Can You Freeze Chicken Salad With Mayo? [Answers To Frequently Asked Questions]

Working in restaurants, you see a lot. After an especially long weekend at a popular restaurant, the head chef was deliriously tired. He was so tired that as he cleaned up, he accidentally put the chicken salad in the freezer without noticing. The next morning, the cook who was setting up, found the rock-solid block of chicken salad.

With lunch service starting in an hour, the cook assured us the chicken salad was going to taste fine. Out of the 25 chicken salads we served that day, only one actually got paid for. It was a disaster. The frozen chicken salad with mayo was soggy, wilted, and separated. So, Is It Ok to Freeze Chicken Salad with Mayonnaise?

Generally speaking, it’s a bad idea to freeze chicken salad with mayonnaise because, when thawed, mayo separates and it is not possible to re-emulsify it. However, there are alternatives to freezing chicken salad with mayonnaise.

One alternative is to cook and freeze the ingredients of your chicken salad separately. When you’re ready to prepared chicken salad from frozen, simply add in the mayo and vegetables which do not freeze well.

Another alternative is to switch out the chicken salad with mayo for a chicken salad made with a healthier option, like hummus or pesto.

How Does Freezing Chicken Salad With Mayo Affect Taste?

When mayo is frozen, it looks normal. As the frozen chicken salad with mayonnaise thaws, the ingredients in the mayo separate. Your once delicious chicken salad is now sitting in a pool of separated oil, vinegar, and egg yolks.

This puddled mess would definitely be soggy and generally unappetizing. You might get a bite with a bland egg yolk mixture or a bite saturated in vinegar and lemon juice. All the bites would be drenched in oil. To avoid such an unpleasant experience, it is best to avoid freezing chicken salad with mayonnaise in it.

Can You Freeze Other Salads With Mayonnaise?

A salad can be a bowl of leafy green vegetables topped with more vegetables and a vinaigrette. Or, a salad can be a bowl full of pasta coated in mayonnaise and lemon juice. Nonetheless, a major component of most salads is a fat-based dressing.

When it comes to salads that use mayo, freezing is not recommended. Chicken salad with mayo is no exception. You should also not freeze other salads with mayonnaise—such as pasta or macaroni salad, potato salad, tuna salad, or Waldorf salad.

By the way, if you don’t know what a Waldorf salad is, you have to try it. It’s traditionally red-skinned apples, celery, and walnuts, all dressed in mayo. It’s fantastic to eat fresh, but like other salads with mayonnaise, it isn’t smart to freeze it.

How Long Does Chicken Salad With Mayo Last In The Fridge?

Although it isn’t a good idea to freeze chicken salad with mayonnaise, it does keep in the refrigerator quite well. Chicken salad with mayo will last 3-5 days. After 5 days, the chicken and other ingredients start to degrade. The chicken salad with mayo becomes spoiled, so it’s a good idea to throw away any leftovers by the end of the 5-day mark.

To preserve the preferred texture and flavor of your chicken salad, it’s better to eat a leftover chicken salad with mayo within 2-3 days. After 3 days, any vegetables you include will begin to wilt and the chicken starts to get slightly soggy.

Store chicken salad with mayonnaise in an airtight container. It can be plastic, metal, or glass as long as it stays airtight. Even though it’s ineffective to freeze chicken salad with mayo, there are several alternatives to consider.

Don’t Freeze Chicken Salad With Mayo, Try This Instead.

Here are just a few alternative options when you can’t freeze chicken salad with mayo:

1.  Separate Ingredients

While your dreams of freezing a giant batch of chicken salad have been dashed, separating your ingredients is an alternative. You won’t be able to make a batch of chicken salad with mayo already incorporated. However, you can make your chicken salad without the mayo. As long as your chicken salad does not have a fat component like mayo or oil-based dressing, it will freeze and thaw great.

Once your undressed chicken salad is thawed, you can add your refrigerated mayo to it. Mayonnaise stays good for two months or more when kept in the refrigerator. This means you can use the same jar of mayo to dress today’s chicken salad with mayo as you use for next month’s frozen chicken salad.

Common ingredients in chicken salad with mayo include chicken (obviously), red onion, green onion, celery, raisins, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, basil, tarragon, salt, and pepper. All of these common ingredients, except celery, can be frozen. When you can’t freeze your chicken salad with mayo, try mixing and freezing it with most of the ingredients, except mayo.

