How Long Does Potato Salad Last in the Fridge?

Here’s all you need to know about the shelf life, storage, and spoilage of potato salad. Learn how long potato salad lasts, how to store it, and how to tell when it’s spoiled.

There’s an open potato salad container in your fridge, and you want to know how many days it can sit there. How long does potato salad last?

Or you’re making the salad at home and wondering if you can double the recipe. But you’re not sure how long potato salad is good for or if you can freeze it.

Either way, it sounds like you want to learn a thing or two about potato salad storage periods and practices. And that’s exactly what we cover below.

Read on.

Portion of potato salad

Table of Contents

How Long Does Potato Salad Last?

According to FoodSafety.gov, potato salad lasts 3 to 4 days in the fridge, no matter if it’s store-bought or homemade. If there’s a use-by date printed, the salad should keep for a day or two past that date, but that’s it.

Once you open the container, store-bought potato salad still lasts for 1 to maybe 2 days past the printed date.

Opening it up doesn’t magically reset the time and rewind the deterioration, and you don’t get another 3 to 4 days of storage. If it was already pushing its date, you should eat it within a day or discard it.

That 3 to 4 days of shelf life is a recommendation common for all types of salads. So if you’re wondering how long is tuna salad good for or how long macaroni salad lasts, you now know the answer to both.

I usually allow my potato salad to sit for an extra day, extending the storage period to 5 days, but any more than that, and you’re playing with fire.

Cooked potatoes and carrots a for salad
Cooked potatoes and carrots for salad

Homemade vs. Store-Bought

Store-bought salads usually retain texture for quite some time. Homemade ones aren’t always that great in that regard. If your dressing starts to separate after a day or two, that’s how long your salad will keep quality.

Many sites talk about differences between using homemade or commercial mayonnaise, or between mayo-based and oil-based dressings, but in most cases, it’s not that big of a deal.

As long as the dressing retains texture and holds everything together, it doesn’t matter what it’s made of.

Tip

If your dressing tends to separate or break down after a day or two in storage, consider making the salad without the dressing and adding it separately before serving.

Potato Salad Shelf Life

Fridge
Homemade potato salad3 – 4 days
Store-bought potato salad (unopen)Use-by + 1- 2 days
Store-bought potato salad (open)Use-by + 1- 2 days
Potato salad without dressing
Potato salad before adding the dressing

How Long Can Potato Salad Sit Out?

If you left your potato salad out for more than 2 hours at room temperature, or an hour if it’s over 90°F (or 32°C), you should discard it. That’s the official recommendation, at least.

Common sense is what you need here the most.

If you’ve brought that salad with you on a picnic on a hot summer day, it’s probably best that you toss out the leftovers. Unless you kept it in a cooler, of course.

But if you forgot to put the salad into the fridge and it sat on the counter for like 3 hours, it’s most likely okay. Of course, if you decide to discard that salad, it’s fine too.

Tip

If your salad sat at a relatively warm temperature for longer than an hour, try to finish it within a day or two if possible. It might spoil prematurely.

Potatoes and carrots cubed
Potato salad prep: potatoes and carrots cubed

How To Store Potato Salad

Store potato salad in the fridge, tightly covered. An airtight container works best, but if you don’t have one that’s big enough, wrapping a big bowl with plastic wrap gets the job done.

Besides that, remember to always use clean spoons when scooping the salad. Double-dipping is never a good idea, especially if you want that salad to last for more than a day or two.

By following these practices, you keep the bacteria out, don’t let any moisture escape (nobody likes a dry salad), and keep the salad safe from any odors in the fridge.

Are there any other options that allow you to store potato salad for longer, you ask? Let’s talk about that.

Potato salad wrapped with plastic wrap
Potato salad wrapped with plastic wrap

Can You Freeze Potato Salad?

Potato salad doesn’t freeze well. If there’s mayo or the dressing is based on a dairy product such as sour cream, it will separate. And any crisp veggie will turn mushy.

Long story short, the texture will suffer, and the taste of a frozen and thawed potato salad will be far from what you’re used to. The same is true for egg salad.

Related: How Long Does Egg Salad Last in the Fridge?

You can freeze potato salad, but you won’t enjoy eating it after defrosting, to say the least. Unless there’s no other option, don’t freeze this salad.

Potato salad plated
Potato salad plated

How To Tell If Potato Salad Is Bad?

Signs of spoiled potato salad include:

  • It smells off. Give the salad a good whiff before eating. If the smell is sour or bad in any other way, it’s time to let it go.
  • There’s mold in the container.
  • The texture has changed. If the salad starts to separate or looks slimy, you need to make a decision. If it still seems okayish, feel free to finish it today. But if it doesn’t look appetizing at all, it’s best to discard it.
  • It’s a few days past its date or sits open for more than five days. If you don’t even remember when you’ve opened the container or whipped up the salad, get rid of it.

As usual, it’s better to be safe than sorry. That means that if you’re not sure the salad is still safe to eat, assume it isn’t, and toss it.

Potato Salad Shelf Life and Storage Summary

Thank you for reading this short guide on potato salad. Let’s recap what we’ve covered above:

  • How long is potato salad good for? Homemade potato salad lasts 3 to 4 days in the fridge, while store-bought one typically keeps for a day or two past the printed date. Outside the refrigerator, potato salad stays safe for 2 hours.
  • How to store potato salad? Keep it sealed tightly and refrigerate. Freezing will change its texture, and it’s not recommended unless you have no other choice.
  • How to know if potato salad is bad? Throw out potato salad if you find any mold in the container, the salad smells off, the texture has changed, or it sits in storage for longer than recommended.