Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?

chicken salad

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Here in the South, we’re no strangers to chicken salad. Every one knows chicken salad is one of those foods that is better the next day after all the flavors have melded together. Unfortunately, chicken salad isn’t the quickest dish to make either, but can you make it in bulk and freeze chicken salad for later? 

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?

Yes, you can freeze chicken salad. However, the quality may be unpleasant once thawed. Some chicken salads can be frozen more successfully than others. Your success with freezing chicken salad depends on the ingredients used to make the chicken salad and how well they retain their quality once frozen and thawed.

Let’s look at some specific ingredients.

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad Made With Mayo?

Technically, you can freeze chicken salad with mayonnaise. However, mayo doesn’t freeze well and tends to separate once it has thawed greatly reducing the quality of your chicken salad.

If your chicken salad contains mayonnaise, it’s best to skip the freezing. 

However, if you want to experiment and freeze your mayonnaise-based chicken salad, follow the tips below for your best chance of success.

How To Freeze Chicken Salad

Freeze homemade chicken salad the day it was made or the day it was opened if store-bought.

  • Use freezer-safe containers or bags.
  • Remove as much air as possible.
  • Use within 2-3 months.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator only.
  • Pour off any excess liquids.
  • Stir in some additional mayonnaise, yogurt, or miracle whip if needed.

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad With Miracle Whip?

Unlike mayo, miracle whip doesn’t separate like mayonnaise so you will likely experience better quality once thawed.

If you choose to freeze chicken salad with Miracle Whip, follow the tips above for the best quality.

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad With Regular Or Greek Yogurt?

Like mayonnaise, yogurt will separate once thawed leaving you with a change in texture that may render your chicken salad inedible. 

If you have chicken salad with yogurt, regular or Greek, it is best to avoid freezing it. 

With that said, if you insist on freezing your chicken salad, follow the same tips as freezing with mayo except stir in additional yogurt instead of mayonnaise once thawed. 

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad With Crisp Fruits and Vegetables?

Foods like dill pickle relish and high water content vegetables like celery, green peppers, onions, and scallions as well as crisp fruits like apples do not retain their crispness once thawed so skip freezing chicken salad made with crisp fruits and vegetables. 

How Long Does Chicken Salad Last In The Freezer?

Should you choose to freeze chicken salad, thaw it, and consume within 2-3 months for best quality.

Never Freeze Chicken Salad if:

It has been unrefrigerated. Period. It doesn’t matter if it was sitting on the counter or sitting outside during a picnic, do not freeze your chicken salad if it has been left out of the fridge. 

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad With Eggs?

If you have chicken salad made with hard-boiled eggs, don’t freeze it.  Hard-boiled eggs get tough and rubbery when frozen and they also release a ton of water when thawed. 

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad Sandwiches?

As with freezing chicken salad, if you use a “salad dressing” like Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise and you don’t add in any veggies, boiled eggs, or fruits, you would probably be ok. Otherwise, the quality once thawed may not be palatable. 

For the best results, shred your chicken salad and mix in the salad dressing thoroughly rather than having chunked chicken.

How To Tell If Chicken Salad Has Gone Bad

If your chicken salad has an “off” smell or taste, discard it immediately. Also, if you chicken has any kind of “growth” on it or is discolored, it has gone bad and should be thrown out and not eaten.

Related Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Can You Keep Homemade Chicken Salad In the Refrigerator?

Chicken salad, if properly stored, will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

How Long Can Chicken Salad Be Left Out of the Refrigerator?

Chicken salad should be discarded if it was left out in temperatures of at least 90°F for more than 1 hour or if it was left out more than 2 hours at temperatures below 90°F.

As mentioned above, never freeze chicken salad that has been left unrefrigerated. 

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad With Grapes In It?

Frozen grapes make a great snack but grapes become mushy when completely thawed. So, it’s best to avoid freezing chicken salad that contains grapes.

Can You Vacuum Seal Chicken Salad?

Vacuum-sealing will help keep air from your chicken salad but it will not help the quality of the ingredients once thawed.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, freezing chicken salad isn’t a good idea. Many of the ingredients used in chicken salad don’t retain their quality when thawed. 

With that said, if you don’t use vegetables or fruits and you use a salad dressing like Miracle Whip instead of mayo, you may be ok freezing your chicken salad.

You could always try to freeze chicken salads without mayonnaise then adding in your fruits and vegetables once thawed.

The most cost-effective way to experiment with freezing chicken salad is to freeze a single serving. Freeze for several days, thaw, and see if you are ok with the texture.

That way, you aren’t wasting a whole batch of chicken salad!

Instead of freezing and eating suboptimal chicken salad, try not to make more chicken salad than your family will eat within 5 days.

Or, you could do what I do.  

Instead of making a large batch of chicken salad, make small batches more often. 

I rarely make chicken salad just to make chicken salad. It’s usually always made with leftover chicken from another meal.

If I am baking chicken for dinner, I may throw in a few extra breasts and turn that into chicken salad for lunch the next day.

Or if I have leftover chicken from a prior meal, I will turn it into chicken salad for my husband’s lunches. 

Because I make small batches, my family doesn’t get tired of it because they aren’t eating chicken salad for days.

The downside to doing it this way is that I don’t always have enough for everyone. I don’t sweat it. 

My husband likes to take chicken salad to work so he gets first dibs.

Remember, you can safely freeze chicken salad but the quality once thawed may be suboptimal.

Got any questions? Comments? I’d love to hear from you!

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