Can You Freeze Sardines?

Sardines are a great thing to eat for many reasons. You can find them in the canned food aisle, and they don’t require any special preparation once you get them home. They’re also very affordable, which is helpful if you’re on a limited budget. But perhaps the best part about sardines is their taste!

After preparing the fish, you will end up with some leftovers. To keep them for later, you have a couple of options. Would freezing sardines be one of the options?

The answer is yes, you can freeze sardines. You can freeze them cooked, uncooked, or canned sardines. It’s important to store them in an airtight container or freezer bag. This will prevent air and moisture from leaking in and destroying the fish. Properly stored, sardines will last for up to 6 months in the freezer. For a longer freezer shelf life, you can vacuum-seal the sardines, which will allow them to stay fresh for up to 1 year.

Does Sardines Freeze Well?

Sardines freeze well and will keep for six months or more.

While the meat of sardines is edible, the fishy smell does not go away. Sardines will taste better if they are cooked before they are frozen.

They are packed in oil, so they should be able to withstand the temperature change. Sardines also have a long shelf life, so if you plan on eating them over the course of months, freezing them will help reduce spoilage.

How To Freeze Sardines

Freezing sardines can be done in a few ways.

If you want to freeze them in the fish’s own oil, then it is important that they are gutted. You can then cut them up into pieces and store them on a tray lined with parchment paper or on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper after they have been individually frozen.

If you want to freeze the fish whole, then you need to keep them belly-up and dry, so it is important that they are not washed first.

Once they are individually frozen lay them on a tray lined with parchment papers or on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper so that they don’t stick together during freezing.

How Long Can You Freeze Sardines?

The freezing shelf life of sardines depends on how they are frozen.

Generally, frozen sardines can last up to one year when properly stored in the freezer.

For canned sardines, the shelf life depends on how long it has been since they were canned. Fish that are less than 6 months old will last for 6 months, while fish more than 12 months old will last for 12 months.

For fresh sardines, it will depend on if any preservatives are used. Sardines that are packed in water with salt for preservation will have a shorter freezer shelf life than one that is packed with vinegar and salt to preserve it.

When they are smoked, the freezer shelf life for them is indefinite.

How Do You Defrost Sardines?

Defrosting sardines have a couple of different methods that you can use. You can either use the microwave, oven, or fridge to thaw the fish.


Using the refrigerator to thaw the sardines is the best method. This will allow the fish to thaw slowly, which will have less effect on the taste and texture. Simply remove the frozen sardines from the freezer, place them onto a plate, and let them sit in the fridge overnight.


If you have a microwave, you can use it to defrost your sardines. Even if they are in a jar because microwaves penetrate deep into containers and get the job done quickly. However, this method does have some disadvantages – it causes the fish to dry out and become rather tough.


You can also use a conventional oven to thaw your sardines at a much slower pace than with a microwave. Either by placing them on a baking sheet or in a glass dish at the bottom of the oven under low heat for about 20-30 minutes. The disadvantage here is that you have to be around for this whole time so that the fish doesn’t get burnt.

Can You Refreeze Sardines?

Many people are curious about whether or not it is possible to refreeze sardines. The answer is no, you cannot refreeze sardines after they have been thawed.

Freezing again will cause the sardines to either not freeze or will form ice crystals and become mushy and watery when you cook them.

Other Questions about Sardines

Can you freeze canned sardines after opening?

Canned sardines can be frozen after opening them. But there are some things to keep in mind before freezing them.

You should make sure that the sardines are completely cooled before freezing them. You can cool them by dipping them in cold water or by placing them on a plate and putting ice cubes over them.

Once they are cooled, you can place them in an airtight freezer bag and store them in the freezer until you want to eat them. The frozen sardines will last about 2 months or more, as long as they are kept at a temperature below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

How do you clean frozen sardines?

Frozen sardines can be difficult to clean and they usually end up with a lot of fish scales left on the surface.

So, to clean frozen sardines, place them in a colander and rinse them under running water. This will make it easier to remove the scales.

Next, take a stiff brush and scrub off any remaining scales or debris from the sardines.