Store-brought or homemade chicken salad is a popular summer salad and often they improve in flavor the next day after all the tastes have blended. It is a must-have for any good barbecue or special lunch.
What should you do if you have a leftover salad from last night’s dinner? Is it possible to freeze it? Is it a similar sort of meat, or is it the same as in tacos, which you may simply freeze and then microwave when you want to use them?
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad
Yes, it is possible to freeze chicken salad, and preparing the pre-freezing of the salad is key to the success for when you eat it later.
However, once thawed, the quality or consistency of the salad will definitely change. They are more successfully frozen if they include or exclude certain ingredients.
The quality of the salad ingredients and how successfully they freeze and thaw will determine your success with freezing it. It is certainly best to remove some of the fragile salad ingredients before you put them in the freezer section of the fridge.
With that being said, we have a few tips to share to help you freeze your salad effectively.
- The ingredients you use will affect the quality of the salad. Thus, you shall remove the perishable ingredients, such as tomatoes and watery veggies of fruits. Check the condition of celery, onion, cucumber, grapefruit, apple, peppers, radish, and greens.
- Do not allow the salad that has been left at room temperature for a long time to freeze since it poses a risk of contamination. If you want to freeze it, make sure it is cold before freezing. Bacteria thrive between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and simply freezing them isn’t enough to eliminate the risk of bacteria contamination. Furthermore, while they may not be destroyed in the freezer, and when they are thawed then they begin growing again.
- It is best to freeze it on the same day it is made to retain the freshness.
- If you’re making chicken salads with mayonnaise, regular or Greek yogurt, and other salad dressing with dairy products, don’t freeze it, as typically they release a lot of water upon thawing, making the salad not very nice.
- If you have a huge batch of chicken salad, it is better to divide it into smaller servings using an airtight container.
How Long Will A Chicken Salad Last in The Freezer?
When you make chicken salad, how long will it last in the freezer before it goes bad?
Freeze poultry-based salad not longer than 12-14 weeks. A mayo-free chicken salad can last even four months in a special air-tight container in the freezer.
Most people would say it is better to the freezer in portion-controlled sizes so you consume it prior to the freezer expiry day to minimize freezer burn
How to Freeze Chicken Salad
In freezing your extra chicken salad, you can use either of these: airtight containers (plastic or glass) or freezer bags. Either of them works as an excellent food container, since it does not spoil, spill, and absorb moisture and smell. In other words, they give a lesser chance of contamination. Also, they are affordable and microwavable!
Here are the steps in freezing a batch of chicken salad:
1. Divide it into batches, just enough to fill the container.
2. If you are using a plastic container, gently squeeze the air out before sealing it. It is better to use a vacuum sealer.
3. If you are using a glass airtight container, cover it with a cling wrap before putting the lid on. This helps the container to be completely sealed.
4. Take out your sharpie and label the food as well as the date.
5. Store it in the freezer with the right temperature of 0° F (-18° C).
Is it Safe to Place Chicken Salad with Mayonnaise in the Freezer?
As mentioned above, it is best not to freeze chicken salad with mayonnaise. However, if you really want to, you can still do it with extra precautions. Just make sure that it is a store-bought mayo and not a homemade one. Mayonnaise that has been commercially-made are mostly pasteurized. It also contains thickeners and preservatives, which will keep the mayo from separating.
Mayonnaise should not be frozen and putting it into the salad before freezing will harm only the overall quality. To keep it safe, simply stir the mayonnaise in prior to serving, after the salad has thawed.
Moreover, salad with mayonnaise is also prone to easily get rancid more quickly.
It’s also significant to remember that while mayo freezes well, other mayonnaise alternatives, like miracle whip or whipped salad dressing and mustard, may not freeze as well.
How to Thaw Chicken Salad
When you want to thaw chicken salad, there is no need to worry about whether it was stored properly or not. Simply put it back in its original container and let it sit in the fridge overnight. The next morning, take it out and enjoy it!
You can also opt to submerge the container in a large bowl of running water if you running out of time. This procedure should defrost the frozen chicken salad significantly faster. You must also use an airtight container to avoid water from seeping into the salad.
Either way, here are the steps to thaw the salad in the best way possible:
1. Get your frozen salad out from the freezer.
2. Prepare a clean plate and place the salad container on top of it.
3. Leave it in the fridge overnight to thaw properly.
4. Once thawed, wipe off drain any excess liquid or moisture from the airtight container.
5. To make it fresh again, add some more mayo to it with chopped fresh celery and scallions.
Another important thing to remember is to never thaw the salad using a microwave or at room temperature. It triggers the risk of bacteria contamination and growth. Hence, it is better to thaw it at cold temperature, specifically at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees C).
What are the Signs of Spoiled Chicken Salad?
If you have ever had spoiled chicken salad, then you know how bad it feels when you eat something that tastes great but turns sour in your stomach after a few hours. The main reason why this happens is that the chicken salad gets contaminated by bacteria. These bacteria grow quickly, especially when the food is left exposed to warm temperatures for a long time.
The signs of spoiled chicken salad include but are not limited to:
- Foul odor
- Slimy texture
- Mold formation
If you notice these symptoms, throw away the entire batch immediately. Do not even try to save some of it.
How to Avoid Contamination of Chicken Salad When Freezing
To prevent the possibility of contamination when freezing chicken salad, follow these simple tips:
1. Make sure all vegetables and fruits used in the recipe are thoroughly washed.
2. Use clean utensils and containers to prepare the salad.
3. Keep the ingredients separate so they don’t mix together.
4. Store the salad in an airtight container.
5. Label each container clearly with the contents and date.
6. If storing more than 1 week, freeze the salad first before putting it in the refrigerator.
6. Thaw the salad in the refrigerator instead of leaving it in direct sunlight.
7. Always use new containers and utensils to store the salad.
8. Never leave the salad outside of the refrigerator overnight.
9. Always wash hands after handling the raw chicken or hard-boiled egg.
How Long Can You Keep Chicken Salad in The Fridge?
Chicken salad can last up to 3-5 days without spoiling in the fridge. However, it is recommended that you freeze it sooner rather than later. If you do decide to store it in the refrigerator, you need to store it right after you buy it. Otherwise, it might go stale before you can use it.
Is it safe to freeze chicken salad with Greek yogurt?
Yes, you are able to definitely freeze it with Greek Yogurt. Just be sure to follow the same guidelines as mentioned above.
Is It Safe to Place Chicken Salad with Miracle Whip in The Freezer?
The miracle whip with chicken salad can be frozen. However, just like other condiments, the quality of the ingredients matters. I always try to remove any excess Miracle Whip before freezing
Is It Safe to Place Chicken Salad with Vegetables and Fruits in The Freezer?
It depends on what kind of vegetables and fruits you use in making the salad. Some vegetables such as cucumbers and tomatoes tend to release water and make the chix salad runny. Therefore, they should be added only when needed or served. On the other hand, fruits such as bananas tend to stay fresh longer than most vegetables