How Long Egg Salad Will Stay Good In The Fridge, If You Do It Right

Not many people would have qualms about ending up with some extra egg salad. Whether you're using it as a sandwich filling or serving egg salad inside an avocado, this creamy, protein-packed dish has remained a favorite in many lunch and potluck recipes. However, because egg salad usually incorporates perishable ingredients such as mayonnaise, many people wonder if they can save this dish for later without it spoiling. Fortunately, you can easily store this eggy concoction in the fridge, as long as you remember to stash it away properly, and don't wait too long to consume leftovers.

As a general rule of thumb, egg and other mayonnaise-based salads can stay good in your refrigerator for three to four days. You'll want to properly store this dish at under 40 degrees Fahrenheit with an airtight seal, as skipping this step puts egg salad at risk of excess moisture, fridge food drippings, or external pathogens that could enter and spoil it prematurely.

Watch for signs of spoilage in your egg salad

There are many variations on the classic egg salad recipe, ranging from substituting the mayonnaise with cream cheese (as seen in Polish egg salad recipes) to adding salty and acidic ingredients like capers. However, the wide array of takes on this dish can make it challenging to discern what exactly constitutes a spoiled batch. Thankfully, there are some general indicators you can look for to determine if your egg salad has gone past its prime.

If you notice any off-putting smells or a change in the texture of your egg salad, these are likely early signs of spoilage. You should also never ingest any egg salad that tastes off or has visible mold on its surface.

While these are some of the telltale signs of spoilage in egg salad, it's important to remember that pathogens and spoilage are not always discernible to the human senses. According to theĀ Mayo Clinic, eating leftover egg salad past the recommended three- or four-day timeframe could put you at risk of consuming bacteria that could lead to foodborne illness, so it's better to err on the side of caution and plan to use it up beforehand. This will not only help you avoid a trip to the doctor, but also minimize food waste in the kitchen.

Toss out egg salad that has sat at room temperature for too long

Refrigeration remains your best friend when it comes to extending the lifespan of your egg salad, but there are a few instances where you'll absolutely want to discard any leftovers. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends throwing away any perishable food that has been at room temperature for over two hours, as any longer allows microbes more time to reproduce and spread into your food, and could lead to food poisoning. If you're dealing with hot outdoor or indoor temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, reduce the exposure window to an hour.

While these might seem like incredibly limiting time frames, there are a few tricks you can employ to keep your egg salad cool and germ-free. If you plan to eat your egg salad outdoors, or don't have immediate access to a fridge, consider bringing a cooler to maintain its temperature before consumption. You can also place your egg salad in a container over a tray of ice to keep its temperature down during display, and always remember to use a designated serving utensil to avoid any accidental cross-contamination between dishes.