Store frozen chicken salad in an airtight container. Better yet, use a vacuum sealer to remove any air which may lead to freezer burn. Then, when you’re ready, thaw your chicken salad by leaving it in the refrigerator overnight. If you’re short on time, you can put your airtight container in a bowl under running water for several minutes. This speeds up the thawing process. Once thawed, just add mayonnaise and you’ve got a once frozen chicken salad with mayonnaise.

2. Use Hummus

Another way to get around the negative effects of freezing chicken salad with mayo is to not use mayonnaise at all. One option for substituting chicken salad with mayo is hummus. Hummus, if you don’t already know, is ground chickpeas with added sesame seed paste (also called tahini) and oil.

Luckily, the lack of dairy or eggs in hummus makes it able to freeze well. Hummus can last up to four months frozen. So, consider substituting hummus next time you want to freeze chicken salad with mayo. 

3. Use Pesto

Like hummus, pesto is not made with any ingredients that contain dairy or eggs making it a great alternative to chicken salad with mayonnaise. Pesto is made from basil, pine nuts, oil, and salt. It sometimes contains parmesan cheese. Fortunately, even though it’s dairy, parmesan cheese is a hard cheese that freezes well.

4. Make In Small Batches

The last alternative to freezing chicken salad with mayo is to make your chicken salad in smaller batches. Unluckily, freezing chicken salad with mayo doesn’t turn out well. But, you can refrigerate chicken salad with mayo. If your chicken salad is made in a smaller batch, you eliminate the need to preserve leftovers past a few days anyway.

How Long Can You Keep Mayonnaise-Based Chicken Salad In Freezer?

It’s ill-advised to freeze your chicken salad with mayonnaise. However, if you wish to ignore these guidelines, don’t expect it to taste very good once thawed. Nonetheless, cooked chicken can last up to 4 months when frozen. If you decide to freeze your chicken salad with mayo, it will keep up to 4 months as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Freeze Costco Chicken Salad?

Although some people say it’s ok to freeze commercial salad products like Costco’s chicken salad, it’s not a great idea. Costco’s chicken salad is made with both mayo and sour cream. Like mayonnaise, sour cream tends to separate when frozen and thawed. Both sour cream and mayo can be revived after freezing but only when they stand alone.

Mixing these ingredients with things like chicken, then freezing them will result in a soggy mess. So, don’t freeze Costco chicken salad.

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad With Mayo And Grapes?

The extra crunch and sweetness you get from grapes in the chicken salad are so yummy. However, freezing grapes and thawing them out again results in mushy grapes. They are waterlogged and don’t add the crunch you want in a chicken salad with mayo. For this reason, avoid freezing chicken salad with grapes. Instead, add in fresh grapes and mayo to thawed chicken salad with no dressing.

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad With Mayo And Apples?

Similar to grapes, apples that are frozen then thawed are more moisture-rich. When your chicken salad with mayo and apple thaws, the apples will be soggy and lack the crunch you hoped they would have. For this reason, avoid freezing chicken salad if it is made with mayonnaise or apples.

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad With Eggs?

Unfortunately, eggs are another enemy of the freezer. The hard-boiled egg added to a chicken salad with mayo is so delicious. However, when hard-boiled eggs are frozen then thawed, they get a strange texture. After freezing, your chicken salad with mayo and eggs will be pretty unappetizing. It is not recommended to freeze. 

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad With Miracle Whip?

You might expect that a mayonnaise alternative like Miracle Whip would be an option when you want to freeze your chicken salad. Sadly, Miracle Whip is made up of fairly similar ingredients to mayo. For this reason, it is suggested to not freeze your chicken salad with Miracle Whip.

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad With Yogurt?

Another mayo substitute is unflavored Greek or regular yogurt. So, can you freeze yogurt? Regrettably, the answer is again no, you should not freeze chicken salad with yogurt just like you should not freeze chicken salad with mayonnaise.

Final Thoughts

One of the best parts of summer is chicken salad with mayo. It’s hearty, rich, and crunchy. It has complex flavors from additions like celery, grapes, apples, nuts, and onions. The crunchiness paired with the richness of the mayo makes a chicken salad with mayo delightful. As the summer winds down, you might think you can freeze your chicken salad with mayo. You’ll save it to enjoy in the dead of winter.

Unfortunately, this is not a good idea. Nevertheless, you can make use of alternatives like freezing chicken salad without the mayo or using hummus or pesto instead.

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