How Long Does Egg Salad Last?

Bought or made too much egg salad, and not sure how many days it can sit in the fridge? How long does egg salad last?

Or maybe you’re about to cook eggs for the salad, and you’re considering doubling the recipe. But you’re not quite sure how long egg salad is good for, or if you can freeze the leftovers.

Sounds familiar? If so, this article is for you.

In it, we’re going to cover:

  • storing egg salad in the fridge – how and how long
  • telling if yours is spoiled or not
  • freezing egg salad – does it work?

Let’s dive right in.

Info

All the info below works no matter if your egg salad is made with mayonnaise, greek yogurt, hummus, or any other mayo alternative.

Bread with egg salad
Bread with egg salad

How Long Does Egg Salad Last?

CounterFridge
Egg Salad2 hours3 – 5 days

Both store-prepared and homemade egg salad keeps for 3 to 5 days in the fridge. If you leave it out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, you should discard it.

That’s the recommendation from the United States Department of Agriculture ([USDA]), and it’s definitely one to follow.

As you probably know, if you leave out food that requires refrigeration, it starts to grow bacteria. And the longer it sits out, the more rapid the microbial growth.

That’s why the USDA suggests throwing out egg salad that sat on the counter (at a temperature above 40°F or 5°C) for more than 2 hours. The same is true for other salads, e.g., chicken salad or tuna salad.

Egg salad prep
Egg salad prep

Even though egg salad might include a bunch of various ingredients, such as dill, chives, pickles, mustard, onions, and so on, that 3 to 5 days suggestion stays true for pretty much any type of egg salad.

The only exception is for egg salads that feature any ingredients that quickly lose quality. If yours includes one (e.g., a custom dressing that separates after a day or so), the shelf life is reduced to however long that product keep quality for.

Tip

Hard-boiled eggs last about a week. Instead of doubling the amount of egg salad you make, boil twice as many eggs. When you finish the first batch of the salad, you can quickly whip the second one right away because you have the eggs ready and waiting.

Finished egg salad in a bowl
Finished egg salad

How long can you keep egg salad out of the fridge?

The USDA recommends that you should throw out the egg salad that’s been left at room temperature for more than two hours. What if you want to bring it to a picnic?

There are two options to go about that.

The first one is to eat the salad fairly quickly in the day so that it doesn’t sit in a warm temperature for hours. If you go with this one, throw out any leftovers.

The second one is to use a cooler bag, portable freezer, or a similar gadget. If picnics are your thing, buying one of these is definitely worth it.

How To Store Egg Salad

Store egg salad in the fridge sealed tightly. If your store-bought salad doesn’t come in a resealable container, transfer the leftovers into an airtight container.

Like with other salads (e.g., potato salad), always use clean cutlery when you’re scooping the salad. Double-dipping is never a good idea unless you want this popular sandwich spread to grow mold prematurely or risk food poisoning.

Also, try to keep the salad on the counter for as short as possible. Grab the container, scoop the paste onto your sandwiches, and put it back in the fridge sealed tightly.

What if you have too much egg salad on hand? Can you freeze the excess to eat it later? Let’s talk about that.

Egg salad in a container
Egg salad in a container

Can You Freeze Egg Salad?

Unfortunately, egg salad doesn’t freeze well. That’s because egg whites become rubbery after thawing, and most dressings (including mayo) separate upon defrosting.

What you end up with after freezing and defrosting the egg salad is a watery mess with altered texture, separated dressing, and limp veggies that used to be crisp. Long story short, it’s not worth it.

Tip

If you have a ton of egg salad in the fridge, try finding creative ways to use more of it. Sometimes it’s as simple as adding it as a side dish for dinner or spreading a more generous amount over your toasts instead of a thin layer.

Bagels with egg salad
Bagels with egg salad

How To Tell If Egg Salad Has Gone Bad?

There are a couple of things to do before you make an egg salad sandwich with that egg salad that sits in the fridge for a few days already. Here’s what to do:

  • Check dates. If you made or bought that salad more than 5 days ago, discard it.
  • Give it a good whiff. If there’s an off smell (probably from the eggs), it’s no good.
  • Consider texture. If you made the salad using homemade mayo or yogurt, it might have separated a bit by this point. Try reviving it by giving it a good whisk. If that doesn’t help, it’s past the point of no return.
  • Taste it. If there aren’t any red flags until now, it’s time to give a tiny amount a taste. If it’s no good, get rid of it.

Like with all foods, err on the side of caution. If you’re not 100 percent sure that 4 days old egg salad is okay to eat, play it safe and discard it.

Breakfast with egg salad
Breakfast with egg salad

Does Adding Vinegar or Lemon Juice Extend the Lifespan of Egg Salad?

I wouldn’t bet on that.

In many articles, you can find that if you want to extend the storage time of an egg salad, you should add a bit of lemon juice or vinegar. There are a couple of issues with that statement.

First, vinegar can’t destroy all the germs. Sure, it works well against several pathogens responsible for common foodborne diseases, including Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella, but not all of them.

Second, it’s not like all of the salad ingredients are submerged in vinegar or lemon juice. There are probably only a few drops of it, or maybe a teaspoon, that’s it. Assuming that such a small amount will prevent or slow down bacterial growth in a big bowl of egg salad is naive.

All in all, adding lemon juice or vinegar might help a bit, but I would advise against assuming a salad with one of those acidic ingredients has a longer shelf life than one without.

Sources