How Long Does Tuna Salad Last?

Tuna is a popular food dish in the United States, and it always has been. Whether it’s tuna casserole or tuna salad, everyone loves snacking on tuna.

Canned tuna is the second most popular seafood in the United States, only behind shrimp. According to extensive research, Americans consume around 1 billion pounds of tuna each year.

Tuna salad is a popular dish, and it has been since the 70s. It is the perfect comfort food that is easy to prepare and healthy to consume. People often prepare them for parties or family dinners. If you are reading this article, it means you have prepared it as well and are looking for some answers.

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How long does tuna salad last? What is the right way to store a tuna salad?

To answer the big question, a tuna salad will last 4-5 days in your refrigerator. However, if the salad contains yogurt or mayonnaise, the time decreases to 2-3 days.

Why Should You Store Tuna Salad At 40F Or Below?

When we store food, it can lead to the formation of bacteria in the food. The bacteria, when consumed, can cause foodborne illness. Two different types of bacterias can generate in stored food- pathogenic and spoilage.

Spoilage bacteria are visible to the eyes as they spoil the stored food entirely. On the other hand, the pathogenic bacteria are not visible and cause no change in the food’s taste and texture.

However, if consumed, they can cause foodborne illness. In this situation, the 40F and below temperature comes handy. Experts say that bacteria’s growth stunts at 40F or lower temperatures.

So, if you don’t want foodborne illness and don’t like spoilt tuna salad, store it at 40F or below temperature. For that matter, if you are storing any food for long periods, make sure to keep the temperature under 40F.

How Long Can Tuna Salad Stay Out Of The Refrigerator?

Tuna salad tastes better when made fresh, and it can go bad quickly if kept out of the refrigerator. We suggest you make the exact amount required, and if you have any leftovers, keep them inside the refrigerator.

Furthermore, if the salad stays on the serving table or kitchen counter for more than two hours, it will go bad, and you should throw it away.

The reason for this small time window is mayonnaise and fish. These two ingredients do not do well in lower temperatures and go bad very quickly. So, if you have made tuna salad, keep it inside the fridge and take it out only when you want to eat.

How To Know If Tuna Salad Is Spoiled?

As you may have already read above, tuna salad doesn’t last too long if not stored in the right way. If left out in the open for more than two hours, it will go bad. However, it can go bad for any other reason, even if you stored it the right way.

Here are the signs that your tuna salad is spoiled:

  • Discolored Spots: If you see dark or discolored spots that look like mold in your salad, you need to throw it out. It is spoilt and would cause severe illness of consumed.
  • Odor: Often, the best way to judge if a food has gone bad or not is to smell it. If the food gives off a weird odor, it is gone bad. Similarly, if your tuna salad does not smell the way it should, it is spoilt.
  • Taste: If the salad looks and smells fine, you should taste a pinch to make sure it is good. When the salad spoils, the taste of the mayonnaise and the tuna will change instantly. If it looks fine but tastes different, it is better to be cautious and avoid eating the salad.
  • Salad Life: A tuna salad will go bad if it sits outside the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. Similarly, if the salad has been sitting in your refrigerator for more than five days, it’s already spoilt, you should throw it out.


Can Tuna Salad Be Frozen?

Yes, just like other salads and food items, you can freeze tuna salad for later use. However, there are a few things you should consider before you freeze your tuna salad.


If you are making a tuna salad just to store it and consume it later on, avoid using mayonnaise and vegetables in the salad.

The mayonnaise will break completely when you thaw the salad and ruin the overall texture of the salad. The vegetables will go limpish and make the whole salad seem watery.

If you do not choose to add these ingredients after thawing the salad, then make sure to stir the salad after thawing. Doing this will rescue the mayonnaise and the vegetables to some extent.


A very important thing when freezing your leftover tuna salad is to make sure you store it the right way. Firstly, make sure you put the salad into an air-tight container or freezing bag.

If there is any air inside the container, there is a chance of bacteria formation and the salad going bad.


When you are ready to consume your frozen tuna salad, you will need to thaw it. You might be tempted to put it into warm or freshwater to speed up the thawing but avoid doing that. Just leave it in the refrigerator overnight for slow and steady thawing.

The best practice is to try and freeze a small amount of tuna salad as a trial run. After thawing it, if you feel the results are acceptable and the salad is good enough to eat, you can store and freeze more tuna salad.


We hope we answered your question about how long does tuna salad last. And also tried to provide some useful tips about tuna salad that will be helpful. We hope we were of some help to you. Feel free to reach back for any queries and stay tuned for more similar content.

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About the author

Natalie is a food enthusiast who spends all of her time trying out new recipes, testing out new appliances, and making her kitchen as awesome as possible. She is a professional writer and blogs here about her love of food & kitchen.

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