Can you freeze chicken salad if you have leftovers? There are many different parts to a chicken salad that don’t freeze well; however, there is a way to successfully save it for later.
This includes chicken salad made with cranberries, curry, almonds, walnuts, onions, celery, pickles, and eggs.
Can you freeze chicken salad?
Yes, absolutely you can freeze chicken salad but there are a few things you need to consider.
Homemade chicken salad is made up of ingredients that each react differently to freezing.
Some do better than others in this environment, and this will ultimately determine how you can freeze chicken salad.
Here is a breakdown of common ingredients that you’ll find in chicken salad and how each reacts to freezing and thawing, and the best way to save the chicken salad for later.
Mayonnaise is made up of oil and fat, which need a stabilizer to remain smoothly combined. When this mixture is frozen, mayo destabilizes and separates.
For this reason, if your chicken salad has mayonnaise in it, it will be greasy when it thaws. There are ways around this.
If you know you’ll be freezing leftover chicken salad, make it with a different ingredient that freezes better.
You can also stir in more mayo after it thaws, which will make it better, but not as good as it was when it was fresh.
Miracle whip is a mayo substitute that is made with artificial stabilizers and preservatives. Because of this, it freezes much better than regular mayonnaise.
It’s debatable whether Miracle Whip tastes better than regular mayonnaise, but this is totally your preference.
This is a good option if you know you’ll need to freeze your chicken salad.
Yogurt is a dairy product that can definitely be frozen. However, it should also be eaten frozen once it’s in that form. Thawing frozen yogurt makes it grainy. That texture may not be ideal in a chicken salad.
The good thing is that without mayo it doesn’t get greasy like it would with mayonnaise. You can stir a little more yogurt into the salad to help cover the grainy texture.
Eggs have two separate parts that each freeze differently. Hardboiled egg yolks can freeze and then thaw well; however, egg whites become rubbery and hard when thawed.
For this reason, if your chicken salad only has egg yolks, it will work better. If it also has egg whites, it won’t taste as great as when it was fresh.
Frozen grapes are a wonderfully cold snack for a summer day; however, they’re mushy when thawed after being frozen.
This may work if you’re going to blend them and use them in another dish. It’s not so great if you’re planning on eating them whole. Here’s a great way to store grapes, otherwise.
Some vegetables freeze and thaw well; however, others don’t. Vegetables like celery, onions, and pickles lose moisture when thawed and become mushy and flat.
This directly contrasts what you want them to be in this dish; crunchy.
If you decide to freeze your chicken salad, be aware that the vegetables won’t give you quite the same crispy satisfaction as when fresh.
How to freeze leftover chicken salad?
Freezing prepared chicken salad isn’t the best option. When it’s thawed, it tends to be mushy, greasy, or grainy. It doesn’t matter if it’s homemade or bought from Costco or Trader Joe’s.
There is another answer to the question, “can you freeze chicken salad?” While prepared chicken salad isn’t great for freezing, you can prepare the ingredients that freeze well and store them separately.
Then, when you’re ready to thaw and eat the salad, you can just add in the ingredients that need to be fresh. This would include mayo, veggies, and eggs.
If you have not seen it already, you need to check out my recipe for chicken salad without celery.
What to do instead of freezing
Instead of trying to freeze chicken salad, the best way to prepare and eat it is to make it fresh in small batches. This ensures there are no leftovers, so you don’t feel guilty wasting them.
You can also refrigerate this salad. This is the perfect compromise to freezing chicken salad that you want to prepare in advance.
This way, you don’t need to make the salad the same day if you know you’ll be busy. This is perfect if you have a holiday party where you want to bring this delicious salad.
So, can you freeze chicken salad? The conclusion is that it’s not a good idea. The ingredients in this dish don’t thaw well, which means it’s not the best salad to freeze.
Most ingredients in this recipe don’t freeze well, but there are other ways to make it. You can prep the ingredients that freeze well and then make them fresh with those frozen ingredients.
Otherwise, you can make the salad fresh and in small batches each time you want to eat chicken salad. It will keep fresh in the refrigerator for a few days, which may be the best option for this tasty salad.
Keep chicken salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. You may need to stir it before using it.
Store-bought chicken salad sandwiches may be tempting to freeze if you don’t finish the whole thing. While bread freezes well, depending on the ingredients in the sandwich, it may not thaw well.
The bread will most likely be soggy and the vegetables will be mushy. If you’re determined to freeze, it’s a good idea to remove the bread and freeze it separately.
You can eat chicken salad in a bowl by itself or you can make it into a sandwich or wrap it for an easy, on-the-go lunch.