To evaluate the effect of salt and sucrose on rigor mortis changes in silver carp during 72 h at 4 °C, physical (texture parameters, water holding capacity (WHC), cooking loss, L* value) and chemical adenosine triphosphate (ATP-related compounds, K value, pH value) characteristics were studied. Silver carp were subjected to following treatments: left untreated (CK), treated with 1.8% salt (S) and 1.8% salt incorporating 1.8% sucrose (S+S). Curing treatments predominantly increased IMP content, WHC and texture parameters, retarded cooking loss and discoloration compared with untreated samples. The highest IMP concentration measured in S and S+S all occurred at 4 h, which was prior to that of CK (48 h). K value of S+S did not follow a linear relationship with time. The results indicated that the best eating times of CK, S and S+S were 2, 4 and 4 h at 4 °C, respectively, and curing treatments improved the quality of silver carp during postmortem process.