How long can tuna salad stay out?

In this article, we answered the question “How long can tuna salad stay out?”, and how to store tuna salad safely?

How long can tuna salad stay out?

Tuna salad should not stay out for more than 2 hours at temperatures between 40°F-140°F. Discard the salad if it has been left unrefrigerated at 90°F for more than 1 hour.

Tuna salad can be kept for 3-5 days in the fridge if stored correctly. It should be refrigerated within 2 hours of preparation or purchasing.

How to store tuna salad?

Store tuna salad in glass air-tight containers at a steady temperature of 40°F or below. Glass contains the smell of tuna while keeping the fish itself from absorbing odors. 

Freezing to extend the shelf-life of tuna salad is not recommended. Because the mayo will damage the texture of the salad making it soggy.

What kind of tuna should be used to make tuna salad?

You can get two types of tuna in canned form; solid white albacore and skipjack/light tuna.

  1. Solid-white albacore is quite expensive and may contain higher levels of mercury than other types of tuna. 

Limit its use to only once per week to avoid mercury toxicity. Albacore is low in fats and rich in omega-3 fats.

It has a very mild flavor unlike the strong fishy flavor of most types of fish including tuna. 

Due to its white color, it mimics the appearance of a baked chicken breast. It can either be solid white or light pink in color with a firm texture.

  1. Skipjack is a very common canned tuna variety. It is economical but tastes strongly fishy. 

It has reduced levels of mercury so you can eat it multiple times a week to meet the omega-3 needs of your body. 

It has a mushy texture and is often used in sushi because of its similar quality to the yellowfin tuna.

Bottom line

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your personal preference. Some people cannot compromise over health while others do not enjoy the strong fishy aftertaste. 

A balanced diet is key to a healthy lifestyle. Try all types of tuna and then stick to the one that suits your health and tastebuds.

How to tell if tuna salad is bad?

Tuna salad made with mayo should never be stored for extended periods of time. Mayo contains eggs. 

Meat and eggs do not last long in the fridge. Look for the following signs if you are unsure if the salad is spoiled or safe to eat.

  • You can immediately tell if the tuna salad is bad or not by looking at it. If you notice discolored spots or patches on the salad surface, toss it in the bin immediately. The spots could be green or brown.
  • Tuna already has a strong fishy taste. Therefore, smelling the salad to test if it is spoiled or not doesn’t sound very reliable. 

One should always go with the gut feeling. If something smells off about the tuna salad, throw it away.

  • Always label the container before storing anything so you can keep track of the shelf-life of the salad. 3-5 days old tuna salad is better thrown away as it is highly likely to have become unsafe.

Is tuna salad healthy?

Tuna salad is healthy if it is made with the right ingredients and eaten in the right dosage. Tuna is a rich source of Vitamin B12 and Omega-3 fatty acids. 

These prevent anemia and inflammation, respectively. Tuna has anti-cancerous properties and promotes good eyesight. However, tuna contains mercury especially albacore tuna. 

Due to this factor, it is recommended to eat tuna in limited doses. For women, it is 6 ounce serving per month. For men, it is 8 ounces serving per month. 

For kids aged 6 to 12, the recommended dose is two 4.5-ounce servings per month, and kids below 6 shouldn’t have more than one 3-ounce serving per month.

Instead of using highly processed bread and mayo to make tuna salad sandwiches, shift to using whole bread and greek yogurt. Similarly, avoid using fatty condiments and add-ons.

How to use tuna salad?

Tuna salad is extremely versatile. You can either eat it as a midday snack, filling for a sandwich, or spread it on a toast, or eat it as is. 

Tuna salad typically includes canned tuna, mayonnaise, red onion, garlic, salt, black pepper, and celery. 

Lemon juice or mustard can be added for a tangy hint. Mayo can be substituted with a healthier option like avocado paste or hummus sauce.

Other FAQs about Salad that you may be interested in.

How to bottle salad dressing?

How to keep fruit salad fresh?

Does salad dressing go bad if not refrigerated?


In this article, we answered the question “How long can tuna salad stay out?”, and how to store tuna salad safely.


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