How Long Chicken Salad Will Last In The Fridge

Chicken salad made with shredded chicken, creamy mayonnaise, tangy mustard, and vegetables like red onion and celery is a delicious and effortless snack or lunch. You might like to eat it on its own by the spoonful, with crackers for crunch, or on a sandwich with lettuce and tomato. With all of that flavor, you certainly don't want any leftovers to turn bad. Generally, chicken salad will only last three to five days, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

You must store the chicken salad in the fridge to maintain its freshness. As a refresher, the fridge should be set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below per the USDA. This will ensure bacteria or mold doesn't take over the chicken salad, and the ingredients like mayo and cooked poultry don't start to spoil. And don't let it sit out on the counter for more than two hours before you store it in the fridge or it might start to spoil.

How to store chicken salad in the fridge

To keep those leftovers as fresh as possible while it's in the fridge, store the chicken salad in an airtight glass or plastic container. Make sure it has a lid that fully seals so there's no cross-contamination with other foods in the fridge and to keep out moisture, which could lead to bacteria or mold growth. 

If you can't eat it within those few days, you might think it's safe to store leftover chicken salad in the freezer — but think again. The USDA suggests not to freeze chicken salad that contains mayonnaise, and we're sure there's plenty of the creamy condiment in your recipe. Mayo doesn't freeze well just like Greek yogurt because it will separate, and chicken salad might turn watery when it thaws anyway.

We've got a few ideas for you to use leftover chicken salad so it doesn't go to waste. If you're simply tired of eating the dish in its current form, add dried cranberries for a bit of sweetness, crushed walnuts for crunch, or a squirt of Dijon mustard for a pungent kick. Otherwise, use it to fill lettuce wraps, use it as a salad topper with greens, or turn it into a chicken salad sandwich melt with a slice (or two) of sharp cheddar cheese on toasted bread.