How Long Does Tuna Salad Last? How To Tell If Tuna Salad Is Bad?

I often have tuna salad sandwiches for breakfast and lunch during my college time. It is such a simple yet delicious dressing to make for a busy day. One disadvantage of this mixture is its short shelf life.

So, if you don’t know “How long does tuna salad last?” find out the answer before they become worse in my post!

How To Tell If Tuna Salad Is Bad

Like all foods, tuna salad has a limited shelf life even when you store it. As soon as it is produced, tuna salad becomes spoiled gradually to the extent of being unsalvageable. The common cause of spoilage is the warm temperature and the development of bacteria like E. Coli.

Although it might be tricky to know when it is spoiled, there are a couple of common signs of spoilage that you can follow:

A great sign that you can check if tuna salad is bad is the appearance. A good dish of healthy tuna salad should have bright green leaves and a pinky color of canned tuna. If there is any common discoloration in your ingredient, there is a high chance that they are spoiled food already.

In my experience, you can look for any black or dark spots on the vegetables or green and brown in the tuna meat. Any discoloration can indicate the initial stage of spoilage, so you need to discard them right away.

Another way to spot a bad tuna salad is a foul odor. Any spoiled or rotten food will start developing a distinctive strong smell. You can take a sniff at the dish to see if it has gone bad yet. Tuna normally has a strong and intense fishy smell. However, if you spot a rancid, sour, and unpleasant odor, it is possibly a good sign to throw it away.

Lastly, you can check the spoiled tuna salad by the change of texture. Normally healthy tuna salad has a creamy and soft texture which is perfect to combine with your crunchy sandwiches. However, if the tuna becomes slimy with sticky liquid coming out, it might be a sign of spoilage, and you need to discard it to avoid food poisoning.

Does Tuna Salad Go Bad? How Long Does Tuna Salad Last?

How Long Does Tuna Salad Last

Overall, tuna salad can last less than five days in cool and dry storage conditions. When leaving it at room temperature, the tuna salad can only stay fresh in just 1-2 hours. 

So, how long can you keep tuna salad ?

How Long Does Tuna Last?

As a home cook, knowing how to cook delicious dishes is not the only thing you need to learn but also the shelf life of your ingredients and how to store them properly to get the best for your ingredients. As not all foods have the same shelf life, how long does tuna salad stay good?

Tuna salad is a tasty dish to combine with your crisp veggies or bread spread. However, they might have a short shelf life if you don’t know how to store them properly. So, how long is tuna salad good for at room temperature?

The most common type of tuna salad uses canned tuna as they are seasoned with a certain softness and creaminess to make a great dressing. Another ingredient in tuna salads is mayonnaise which can influence the tuna salad shelf life tremendously.

However, at room temperature, any fresh food has the same shelf life if exposed to the air and warm temperature. 

According to the USDA, food that is left at the temperature range of 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit has a high chance of getting spoilage after staying for one hour. This is due to the bacteria growth rate increasing rapidly at this danger zone. For tuna salads staying out for 2 hours, it is recommended to discard them right away. 

How Long Is Tuna Fish Good For

Canned tuna for tuna salad tends to have a clear expiration date on its label. You can check the date on the “use by” section to know when it becomes bad.

However, that date is not an indication of spoilage. It only means the canned food is at its peak quality before a certain date. Therefore, even if you have left it across that date, there is a chance that you can still eat canned tuna. But, how long does tuna fish last exactly?

As canned tuna is tuna soaked in water or olive oil, this product has a significantly longer shelf life than normal tuna salad. So, how long does tuna stay good in the fridge?

An unopened can of tuna can last from 2 to 3 years at room temperature. However, once they are opened, how long can tuna sit out?

When being exposed to bacteria and physical forces, the shelf life of tuna might be shortened to 3 to 4 days only.

How Long Is Tuna And Mayo Good For In Fridge

Tuna salad is commonly accompanied with creamy mayo to make a good spread. However, as mayo contains eggs with a short shelf life, how long can tuna salad be refrigerated? or How long does tuna salad last in fridge?

You should only keep tuna salads inside the fridge for 3-4 days only. If you add hummus with tuna, you can have a longer shelf life, around five days, as there are no eggs inside to shorten the shelf life of tuna.

How Long Is Canned Tuna Good In The Fridge

Canned tuna, like albacore tuna and light tuna, are used widely in tuna salads. So, how long is tuna good for in fridge? When stored in the fridge in an unopened state, canned tuna can easily last up to 3 years. However, if you have opened them, you need to eat them in a week to get the best out of these products.

Can You Freeze Tuna Salad

Freezing tuna salad is another possible option to prolong the shelf life of tuna salad. They can last from 6-8 months if there is no freezer burn. Like freezing egg salads, chicken salad or pasta salads, you might experience less quality once you thaw the frozen tuna salads.

Can You Freeze Tuna Salad With Mayonnaise

If you have tuna salad mixed with mayonnaise, I recommend you not freeze them as frozen mayonnaise can separate and break down. This would affect the texture of your tuna significantly.

How Tuna Salad Is Made

Tuna salads are easy dishes that you can make for a quick daily meal. Here is my simple tuna salad recipe:


  • 4 cans of tuna
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup of chopped celery
  • 1  tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 2  tablespoons of sweet pickle relish
  • Salt and black pepper.

How to do it?

  1.  Take out a large bowl and add in the tuna, celery, relish mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Mix them well until you have a soft and creamy mixture.
  2. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper inside to season the tuna salads. Then you can serve it on your toast, fresh tuna sandwiches, or fresh salad dishes.

How To Store Tuna Salad?

Tuna salad is not supposed to be stored for a long time, but it can be extended to several days if you know how to store it. As I mentioned above, tuna salad lasts longer when it is stored in the fridge or freezer. These are the two most common ways for you to prolong the shelf life of any perishable food.

How to store tuna salad in the fridge?

When storing tuna salads in the fridge, it can last up to 4 days. To do so, you need to go through some preparation steps.

Salad tuna needs to be kept inside a freezer-safe container to avoid cross-contamination in the fridge. Therefore, you can use an airtight container or plastic seal bag to store the mixture. After that, your tuna salad is safe from any spoilage.

How to store tuna salad in the freezer?

You can also store tuna salad in the freezer if it is convenient for you. It is better to split the mixture into small portions so as not to thaw the whole batch for one small meal. Then, you can put them inside a freezer bag and label the desired usage you want.

Once you’re finished, they are ready to be stored for up to 8 months.


Tuna salad is a tasty dressing that is simple to make for all-day meals. However, it is not a long-lasting sauce. So, if you want to know, “How long does tuna salad last?” I hope my post has the answer you need to modify your tuna portion and store them for longer usage in the future.

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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