Are you one of those people who love chicken salad so much? Well, I can relate! Sadly, though, there are times that chicken salad would go well with a meal, but I don’t have any prepared. Other times, I make so much that some of it goes to waste. If you’re like me, you have probably asked yourself, “can you freeze chicken salad?” more than once. Well, lucky for you, you’ll finally get the answer in this article!
Aside from avoiding throwing away perfectly good food, freezing chicken salad will also help you have it whenever possible. However, there are several things you should remember about freezing chicken salad, which we will talk about later.
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?
The short answer to this question is yes, of course, you can freeze chicken salad. However, the long and complete answer would be yes, but only if:
- Your salad has not been left sitting uncovered, outside the fridge, outdoors, or on the counter for two hours or more.
The heat from the sun and bacteria from the air that reaches the surface may spoil the salad. Some bacteria even continue to grow and multiply as your salad starts to freeze, making it not good to eat even after freezing.
So, it’s best to keep your salad chilled in the fridge before serving it. This makes it a great candidate for freezing later.
- You did not mix too much mayonnaise or yogurt in your salad.
Yogurt and mayonnaise are emulsions composed of oils, water, and protein, which gives them their thick and creamy texture.
When you freeze these ingredients, their components separately, so you’re left with a soggy, watery salad. Aside from looking and tasting unappetizing, this also isn’t healthy for you.
- It has not yet changed in taste, color, or smell.
If it has already started to become sour, change in color, or smell bad, it might be better to throw it away.
- You did not include any watery fruits or vegetables like celery, apples, grapes, and cucumber.
All of these ingredients tend to change in texture and flavor when you freeze them. They can also turn your salad into a soggy and watery mess after freezing.
Can You Freeze Costco Chicken Salad? Can you Freeze Willow Tree Chicken Salad?
As for commercial chicken salad like Costco chicken salad and willow tree chicken salad, you can freeze them, but only if you do so as soon as you open the packaging. Ensure it has not been left out of the fridge for too long such as during transport since this increases the risk of contamination.
Note that these chicken salads may contain ingredients like cream, mayonnaise, celery, or onions that tend to go bad after you freeze them. To know what other food items you should avoid freezing, watch this video:
How to Freeze Chicken Salad
Freezing chicken salad properly is not rocket science. You simply need a few things: freezer bags, freezer, chicken salad, and basic knowledge.
Here are the easy steps you can follow when freezing chicken salad:
Immediately put your chicken salad in a plastic freezer bag as soon as you finish serving or realize you will freeze it. Then, place the bag in the fridge.
Divide your chicken salad into smaller portions to be placed in different container bags. This will make it more convenient for you to thaw them later. Also, leave some space in each bag and don’t fill them to the brim. This will help in keeping your ingredients whole and not mashed.
You can then freeze refrigerated salad. To prevent the dressing from separating, take the salad out after being in the freezer for six hours, and stir it around to make sure all parts are intact.
If you’re wondering whether or not you can vacuum seal chicken salad, well, you can! If you used freezer or Ziploc bags, you could also press away the excess air or vacuum seal each bag. Excess air allows bacteria to grow and tends to make your salad soggy.
Slightly flatten each freezer bag for easier stacking and so that you can freeze the contents evenly. Make sure to keep your salad in the freezer for not more than three months.
Tips For Freezing Chicken Salad
- Divide your chicken salad into one-serving portions so that each portion is easier to manage.
- Vacuum sealed or resealable bags and airtight containers are the best for freezing chicken salad.
- Label each bag with the date on which you stored them. This will help remind you how long any portion has been in the freezer. Use a permanent marker in doing this. Chicken salad freezes well for about two to three months.
- If possible, arrange your bags evenly in the coldest spot in your freezer. This ensures that everything freezes faster and more evenly for maximum safety and less risk of contamination.
- Stir your dressing or salad thoroughly before freezing to minimize separation. Or better yet, freeze your salad and the dressing separately. This is much easier to do if you make a habit of mixing the dressing only when you or your guests are ready to eat the salad.
- If you are making salad in the future, avoid ingredients like mayonnaise and yogurt. Onions, celery, and other watery fruits and vegetables are also a no-no.
- Never freeze your salad again after thawing it, or else, it will spoil rather quickly. This is why it’s essential to divide your salad into portions before freezing.
Thawing Frozen Chicken Salad
Another thing you should learn about is thawing frozen chicken salad. To do this, follow these steps:
Transfer your freezer bags from the freezer to the fridge. Do not thaw your chicken salad by leaving the bags on the counter since this can cause bacterial growth.
Wait a few hours or overnight to make sure your salad is completely thawed. Do not remove it from the fridge unless completely thawed.
When you’re sure that your chicken salad has thawed completely, place it in a different container, and drain any excess liquid.
Stir your chicken salad around to mix the ingredients thoroughly. If it is too watery or soggy, you could add a teaspoon of cornstarch to improve the texture. You can also add freshly chopped nuts, fruits, or vegetables for added taste and texture.
In case your salad has lost some of its taste, consider adding a pinch of salt and pepper.
Thawed chicken salad is not great for eating on its own. You can instead use it as a sandwich filling or as a pasta salad dressing.
Consume thawed chicken salad as soon as you can or within 2 to 3 days after thawing. Keep it in the fridge for that whole duration.
Dispose of any chicken salad that has been thawed for more than 3 days or left unrefrigerated for two hours.
Technically, you could. However, it is not advisable because mayonnaise can go bad and undergo changes in texture, taste, and appearance when you freeze it.
Yes, but only if it does not contain any ingredients that are not the best for freezing. Make sure it also wasn’t left out of the fridge or has been exposed for some time already.
Technically, yes. You can safely freeze chicken salad with mayonnaise. However, the best answer to this is no. Mayonnaise can go bad during and after freezing. Although there are ways to freeze chicken salad with mayonnaise safely, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
When properly stored in clean and airtight containers, you can keep chicken salad for three to five days in the fridge.
Chicken salad can be kept frozen for a maximum of three months. This is if it was packed, sealed, and stored correctly.
So, can you freeze chicken salad? YES! If you follow these tips and steps in freezing and thawing chicken salad, you’ll surely be an expert in no time! Enjoy your chicken salad anytime, and never waste leftovers again!
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