Who doesn’t love a good spread of grilled burgers, macaroni salad, potato salad, veggies and dip, egg salad, and chicken salad during a summer picnic? Friends and family gather around and fill their plates with deliciousness, but now your kitchen has all of those leftovers. So, how long does chicken salad last, and is it safe to keep in the fridge or freezer?
While store-bought salads from the deli have a sell by date, homemade chicken salad does not, and several factors determine the expiration date. What are the salad ingredients, and how long has the cooked chicken been sitting at room temperature?
Unfortunately, leftover chicken or tuna salad has a quick expiration date, especially if you prepare it with a dairy-based salad dressing.
It’s vital to use food safety measures when storing these types of salads, but there are some ways to extend their shelf life to enjoy them at a later date.
Ways to Store Chicken Salad for Short and Long Term
We all know that recipes that contain meat and dairy products do not last as long as other dishes, especially if they aren’t refrigerated. And, eating spoiled food often leads to disaster. But, how long does chicken salad stay fresh on the counter?
Keeping chicken salad fresh in the fridge is the way to go to prevent spoilage, just like you can keep vegetables fresh longer in the fridge, but there are ways to keep your salad from going bad while it sits out at room temperature.
Not only that, but it’s also easy to freeze chicken salad to keep it even longer, depending on the ingredients.
How Long Does Chicken Salad Stay Fresh at Room Temperature?
Having a get-together and filling the kitchen table with an array of food is common in many families. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to know if the leftovers are still safe to eat. How long does chicken salad stay fresh when it’s sitting out at room temperature?
How long does egg salad last without refrigeration? What about chicken salad and other salads? As a rule of thumb, anything containing cooked food can only sit out at room temperature for two hours. However, there are a few ways around this if you intend on spending the afternoon outdoors for a picnic.
Keep your chicken salad in a container with a lid, and do not open it until it’s time to eat. Keep the salad in an insulated bag or cooler with enough ice to keep it cold, or set the container in a large bowl of ice to keep it fresh.
Keeping Chicken Salad Fresh in the Fridge
Refrigeration is the best way to keep perishables from spoiling, but how long does chicken salad last in the fridge? We’ll show you how to make chicken salad last longer and discuss its shelf life.
Keeping chicken salad fresh in the fridge is the right option if you do not plan on consuming it within a couple of hours. If your salad is store-bought or homemade, scoop it into an airtight container and seal the lid in place to prevent odor absorption.
Set the salad near the back of the fridge where the temperatures are at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and use it within five days for optimal freshness.
When you store most veggies in the refrigerator, keep lettuce fresh in your fridge in the crisper drawer for the longest storage time.
How Long Does Chicken Salad Last in the Freezer?
The freezer is ideal for storing many foods, from leftover casseroles to ground beef and chicken breasts.
Unfortunately, not all salads are suitable for freezing due to moisture content or ingredients. However, some chicken salads are perfect for the freezer and last up to three months.
Salads that contain dairy are not suitable for freezing since these dressings tend to separate during the process, and the thawed result does not have the same original texture.
If your salad contains celery, this veggie often loses its crunchy texture while freezing, and you probably won’t enjoy it at a later date.
However, most other ingredients in chicken salad are good candidates for the freezer. To freeze the salad, scoop it into a large airtight container or freezer bags for single servings. Seal the container or bag shut and place it on the freezer shelf.
Making the Best Chicken Salad for Storing in the Fridge or Freezer
While everyone has a go-to recipe for picnic dishes, some do not hold up well to the freezing process. Here is our favorite chicken salad recipe that stores well in both the fridge and freezer.
Cut the cooked chicken breast into chunks and place them into a food processor with the onion and relish. Pulse it to incorporate the ingredients without pureeing them.
Pour the chicken, onion, and relish mixture into a large bowl and add the Miracle Whip and mustard. While Miracle Whip has a little more carbohydrates than mayonnaise, it holds up better to freezing.
Stir everything together, and then add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the chicken salad into an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to five days. If you cannot eat it right away, place the container in the freezer and use it within three months.
To thaw the salad, transfer it from the freezer to the fridge and let it sit overnight. Consider adding freshly chopped celery or onion to the salad after thawing it for a little extra crunch.
All types of food have an expiration date, and knowing how long your homemade or deli salad lasts is key to enjoying the tastiest and safest leftovers. Fortunately, refrigerating, freezing, and thawing chicken salad is easy, as long as you use the right methods.
How long does chicken salad last and what’s the best way to store it are common questions, and we hope our answers keep your recipe tasting fresh and delicious, so why not share our chicken salad storage guide with your family and friends on Pinterest and Facebook?