How Long Does Tuna Salad Last in the Fridge? Answered (2023)

Tuna salad is one of the best recipes to whip up on a workday. It is quick to make and delicious.

But, How long does tuna salad last in the fridge before it starts showing signs of spoilage?

Let’s take a look.

Tuna salad should not stay out of the refrigerator. When refrigerated, it will be edible for 3 to 5 days. If it has been on the counter for more than 2 hours, discarding it is best. There are a lot more factors to determine the shelf life of tuna.

Let’s get into the details below.

How Long is Tuna Salad Good For?

The USDA offers clear guidelines for tuna salad consumption. If you have homemade or store-bought tuna salad, you can enjoy it for 3 to 5 days if refrigerated. If the salad has been out for more than 2 hours, I would say do a double-check right away..

1. Yogurt or Dairy-Based Dressing

If you consume tuna salad after the first 5 days, you can risk food poisoning. If the salad includes yogurt or similar dairy products that can separate over time, it will not taste good after 2 – 3 days. The same holds for home-made salad dressings.

2. Mayo or Ranch

Have store-bought salad dressing like ranch or mayo? In that case, they won’t separate and should retain their quality for 5 whole days, given it is stored well. It is always a good idea to test dressing choices to understand which yields better results. I have discovered that playing around with the kind and amount of dressings gives you an idea about the best quantity and quality.

How Should You Store Tuna Salad?

How you should store tuna salad depends on when you plan to eat it. If you are going to consume it in a few minutes, there is no need to worry, of course. You can leave it on the counter and get to it in a few. However, if you want to prepare breakfast for the next day, refrigeration is the way forward.

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tuna salad with veggies

How Long Does Tuna Salad Last in the Fridge?

I always refrigerate tuna salad in airtight containers, regardless of whether it is home-made or store-bought. Push it towards the back of the fridge shelf if you tend to open and close the fridge often. You want a stable temperature while storing any tuna dish.

If there is a lot of salad, and you do not plan to finish it in a go, use a clean spoon. You can scoop out however much is needed and toss the rest back into the fridge. Do not let your salad stay at room temperature. If anyone wants some extra helpings, grab the container and scoop out more to the plate with a clean spoon.

Also Read: How Long Do Limes Last in the Fridge?

How Long Does Tuna Salad Last In the Freezer?

Whether freezing is a good idea depends on the ingredients of the salad. There’s a possibility that your crispy vegetables will turn watery and limp if frozen. Not to mention, dairy products and dressings can separate. You could still probably stir it around a few times and enjoy a meal out of it.

I suggest freezing a single serving for a few days in an airtight container. This will give you an idea about what to expect with your specific brand and amount of dressing. I can tell you it won’t be the freshest tuna salad you have had, so be prepared to toss it into the bin after a taste test.

How to Know If Tuna Salad Has Gone Bad?

Whether tuna salad has gone bad depends on how fresh the tuna and the vegetables were, which dressing you used, and how well it was stored. But sometimes, it might still be hard to gauge if your salad is safe for consumption. Here are the tell-tale signs you should look for:

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1. Mold or Discoloration

There’s nothing much to salvage if any food item becomes a breeding ground for mold. The same holds for tuna salad. If you notice any dark area or discolored spots on the salad, chances are that mold is growing on it. The salad should not be consumed once that happens.

2. Foul Odor

Getting a funky or sour odor emitting from tuna salad? Take a slight whiff, and if things seem awry, toss it right out without a second thought. If the salad has been sitting in the fridge for some time now and smells off, do not wait around to do a taste test. 

In general, do not consume it if it has been sitting on the counter for over 2 hours. Even if the taste were not off, the quality would have certainly dipped. Any change in taste or texture is bad news.

tuna salad and avocados

Why Is Spoiled Tuna Salad Bad?

Spoiled tuna can cause a plethora of health issues which you can do without. There’s no bravery in risking food poisoning. And you will get food poisoning if you consume spoiled tuna salad. Symptoms could range from stomach cramps and vomiting to diarrhea. 

Also Read: Does Coffee Creamer Go Bad?

All in all, it is not a good experience, and you are better off avoiding tuna salad if it seems iffy. Trust your sense of sight and smell, and you should be good to go.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How long is tuna with mayo good for in the fridge?

Ans. While mayo does not separate as soon as curd or similar dairy dressings, there is still a shelf life for tuna with mayo. According to the US Department of Agriculture, you can store cooked tuna in mayo in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Q2. Is it OK to eat tuna 3 days a week?

Ans. Tuna is an incredibly nutritious fish packed with healthy fats, proteins, and vitamins. But it is still not safe to consume every day. According to the FDA, adults should stick to 3 to 5 ounces or 85 to 140 grams of tuna at most 2 to 3 times a week. This will provide you with enough omega-3 fatty acids and similar nutritious elements.

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Q3. Why is there mercury in tuna?

Ans. Mercury accumulates in tuna in an especially toxic version- methyl mercury. This form refers to the mercury released by coal-fired power plants and such industrial or natural sources like volcanoes. The good thing is it is easy to pick lower-mercury fishes with omega-3 fatty acids in abundance.

Q4. Does cooking tuna remove mercury?

Ans. There is no method of cleaning or cooking fish that will bring down the mercury content of fish. But cooking does remove bacteria present in fish. This is why pregnant women should not eat raw fish and instead err more toward cooked fish.

Q5. How do I detox mercury from my body?

Ans. Chelation therapy is one of the most common methods to treat mercury poisoning. This involves medications called chelators that bind the body’s mercury and help it exit your body. You can consume chelators as pills or injections.

The Bottom Line

If you like making the week’s breakfast in advance, tuna salad might not be the best idea. I suggest storing it for 3 days at most, following which the quality takes a hit. There is no point in risking food poisoning in an attempt to make your job easy. 

Always buy fresh tuna, store it well, and make salads only when you plan to eat them sometime soon. Do not plan much ahead with salads. Having said that, tuna salad is still one of the most delicious recipes you can whip up with some tuna, so do not give up on it.

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Melissa Baker

Melissa Baker

I am a food lover and the founder of FoodQueries. I have years of experience when it comes to food. I have been cooking since childhood and I know a thing or two about storing, cooking and freezing food in the right way.