Have you ever wondered if chicken salad can be frozen? Let’s find out!
If you’re going to freeze chicken salad, we’re sharing the most important information you need to know.
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Chicken salad is the kind of food you can buy at a grocery store pre-packaged or even make at home with leftover chicken and a few other ingredients, such as hard boiled eggs and mayo.
If it’s one of your favorite foods and something that you like to have at home in the fridge to eat on bread, lettuce, or even in a bowl, you may want to know if you can freeze it to preserve it, making it last longer while preventing it from going bad.
This is especially helpful if you’re planning ahead for a holiday lunch, or if you had a good bit leftover after a holiday gathering.
Can Chicken Salad Be Frozen?
You can freeze leftover chicken salad and save it for later, though the type of ingredients used and the method of freezing will play a role in how successful it is.
If you plan on freezing the chicken salad, you must first make sure to store it properly.
The chicken salad should be chilled, and should not have been left out at room temperature for more than two hours (this is due to the possibility of bacterial growth when left at room temperature for a long time).
After preparing the chicken salad, transfer it into a large food storage container, such as a freezer bag or airtight container, remove as much excess air as possible (in the case of plastic bags), and make sure it’s sealed tightly.
If you have a vacuum sealer, you can use it, since it will remove as much air as possible. This will help to prevent air from getting into the container.
It’s a good idea to put a label with the date on the chicken salad because it can only stay in the freezer for a maximum of three months.
There are different types of chicken salad, each with different ingredients, which will impact how well each type freezes.
If you have crunchy vegetables and fruits (such as celery, grapes, etc.) in chicken salad, I don’t recommend freezing it. That’s because these ingredients may become soggy after being frozen and thawed.
If possible, save these add-ins until after you’ve thawed out your salad.
Thawing Process for Frozen Chicken Salad
Once you’ve had the chicken salad in the freezer for three months or less, you’ll need to remove it, place it in the fridge to thaw, and then give the thawed chicken salad a good stir.
Now you’re ready to eat it, whether you’re serving it on bread, eating it in a bowl with fresh greens, making chicken salad wraps, adding it to pasta salad, or doing something else with it.
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad with Mayo?
While you technically can freeze chicken salad with mayo, but I wouldn’t recommend it. There are some potential things that will likely go wrong.
Mayo tends to separate when it gets stored in the freezer and later thawed, which could create an issue for the chicken salad, resulting in an undesirable texture.
However, if you’ve only used a very small amount of mayo in the recipe and have used several other ingredients in addition to the chicken, you can try placing the chicken salad made with mayo in the freezer and keep it stored for up to three months.
The sooner you take it out of the freezer, the lower the risk of the mayo ingredients separating on you. Just keep in mind that the texture may not be optimum.
The best way to extend the shelf life of chicken salad is to consider using Miracle Whip or another whipped salad dressing instead of mayonnaise. Miracle Whip is less likely to separate.
If you’re freezing pre-made chicken salad from the store, such as Costco chicken salad, you’ll want to double-check the ingredients before freezing.
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad Made with Yogurt?
Chicken salad recipes made with a mayonnaise substitute, such as Greek yogurt or even regular yogurt, isn’t the best food to put in the freezer.
The same goes for sour cream and other dairy products sometimes used as a mayo substitute.
The problem with yogurt is that it can and often will separate when placed in such cold temperatures.
While you might not notice it when you first remove the chicken salad from the freezer, it will become evident when it thaws out in the fridge and you open the container to see the ingredients separated, with excess liquid in the mixture.
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad Made with Eggs?
You can freeze chicken salad made with eggs, but it’s best to leave the egg whites out and only use egg yolks in the recipe.
If you have a homemade chicken salad recipe that calls for eggs, boil the eggs, peel them, and then cut them in half lengthwise to remove the yolk, placing it into the bowl with your chicken, mayo, and other ingredients.
Because egg whites don’t freeze well, it’s best to leave them out. The texture of the egg whites can change, making them nearly inedible when they’ve been placed in the freezer for too long.
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad Sandwiches?
Freezing chicken salad sandwiches is not the best idea.
Even if you plan to eventually eat your chicken salad on bread, it’s better to freeze it in a container and then make the sandwiches after you’ve removed the chicken salad from the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge.
The problem with freezing chicken salad sandwiches is that the bread can hold that excess moisture and quickly become soggy when it starts thawing out in the fridge.
If you don’t want to deal with soggy, wet bread, it’s better to store your chicken salad in the freezer by itself and then make your sandwich at a later time.
Freezing Chicken Salad
You can prepare chicken salad and freeze any extra chicken salad a freezer-safe container to save it until you’re ready to eat it, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
The effectiveness of the freezing process depends heavily on the different ingredients you’re planning to add to the egg salad, such as eggs, mayo, or even yogurt.
If you add specific ingredients, you may not want to put the chicken salad in the freezer because it could end up tasting bad.
The best option is to simply eat the chicken salad fresh if possible, as it will have the best texture that way.
This may mean that you don’t make a large batch of chicken salad, but instead make smaller amounts so there’s not so much chicken salad leftover.
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