Home | Food Safety | How Long Does Macaroni Salad Last in the Fridge?

How Long Does Macaroni Salad Last in the Fridge?

We’ve all been in this situation where we’ve made a lovely batch of macaroni salad and are now wondering, “How long does macaroni salad last in the fridge?”

This is a common conundrum for many of us home cooks. It’s not always easy to estimate the freshness of dishes like macaroni salad, especially when they’re as delicious as the ones we make!

So let’s dive into this question and uncover the mysteries of macaroni salad’s shelf life.

How long does macaroni salad last?


Properly stored macaroni salad stays fresh in the fridge for about 3 to 5 days. Its shelf life can vary based on the specific ingredients used. Always ensure to store it in an airtight container and check for signs of spoilage before consumption

Close up of macaroni salad in a white bowl

Your classic macaroni salad—comprising perfectly cooked pasta, a delightful assortment of veggies, and a delicious mayo-based dressing—retains its freshness in your refrigerator for about 3 to 5 days.

While it’s tempting to stretch it out a little longer, it’s best to stick within this window. Different ingredients can alter the shelf life, so be aware of what’s in your salad.

When correctly stored, your macaroni salad will keep its delightful taste, ready to accompany your meals throughout the week.

How long does macaroni salad with tuna last?

You’ve added a twist to your macaroni salad and tossed in some tuna, haven’t you? This protein-rich variant is indeed tasty, but remember, the shelf life may shrink slightly due to the nature of seafood.

Tuna can spoil a bit faster than other ingredients, meaning you should aim to consume your tuna macaroni salad within 2 to 3 days.

This way, you can enjoy the full, fresh flavor of the salad without worrying about spoilage.

How long does macaroni salad with egg last?

Now, what if you’ve added hard-boiled eggs to your macaroni salad? They do make a nice addition, don’t they?

Luckily, hard-boiled eggs don’t significantly change the salad’s shelf life. So, whether you’ve added one egg or half a dozen, your macaroni salad with egg should remain enjoyable and safe to eat for about 3 to 5 days, just like the regular version.

Also, learn how long is pasta salad good for in the fridge.

How to tell if macaroni salad is bad?

It’s not always easy to tell when food has spoiled, is it? Especially something as delicious as macaroni salad.

We tend to hope for the best, but it’s important to know the signs. Even with the best storage practices, it’s essential to know when your macaroni salad might have turned bad. Here are some telltale signs:

  • Smell: An unusual or unpleasant odor is often the first sign that your macaroni salad may have spoiled.
  • Color Change: If you notice any discoloration, particularly if the salad turns darker, it’s probably not safe to eat.
  • Texture Change: A good macaroni salad has a particular feel. If it becomes slimy or excessively soggy, it may be spoiled.
  • Taste: Although this should be the last resort due to potential health risks, if the salad tastes sour or simply “off,” it’s time to discard it.
  • Mold: This one is a no-brainer. If you see any mold growing on your macaroni salad, do not eat it.

Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food. If you’re in doubt, it’s best to throw it out. Check out how to tell if potato salad is bad as well on my blog.

It is also important to know how to tell if mayo has gone bad when making macaroni salad so that you know that all of your ingredients are fresh.

How to store macaroni salad

Keeping macaroni salad fresh is all about storing it properly. Always put your macaroni salad in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator as soon as possible.

If you leave it out, make sure it’s not for more than two hours. Why? Because the colder the salad stays, the less chance it is for harmful bacteria to grow.

The quicker you chill it, the longer you can enjoy its delightful taste.

How long can macaroni salad sit out?

Remember the two-hour rule, folks. It’s crucial. Macaroni salad shouldn’t sit out for more than 2 hours. If it’s a hot day and the temperature is above 90°F, that time reduces to 1 hour.

Bacteria love warm environments and can multiply rapidly, making the salad unsafe to eat. If you’re hosting a picnic or a barbecue, keep the salad in a cooler or ice to keep it safe.

Also, learn how long can chicken sit out or how long can pizza sit out so that you don’t consume foods that have sat out too long.

Can you freeze macaroni salad?

Freezing might seem like a smart way to extend the shelf life of your macaroni salad, but it’s not that simple. While it’s technically possible to freeze it, I would advise against it.

Freezing and thawing can drastically change the texture of the pasta and the mayo-based dressing, leading to a less enjoyable salad. If you have leftover salad, it’s best to plan to eat it within the safe refrigeration window.

Another salad people ask about a lot is can you freeze chicken salad. I have a post that tells you the answer!

What happens if you eat bad macaroni salad?

Eating spoiled macaroni salad, unfortunately, can lead to food poisoning. Symptoms can vary but often include an upset stomach, vomiting, fever, and in severe cases, dehydration.

If you think you’ve eaten bad macaroni salad and are feeling ill, seek medical help promptly. It’s not something to take lightly, so always be cautious when it comes to the freshness of your food.

Frequently asked questions about how long macaroni salad can last in the fridge

Yes, adding protein like tuna can shorten the shelf life slightly. Aim to consume tuna macaroni salad within 2 to 3 days. Meanwhile, hard-boiled eggs don’t significantly change the salad’s shelf life.

Macaroni salad should not sit out for more than 2 hours. In temperatures over 90°F, that time reduces to 1 hour. After that, it can become unsafe to eat due to bacterial growth.

Telltale signs of spoilage include an off smell, changes in color or texture, and the presence of mold. If you’re in doubt, it’s safer to discard the salad.


At the end of the day, the freshness of your macaroni salad comes down to proper storage and careful observation for signs of spoilage.

Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety. So, keep making delicious macaroni salads and enjoy them fresh! And as always, happy cooking, folks!

Online Cooking for Beginners Course

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *