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How Long Does Coleslaw Last? Can it Go Bad?

Coleslaw is popular in both high-end and street food joints. It is likeable because of its refreshing taste and can accompany most foods. You can also make coleslaw at home since the ingredients used are affordable and available from food stores.

Since it uses fresh vegetables, coleslaw has a short lifespan. We recommend making enough of this salad to avoid wastage. But, if you find you have produced excess and people did not finish, do not take it directly to the trash bin. You can store it in a few days.

Summer is the most common season when this salad is highly consumed. It’s perfectly combined sweet and sour taste makes it irresistible.

How Long Does Coleslaw Last?


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You can purchase ready-made coleslaw from a food store. This type of salad comes with a best before date. So, make sure you check this date even before leaving the store. Often, coleslaw goes bad 1-2 days after its expiry date.

If you are comfortable shredding the cabbage and cutting other vegetables to include in your coleslaw, you can DIY. You can make mayonnaise or use a commercial one for dressing your coleslaw. Refrigerate your salad immediately you are done.

A homemade salad can last for 3 days when refrigerated. So, if you are planning to make coleslaw enough for two weeks, sorry, but it won’t work.

Since the vegetables have their natural juices (water), they remove them in excess when cut or shredded. When kept for too long, they make your salad look watery and have a terrible taste.

Alternatively, you can prolong the life of homemade coleslaw by storing the ingredients separately. That is, you store the shredded cabbage alone, and the same goes to other vegetables. Do not add the condiment at this point.

Before storage, make sure your vegetables have lost much of the water and have started withering. You can then store them and use your salad for approximately 5 days.

Can Coleslaw Go Bad?


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Do you remember the ingredients used to make this salad? They are all highly perishable. So yes, coleslaw can go bad.

When it does, it loses its mouthwatering appearance, and its exquisite taste gets lost. But, coleslaw does not go bad in the first 24 hours after it has been made. A few factors lead to it spoiling fast.

For example, if you handle coleslaw with unhygienic utensils, the condiment used for dressing this salad (mayonnaise) separate. It ruins it entirely. We recommend using clean utensils at all times. Do not pick your salad with a utensil that you have been using on other foods. It is a way of making your salad to go bad quickly.

Additionally, if you keep your coleslaw unrefrigerated for long, it can go bad even before 24 hours are over. Ideally, you should not store it at room temperatures or places where heat is coming from directly.

We recommend refrigerating it within 2 hours after you are done making it. Also, if you are using coleslaw from the store, do not leave it at room temperature for long. Once you open it, refrigerate it within the same period as homemade one. Otherwise, you will risk staring at an inedible salad.

How Can You Tell Your Coleslaw Has Gone Bad?


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The first thing to look at commercial coleslaw is the expiry date. Past this time, we do not recommend using this salad. Since it is perishable, coleslaw cannot be compared to other products that are still okay to use past their best before date.

Another way to tell if your coleslaw is still okay is by its appearance. If you notice discolouration, mould growth or your salad looking watery, stop second-guessing. It has gone bad, and you should get rid of it.

If no visible signs are present, you can smell your salad to confirm whether it is good or not. Because the salad can still be fresh and testing can take place in the first 3 days, we recommend you waft while smelling. It is hygienic to smell your salad this way than putting it directly to your nose.

If your salad smells sour or tangy, there is no reason to keep it in your kitchen. Discard it immediately.

The other way of telling whether your salad has gone bad is by tasting. The taste is horrible when your salad has spoilt, and you cannot chew it more than once. You can feel the wateriness plus the sourness which make an unpleasant combination.

What Happens if You Eat Spoilt Coleslaw?

Eating spoilt coleslaw is pretty much impossible. But, when it happens, get ready to deal with horrible food poisoning.

The most common one is Salmonella, especially if you had dressed your salad with mayonnaise. Well, this bacterium thrives in eggs that are stored in an enabling environment for its growth. Since mayonnaise contains eggs, you can get Salmonella poisoning.

Other bacteria that can cause poisoning is spoilt coleslaw include E.Coli, Bacillus, and Staphylococcus.

When poisoned, you start having diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea, fever, and vomiting.

Other than food poisoning, spoiled coleslaw leaves a strong unpleasant taste in your mouth that requires lots of effort to get rid of.

Is it Okay to Eat Coleslaw Past its Best before Date?

Coleslaw bought from the store is the one that definitely comes with a best before date. It is not okay to eat coleslaw past its expiry date.

To begin with, you will not like the taste and the smell of it. The colour will also be a turn-off. Discard it before it starts making your house have a foul odour.

How Do You Store Coleslaw?


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Coleslaw is best stored on glass containers in a refrigerator. Additionally, you can use sealable storage bags to keep your salad fresh for a prolonged time in the fridge.

Additionally, you should ensure the storage jars are tightly sealed. If you use a bowl, you can use a cling film to seal it. The idea is to prevent oxidation which is solely responsible for discolouring the salad.

However, you cannot store coleslaw in a pantry or at room temperature. Make sure your salad does not exceed 2 hours. So, if you do not own a refrigerator, your option is to finish that salad within the same day.

Related Questions

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Can You Freeze Coleslaw?

Freezing foods prolong their lifespan more than refrigerating them. However, we do not recommend freezing this salad, especially when you have used mayonnaise for the dressing. Mayonnaise typically becomes watery during thawing. So, it ends up ruining the whole salad.

But, if you have used vinaigrette as your dressing, you can freeze your coleslaw. However, your salad will not have that heavenly taste that makes you want to keep eating the salad.

What Can You Do With Spoilt Coleslaw?

There are no many exciting things you can do with spoiled coleslaw. The best choice is to discard it to protect your loved ones from getting food poisoning.

Alternatively, you can use spoiled coleslaw to make compost manure. Since it decomposes quickly, manure made from coleslaw and other waste from food with the same decomposition rate can be reliable when you do not have a lot of time to prepare organic manure.

How Long Does it Take to Make Coleslaw at Home?


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Do you want to surprise you loved ones with homemade coleslaw? You can have it ready in 25 minutes if you are planning to make everything from scratch. You can start by preparing mayo and then refrigerate it before preparing the vegetable.

An exceptional mayonnaise takes 10-15 minutes to prepare. Once you are done, refrigerate it and proceed with preparing your vegetables. This should take you about ten minutes. Mix everything; then you can invite everyone for a good treat with deliciously homemade coleslaw.

If you are using a ready-made mayonnaise, you can take fewer minutes. Approximately 10 minutes are enough to prepare your salad. Refrigerate it for about 20 minutes to enhance its taste. If you do not own a refrigerator, you can still enjoy it, but make sure you consume it immediately.

Can Spoilt Coleslaw Bring Insects?

If you are concerned about insects camping in your house, you have experienced their nuisance. When coleslaw goes bad, it can bring tiny flies in your home. Even after getting rid of the spoilt salad, these flies can stick around your house for some time.

Other than flies, spoilt coleslaw can produce worms that do not look appealing. These worms accelerate decay in coleslaw and die after some time.

One thing to note is that these insects cannot sting you. They only make your house look unhygienic.

Do you wonder if you can make large quantities of coleslaw, so you do not have to repeat the process? This information can help you know whether to make coleslaw in bulk or small amounts. Consider whether you have the right storage requirements for your salad and the number of people you are preparing it for.

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