach out and let us know; we will add them to this guide so they can help more people!

If this guide has helped you, please do share it with your friends and family so that they can also use it.

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About Amanda Jones

Amanda is a person with an eye for detail. She has been cooking since her childhood and loves to bake too. Recently, she's made the decision to pursue baking full-time and quit her 9 to 5 job. In the meantime, she still enjoys cooking and baking for friends and family, especially when it comes time for special occasions like birthdays or holidays!

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