Macaroni salad is a fan favorite at barbecues and brunches! This European fare features an array of ingredients, but there are always three staple items that you can count on finding in this delicious dish — macaroni noodles, mayonnaise, and hard-boiled eggs.
For the folks who understand the time commitment that comes with making this signature dish, they may be wondering, can you freeze macaroni salad with mayonnaise? We will let you know if this is pastable!
Technically, you can freeze any food product. However, experts advise that you never freeze macaroni salad made with mayonnaise. This is because the consistency and texture of the various ingredients will degrade at extremely cold temperatures, making this dish unpleasant to eat.
However, you can prepare and store certain ingredients separately in freezer-safe ziplock bags and then mix them together when you are ready to serve this dish. The only ingredients that should not be frozen are the mayonnaise, the hard-boiled eggs, and the pickles.
- Ingredients In Macaroni Salad With Mayonnaise [Freezer Recommendations & Warnings]
- How To Properly Freeze Macaroni Salad?
- Final Thoughts
Ingredients In Macaroni Salad With Mayonnaise [Freezer Recommendations & Warnings]
Unfortunately, macaroni salad is a delectable mixture of ingredients that do not bode well in cold storage. This is because the texture and consistency will change drastically, making the overall dish undesirable to consume.
Thus, homemade and store-bought macaroni salad should not be frozen. However, certain ingredients can be prepared and stored prior to preparation.
While this ingredient can be stored for up to two months in the freezer, it is important to note that if it is not prepared correctly, this ingredient will turn mushy and fall apart extremely easily. This is due to the amount of water that is in the pasta as well as the hollow structure that allows for oxidation to occur more easily.
Thus, if you do choose to freeze macaroni pasta, you must only cook it al dente. This essentially means that the noodles are still firm and will, therefore, retain their shape.
In order to achieve this consistency, you must only cook them for 2 to 3 minutes. Additionally, once this step is complete, thoroughly rinse the pasta in cold water. You should never put hot foods in the freezer.
Mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and egg yolks. According to the American Egg Board, an emulsion “is a temporarily stable mixture of immiscible fluids, such as oil and water, achieved by finely dividing one phase into very small droplets. […] There are multiple factors that can affect an emulsion’s stability such as temperature, mixing speed and time, and more.”
What this means is that when exposed to extreme temperatures, this temporarily stable mixture will separate. This is caused by exposure to large ice crystals, which typically form when freezing large quantities of food slowly.
“During thawing, [these crystals] damage the cells and dissolve emulsions. […] Emulsions such as mayonnaise or cream will separate and appear curdled.” This is the reason why the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises against putting both mayo and pre-made macaroni salad with mayonnaise in the deep freeze.
Raw and scrambled eggs can be frozen with no issue! However, hard-boiled eggs are another story. Regrettably, the whites have a high moisture content, which causes them to turn rubbery and tough in texture when frozen and then defrosted. Macaroni salads and egg salads should not be frozen for this reason.
In contrast, the chalky yolk is much drier than the remainder of the egg. Due to this, the interior will handle freezing quite well. Thus, if your recipe only includes the yolks, you are good to go! These will last up to three months in the freezer.
This sharp-tasting dairy product is a hard cheese, which means that it is perfectly safe in the freezer! Just like parmesan cheese, there is low moisture content. Thus, the texture and flavor will stay intact.
This product will span three to six months in cold storage. Additionally, you have the option of freshly shredding the cheddar cheese and freezing it or just placing the pre-made store-bought shredded cheddar container directly into the freezer.
Vegetables & Fruits
Onions, celery, bell peppers, olives, and pickles are all stable vegetables found in macaroni salad with mayonnaise. Both onions and celery can be frozen in their prepared form for 10 to 12 months. The onions will require no cooking, just peeling and chopping.
Prepare the celery in the same manner. However, you should blanch the pieces first. While this is not mandatory, it will help to maintain the nutrient value and keep them fresh for a longer amount of time.
Bell peppers will last slightly less time, staying fresh for 6 to 8 months in the freezer. For the longest storage times, blanch this product prior to freezing.
The only vegetable not recommended for freezer storage are pickles. However, if they remain unopened in the jar, they have a stable shelf life of 12 months.
How To Properly Freeze Macaroni Salad?
If you are insistent on making your macaroni salad with mayonnaise in advance, then it is best to prepare select ingredients and freeze them separately.
Additionally, since the freezer life for these various ingredients spans anywhere from 2 to 12 months, always serve your macaroni salad within the time frame which ensures that all of your ingredients are safe to eat.
Step 1: Prepare The Ingredients
First and foremost, never freeze mayonnaise, hard-boiled eggs, and pickles. However, you can easily prepare your other ingredients for cold storage. Peel and chop the onions, chop and blanch the celery and slice the olives in advance. Furthermore, you can boil your pasta al dente and shred your cheese.
Step 2: Flash Freeze Your Cheese, Fruits, And Vegetables
Take metal baking sheets and line them with wax paper. Then, evenly and separately lay out the various ingredients and slide them into the freezer.
By allowing these foods to flash freeze, you lessen the instance of the large ice crystals that can impact the flavors and textures of the foods. Depending on the quantity you are making, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a day.
Step 3: Package Your Ingredients
Once frozen, use freezer-safe ziplock bags to separately store each of your ingredients. Remove as much air as possible. This will help to prevent oxidation and freezer burn from occurring.
An airtight container is another alternative. Just remember to leave at least ¾ of an inch from the top of the food item and the lid. Since food expands when frozen, this small step will ensure that the packaging stays sealed and your food items stay safe to eat.
Next, wrap each bag or container in a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Finally, label the items with the date of our initial flash freeze.
Moreover, since each item has a different freezer shelf life, also denotes the length of time each ingredient should be discarded. This will help to avoid spoilage. Store at a consistent zero degrees Celsius until you are ready to prepare your macaroni salad.
Step 4: Thaw Ingredients Before Mixing Your Macaroni Salad With Mayonnaise
The day before you intend to assemble your macaroni salad with mayonnaise, move the various ingredients from the deep freeze and place them in the fridge to thaw out. Allow 24 hours for this process to complete. Otherwise, you will notice changes in texture and consistency.
Once thawed, you can simply mix the ingredients together, and then you can add the freshly made hard-boiled eggs, the mayo, and the pickles. Viola!
IMPORTANT NOTE: While al dente pasta is imperative for freezer storage, it might not be the ideal texture for macaroni salad. If you prefer a softer noodle, simply take your defrosted pasta and drop it in boiling water.
Cook until you achieve the desired consistency. Then, rinse it with cool water until the pasta reaches room temperature. Finally, mix it into your macaroni salad with mayo as directed.
Most macaroni and pasta salad dishes will last for three to five days in the refrigerator. Most importantly, because macaroni salad with mayonnaise is a staple barbecue and picnic side dish, it is extremely important to remember the two-hour rule.
The Food & Drug Administration advises that you “discard any perishables (foods that can spoil or become contaminated by bacteria if unrefrigerated) left out at room temperature for longer than two hours. When temperatures are above 90° F (32° C), discard food after one hour.”
If you plan to be out for longer than this time frame, then it is advised to utilize portable cold storage, like a Yeti cooler, to keep these products on ice. Then, lay out small portions and refill the dish as needed. This is an important step in avoiding the instance of food poisoning brought on by bacteria growth.
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I worked in the accounting field. I am also a Certified Food Handler. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to mom’s life and homemaking.