Can You Freeze Canned Tuna?

If you’ve got a bunch of leftover tuna from a can, after opening way too many, surely you’ve been struck with the question: can you freeze canned tuna after opening it?

It’s no wonder you’d want to preserve your tuna. It’s a versatile fish, rich in nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids. Not only is it good for you, it’s tasty too.

Well, in short- yes, canned tuna can easily be frozen and it freezes well. It can be frozen in many different forms and ways.

How long can frozen canned tuna keep?

If stored properly, your frozen canned tuna can last up to 3 months. While it can technically last longer than that safely, up to 6-8 months, the quality will drastically fall the longer it’s kept frozen. 

You’re not gonna want to keep it longer than 6-8 months regardless, unless you can keep it at 0 degrees fahrenheit or lower. When stored at that temperature, canned tuna can be kept indefinitely.

How to store canned tuna for freezing?

If you’re planning on freezing canned tuna for long-term storage, you’re gonna want to remove it from the tin. If you pop it sealed in its original can, your tuna will leech the flavors of the tin and could end up nearly ruined and inedible.

Also, while the flavor will be negatively affected, the freezing process will cause expansion in the tuna. It’s original tin may not support such expansion, and could result in the tin bursting.

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Always opt for an airtight container. If that’s not available, wrapping in cling wrap and storing in a freezer-safe ziploc bag will do just fine. Though, it won’t keep it’s quality as long this way.

How to defrost frozen canned tuna?

When you’re ready for your frozen tuna and it’s time to take it out of the freezer, you’re likely wondering now: what’s the best way to thaw frozen tuna fish?

There are a few ways, though some are better than others.

The fridge is definitely the way to go, no matter what you’re planning on doing with the tuna once it’s defrosted.

With a small batch of tuna, such as a single can or serving, you can have it defrosted entirely in the fridge in just a few hours.

However, if you have a large batch, you’ll want to set it in there overnight. This will ensure the tuna doesn’t lose any quality in taste and texture, and also maintains the safety of the tuna.

Thawing it on the counter or in warm water isn’t recommended, as this can expose your tuna fish to bacteria growth and hasten spoilage. Most seafood is highly susceptible to spoilage and quality loss, and tuna is no different.

Safety concerns

There’s not a whole lot of safety concerns when it comes to freezing and defrosting canned tuna.

Just keep in mind, it should never be frozen in its original can – whether it’s been opened or not.

Do your best to avoid a fast thaw, such as in the microwave or in warm water. Thawing in the fridge, over a few hours or overnight, is the best and safest way to thaw your frozen tuna.

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Though, if you do go the route of room-temperature thawing or defrosting in the microwave, only do so with the amount you intend to eat right then. It cannot be refrozen, and if it’s thawed in the microwave or warm water, it won’t keep for longer than a day in the fridge without risking bacteria growth.

How to freeze canned tuna?

There are a few different ways you can go about this. Though, keep in mind you should use high quality freezer-safe storage, such as plastic airtight containers or freezer-safe ziploc baggies.

Never store your tuna in glass if you intend to freeze it, as this could cause the glass to shatter.

A good tip: if you want to help preserve freshness, place a sheet of plastic wrap or aluminum foil over the opening of your storage container before putting the lid on. 

Be sure to label your container on the date you freeze it, so you know exactly how fresh or old your frozen tuna is. This will ensure you never grab an 8 month old container and come to find it a freezer burned, crystalized mess.

Final thoughts

Freezing your canned tuna may seem like a bad idea, but thankfully tuna – like a lot of other seafoods – lends itself well to freezing. 

Whether you’ve made them into individual tuna patties, or you’re dumping multiple cans into an airtight container, it would be hard to go wrong.

You can enjoy your tuna for weeks, and sometimes even months, to come.