Skip to Content

How Long Does Canned Tuna Last? [Shelf Life Guide]

Anyone who has ever had tuna will vouch for its versatility.

There are so many ways to treat yourself to this delectable seafood – in salads, as a spread or dip, with crackers, in sandwiches and burgers, with macaroni and cheese, and just about any of your favorite snacks.

We love our canned tuna, but how much do we really know about it?

For starters, there are many tuna species, but only three of them are commonly used to make the canned tuna that we love.

These three species are yellowfin, albacore, and skipjack.

Albacore is considered “white meat” tuna, while the other two species are “light meat” tuna.

If you love canned tuna, you’ll be happy to know that it is an excellent source of protein.

Plus, it contains lesser fat, cholesterol, and saturated fat than many other protein-rich foods.

Canned tuna also provides the human body with healthy omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the heart.

However, as with all packaged food, canned tuna comes with set edible dates.

Through this article, let us explore questions like how long does canned tuna last?

Or how do I know if my stock of canned tuna has gone bad?

How Long Does Canned Tuna Last? Does Canned Tuna Go Bad?

Each can of tuna is likely to come with a ‘best before’ date on it.

On an average, most of these canned foods are usable for several years after they are packaged.

Once you open a can of tuna, try and finish its contents as soon as possible. In case there are leftovers, store them in a clean, airtight container.

On the other hand, unopened canned tuna can be kept for years on end, as long as they are stored in a cool and dry place.

One of the most frequently asked questions about canned tuna is whether it is safe to eat them after they are past their ‘Use by’ date.

Here’s the truth – the ‘use by’ date on packaged foods usually indicates the time period during which the product remains at its peak quality.

After the product has passed the ‘best if used by’ date, its texture, color, and flavor gradually deteriorate.

So, canned tuna is still edible after it has crossed its ‘use by’ date.

However, it is better if you eat the tuna before that in order to avoid food poisoning risks.

Canned tuna and canned meats tend to have a longer shelf life than starchy foods. This is because of the way they are processed.

Tuna comes in cans and in pouches. They both follow similar processing methods.

The major difference between canned tuna and pouch tuna is that the latter contains lesser liquid.

At the end of the day, both canned- and pouch-tuna have around the same longevity if stored properly.

How to Tell if Canned Tuna is Bad? Canned Tuna Shelf Life!

If the tuna has a rancid smell, with mold on it, throw the can away, no questions asked.

The tuna’s looks and odor are the most evident ways to tell that it is not edible anymore.

Spoiled tuna also often takes on a color change. Tuna with dark brown or black streaks on them indicate that it is not usable.

However, there are other indications that suggest that a can of tuna may not be good to eat.

For instance, if the can is leaking, it may be an indication that there was a botch in the preservation process.

In this case, do not eat the tuna regardless of the ‘best before’ stamp on the can.

There is also the classic ‘bulging’ and ‘exploding’ of cans. Sometimes, cans bulge when their contents have gone bad.

When you open these cans, their contents can shoot out – both signs that you should not eat the tuna.

It is also advisable that you do not take your chances with tuna that comes in damaged or dented cans. By ‘dented,’ we mean if the can’s lid is visibly damaged.

Such dents allow pressure from the can to release, allowing bacteria to accumulate in its contents.

You may also want to avoid tuna that comes in cans that are clearly rusted because corrosion in cans is an indication of exposure to air and moisture.


How Long Does Canned Tuna Last? Does Canned Tuna Go Bad?

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Shelf Life
Servings 1 Serving


  • Canned tuna
  • Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags
  • Labels and markers


  • Read the guide thoroughly to learn how long it lasts.
  • Check the u0022Best-by-dateu0022 to know when it expires.
  • Make sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (pantry or fridge).
  • Always check for signs of spoilage before using.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @EatDelights or tag #eatdelights!

About The Author

Sharing is caring!

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)
Recipe Rating