How Long Does Potato Salad Last? Can You Freeze It?

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 maybe you’re making potato salad at home, and you’re wondering if you can double or even triple the recipe. But you’re not quite sure how long potato salad is good for, and you certainly don’t want it to go bad.

Either way, it sounds like you want to learn a thing or two about potato salad storage periods and practices. If that’s the case, read on.

Portion of potato salad

How Long Does Potato Salad Last?

Store-bought potato salad lasts up to the date on the label, maybe a day or two past it. Once you open the container, the salad keeps for 3 to 4 days, the same as homemade potato salad does.

Like tuna salad, potato salad doesn’t last that long. The 3 to 4 days comes from the USDA recommendation on storing leftovers ([USDA]).

Related: How long is tuna salad good for?

I usually allow it to sit for an extra day, extending the storage period to 4 to 5 days.

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

Is there a difference in storage time between homemade and store-bought potato salad?

It depends. 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.


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.

Store-bought potato salad (unopen)Use-by + 1- 2 days
Store-bought potato salad (open)3 – 4 days
Homemade potato salad3 – 4 days
Potato salad without dressing
Potato salad without dressing

How Long Can Potato Salad Sit Out?

If you left your potato salad out for more than 2 hours in 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.


If your salad sat in 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 ([USDA]).

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 closeup
Potato salad closeup

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 plated
Potato salad plated