How to Store an Open Can of Sardines

Imagine opening a can of sardines for a quick, healthy snack but not being able to finish it in one go. Knowing how to store the remaining sardines efficiently can make all the difference in preserving their taste and nutritional value. This guide provides sardine enthusiasts with practical tips on storing an open can of sardines, ensuring they remain delicious and safe to eat!

Why Proper Storage is Important

Sardines are a nutritional powerhouse, offering significant health benefits due to their high omega-3 fatty acid content, protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Proper storage is crucial to maintain these nutrients and prevent spoilage. According to the USDA, an open can of sardines, if not stored correctly, can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to foodborne illnesses.

Steps to Store an Open Can of Sardines

1. Transfer to an Airtight Container

The first step in storing leftover sardines is to transfer them from the can to an airtight container. This prevents exposure to air, which can cause the sardines to oxidize and spoil. A glass container with a tight-fitting lid is ideal, as it won't absorb odors and is easy to clean.

2. Add a Covering Liquid

To maintain moisture and prevent the sardines from drying out, cover them with a liquid. Use the oil or sauce from the original can, or add a small amount of olive oil, water, or broth. This step helps retain the flavor and texture of the sardines.

3. Store in the Refrigerator

Place the airtight container in the refrigerator. According to the USDA, properly stored sardines can last for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Ensure the temperature of your fridge is set to 40°F (4°C) or lower to keep the sardines fresh.

4. Label with Date

Always label the container with the date you opened the can. This practice helps you keep track of how long the sardines have been stored and ensures you consume them within a safe period.

Additional Tips for Sardine Storage

1. Avoid Freezing

While sardines can be frozen, the texture may change, becoming mushy when thawed. If you choose to freeze them, ensure they are in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag. Consume within 2-3 months for the best quality.

2. Use Within the Recommended Time

Even with proper storage, try to consume the sardines within 3-4 days. The fresher the sardines, the better the taste and nutritional benefits.

3. Inspect Before Consuming

Always inspect the sardines before consuming. Look for any signs of spoilage, such as an off smell, discoloration, or slimy texture. If in doubt, it's safer to discard them.


Storing an open can of sardines properly ensures that you can enjoy this nutritious and delicious fish without compromising its quality. By following these simple steps—transferring to an airtight container, covering with a liquid, refrigerating, and labeling the date—you can keep your sardines fresh and safe to eat. Embrace the full potential of sardines in your diet, and relish their rich flavors and health benefits with every bite!

For more sardine tips, recipes, and nutritional information, explore our website and join the community of sardine enthusiasts who appreciate this remarkable fish.