How Long Chicken Salad Actually Lasts

A staple dish in most kitchens, chicken salad boasts a hearty and refreshing flavor profile. Rich with protein and veggies, a basic chicken salad is typically made with shredded white meat chicken, finely chopped celery, green onion, a healthy dollop of mayonnaise, and salt and pepper to taste. To sweeten the savory salad, some chefs use raisins or red grapes to give it a stimulating, tangy flair. Served straight or smashed onto a sandwich using your bread of choice, chicken salad is a lunchtime classic.

This simple, robust meal is often made in large batches, saved for later, and eaten throughout the week for a tried-and-true quick fix for daytime hunger. With a meal as timeless as this, it's best not to let it go to waste, especially while we're combating the imminent effects of global climate change. According to World Wild Life, up to 8% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced if we stop wasting food. In the United States alone, wasted food generates the equivalent of 32.6 million cars worth of greenhouse gas emissions. So, just how long can you keep leftover chicken salad in the fridge without it spoiling?

Chicken salad stays fresh for up to four days

Once you've enjoyed your savory or sweetened chicken salad, pop your leftovers into a sealed, air-tight container before storing them in the refrigerator at a cool 40°F or below (per USDA). In order to avoid the sights, smells, and overall sickness of spoiled food, you'll want to reduce bacterial growth as much as possible. Chicken resists bacterial spoilage for up to four days when refrigerated. If you're not in the mood for leftovers, an eco-friendly alternative to limit food waste is to freeze your chicken salad leftovers, which will keep for up to four months (per USDA).

Whether you're making chicken salad or tuna salad, the USDA four-day guideline for leftovers generally applies to all meat, with some meats like beef, lamb, and pork lasting up to five days. If you're looking for an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint and make a global impact from the comforts of your own home, keep this simple leftover tip in mind.