How Long Does Tuna Salad Last In The Fridge?

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Wondering how long tuna salad will last? You’ve come to the right place! Here’s everything you need to know, plus storage tips.

Isn’t tuna salad the best?! It’s such a great meal especially in the summer. My family loves it!

Have you ever made tuna salad and left it out on the counter on accident? Or it’s been in the fridge and you don’t know if it’s still safe to eat?

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Well, there’s no need to panic. I’ll answer all of your questions! Plus, I’ll show you the best storage tips, how to make tuna salad last longer, and how to know if it’s still safe to eat.

Tuna salad on a lettuce wrap on a cutting board with a slice of wheat bread next to it.

How Long Does Tuna Salad Last?

So, actually how long is the shelf life of tuna salad? Homemade tuna salad, store-bought tuna salad, and canned tuna fish should all be kept in an airtight container in the fridge once you make it or open it. It will be good for 3 to 5 days like this.

If your tuna salad contains dairy products like yogurt, it will only last for 2-3 days in the fridge before the ingredients starts to separate. If the tuna salad uses mayonnaise instead, it would be good for up to 5 days in the fridge.

Are you curious and you don’t want to just take my word for it? Make a big batch of tuna salad. Put it in the fridge and study it every day. Watch and see what happens! Then you’ll know exactly how long your tuna salad lasts.

Also, an unopened can of tuna can last much longer than it’s best-by date as long as there’s no bulging or dents on it. It will last indefinitely if you don’t see any.

If you’re having a party and tuna salad is sitting out at room temperature, it will only be good for up to 2 hours. If you’re having a party that lasts longer than an hour or two, bring the tuna salad out in shifts. Keep half of it in the fridge while the other half is out for your guests to eat.

After it’s eaten, bring the second half out. That will allow you to to serve tuna salad longer than 2 hours and you won’t make your guests sick.

How To Store Tuna Salad

Tuna salad should be put in the fridge within two hours of making or buying it. USDA guidelines say it can only be at room temperature for that long. If it’s 90 degrees or hotter, it will only be good for up to one hour. This is because bacteria growth is faster in warm temperatures.

If it’s left out longer than that, you should throw it away. Bacteria can grow very quickly if the tuna salad is between the temperatures 40 degrees to 140 degree Fahrenheit. You can use a fridge thermometer to check the temperature of your fridge.

Three tuna salad sandwiches cut diagonally on a plate.

Tuna Salad Storing Tips

Here are the best tuna salad storage tips!

  • The best way to store tuna salad is in a shallow airtight glass container in the fridge.
  • When tuna salad is in the fridge, put it in the coldest part. For me, that’s the lowest shelf in the fridge, because cold air sinks. This will help keep it fresh!
  • Put your tuna salad in the back of the fridge. The front of the fridge will be warmer.
  • It’s best to keep tuna salad in the container you bought it in.
  • You can wrap tuna salad in heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
  • If you thaw tuna salad in cold water or if you thaw it in the microwave, make sure you eat it immediately.

How To Make Tuna Salad Last Longer

The first thing you should do when buying tuna salad is to buy or make the best quality you can! Use albacore tuna. This will help it taste the best and last the longest.

If you have leftover tuna salad, you can freeze it, but it usually isn’t good to. Frozen tuna salads don’t always turn out. If it has dairy products in it, it will separate when frozen and change the consistency of the salad.

You might be able to just stir it and get it back to a good consistency. Like I said before about testing how long your tuna salad recipe lasts, you can always test it to see if it freezes well.

Start with freezing just one serving to see how it does. You don’t want to waste a lot of food if it doesn’t work out! It might be best to eat it as tuna salad sandwiches after freezing it.

If you try freezing your tuna salad and you don’t like it, try freezing the ingredients other than the sauce and/or veggies. You should get great results freezing it that way! You could also try freezing tuna casserole.

Tuna salad will last in the freezer for 6-9 months. If the tuna salad is still completely frozen, it will still be good much longer than that. Keep in mind, the longer it’s in there, the more likely it could get freezer burn.

Freezing things just puts a pause on it’s freshness. It will actually last indefinitely if it’s frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be it’s best within 2-3 months of putting it in the freezer.

Freeze tuna salad in airtight plastic containers, airtight freezer containers, freezer-safe containers, or a heavy-duty freezer bag. You could also use a vacuum sealer to get all of the oxygen out. If it’s unopened, you can also freeze it in its original packaging.

A closeup of tuna salad in a colorful bowl.

How To Tell If Tuna Salad Is Bad

It’s a good idea to make sure there are no signs of spoilage before you eat it! Here are some steps to make sure tuna salad is still safe to eat.

  1. The first step is to always check the best-by date or the expiration date. It might still be good after that though.
  2. Second, look at the tuna salad. Does it still look normal and fresh? That’s what you want it to look like. If it looks anything other than that, don’t eat it.
  3. The next thing to do is to smell it. Does it smell weird? If it does, don’t eat it. If the tuna salad smells like normal, move on to the next step.
  4. Then, touch it. How does it feel? Does it feel like tuna salad normally does? If it feels weird, again don’t eat it. Bacteria will have started to break down the tuna salad. It would make you sick if you ate it.
  5. If it sits on the counter for more than two hours or in the fridge longer than five days.
  6. If you do these five steps and everything looks okay, it should be safe to eat.
  7. You can always call a professional to make sure it’s safe to eat.

Don’t taste tuna salad to make sure it’s safe. It could be in the danger zone. You could get food poisoning! Just remember, when it doubt, throw it out! You don’t want to bad tuna salad.

How Bad Tuna Salad Affects You

You can get food poisoning from bacteria in the tuna salad if it has been out for too long. The quality of the tuna salad will lessen and it won’t be safe to eat.

Eating bad tuna salad could also make you:

  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach Cramps Or Abdominal Cramps
  • Vomit
  • Nauseous

Not to scare you, but in some rare cases, it could kill you. Just don’t eat tuna salad that looks iffy, okay?


Can I eat tuna salad after 5 days?

Yes, you most likely can eat tuna salad after 5 days. That is the last day tuna salad would be safe to eat as long as it looks and smells good. If you don’t eat it on the fifth day, you need to throw it out. Eating it could make you very sick.

How long is tuna and mayo good for in fridge?

Tuna salad will be good to eat for 3-5 days in the fridge if it’s in an airtight container. Always smell it, look at it, and check it first before you eat it. It could make you very sick if you eat tuna salad that’s gone bad.

Is tuna good after 4 days?

For the most part, tuna will be good in your fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days. So yes, tuna is good after 4 days. Don’t eat it after 5 days. It could give you dehydration, diarrhea, stomach cramps, or make you vomit or nauseous.

Can I eat a 2 day tuna sandwich?

You most likely can eat a 2 day tuna sandwich. It probably won’t make you sick. Always check tuna to see if there’s any mold or discoloration on it. Smell it to make sure it smells like normal, too and doesn’t have a strong smell. If there’s any change in it, don’t eat it. You don’t want to get sick from eating bad tuna sandwiches.

A closeup of tuna salad on top of a cucumber.

The Bottom Line

Tuna salad is delicious! If you don’t eat it all in one sitting, I’m sure you don’t want to waste it.

But when does tuna salad go bad? It will be good in your fridge for 3-5 days after you make or buy it at a grocery store.

Always check the tuna salad for any signs of mold or discoloration. Smell it to see if there’s a unpleasant odor. Touch it to make sure it smells like it normally does.

If you have any doubt about it, don’t eat it. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Always remember when in doubt, throw it out!

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