How Long Does Coleslaw Last? Know This Before You Stock up on Salad

If you love vegetable salad, you must know how to run a quick coleslaw to snack on. While almost everyone knows that coleslaw doesn’t last for long, especially after adding cream, you still want to keep some for a few more hours and maybe refrigerate it.

But, can coleslaw last that long? Can you keep the bowl of vegetable salad you made for lunch until dinner or the next day? There’s one way to find out… continue reading.

What Is Coleslaw?

Coleslaw or slaw, as it’s also called, means cabbage salad. It originates from Dutch settlers who are it, ‘koolsla’, as a side dish. Coleslaw is an English interpretation of the Dutch term. Cabbage salad is now a common side dish and a snack among Americans.

It is a mixture of uncooked shredded cabbage, carrots, onions, and a dressing that could be mayonnaise or vinegar.

As mentioned earlier, it is eaten as a side dish or by itself, as a snack. This veggie salad makes a perfect match with chicken sandwiches, tacos, shawarma, hot dogs, hamburgers, fried clams, and pulled pork sandwiches.

SEE: How Long Does Homemade Mayo Last? [Find Out Here]

How Long Does Coleslaw Last?

Generally, coleslaw is good for up to three to five days after preparation. How long your bowl of veggies lasts depends on how it is prepared and how you store it.

A homemade slaw can last three to five days after preparation and store-bought slaw will last the same duration after you have opened it. Coleslaw left in the open or on a kitchen counter is good for only last for two hours.

Additionally, coleslaw does not contain preservatives and this is why you should eat it quickly and not store it.

SEE: These Peppers Are Good Alternatives for Green Chili

How Long Does Coleslaw Last in the Refrigerator?

Homemade and store-bought coleslaw will last for about three to four days in the refrigerator after opening them. If you have a bag of unopened slaw in the fridge, it can only last for as long as the printed date says.

Although you may enjoy one to two more days of good coleslaw after this period, it is not advisable to refrigerate it for so long.

SEE: What Goes Best With Salad For Breakfast, Lunch, And Dinner?

How Long Does Coleslaw Last in the Freezer?

Freezing coleslaw allows you to have your bowl of veggies around for much longer and prevent waste if you’ve made more than enough. You can preserve your vegetable salad for up to three months in the freezer.

However, keep in mind that you will not have fresh, crisp slaw when you take it out of the freezer. If you used mayonnaise as the dressing in coleslaw, you’ll get a bowl of separated veggies and cream. And they won’t mix well again even after it thaws.

SEE: Amazing Ways to Reuse Your Vegetables

How Long Does Vinegar Coleslaw Last?

You should refrigerate vinegar coleslaw if you want to preserve it for up to three to five days. Make sure you’re storing it in an airtight container before refrigerating.

How Long Does Coleslaw Last After Best-by Date?

Coleslaw will last for only one or two days more after the sell-by and best-by date if it remains unopened and refrigerated. However, when you open the bag of slaw, you should consume it within three days.

Will You Get Sick After Eating Spoilt Coleslaw?

When you eat spoilt vegetable salad, you’ll have similar signs as food poisoning. If coleslaw was exposed to the environment at room temperature, it is equally exposed to bacterial contamination.

In addition, eating spoilt slaw exposes you to salmonella poisoning. Some of the manifest signs you may experience include nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.

How Do You Tell if Coleslaw Is Bad?

Check the best by date

Check for the best by, sell by, and expiration date in the pack of your store-bought salad. Moreover, if you have stored the bowl of vegetable salad for a long time, it’s already bad.

SEE: How to Stop Food Spoilage and Food Poisoning

Mold growth

Mold is a sign of decomposition of foods and it is a loud sign that food is bad. The same applies to slaw, mold growth in the veggies or around the bowl means that you should throw the salad away.

Overall appearance

How your slaw looks will tell you its state. If you notice any discoloration on the veggies or the overall look, you should not consider eating the salad. Moreover, if the salad is looking watery, you should throw it away.


A pungent smell from your bowl of salad indicates that the veggies are no longer good. If what you smell is the sourness of lemon juice, the salad may not be spoilt yet. You can taste a little of it to be sure.

Taste of the coleslaw

The taste buds know good food when they feel one, so allow them to be the judge. If you’re still confused after examining the appearance and taste of the salad, you should taste a little of it. A bowl of bad salad will taste unpalatable and spoilt.

SEE: How to Get Free Food or Amazing Discount at Church’s Chicken

How to Preserve Coleslaw

  • Preserve slaw in the refrigerator
  • Store the salad in a tightly sealed container before refrigerating
  • Avoid opening the door of the refrigerator too frequently to prevent contamination
  • Do not mix veggies and dressing until you’re ready to eat the coleslaw. Refrigerate them separately
  • Wilt the veggies before making the salad. This will help to prevent your coleslaw from becoming watery


Can you eat watery coleslaw?

Watery coleslaw is still edible. However, the vegetables may not be as crisp as they were and the whole dish will not be as tasty as it was when it was still fresh.

How long does bagged coleslaw mix last?

Unopened coleslaw will last up to ten days if you store it in a refrigerator. Make sure it is in a tightly sealed bag, and consume it as soon as you can.

Why does the cabbage taste bitter?

Cabbage has a naturally bitter taste because of the presence of a compound called glucosinate. If you feel your cabbage is too bitter, you can boil it a little if your recipe allows. But if you’re to eat it raw, you can soak it in cold water for some minutes to get out the bitterness.

SEE: How Long Is Cooked Shrimp Good for at Room Temperature?


Coleslaw is one of those foods with a short shelf life, and this is why you should consume it within a few hours. It lacks preservatives that can keep it fresh for a long time. If you have a bowl of old slaw somewhere in the fridge or the counter, you can think back to how long it’s been there.

How you prepared the slaw and the preservation methods are some factors that determine how much longer you can keep your bowl of veggies, even within its short shelf life. If you’re reconsidering the bowl of old coleslaw, make sure you check for signs of spoilage before you eat.

Thanks for reading.

Cheffist has more detailed articles that provide answers to your questions on food and kitchen affairs.