If you love chicken salad, you’re not alone. The first chicken salad recipe appeared in Southern cookbooks as early as 1947, so people have loved this versatile salad since then. (*)
But let’s face it: Chicken salad may be one of the most versatile salads out there, but it isn’t the quickest dish to make. After all, it involves lots of chopping and mixing.
Because of this, you might be thinking of making a large batch of it or buying a large batch of store-bought chicken salad.
This makes sense, but doesn’t it spoil quickly?
What can you do to extend the shelf life of leftover chicken salad?
Can you freeze chicken salad?
Yes, you can freeze chicken salad.
However, there are a lot of factors that you need to consider before freezing chicken salad. What are these factors? Continue reading to know more!
When you do, you’ll also get to know the answers to the following questions:
Are you ready to make the most out of your chicken salad? Let’s dig in!
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?
Yes, you can freeze chicken salad. However, freezing chicken salad isn’t as straightforward as it seems. This is because how the consistency will turn out once it’s thawed will be determined by the type of ingredients that chicken salad has. Let’s take a look at some of the commonly used chicken salad ingredients below:
1. Freeze chicken salad with mayo or whipped salad dressing (Miracle Whip)?
Yes, you can freeze chicken salad with either whipped salad dressing or mayonnaise.
Heads up, though, mayo ingredients separate upon freezing, so they don’t freeze well. This can affect the overall texture of the salad, so we don’t recommend freezing mayonnaise-based chicken salad.
It may also be best that you avoid mixing the mayo in before freezing the chicken salad.
Good news: Miracle Whip doesn’t separate like mayonnaise, so it’s perfectly okay for you to freeze chicken salad with Miracle Whip.
2. Freeze chicken salad with Greek yogurt or regular yogurt?
Same with mayonnaise, all types of yogurt also separate when frozen. With that said, you should skip mixing the yogurt in if you plan on freezing the salad.
3. Freeze chicken salad with fruits (grapes) and crunchy vegetables?
The most commonly used fruits and vegetables on a chicken salad are dill pickles, scallions, onions, apples, celery, and green peppers.
Unfortunately, all of these don’t freeze well and can certainly affect your salad’s texture once thawed. This goes the same with a chicken salad with grapes since frozen grapes don’t thaw well.
4. Freeze your chicken salad sandwiches or chicken salad wraps?
Yes, you can freeze chicken salad sandwiches and chicken salad wraps. It can maintain its texture if you don’t mix in mayonnaise, yogurt, or any fruits and vegetables.
Warning: Avoid freezing chicken salad if the salad sit at room temperature for a few gours.
For homemade chicken salad, you should freeze it the day it was made to avoid bacterial contamination.
How Long Does Chicken Salad Last in the Freezer?
When stored in the refrigerator, the shelf life of the chicken salad is around 3 to 5 days.
On the other hand, the shelf life of chicken salad when stored in the freezer depends on its ingredients. If the ingredients were frozen separately, they can last for up to 8 months and only 6 months if all the salad was mixed before freezing.
How to Tell if the Chicken Salad Has Gone Bad
There are a few things that you should look out for when determining the safety of the chicken salad:
- Sour odor or off smell
- Slimy texture
- Grainy Texture
- Sour taste
- Mold growth
How to Freeze Chicken Salad?
To prevent the chicken from going bad, you should learn how to properly. Here are some of the steps on how to freeze chicken salad:
Step 1. Mix the salad.
Using two large clean spoons, mix the salad up to ensure that all ingredients are well-separated.
Step 2. Transfer the salad to a freezer-friendly plastic container.
Using the same spoons, transfer the properly mixed salad into the container.
Pro Tip: Avoid putting too much chicken salad in a container. Only fill it halfway so it will thaw easier and faster.
This also prevents the bag from rupturing or being damaged when placed inside the freezer.
Step 3: Remove excess air from the bag.
If you’re using plastic bags, try to remove as much air as possible inside the bag to prevent bacterial contamination and freezer burn.
Pro Tip: If you have a vacuum sealer, try to vacuum seal chicken salad for best results.
Step 4: Label the bag with the date of storage.
In this way, you can determine how long the chicken salad has been in the freezer. Make sure to use a permanent marker when writing the date on the bag.
How to Defrost Frozen Chicken Salad?
There are two ways to defrost frozen chicken salad. Here they are:
1. In the refrigerator
The best way to thaw chicken salad is to let it defrost slowly. We recommend transferring the salad from the freezer to the refrigerator to do this.
This may take a lot of time—overnight—requiring planning.
3. In a water bath
To thaw it faster, you can always submerge the airtight container in a cold water bath. However, you should take extra precautions to ensure that the water won’t get inside the container.
It will take only around 1 to 2 hours to choose this route.
Wrapping It Up
Yes, you can freeze chicken salads. However, only a few types of chicken salads will freeze well.
With that said, we recommend freezing salads with Miracle Whip, sour cream, and chicken salad sandwiches but avoid freezing leftover chicken salad with mayo, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables.
Additionally, make sure that you follow all the tips and steps that we’ve shared with you so you can enjoy the salad for longer.
- Can You Freeze Mayonnaise?
- Can You Freeze Salad Dressing?
- Can You Freeze Salad?