Who doesn’t love potato salad, right? Well, nearly everyone, at least judging by the state of the bowls at the table at our family dinner. Even though people say they love it, it always seems to be the last thing touched at family gatherings. And due to that, you may have some time in your life wondered:
How long can potato salad sit out? As the United States Department of Agriculture says, potato salad can sit out for no more than two hours if you want it to be completely safe to eat because bacteria overgrow at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F.
This is just to put it exceptionally briefly, though – if we want to understand this weird topic, we’ll have to dive into it a bit deeper. Let’s not waste any more time and just get started then.
Table of Contents
- Does potato salad need to be refrigerated?
- How long can potato salad sit out at room temperature?
- Can potato salad be left out overnight?
- How do you know if potato salad is bad?
- How do you keep potato salad fresh?
- Can I eat potato salad that has been left out?
- Can you eat warm potato salad?
- What happens when you eat a bad potato salad?
Does potato salad need to be refrigerated?
Since it can turn bad in a matter of two hours when left out of the fridge, potato salad always needs to be refrigerated if you’re not about to eat it all immediately. If you’re planning on storing it for a longer time, putting it into the fridge is recommended as soon as possible too.
The reason for that is that, as the USDA says, no perishable food can sit out for any more than two hours if you want to be entirely sure it’s safe to eat; more about that in the following answer, though.
How long can potato salad sit out at room temperature?
As the United States Department of Agriculture says, potato salad can sit out at room temperature for only two hours before it is dangerous to eat. The reason is that bacteria proliferate at 40 °F – 140 °F, making perishable food spoil just in the blink of an eye.
Can potato salad be left out overnight?
In the previous answer, we have explained that potato salad should never sit out for more than two hours, so no, potato salad cannot be left out overnight. Although potato salad will often last a bit longer than the mentioned two hours, leaving it out overnight is simply far too much, so you should rather throw it out immediately.
How do you know if potato salad is bad?
Since you often don’t know for how long precisely has your potato salad been sitting out, it might be smart to check it out before eating it in many cases. Fortunately, that isn’t anything complicated! You can know potato salad is bad by looking at and smelling it.
If the potato salad is bad, its texture will usually have changed, and there will also most likely be a weird smell coming out of it and some mold in it. On the other hand, if you don’t notice anything of that kind, the potato salad is safe to eat.
How do you keep potato salad fresh?
If you want to make sure your potato salad will stay in the best shape for the longest time, you first have to seal it into some airtight containers carefully. After that, it is just needed to put the bags into the fridge. That way, your potato salad will last in excellent shape for even as long as five days.
Can I eat potato salad that has been left out?
According to the USDA, no perishable food should ever be left out of the fridge for more than two hours, and potato salad is not an exception. Therefore, you can eat potato salad that has been left out only if it hasn’t been left out for more than two hours.
Since bacteria grow extremely quickly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F, potato salad that sat out for a longer time might be dangerous to eat, so you’d better just throw it away as soon as possible.
Can you eat warm potato salad?
Even though potato salad is most often served cold, heating it up is possible. So yes, you can eat warm potato salad because there’s nothing technically wrong with it, it is just not that common as eating it cold.
What happens when you eat a bad potato salad?
As you all probably already know, eating bad food may not unlikely end up in you being sick. For example, when you eat a bad potato salad, chances are you’re going to have a stomach ache, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Therefore, it is always safer to throw the potato salad out as soon as possible if you’re worried that it may have already gone bad.
Can potato salad give you food poisoning?
As we have explained in the answer above, potato salad can give you food poisoning, meaning you may have a stomach ache or diarrhea after eating a bad piece of it. Because of that, you should rather always throw the potato salad out if you’re worried there’s something wrong with it.
Just like basically every other perishable food, potato salad cannot sit out for any more than two hours, or at least that’s what the USDA says. In their opinion, eating potato salad that was left out for a longer time may be dangerous.
The reason for that is that bacteria overgrow at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F, which might exceptionally likely make the potato salad spoil. Hence, it is always recommended to throw your potato salad aways if it sat out for more than two hours.
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