How Long Can Tilapia Sit Out?

Tilapia is a versatile, mild, and flaky fish that’s a great option for beginners. It’s also known as “white meat” fish, though it’s actually gray or silver in color. It’s often used in casseroles, soups, pasta dishes, and salads.

How Long Can Cooked Tilapia Sit Out?

You can safely leave cooked tilapia out for up to 2 hours. If you don’t plan to eat it right away, wrap the fish in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge or other cool spot.

How Long Can Raw Tilapia Sit Out?

After you purchase raw tilapia at the grocery store or fish market, it should be cooked immediately. If you need to hold it for more than an hour before cooking, put it in the refrigerator until you are ready to start cooking.

However, if you are planning on holding the fish for longer than an hour after purchasing it from the store or market, freezing is your best option.

What Happens When Tilapia Sits Out?

When you leave fish out at room temperature for too long without covering it with foil or placing it in an airtight container, bacteria can begin growing on its surface. This causes the flesh of the fish to become mushy and soft instead of firm and flaky like when it was fresh out of refrigeration. The longer tilapia sits out unrefrigerated

Why Does Tilapia Go Bad So Quickly?

The reason why tilapia goes bad so quickly is that it is a delicate fish that needs to be handled with care. Like other delicate foods, it can go bad in a matter of hours if not stored properly.

If you don’t plan on eating all of your fresh tilapia at once, or if there’s any left over after cooking, make sure to store it properly in order to ensure its freshness and quality.

How Can You Tell If Tilapia Is Spoiled?

If you’re wondering how to tell if tilapia is bad, here are some signs to look out for:

Smell: When tilapia goes bad, it has a strong aroma of sulfur. If the fish smells like rotten eggs or ammonia, throw it away immediately.

Texture: Tilapia should feel firm when you pick it up. If it feels soft or mushy, don’t buy it!

Color: Tilapia should be an off-white shade of gray or silver throughout its flesh. Any discoloration — yellowing at the edges or brown spots on the surface — is a sign that something isn’t right with the fish and it shouldn’t be eaten.

Storing Tilapia At Room Temperature

After purchasing the tilapia, you can store them for about 2 hours before it needs refrigeration. After that time, it will need to be stored in the fridge.

When storing the tilapia at room temperature, always keep them covered. You can place them in a container with a lid or use a paper towel to cover them. Doing this will help keep flies and other insects from contaminating the fish.

Is It Safe To Eat Tilapia That Was Left Out Overnight?

It is not safe to eat tilapia that was left out overnight, whether it’s cooked or raw. The reason you shouldn’t eat the fish is that it will most likely be contaminated with bacteria. The bacteria will usually start to grow on the fish after its been sitting at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.

How Long Can You Store Tilapia In The Fridge?

Tilapia should be stored in the refrigerator at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. It is best to store tilapia in a container or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap to keep out moisture and prevent it from being dried out.

If you are not going to use the tilapia within 3 days of cooking it, freeze it for up to 6 months in an airtight container.


When it comes to tilapia, this fish can only sit out for about 2 hours. This goes for both cooked and raw tilapia. Bacteria thrive in warm weather and if you have the fish sitting on the countertop for more than 2 hours, it will most likely be contaminated.