How Long Does Chicken Salad Last: A Comprehensive Answer

Chicken salad in a plate with cherry tomatoes on the side

Chicken salad is one of the best side dishes out there, but it rarely gets all eaten in one meal. We should be careful not to make too much of it if it is a side dish.

The result? Well, a ton of leftovers and the question “how long does chicken salad last”.

If you’re wondering how long you can leave chicken salad sitting out or how long it can last in the freezer, then read on!

How Long Can Chicken Salad Sit Out?

Most salads can sit out at room temperature for about two hours and still be safe to eat. If kept above 90° F, such as a picnic outdoors in summer, they can last up to an hour.

This applies to salads containing leafy greens (for example, lettuce, spinach, and kale) as well as salads made with cooked foods including potato salad, egg salad, and chicken salad.

When it comes to chicken salad (or any other salad made with cooked foods) the United States Department of Agriculture emphasizes that we shouldn’t eat it if it’s been allowed to sit out at room temperature for two hours or longer (or one hour above 90° F).

The danger lies in the rapid growth of bacteria in cooked foods kept between 40° F and 140° F.

If you’re packing a salad for lunch, eat it within two hours of leaving home or pack it with ice or a frozen gel pack.

How Long does it last in the Fridge?

Fridge with an open door in the dark

The exact answer to this question varies according to the storage conditions. It’s best to store your chicken salad in the fridge within an hour or two from preparation or purchase.

Keep it in airtight containers to ensure it stays safe for as long as possible. Under proper storage conditions, it can last from 3 to 5 days in the fridge.

Chopped or cooked vegetables and mayonnaise can easily last for up to 5 days, given it’s kept in a low-moisture environment, in an airtight container, in the fridge.

Note that the nutritional value of vegetables will be compromised after two to three days.

As for the cooked chicken, it’s best not to eat it after sitting in the fridge for three days or more.

How Long Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?

It can stay safe for a few months in the freezer, or even longer. But the decreased quality past the first month is arguably not worth it.

Wrap Up

So how long does chicken salad last? Well, that depends. If it’s sitting out, then two hours (or one hour if the temperature is above 90 ° F). If you keep it refrigerated, you have about 3 to 5 days . Finally, if you freeze it, then it can last for a few months.