How long can chicken salad sit out?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long can chicken salad sit out” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of chicken salad at room temperature. Moreover, we are going to discuss the shelf life of chicken salad in the fridge and freezer along with different ways to spot bad chicken salad.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long can chicken salad sit out?

Chicken salad lasts for about 2 hours when kept at room temperature. 

You should discard the chicken salad that has been left in open for more than 2 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore there are greater chances of the chicken salad being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours.

Moreover, if the temperature of the surroundings is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then the process of spoilage takes place at a faster pace and it is recommended to discard chicken salad that is left out in the open for more than an hour at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is the shelf life of chicken salad in the fridge

Chicken salad lasts for about 3-5 days in the fridge if stored properly at or below 40°F in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag.

It is worth mentioning that the figures mentioned above are the estimated shelf life of the chicken salads.

What is the shelf life of chicken salad in the freezer?

If you have added vegetables with high moisture content like tomatoes or cucumbers in your chicken salad then they will become all mushy and soggy after you thaw the frozen chicken salad. Thus, not only the texture of the chicken salad having vegetables with high moisture content will suffer but their taste profile won’t also be the same. Therefore it is not recommended to freeze such chicken salads.

Moreover, if your chicken salad has lettuce in it then it can lose its crunch, once the frozen chicken salad gets thawed.

Apart from that if your chicken salad has mayonnaise or dairy-based dressing, it will separate. In case the salad has boiled eggs, they will turn rubbery if stored in the freezer.

So all in all, if your chicken salad has any of the above ingredients present, it is not a great idea to freeze your chicken salad.

So what you can do is just freeze the boiled chicken and when you are ready to make chicken salad, thaw the frozen pre-boiled chicken. Make the chicken salad by using this thawed chicken along with fresh vegetables and salad dressing.

What is the optimum temperature to store chicken salad?

You should always store your chicken salad at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below in the fridge. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it is always advised to store chicken salad at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality for a long time.

You can read how to make chicken salad here.

Other FAQs about Salad which you may be interested in.

Can you make fruit salad the day before?

Can you cook guacamole?

How long can a salad sit out?

Different ways to spot bad chicken salad

There are a couple of indicators that point out a bad chicken salad. You can tell if your chicken salad has gone bad by considering its appearance, texture, and smell.

Appearance

The discoloration in the green vegetables or the lettuce (brown color) is an indication that your chicken salad is past its prime age.

Moreover, if you spot a mold on your chicken salad it is an indication that your chicken salad has gone bad and it is better to discard it.

Texture 

If you notice that the vegetables or the lettuce in your chicken salad have softened, is mushy, or has a slimy texture, then it is an indication that your chicken salad has gone bad.

Smell

If you notice some off-smell (rotten or sour smell) or something that does not quite smell like the fresh chicken salad then it means that your chicken salad has gone bad and you should discard it.

Tips to properly store chicken salad

  1. The best way to store chicken salad is to store it in an air-tight bag or container in the fridge within 2 hours of it being prepared.
  1. Always opt for shallow air-tight containers for storing chicken salad.
  1. Always be sure to refrigerate chicken salad at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. It is recommended to mix the mayonnaise or any other dressing of your choice in the chicken salad when you are ready to serve it. If you want to store the chicken salad then you should store chicken salad and vinaigrette separately.
  1. It is better to store chicken salad on one of the shelves of the refrigerator rather than the door as there is a lot of temperature fluctuation at the door of the fridge.
  1. You should not store the chicken salad having vegetables with high water content or lettuce in it in the freezer because after thawing the texture of these vegetables will change and they will become mushy, soggy, and watery once they get thawed.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long can chicken salad sit out” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of chicken salad at room temperature. Moreover, we discussed the shelf life of chicken salad in the fridge and freezer along with different ways to spot bad chicken salad.

Citations

https://www.doesitgobad.com/how-long-does-chicken-salad-last/
https://www.stilltasty.com/articles/how-long-can-salad-sit-out-before-it-becomes-unsafe-to-eat

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.