how to prepare sashimi from frozen fish

Wondering how to prepare sashimi from frozen fish?

Sushi has become almost a religion to many people, and the freshness of the fish is a major tenet of that religion.

Those who love sushi are also fans of sashimi, and only they understand the difference between them. 

Have a hankering for sashimi but cannot afford to consume the Japanese delicacy every time a craving hits you hard?

Thankfully, you do not need to go out to enjoy sashimi so long as you know how to prepare it from frozen fish.

So, can you make sashimi from frozen fish?

Yes, you can prepare sashimi from frozen fish but you need to ensure that you only use sushi- or sashimi-safe fish in the first place. 

How to Prepare Sashimi from Frozen Fish with Ease?

how prepare sashimi from frozen fish

Raw foods cut into small, bite-sized pieces, either with or across the grain, are known as sashimi.

Sashimi is typically prepared with fish or seafood, but it can be made with any food item, including tofu and veggies.

Can you make sashimi with frozen fish? Yes, you definitely can.

In fact, it is important to freeze it because you will be eating it raw.

The FDA requires all fish that will be consumed raw to be frozen first in order to eliminate parasites before they may be prepared as seviche, sashimi, sushi, or tartare.

But before you go ahead with cooking, you first need to choose the right fish. 

How Do You Choose the Best Sashimi Fish?

how choose the best fish

Making sashimi from frozen fish is always an option. You can buy seafood in the season that you otherwise might not be able to acquire all year long, and then store it in the freezer until you need it.

However, you have to pick the best fish for your recipe.

Salmon, tuna, and kingfish are the go-to’s for sashimi at most places, but other fish such as whiting, scallops, squid, snapper, garfish, and flounder are also acceptable.

Nonetheless, there is more to producing outstanding sashimi than just using super-fresh fish.

In fact, certain fish actually tastes better if it is let to age, as the aging process alters the flavor and texture. 

An Important Consideration

Smaller fish and seafood are best used as soon as possible for sashimi preparation.

But, larger fish like flounder and snapper benefit from chilling in the fridge overnight so that their muscles can relax and enhance the flavor.

Fact: The original purpose of sashimi was to keep fish fresh longer, but it turned into a delicate dish between 1603 and 1868. 

Are All Frozen Fish Varieties Work for Sashimi?

will all fish work for sashimi

Probably not!

You have to choose sashimi-safe fish to store it properly and use whenever you like.

Remember, sushi-safe fish cannot be obtained by purchasing it frozen from a grocery store or freezing it yourself.

The fish must be frozen to temperatures between -20 degrees Celsius and -35 degrees Celsius in order to be considered sashimi grade.

And quite obviously, you cannot do that in the majority of domestic or grocery store freezers. 

What to Do?

what should you do

Look for high-quality fish markets where they either stock or may direct you to suppliers of sushi-grade fish.

In some cases, the delivery may be available directly to your door from the local sashimi shop. Many of them use “selection boxes” to sort fish.

Although expensive, if stored properly in the freezer, you will have plenty to last for a very long time.

Fact: Buying fish that has already been scaled and cut will save you time when making sashimi.   

How Do You Prepare Fish for Sashimi?

how prepare fish for sashimi

When making your own sashimi at home, it is a huge time saver to buy fish that is already been scaled, gutted, and filleted.

Always make sure your knives are as sharp as they can be, and do not forget to wash your equipment properly.

As sashimi is a Japanese dish, you will have to consider how they prepare fish for sashimi.

Here are some of their most common slicing techniques. 


This method involves cutting “the rectangular slices”  and is the standard for preparing sashimi.

If you are right-handed, begin on the right side of the fillet. Now, cut vertically from the blade’s heel to its tip.

This method yields slices of fish between half a centimeter and a centimeter in width.

Tuna, salmon, and kingfish are ideal candidates for the hira-zukuri. 


an usuzukuri

The fillet is sliced thinly horizontally from left to right, across the grain.

