Food Preservation

Does Coleslaw Go Bad? How Long Does Coleslaw Last?

In this article, you will know the answer to the query “Does Coleslaw Go Bad? How Long Does Coleslaw Last?“.

The main ingredient in cole slaw is cabbage, which is accompanied by other vegetables, salad dressing, sour cream, mayonnaise, buttermilk, vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Recipes for cole slaw are usually served cold and are considered summer salads.

This iconic salad has a little bit of history, the word ‘coleslaw’ is derived from the Dutch word ‘koolsla’. A ‘Kool’ is a cabbage, and a ‘Sla’ is a Dutch word for a salad, obviously called ‘Salade’.

During the 17th century, Dutch settlers came to New York and popularized ‘koolsla’. In time, it became known as coleslaw around the world.

Nowadays, coleslaw is mostly served as a side dish at fast food restaurants as well as high-end restaurants.

What if there was leftover coleslaw? What happens if it goes bad? Take a look at what follows!

Does Coleslaw Go Bad? How Long Does Coleslaw Last?

Consuming cole slaw as soon as possible is advisable as it does not contain any preservatives. Eventually, its quality would degrade and you would be left with an inedible and quite bad-smelling coleslaw.

You should store all coleslaw, whether you make it yourself or buy it, in an air-tight container and put it in the refrigerator within two hours of opening it.

Although coleslaw is refrigerated in an airtight container, it shouldn’t be stored for longer than three to five days. It should be consumed within the indicated period of time.

Those who fail to follow this procedure should discard the salad and should not attempt to eat it.

How to Tell If Coleslaw Is Bad? Coleslaw Shelf Life!

The coleslaw that has been kept in the open at room temperature for more than two hours is likely to have already been infected with bacteria.

Coleslaw contains all the ingredients that would attract microbial activity, and if not refrigerated, it would have a sour or tangy odor. Due to the fact that it has already spoilt, it should be discarded.

You should check for odors if the coleslaw has been in the refrigerator for a long time. Check whether it looks moldy if it doesn’t.

In this case, the coleslaw is irreparably damaged and cannot be eaten.

In the absence of an off smell or moldy appearance, you can still taste it, and your taste buds will determine whether it has gone bad.

Does Coleslaw Go Bad? How Long Does Coleslaw Last?


15 minutes


15 minutes


30 minutes


  • Coleslaw
  • Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags
  • Labels and markers


  • Please read the guide thoroughly to learn how long it lasts.
  • Label your container with the content and date and track how much you’re using!
  • Make sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (pantry or fridge).
  • If frozen, thaw in the fridge before use. Always check for signs of spoilage before use.

If you want to read more about food preservation, read here: FOOD PRESERVATION.

Ayub Khan

Ayub Khan is an accomplished culinary author with a passion for cooking and 6 years of experience. His creative ideas and valuable tips inspire readers to explore new flavors and take their culinary skills to the next level.

Rehmat Dietitian

Rehmat is a certified food dietitian having experience of 10 years in reviewing and practicing on foods different aspects.

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