How long can you keep chicken salad in the refrigerator?

How long can you keep chicken salad in the refrigerator?


Chicken salad is a popular dish that combines cooked chicken with various ingredients like mayonnaise, vegetables, and seasonings. It is a versatile and delicious option for sandwiches, wraps, or as a standalone dish. However, like any perishable food item, it is essential to know how long you can keep chicken salad in the refrigerator to ensure food safety and maintain its quality.

How long can you keep chicken salad in the refrigerator?

The shelf life of chicken salad in the refrigerator depends on several factors, including the ingredients used, storage conditions, and proper handling. Here are some guidelines to help you determine how long you can keep chicken salad in the refrigerator:

1. Homemade chicken salad: If you prepare chicken salad at home using cooked chicken, mayonnaise, and other ingredients, it can typically be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. It is important to note that the quality and taste may start to deteriorate after the third day, so it is best to consume it within this time frame.

2. Store-bought chicken salad: If you purchase pre-packaged chicken salad from a store, it is crucial to check the label for the manufacturer’s recommended storage guidelines. Generally, store-bought chicken salad has a shorter shelf life compared to homemade versions. It is advisable to consume it within 2 to 3 days of opening the package.

3. Leftover chicken salad: If you have leftover chicken salad from a meal, it is important to refrigerate it promptly. Place it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator within 2 hours of preparation. Leftover chicken salad can typically be safely consumed within 3 to 4 days if stored properly.

Tips for storing chicken salad

To maximize the shelf life and maintain the quality of chicken salad, here are some tips for storing it in the refrigerator:

1. Proper storage container: Use an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag to store chicken salad. This helps to prevent the absorption of odors from other foods and keeps the salad fresh.

2. Refrigerator temperature: Ensure that your refrigerator is set at a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below. This temperature range helps to slow down the growth of bacteria and maintain the freshness of the chicken salad.

3. Avoid cross-contamination: Store chicken salad away from raw meats or other potentially contaminated foods in the refrigerator. This helps to prevent cross-contamination and reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses.

4. Do not freeze: While you can freeze cooked chicken, mayonnaise-based salads like chicken salad do not freeze well. Freezing can cause the mayonnaise to separate, resulting in a watery and unappetizing texture when thawed.


In conclusion, chicken salad can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days if it is homemade, 2 to 3 days if it is store-bought, and 3 to 4 days for leftover chicken salad. It is important to follow proper storage guidelines, including using airtight containers, maintaining refrigerator temperature, and avoiding cross-contamination. Always use your judgment and discard chicken salad that appears spoiled or has an off smell. By practicing proper food safety measures, you can enjoy delicious and safe chicken salad.


– United States Department of Agriculture:
– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: