Sushi is a Japanese delicacy with a light, fresh, mild flavor. The combination of fish, rice, seasonings, and sometimes seaweed creates a distinctive combination that meshes well. While fresh sushi is light, airy, and flavorful, day-old sushi doesn’t pack the same punch.
To make sushi taste good the next day, wrap it in a soy sauce and vinegar-soaked paper towel. Place it in the refrigerator for an hour. Remove the sushi from the fridge, unwrap it, and zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds on low power. Serve with a quality soy sauce that complements the flavors.
Sushi served fresh is best, but sometimes you’re left with too much, and you don’t want it to go to waste. After all, sushi-grade fish is expensive, and discarding it would be a waste of money. Fortunately, there are ways to revive your sushi and get it tasting fresh again; follow these tips on how to make sushi taste good the next day.
Can Sushi Be Eaten the Next Day?
You can eat properly stored sushi the next day. However, once 24 hours have passed, discard the sushi to avoid the risk of foodborne illness caused by bacteria growth. On the other hand, you can keep cooked sushi in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Consuming sushi made with raw fish after 24 hours isn’t a good idea. The longer raw fish is stored, the more susceptible it becomes to bacteria growth. Additionally, if your sushi has a strange smell, it should be discarded.
Day-Old Sushi & Health Considerations
Sushi made with quality ingredients will hold better than one made with cheaper ingredients. Consider this when storing sushi for next-day consumption.
Any leftover sushi must be refrigerated to prevent the growth of bacteria. According to the FDA, it’s not safe to keep raw fish at room temperature for more than four hours. Store sushi made with raw fish at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, refrigeration affects the quality of sushi. That’s precisely why day-old sushi never tastes as good as when it’s fresh. After only thirty minutes in the refrigerator, seaweed begins to become soggy. The rice starts to harden, and the acidity may affect the flavor and texture of the raw fish.
Fortunately, there are ways to get your day-old sushi tasting fresh again after it’s been refrigerated.
Store Your Sushi in an Airtight Container in the Fridge
If you intend to save leftover sushi for the next day’s lunch or dinner, you need to store it properly. Store homemade sushi in the refrigerator within 30 minutes of preparation. Place store-bought sushi or restaurant leftovers in the fridge as soon as you arrive home.
Roll the sushi tightly in plastic wrap and transfer it to an airtight container. Store the container in the refrigerator for no more than 24 hours.
Keep Sauce & Sushi Separate To Prevent Sogginess
Sometimes restaurants and grocery stores will serve sushi with the sauce on the same tray. If you’re storing sushi for next-day consumption, keep the sauce separate. Remove the sushi from the tray and place it in a separate container. Holding the two together will allow the sauce to soak into the rice, resulting in a soggy sushi roll that loses its flavor and texture.
Wrap It in a Vinegar-Soaked Paper Towel
An hour before you plan to eat your sushi, use this paper towel trick to revive some of those fresh, mild flavors.
- Combine a tablespoon of rice vinegar or lemon juice with a teaspoon of soy sauce.
- Soak a paper towel in the solution.
- Wrap the sushi with the soaked paper towel, tucking in the sides.
- Rewrap the sushi in plastic wrap and then place it back in the airtight container.
- Place the sushi back into the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat it.
This trick will soften any rice that has hardened, add moisture, and replenish some of the lost flavors.
Microwave It for 30 Seconds on Low Power
Microwaves get a bad reputation. They tend to dry out food and result in overcooked pieces from inconsistent heating. Naturally, using a microwave to heat sushi may not sound like the best idea. However, using a microwave to heat sushi can make it taste almost fresh again.
Rice hardens and starts to separate in the refrigerator. Toppings begin to lose moisture, and the quality deteriorates. Using the paper towel trick in the previous step restores some of that moisture. The microwave will help revitalize the texture of your sushi.
Change your microwave settings so that it’s operating at half power. Then, remove the sushi from the refrigerator and unwrap it from the paper towel. Place the sushi on a microwave-safe plate and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
The raw fish may cook slightly, but the rice will be fluffy again. That soft squish that is so prevalent with expertly-made sushi will return. You end with a moist, tender roll that’s soft, fluffy, juicy, and delicious.
Serve With a Quality Soy Sauce Like Shoyu
Soy sauce is commonly served with sushi, shoyu in particular. To revive your sushi and to have a delicious, fresh experience, consider enjoying your sushi with a quality soy sauce. You can use soy sauce that came with the tray (if you saved it in the refrigerator) or use a store-bought soy sauce.
Soy sauce that comes from a quality sushi restaurant is likely more authentic. Store-bought soy sauce is usually created with the non-brewed method and utilizes chemicals to achieve a salty result. However, authentic, brewed soy sauce is made with a natural fermentation process that offers a complexity of flavor.
Alternatively, consider adding a small amount of wasabi to your soy sauce to add an extra element of flavor and give it a little kick.
When You Shouldn’t Eat Leftover Sushi
While you can revive day-old sushi with the above tips, there are some reasons to avoid eating old sushi, especially if there are signs that it’s going bad.
Here are some signs that you shouldn’t eat leftover sushi:
- Foul odor: Sushi—even day-old sushi—shouldn’t have any unpleasant odors. It shouldn’t smell fishy, sour, or like ammonia. If it has any discernible foul odor, don’t eat it.
- Bad taste: If sushi tastes bitter, sour, or generally disagreeable, it’s likely spoiled, and you should toss it out.
- Strange discoloration: Any abnormal discoloration could be a sign of bacteria or mold growth. Don’t eat discolored sushi.
- Slimy, wet texture: Sushi with a slimy, wet texture or a strange sheen to it should be thrown out, as this could be a sign of bacteria growth.
- Signs of mold: Any fuzzy growth, holes, or dark-colored spots could be a sign of mold.
Sushi that is 24 hours old or less is usually acceptable to eat but avoid it if there are any strange smells, tastes, discoloration, or textures. Young children, immunocompromised individuals, and pregnant women should avoid raw fish altogether.
Sushi is best when fresh, as the ingredients are highly perishable. Avoid having to revive your sushi by avoiding leftovers altogether. Sushi-grade fish is expensive and has a short shelf-life, so only buy enough ingredients to consume that day. When enjoying sushi at a restaurant, only order what you’re able to eat at the establishment.
There are times, however, when you’ll end up with leftover sushi. While it’s not ideal, now you know how to enhance day-old sushi. By restoring some of the moisture and applying a bit of heat, you can make your sushi soft, moist, and fluffy again.