Can You Freeze Chicken Salad? Even One With Mayonnaise?
Chicken salad is a must-have dish at every party; whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea time, or any other meal, chicken salad is bound to make an appearance in one form or another. So, it makes sense that, instead of making this salad every time, you just make a batch and freeze it so you can use it whenever you want.
Furthermore, being able to freeze chicken salad means you don’t have to cram your refrigerator full every time you have a leftover chicken salad. But the main question here is can you freeze chicken salad at all? And will the freezing affect its taste? Fortunately, we have the answers to your questions, and they are good.
Freezing Chicken Salad. To Do Or Not To Do
A question we get asked more often than the ‘how can you freeze chicken salad?’ one, is that is it safe to freeze chicken salad at all or not? Well, a simple answer is yes, it is safe to freeze chicken salad. But not one that has the following characteristics:
- Chicken salad that has been sitting outside for a while and has been exposed to sun and air is not fit to be frozen
- Chicken salad that has very large quantities of mayo or yogurt is not suitable for freezing
- Chicken salad that has started tasting bad or sour should not be frozen
- Chicken salad that has ingredients like apples, celery, cucumbers, green peppers, and basically anything that loses its flavor and shape when frozen, isn’t suitable for freezing
If your chicken salad does not fall into any of the above categories then you can easily freeze it to enjoy it anytime later.
How To Freeze Chicken Salad
Freezing chicken salad is very much like freezing any other dish. There are a few simple steps you need to follow to make sure your salad doesn’t go bad over time and tastes almost the same when thawed:
- The first thing you need to do is to refrigerate the extra chicken salad after you’re done serving it. This step is really important. Never freeze chicken salad that has been sitting out. You must always refrigerate the salad first.
- After refrigerating your salad (preferably for at least 6 hours) take the salad out and give it a good stir and toss. This is to make sure that the salad is well mixed and that there are not dressing clumps. What this step will do is make sure the salad stays intact and the dressing doesn’t separate.
- Now you can transfer your salad to a freezing bag. Ideally, you should split the salad in different bags, making sure not to fill any one bag to the brink. This is to make sure the ingredients in the salad (like any vegetables) don’t get crumpled and smashed.
- This next step is really important; once you’ve placed the salad in the bags you need to remove any excess air in the bags. You can do this by pressing the bags lightly to release all the air before sealing them. However, we recommend that you use a vacuum sealer for this step. This is because the excess air can not only make the salad soggy and ruin its flavor, but it can also promote the growth of bacteria. You really don’t want that to happen. Learn how to use a vacuum sealer.
- Once your bags are sealed and ready for the freezer, label and date the packets so that you know how long they can be kept in the freezer. You shouldn’t let them sit there for more than three months, though.
- The last step is flattening the chicken salad bags and placing them in the coolest part of the freezer. With this way, the salad will freeze evenly and in a shorter amount of time.
Thawing Chicken Salad
Well, now that you know how to freeze the chicken salad, here are a few tips on how you should thaw it:
- Remove the chicken salad from the freezer and move it to the refrigerator to thaw. Never leave frozen chicken salad to thaw on the counter as this will promote the growth of bacteria.
- Leave the salad in the refrigerator for several hours or until it is completely thawed. Again, don’t take it out mid-way to thaw on the counter. Also, don’t microwave or heat the salad to quicken the thawing process. Both will destroy the texture and flavor of the salad.
- Once the salad is completely thawed, take it out of the bag and remove any excess liquid. Don’t mix this liquid back in the salad as this is unhealthy and will taste bad.
- Now that the salad is thawed and free of any liquids, it is ready to be used. Generally, thawed chicken salad needs a little priming before it can be used. You can add in fresh vegetables to improve the taste. Or add a little for more fresh dressing. But the best way to use this chicken salad is to make chicken salad sandwiches or chicken pasta salads.
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad That Has Mayonnaise?
Well, the answer to this question depends on the amount of mayonnaise you’ve used in your salad. This is because dressings like mayonnaise, yogurt, or any other dairy based dressing tend to split when frozen. This means that they release a lot of water, which will soak your salad and destroy its flavor, or let bacteria grow in it which, of course, will make the salad inedible.
However, if you’ve used a little amount of mayonnaise in your salad, you can freeze it easily as it won’t release as much water. Once thawed, you can simply drain that water and freshen your salad up by adding a little bit of cornstarch in it. You can also add some fresh mayonnaise or any other dressing to improve the taste of the salad.
A tip to keep in mind is to use store bought mayonnaise when making chicken salad as it is more suitable for freezing for a longer period of time.
Freezing chicken salad isn’t much of a hassle. In fact, it can help you enjoy your favorite dish anytime. Also, thawed chicken salad makes for a wonderful condiment to many other dishes. Freezing chicken salad is, therefore, a very good idea.
Do you agree with us? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Can you freeze chicken salad? Yes, you can by following this simple method we have outlined for you.