In the following article, I’d like to answer a common question how long can chicken salad stay in the fridge? In order to find out, we need to first understand how bacteria develop and what is their role in food spoilage.
Most people don’t know that bacteria are one of the most important factors when it comes to food safety. That’s because they play a huge part in spoiling foods and causing illness.
Bacteria thrive best at temperatures between 40°F-140°F (4°C-60°C) with an optimal growth temperature around 120°F (49°C). This means that as soon as you take your freshly made chicken salad from the fridge, where it was kept at around 40°F (4°C) and transfer it to room temperature, bacteria will start developing within 20 minutes.
So if you plan on eating the chicken salad within a couple of days, there’s nothing to worry about. If you have some leftovers in your fridge that haven’t been eaten yet and you’d like to eat them later, then I’d recommend either heating them up first or putting them back in the fridge as soon as possible.
Is it safe to freeze chicken salad?
Freezing chicken salad is always a good idea, and it’s the best way to keep it fresh for an extended period of time. I usually go with this option whenever I prepare more chicken salad than needed and find myself in need of some quick leftovers the next day.
It’s important to know that after thawing frozen chicken salads, it’s advisable to eat them within 24 hours.
How Long Can Chicken Salad Stay In The Fridge?
It’s pretty safe to say that chicken salad can stay in the fridge for up to 5 days, and you can use this time frame as a general rule. So if you usually cook your meals on weekends and then eat them throughout the week until they run out, there’s no need to worry about safety or spoilage. Just make sure to always handle food with care and use clean utensils.
Is it safe to eat chicken salad after 5 days in the fridge?
No, not really. If you’ve kept your chicken salad in the fridge for too long and it’s been more than 5 days since you put it there, then the chances are that it’s spoiled, and you should either toss it or cook it before eating.
How to properly store the chicken salad in the fridge?
When you are done preparing your chicken salad, make sure to put it in a proper container that has got enough space for expansion. Never use plastic bags or containers with narrow openings, as these can easily cause damage and lead to food contamination. Always transfer the leftover chicken salad back to the fridge as soon as possible.
The best way to store leftovers is to put them in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge until ready to eat. This will prevent bacteria development, reduce the risk of contamination and conserve all those yummy flavors.
How to tell if the chicken salad has gone bad?
The first sign that you have left your chicken salad in the fridge for too long is that it starts to smell strange. It’s usually a sour and unpleasant odor which typically indicates spoilage. Additionally, you can also notice some changes in the color of your dishes, such as yellowing or darkening.
If you see that everything seems fine on top but notice the bad smell just before digging in, you might want to check for mould. Give your chicken salad a closer look. If it has some white or blueish colored mold on the surface, I’d advise against eating it as this can cause many health problems, including vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.
If everything seems great except for the odor, then it’s safe to taste the leftovers. However, if you start feeling any of the symptoms above or if everything seemed fine initially, but later on, you start experiencing these unpleasant effects, you need to immediately seek medical help.
How can I tell if it’s safe to eat chicken salad?
If you are not sure about how long you can keep your chicken salad in the fridge, then I’d recommend following this easy and quick test:
Remove a small portion of the food and transfer it to a separate bowl or plate. Cover the dish with a cellophane wrap and wait for 1 hour. If there is no activity on the top of your food, such as rising or color changes, then it’s still safe to eat.
If there are any signs of spoilage, the best thing you can do is either cook your chicken salad before eating it or simply throw it away.
The Bottom Line
Considering chicken salad is basically chicken, mayonnaise and vegetables you don’t have to worry about food safety too much. However, it’s very important to make sure that all the utensils are clean before preparing the dish. If you keep your food in a properly sealed container, then the chances are that it will last for at least 5 days in the fridge.