We’ve all been there! We prepared some homemade chicken salad to take to a party that we just made too much of. At the time we just put it in the refrigerator and didn’t think about it.
Then we see it a few days later and wonder to ourselves, how long is chicken salad good for?
In this article, we’ll answer that question along with a few more you might have regarding proper storage conditions for your leftover chicken salad.
How long does chicken salad last?
When properly stored, chicken salad lasts between 3-5 days in a refrigerator in an airtight container.
The big limiting factor here is actually cooked chicken in the chicken salad. Generally, you wouldn’t want to eat cooked chicken that was in the fridge for more than 3 days, right?
Well, the same general rule applies to chicken salad. Although you might store chicken in the fridge for 3 days, you probably don’t store it in an airtight container.
So if your chicken salad is on day 5 and you’re eyeing it, as long as it was put away shortly after preparing it and as long as it’s been in the fridge in an airtight container since then, it’s probably fine.
Still, it’s always a good idea to do a smell test before eating something that’s been in the fridge for a few days! The last thing you want is to experience food poisoning from some old chicken salad ingredients.
There are several factors that affect the shelf life of chicken salad.
Your chicken salad shelf life is only as good as the ingredients in it. Meaning that if all of the ingredients are good except for one, it’s all still ruined.
Chicken Salad Preparation
How you prepare food affects its shelf life.
For example, if you don’t fully cook chicken for your chicken salad, then you add vegetables and mayonnaise, then it doesn’t matter how fresh the other ingredients are or how fancy your airtight containers are, your chicken salad will go bad.
The undercooked chicken will react with the dairy and veggies and there’ll be bacterial growth in your food that will produce a rotten smell.
You can smell bad chicken salad a mile away because of the sour smell that old chicken salad develops over time.
High moisture content causes food to go bad faster than normal.
If you prepare your chicken salad using homemade ingredients and then within two hours store it in an airtight food storage container, your leftover salad will be in the best possible shape to maintain freshness and be delicious days later.
However, the nightmare scenario is if your chicken salad is store-bought, close to its expiry dates or past the sell date, was prepared with dairy-based dressing and lime juice, left out on a hot summer day, and then wrapped in aluminum foil or generic plastic wrap and placed in the refrigerator!
You can easily see how one scenario will have chicken salad last a long time and in the other scenario will have the chicken salad lasts maybe for the day.
Ingredients used in chicken salad
Of course, chicken is the main ingredient in chicken salad. Many chicken salad recipes also have salad dressing, mayonnaise, miracle whip, Greek yogurt, dried fruits, nuts, grapes, apples, and crunchy veggies.
How long will your chicken salad last?
I can’t give you an exact answer, but if your ingredients are fresh and your food storage conditions are good, then your chicken salad will last a pretty long in the fridge (closer to the 5-day shelf life) and will taste just like you just made it.
How do I tell if chicken salad is bad?
Do you think your homemade chicken salad has gone bad?
If it has an unpleasant smell or an off odor, then you shouldn’t take a chance on it.
Because chicken salads combine poultry, watery fruits and veggies, and mayonnaise, then they tend to build up bacteria pretty quickly if not stored properly.
How do I store homemade chicken salad?
The refrigerated shelf life of chicken salad depends on how its ingredients and how it’s stored.
There are two things that you need in order to store chicken salad: refrigerators and containers that are airtight.
If you have and use both of these then you’ll give yourself the best chance of keeping your chicken salad fresh for those 5 days.
How long does chicken salad last at room temperature?
This can be a tricky question because it depends on so many variables!
In general, I would recommend you eat it the same day, whether it be one hour later or a few hours later.
Remember that mayonnaise is usually the main ingredient for all kinds of chicken salads, and this tends to go bad in the heat pretty quickly.
Can I freeze chicken salad?
How long does chicken salad last in the freezer?
Good question! If your container is airtight and your chicken salad was put away pretty quickly after being made then your chicken salad might last up to 3 months in the freezer.
I wouldn’t recommend freezing chicken salad because thawed chicken salad does not have a nice taste or please consistency at all. It’s actually pretty gross and you’ll end up with a soggy chicken salad!
So how long does chicken salad last? As you can see, there are a lot of variables to that.
The exact time varies, however, 3-5 days is the generally accepted time for how long chicken salad is good for in a well-stored container.
We hope that you enjoyed this article!