Category: Salads

Salads

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?

A special meal or a BBQ is not complete without a heaping bowl of chicken salad! It’s a quintessential dish that’s wholesome, healthy, and of course, delicious. But what if you made too much chicken salad? Can you freeze chicken salad?

If say, you overestimated the food you serve or you simply want to stock up on chicken salad, we’re happy to report that this dish keeps well in the freezer. However, prepping the dish is critical to the longevity of chicken salad in the freezer!

Factors to Consider Before Freezing Chicken Salad

Chicken salad contains mayonnaise and other ingredients that could separate or turn rancid much more quickly than the chicken meat. In addition, chicken salad contains crunchy vegetables, such as scallions and celery, which are quite sensitive to freezing temperatures.

Image used under Creative Commons from Kathy Maister

If say, you intentionally made a large batch of chicken salad, divide the servings between portions that you’ll serve and portions you’ll freeze. For portions that you have to freeze, hold the mayonnaise until you are ready to serve. Mayonnaise is not a great candidate for freezing and adding it before freezing the salad will only affect the integrity of the dish. You can add the mayo a few minutes before serving, just as the salad thawed completely.

It’s also worth noting that mayo substitutes, such as whipped salad dressing, pesto, olive oil, and mustard, freezes better than mayonnaise. These subs will not clump when frozen and thawed. If you want to freeze the salad as is, using whipped salad dressing should simplify the prep process.

How to Freeze Chicken Salad?

Chicken Salad with Mayonnaise

If you’re committed to storing a traditionally-made chicken salad, one that’s made with mayo, you can. Just prepare the salad as usual. Once you’re ready to prep, prepare several freezer safe containers with an airtight lid. You can also use resealable plastic bags. Scoop the salad into the container (according to your desired portion then squeeze as much air as you can before sealing. Write the storage date then place the chicken salad in the freezer.

Chicken Salad without Mayonnaise

If say, you’d like to use any of the mayo subs we’ve outlined previously, prepare the salad as you normally would then prep for freezing.  Scoop the salad into your choice of a freezer-safe container then remove as much air as possible before sealing. Write the storage date then place the chicken salad in the freezer.

On the other hand, if you want to exclude the mayonnaise (along with the greens) until the salad has been thawed, do not add this ingredient prior to freezing. Just prep the chicken meat and season it. Refer to the freezing preps outlined above.

Once you are ready to serve, thaw the seasoned chicken meat then add a dollop of mayo. Chop fresh celery and scallions, mix them with the rest of the salad then serve.

Image used under Creative Commons from Foodista

Shelf Life and Thawing Suggestions

Frozen chicken salad will keep in the freezer for three months or more. However, we highly suggest consuming your supply as soon as possible for optimal flavor. To defrost, just transfer the frozen chicken salad in the fridge and leave the dish to thaw overnight. If the consistency of the salad turned watery, give it a good whip until the ingredients are well mixed. You can also add a tablespoon of the dressing/mayonnaise to achieve a thicker consistency.

If you are in a hurry, submerge the container into a bowl of tap water. This trick should thaw the frozen chicken salad much more quickly. Of course, you have to make sure that the container is tightly sealed so water will not seep into the dish.

Avoiding Contamination

Chicken salad with mayonnaise is highly perishable and prone to contamination so keep food safety in mind before freezing and prior to serving.

For the homemade chicken salad, we suggest freezing the dish on the day it is made. You can also chill the homemade salad in the fridge first prior to freezing. Never let the salad sit at room temperature for long because the mayonnaise could go bad.

As for the commercially made chicken salad, you have to freeze the product as soon as you opened it. If the salad has been left sitting for hours at room temperature or has been transported without refrigeration do not bother freezing it. The risk of contamination is too great.

How to Tell if Chicken Salad has Gone Bad?

It’s easy to tell if the chicken salad is no longer safe to eat. If the dish has turned abnormally mushy or it is giving off an odd aroma after thawing, the salad has gone bad. If it’s watery but there is no difference in flavor or aroma, it is still safe to eat.

Summary

Can you freeze chicken salad? Yes, you can freeze chicken salad, with or without mayonnaise! Freezing chicken salad is easy but certain factors have to be considered so you do not ruin a batch. Remember, you have total control over the ingredients so you can always add sensitive ingredients until you are ready to serve.

Salads

Can You Freeze Potato Salad?

Can you freeze potato salad? If you have a lot of leftover potato salad, how do you keep the rest for later? The fact is, potato salad has a notoriously short shelf life. When kept in the fridge, it will only keep for a week. But when kept in the freezer, potato salad should keep for several months.