You can use this technique to prepare incredibly thin, diagonal slices.

It works great for fillets of bream, flounder, and whiting.

Ito Zukuri

Ito-zukuri, often known as a thread slice, is another prevalent method of cutting. Typical applications include slicing squid and other slender fish.

Square slices, or kaku-zukuri, are used by sashimi chefs to cut thick, tender tuna into bite-sized pieces.

The goal, regardless of the method you employ, should be to achieve uniform texture throughout the entire fish.

Getting good at this requires time and effort. 

Is It Okay to Use Frozen Tuna for Sashimi or Sushi?

use frozen tuna for sashimi

All tuna (and other seafood) that is ideal for sushi will often have been frozen previously.

On the other hand, it will be designated “sashimi-grade” or “sushi-grade” if it is safe enough to eat raw.

So, yes, you can definitely use frozen fish but always use only high-quality frozen tuna.

And to make it tastier, you may want to put your money on Bluefin tuna.

In terms of flavor, there is no better tuna in the world.

When prepared as nigiri or sashimi, Bluefin tuna’s protein and fat content are harmoniously balanced, and the fish melts nicely on the tongue. 

How Can You Defrost Tuna for Sashimi or Sushi?

how can defrost tuna

Fast defrosting of tuna is possible by placing it in a plastic bag and making sure all the air is squeezed out.

After that, you should soak the bag in cold water for up to an hour. Keep the water at a temperature of 50F to 68F.

Be careful with the temperature of the water because in addition to diminishing the tuna’s flavor, water warmer than 77F increases the risk of bacterial growth.

Fact: It is common practice in Japan to serve sashimi as the opening dish of a multi-course meal, and it often uses wasabi and soy sauce as condiments.

How Do You Defrost Tuna Under Running Water?

defrost tuna under  running water

When it comes to preparing frozen fish for sashimi, you can defrost it in many different ways.

For instance:

  • You can defrost in water
  • You can defrost it in a microwave
  • You can defrost it under running water

You can try whatever sounds easier, but you will find it more effective to defrost tuna under running water.

Here is how to do it: 

Step #1: Put it in a Plastic Bag

Seal the air out of the plastic bag before placing the tuna inside, and use a bag large enough to hold the entire fish.

Seal it nicely, put it in a container, and set it aside. 

Step #2: Place the Bowl under Cold Water

Put the fish bowl in a sink full of cold water and run the tap. Keep the fish submerged for around 15 minutes.

Make sure it is completely under the water by gently pressing it down if it floats. Also, make sure the water’s temperature never exceeds 25C.

Once defrosted, the fish has a 48-hour shelf life in the fridge. However, once defrosted, it is better to get it ready for eating. 

How Can You Defrost Tuna for Sashimi in the Fridge?

defrost the tuna for sashimi

Thawing frozen tuna for sashimi in the fridge is a good standard practice. Just give it a quick rinse in water and wrap it in a clean, saltwater-soaked cloth.

Remember, the tuna should be marinated in the fridge for at least 8 hours, and up to 12 hours is ideal.

Here is how to do it.

  • Take the frozen tuna out of the freezer and put it in a bowl covered with paper towels.
  • Use plastic wrap to cover the bowl.
  • To prevent food poisoning, store it in its own bowl on the lowest shelf of the fridge.
  • Let the tuna defrost for at least 8 hours, preferably 12, or overnight.
  • When the paper towels get damp, you might want to replace them.
  • After it has thawed, dry it thoroughly using paper towels.
Fact: Sashimi is different from sushi in that it does not use vinegared rice and has fewer ingredients. 


Learning how to prepare sashimi from frozen fish is important if you want to enjoy this Japanese delicacy.

It does not have to be difficult because ultimately everyone uses frozen fish for sashimi.

Just ensure that you choose the right type of fish and prepare it correctly to make your final dish become delicious.