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How Long Does Tuna Salad Last? All Your Questions Answered

After trying this quick and easy, yet delicious, tuna salad recipe, you will never buy tuna salad from the store again!
Close up of tuna salad on lettuce with tomatoes.
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A comfort food staple, tuna salad is a versatile dish that can be eaten as a side, as the main component of a sandwich or as a part of a salad. While I’ve had some decent store bought tuna salads, I still prefer to make it myself. Best of all, it’s pretty quick and easy to make!

However, we’ve all heard how hard it is to store mayonnaise. If you hesitate to keep your tuna salad leftovers, read on. We will go into all your questions on storing tuna salad leftovers to make sure they are safe and delicious to eat for future meals.

How long does tuna salad last on the counter?

Close up of a tuna salad sandwich.  You should never let your tuna salad sit on the counter for more than two hours.
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As with most foods, tuna salad should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours. However, since mayonnaise has a higher risk of bacteria growth, I wouldn’t keep it out any longer than you absolutely have to.

What is the best method for saving tuna salad leftovers?

Tuna salad on a sub sandwich with chips and pickles.  Knowing the best methods for saving tuna salad is important for preventing food bourn illness.
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Provided that you plan to eat your leftover tuna salad within a few days, an air-tight container in the fridge is the best place to store your leftovers.

As you will soon see, tuna salad does freeze but not as well as many other foods. As such, it’s best to try and not make more leftovers than you can eat within a few days.

How long is tuna salad good in the refrigerator?

Tuna salad on an open face sandwich with tomatos.  Properly stored, tuna salad will last in the fridge for 3-5 days.
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Provided it is properly stored in an air-tight container, you can expect your tuna salad to last anywhere from 3 to 5 days. However, I would eat sooner rather than later as the taste and texture can be impacted the longer it’s in the fridge.

Can you freeze tuna salad?

Tuna salad wrap with fries.
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Like egg salad, you can freeze tuna salad, but I wouldn’t. Mayonnaise, a main ingredient in tuna salad, is notoriously temperamental in the freezer. If you do freeze, you will likely notice that the overall texture becomes more watery and it won’t taste as good after thawing.

How long will tuna salad last in the freezer?

Tuna salad with peppers on bread and lettuce.  While not ideal for the freezer, tuna salad can be safely stored in the freezer for 1-2 months.
Marie Sonmez Photography / Shutterstock

While freezing tuna salad isn’t an ideal way to store it, you can safely keep it in the freezer for up to two months before it starts going bad, provided it’s stored in a freezer bag or an air-tight freezer container. If you are using a freezer bag, make sure to push out all the air before sealing. Like when you are storing tuna salad in the fridge, I would try and eat sooner rather than later as the risks of it going bad increases the longer it is in the freezer.

Also, before you freeze, make sure to allocate into portions that you will want to eat within a day or two as it won’t refreeze again once thawed.

How to thaw tuna salad?

Tuna salad on a lettuce salad.  The best way to thaw a tuna salad is in the fridge.
pkchai / Shutterstock

By far the best way to thaw tuna salad is in the fridge overnight (or around 8-12 hours). I would put the freezer bag or container in a bowl before putting in the fridge just in case you have any leaks in the bag or container. Once thawed in the fridge, make sure you eat it within a day or two.

If you are in more of a hurry, you can also place the freezer bag or container in a bowl of cold water, making sure to change every 30 minutes or so. Using this method, your tuna salad should thaw in an hour or two, especially if it’s in a freezer bag. Freezer containers will take longer to thaw using this method because there is not as much surface area exposed to the water. If you put your freezer bag under cold running water you will save a little more time.

Be sure to check your tuna salad once thawed to make sure it hasn’t gone bad as tuna salad generally doesn’t freeze as well.

How do I tell if tuna salad has gone bad?

Tuna salad wrap on a white plate.  A good way to tell if tuna salad has gone bad is by using your senses, in particular, appearance, smell and taste.
ArliftAtoz2205 / Shutterstock

Like many other foods, it is important to use your senses when determining whether tuna salad has gone bad.

I would start by looking to see if the texture or color has changed at all. In particular, if it looks runny, slimy, or the color has changed. Generally, if it looks unappetizing, get rid of it.

Also, if you notice an oder that is off in any way, throw it out.

Hopefully it doesn’t come to this but if you take a bite of your tuna salad and it just doesn’t taste right, spit it out and don’t finish it.

As I always say, when in doubt, throw it out.

Easy and Delicious Tuna Salad Recipe

Now that we’ve discussed how to properly store any leftover tuna salad that you may have, I want to share my favorite tuna salad recipe.

Easy Tuna Salad Recipe

After trying this quick and easy, yet delicious, tuna salad recipe, you will never buy tuna salad from the store again!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Tuna salad
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 People
Calories: 238kcal


  • 1 Mixing bowl


  • 2 cans Tuna 5 oz cans packed in water
  • 3 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1 rib Celery diced
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove Fresh Garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp Red onion diced
  • 2 tbsp Fresh parsley chopped
  • Salt and Pepper To taste


  • Start by draining the tuna. Then combine the tuna with all the other ingredients (except for the salt and pepper) in a mixing bowl.
  • Next, gently stir all the ingredients together until they are mixed well.
  • At this point I like to season with salt and pepper. Start with just a little bit, tasting frequently until you have the flavor you are looking for.
  • Enjoy!


I encourage you to tweak the ingredients to fit your tastes.  For example, if you like your tuna salad more creamy,  you may want to add another tablespoon of mayo.  I sometimes like to add a dash of cayenne to give it a little heat.  Others like to add pickle relish.  The possiblities are endless. 


Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 8.2g | Protein: 24.9g | Fat: 11.2g | Saturated Fat: 2.1g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 270mg | Potassium: 324mg | Fiber: 2.3g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

Final Thoughts About How Long Tuna Salad Lasts?

While a delicious comfort food, storing it is a little more challenging than some foods. However, don’t let this stop you from keeping your leftovers for at least a few days in the fridge. We hope that this gives you the confidence to keep your leftovers next time you make tuna salad! Happy cooking!

Check out the below articles for more great food storage answers:

Can You Freeze Egg Salad? Best Egg Salad Storage Tips!

How Long do Mashed Potatoes Last? All Your Questions Answered

How Long Does Chili Last in the Fridge? Your Chili Storage Questions Answered

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