That being said, most chefs and culinary experts do not recommend freezing potato salad. The dairy, boiled eggs, and mayonnaise in potato salad tend to degrade quickly when frozen and defrosted. Still, it’s possible to freeze anything and as long as you have packed the potato salad well, freezing should be no problem at all.

Corned beef on rye(credit: jeffreyw)

Make sure you’ll freeze the salad in an airtight container or in a freezer bag. Don’t forget to seal it tightly. and don’t store it in the freezer for too long, as it doesn’t help with keeping the consistency of the salad anywhere near its original texture. Below is a guideline on how can you freeze potato salad:

How to Freeze Potato Salad?

Freezing Freshly Made Potato Salad

If you are making potato salad ahead of time and you are expecting a lot of leftovers, it’s best to divide the dish so you can freeze the untouched potato salad as soon as possible. To do this, prepare several large, resealable plastic bags or an airtight rigid container.

With a slotted spoon, spoon the potato salad into your preferred container. Do not overfill the container, leave about an inch or two of space. If you’re using a plastic bag, squeeze the air out before sealing. Write the storage date with a marker then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Leftover Potato Salad

Now if say, you have a little bit of potato salad leftover to freeze, remove any food debris that got mixed into the salad. If you don’t, this will speed up the degradation of the ingredients, causing the salad to go bad.

Once that’s done, get an airtight container and spoon the leftover potato salad into the container. Do not overfill the container, leave about an inch or two of space. Seal with the airtight lid, write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Image used under Creative Commons from Stacy Spensley

Freezing Potato Salad: Common Freezing FAQs Answered

Can you freeze homemade potato salad?

Yes, you can freeze homemade potato salad but it needs careful preparation so the salad won’t turn to mush after thawing. Do note that potato salad made with oil has the tendency to take on a cloudy appearance. This won’t affect the flavor of the salad. On the other hand, homemade potato salad made with mayonnaise, eggs, or tartar sauce has an increased likelihood of bacterial growth so you have to work fast.

Since potato salad is served slightly chilled, you can prep the salad for freezing right away. To do this, prepare an airtight, freezer-friendly container. Spoon the freshly made potato salad into the container. Do not fill the container to the brim; leave about an inch of space. Cover the container with cling wrap before sealing it with the airtight lid. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Can you freeze potato salad with mayo?

Most culinary experts do not recommend freezing potato salad made with mayo. Mayonnaise is made from eggs, which are a temperature sensitive ingredient. The risk of bacterial growth is just too great if the mayonnaise is left to thaw for a couple of hours in the counter. In addition, mayo could curdle when frozen and thawed. You have to re-emulsify the mayonnaise to restore its consistency. And even if you restored its consistency somewhat, it will never be the same.

Potato salad is not recommended to be frozen because it has a lot of temperature sensitive ingredients apart from mayo. But if you want to avoid waste, you can freeze the salad. Just make sure to thaw the salad carefully so the ingredients won’t go bad.

Can you freeze store-bought potato salad?

This depends on several factors. First, you need to know how long the salad was left sitting in the store. If the potato salad has been sitting in the store for a day or so, it’s no longer fresh so freezing it isn’t recommended at all. You are better off leaving no leftovers.

But if the potato salad is freshly made, then you can freeze it. This goes especially if the container is freezer-friendly and sealed. But to be on the safe side, we recommend transferring the salad in an airtight container instead of using its original packaging for freezing. The sealed container will protect the salad from freezing temps and frost.

Can you freeze German potato salad?

Definitely! German potato salad is made without mayonnaise. Instead, this salad is made with vinaigrette or vinegar, which are a terrific natural preservative. There will be a little separation between the ingredients as the frozen German potato salad thaws but just give the salad a good stir to re-incorporate the ingredients.

How to Defrost Frozen Potato Salad?

Eating frozen potato salad is no fun, you have to defrost it first. Just transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the salad to thaw overnight.

The separation between ingredients is quite common after thawing. This goes especially for dishes that contain dairy, mayonnaise, and eggs. If such is the case, just give the potato salad a good stir to incorporate the ingredients again. Since potato salad is best served chilled, there is no need to reheat.

Summary

Who doesn’t love potato salads? As a quintessential side dish, potato salad adds a yummy dose of umami to any meal. Now that you know how can you freeze potato salad, there is no need to worry about your salad turning bad because of its short shelf life. Just freeze it!