Can You Eat Leftover Sushi?

Cyd Converse

If you regularly order too much sushi you've probably wondered if you can eat the leftovers. Here is everything you need to know.

If you're like me, it's likely that your eyes get the best of you when ordering sushi and you often end up with a bunch of leftover sushi at the end of your meal.

Carting leftover sushi home begs the question - can you eat leftover sushi? Is it actually safe to eat leftover sushi? Here is everything you need to know.

Can You Eat Leftover Sushi Photo

What is Sushi?

Before considering the leftover sushi debate, understanding what sushi is and how it is made is useful when determining if the leftovers are safe to eat.

Perhaps the best known Japanese culinary creation, sushi typically consists of fresh fish or seafood, sushi rice and nori sheets depending on the type of sushi.

Fresh sushi is often served with wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce for dipping. The result is an explosion of flavors and textures that is incredible.

There are many ways to prepare sushi, but the main types of sushi generally include these basic ingredients assembled into a hand roll or maki rolls.

Hosomaki Picture

Can You Eat Leftover Sushi?

Let's tackle the big question - can you eat leftover sushi? The good news is that short answer is yes as long as you keep a few important caveats in mind.

Keeping food safety in mind, defer to the expiration date should you have grabbed store-bought sushi at a grocery store as opposed to a sushi restaurant.

If you detect any signs of spoilage or unpleasant odor, it's a good idea to ditch your leftover sushi. Nobody wants to deal with the results of bad sushi!

​Depending on the sushi ingredients, harmful bacteria growth can start quicker than you might imagine, putting you at a risk of food-borne illness.

Cooked sushi varieties (such as a California roll) and vegetarian sushi will have a longer shelf life than varieties such as a spicy tuna roll or Alaska roll.

It all comes down to storage method, refrigerator temperature and overall storage conditions, but it is very possible to enjoy leftover sushi in a safe way.

Tuna Ceviche Bowls Pic

How to Store Leftover Sushi

With the risk of food poisoning when consuming the raw seafood found in raw sushi, here are our guidelines for the best way to store leftover sushi.

When it comes to storing leftover sushi, freshness is absolutely key, especially when it comes to raw fish sushi. Here's how to do it:

  1. When you're done enjoying your sushi, refrigerate leftovers immediately. Bacterial growth can occur quickly at room temperature, so don't leave it sitting out for long.
  2. Wrap leftover sushi tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil then place in an airtight container. This helps keep the seafood fresh and also helps prevent the rice from drying out. (It also keeps your fridge free of any fishy smell.)
  3. If you brought sushi home in a restaurant or take out container, such as a styrofoam box, be sure to package it up in a sealed container to be on the safe side.
  4. Should you also have leftover sushi toppings, such as soy sauce, wasabi, or pickled ginger, store them separate and add them right before eating your leftovers.
  5. Sushi of all kinds should be properly stored at a lower temperature to help avoid the health risks of eating spoiled sushi.
How Long Can You Keep Leftovers Photo

How Long Can You Keep Leftover Sushi?

Much like knowing how good pizza is good for in the fridge and how long can you keep leftovers generally, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Especially if you are a budding sushi chef and have learned or taught yourself how to make sushi, knowing this is important to your health and safety.

Because we know you can safely eat leftover sushi, it's important to talk about the reality of how long can you keep leftover sushi before it goes bad.

Generally, leftover sushi is best consumed the next day or within 24 hours. This helps ensure the best flavors, textures and overall quality of the sushi.

Otherwise, you can safely eat leftovers for up to 2-3 days of making homemade sushi or grabbing take-out sushi - so long as there's no raw fish like raw salmon.

If your sushi starts to look or smell weird or gross, trust your senses! Your nose and eyes know best so if there's a questions, ditch the sushi and order fresh.

How to Enjoy Leftover Sushi

Eating leftover sushi isn't just about safety; it's about making the most of the delicious sushi you happen to have in your fridge.

Here are our tips for enjoying leftover sushi:

  • Allow your sushi to come to warm a bit, approximately room temperature, before finishing up your leftovers. Cold, leftover rice can be a bit too crunchy to be very enjoyable.
  • Should you happen to have fresh vegetables on hand, like avocado or cucumber, consider adding them to your leftover sushi to give it new life, boosting the flavor and texture.
  • While possible to reheat sushi that has been cooked and served warm or crispy originally, it's not the best idea. The microwave can make rice tough and fish rubbery.
Hosomaki Pic

Repurposing Leftover Sushi

Leftover sushi doesn't have to be boring! Get creative and transform those remnants into new, exciting dishes:

  • Turn your leftover sushi into a deconstructed sushi bowl by placing the fish, rice, and veggies in separate sections. Top with a drizzle of soy sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
  • Chop up the sushi components and toss them with fresh greens for a delightful sushi-inspired salad.
  • If your leftover sushi seems a little lackluster, chop it all up and roll it into an unexpectedly delicious sushi burrito. It's a fun and tasty new way to enjoy the flavors of sushi.

So, can you eat leftover sushi? Yes if you've taken care of storing it properly within a couple hours of purchase (or less) and don't let it rot in your fridge.

The shelf life of sushi varies with different types of sushi due to the variety of fresh ingredients so the best practice is to store it well and eat it quickly.

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Cyd is a native of Upstate New York, born to a family of women who love to cook and host parties. She shares her love of all things food, home and entertaining on her blog, The Sweetest Occasion and on Instagram.

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