How Long Is Tuna Salad Good For? ANSWERED

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Ever wondered how long you can leave you tuna salad sitting in the fridge for? Or you are planning an occasion and need to know how long you can leave the salad out for without spoiling? This is your complete guide to how long you can leave your tuna salad before it goes bad, and the best way to store it in order to get the most out of your tuna salad.

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tuna salad

Table of Contents

How Long Is Tuna Good For In The Fridge?

We already know storing salad in the fridge extends its shelf life. Tuna salad is no different.

If stored in the fridge, the shelf life of tuna salad can last up to 5 days.

According to USDA regulations, tuna salad must be stored below a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius).

As per USDA regulations, temperatures ranging between 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 60 degrees Celsius) are known as the ‘danger zone’. This is because bacteria grows quickest within this range.

In order to avoid this, it is recommended that food is stored in the fridge at a temperature below 4 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help to slow the growth of bacteria.

Fresh Tuna vs Canned Tuna

The type of tuna you are using for your tuna salad will also determine the length of time in which your tuna salad will last for.

If you are using fresh tuna for your tuna salad, your tuna salad will only last for 2 days after the date of purchase, regardless of when you actually made the tuna salad.

On the other hand, if the tuna you are using is from a can, it should last up to 3 days, if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

The absolute maximum number of days you can consume your salad after making is 5 days. You should only do this if you have prepared your salad using high-quality ingredients, and using freshly opened canned tuna.

After 5 days, it is important that you through the tuna salad out. Not only does the tuna go bad, but you must think of the other ingredients that are in your salad. Mayonnaise, celery and onions also have a shelf-life. Once exposed to air while you are making your salad, this starts the clock on how long they will last.

Maybe you are wanting to extend the life of your salad. For example you are making a big batch of tuna salad on a Sunday for the week ahead. Make sure you use fresh ingredients which are high-quality. This will extend the shelf life of your tuna salad.

How Long Is Tuna Salad Good For?

How Long Is Tuna Salad Good For At Room Temperature?

Once you have taken your tuna salad out of the fridge, you should really have consumed it after 2 hours. If you are making your tuna salad for an occasion which has a longer serving time, it is recommended that you store your tuna salad in batches.

You can then take they salad out of the fridge when you need it. This will help to keep your tuna salad not only tasting fresh but keeps it cool, improving the taste.

Both fish and mayonnaise can spoil quite easily. Both of these ingredients do not belong out of the fridge for periods longer than 2 hours, according to the USDA guidelines. Of course, the temperature at which the room your food in also plays a big role in this.

If the room temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, your tuna should be left out for no longer than 1 hour.

How Do You Tell If Your Tuna Has Gone Bad?

There are a few different ways in which you can tell if your tuna has gone bad. Eating bad tuna can make you really sick, so it is really not worth the hassle!

If your tuna is showing any of these signs, it is safest to just throw it out.


Color is a good place to start. If you see any signs of your tuna turning green, or you see dark brown or black streaks through its meat, put it in the bin.

Tuna salad should look like a bright pink, or it can look grayish due to the mayonnaise. Be sure to check throughout the tuna salad before eating for any telltale signs that the salad has gone bad.


Tuna already has quite a strong odor, much like many fish. People often find it difficult to decipher if tuna is gone bad from smell alone.

Saying that, if there is a pungent odor, or the fishy smell has gotten considerably stronger, you are best to get rid of the tuna immediately.

Time Since Preparation

If it has been over 5 days since you have prepared your tuna salad, then no matter if there’s no smell or color, it is time to put your salad in the bin.

It is no longer safe to eat after 5 days.

 tuna salad with potatoes, tomatoes, spinach and green beans sprinkled with smoked paprika seasoning

Tips on How To Safely Store Your Tuna Salad in The Fridge

Below I have listed some tips on how to safely store your tuna salad in the fridge. If you follow these tricks, you will be able to extend the life of you salad and keep it fresh tasting for the full 5 days after preparation!

  1. The best way to store a tuna salad is by keeping your ingredients separate, so that the oil from the tuna fish does not ruin your leafy ingredients. Store your tuna separately, with one airtight container containing the salad, and another containing any leaves or vegetables. If you have a dressing on your tuna salad, I recommend you keep this part separate too as oil, mustard, or vinegar can spoil both the veg and the tuna if left for too long.
  2. Make sure you store your tuna salad in an airtight container, seal plastic container, or glass container with lid. This will prevent the ingredients from oxidizing quickly which causes food to go bad more quickly. Make sure you store all ingredients below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius).
  3. Store your airtight container at the back of the fridge. This is where the coldest air tends to sit. This will help to prevent bacteria from growing on your food, as the temperature is kept below the danger zone, keeping your food for longer.
  4. You can extend the shelf life of your tuna salad by avoiding a build up of condensation inside your air tight container. This can be achieved by placing a piece of paper towel inside the lid of your airtight container. The piece of paper with catch any excess moisture and keeping it away from coming in contact with the tuna.
  5. It is very good practice to label the contents of your plastic containers. Particularly if you label your container with the date, as this serves as a good reminder of when you prepared the salad and when it needs to be used by.
  6. Try to keep your tuna salad away from other foodstuff you have in the refrigerator. For example other meats, particularly uncooked ones. This will help to avoid any cross contamination.
How Long Is Tuna Salad Good For?

How Long Can Tuna Salad Be Kept In The Freezer For?

You can safely store tuna salad in the freezer for up to 6 months. Freezing tuna salad will maintain the same flavor and texture to your tuna salad. But if you have added leaves to your tuna salad, it may not hold as well. This is because salad leaves do not freeze very well.

There are still some things that need to be considered when you freeze tuna salad:

  1. Make sure you completely thaw your tuna salad before serving. It is important to completely thaw out your tuna before eating, as this allows the flavors of your salad to blend nicely. Tuna salad tends to get lumpy after it has defrosted. Therefore, it is important to ensure it is completely thawed before eating.
  2. You should ensure the temperature of your freezer stays constant while your tuna salad is in the freezer. If not, ice crystals can form within the tuna salad, which makes it difficult to serve and changes the structure of the food once thawed. Avoid opening the door of your freezer for long periods.
  3. Make sure you pack your tuna salad tightly. This will minimize the space between the layers of your tuna salad. It’ll also reduce the amount of air within the container, helping it to last for longer.


Is Tuna Good After 4 Days?

If you are using canned tuna, your tuna salad should last for 3 to 5 days if you keep it stored in the fridge.

How Do You Know If Tuna Is Bad?

Tuna that has gone bad will usually have dark brown streaks through it, or it may appear black. Any discoloration like this will mean your tuna has gone bad. There will be a distinct bad fishy smell from your tuna too. If in doubt, throw it out – it is not worth your health!

Does Tuna Salad Freeze Well?

Tuna fish will not only freeze well (up to 3 months), but it retains its texture nicely once it has thaws! You may find it is better to keep frozen tuna in small batches so you can use them as you please. If you were to practice this, you wont experience any texture change. You can definitely try to freeze tuna salad for yourself to ensure a longer shelf life.

Chicken meat with herbs salad top view

How Long Does Tuna Salad Last For? Your Questions Answered!

So now you know how to extend the life of your tuna salad for as long as possible! While you shouldn’t eat your tuna salad after 5 days, there are many ways in which you can ensure that your salad shelf life will stay good for those 5 days.

The best thing to do, like storing scallops or other seafood, is making sure they’re sealed tight in the back of the fridge!

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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