If you’re wondering can you freeze chicken salad without sacrificing its taste and texture, you’re not alone. Freezing chicken salad is a great way to meal prep and save time, but it’s important to do it right. Learn tips for freezing, thawing, and storing your chicken salad to keep it at its best in this ultimate guide on freezing chicken salad! With these tips on meal prepping and freezing chicken salad, you can easily have a delicious and healthy meal ready in no time!
Is it safe to freeze homemade chicken salad?
Freezing chicken salad is generally safe and won’t compromise its taste and nutritional value. However, it’s important to note that some ingredients, like fresh vegetables and dairy-based dressings, may change in texture and taste upon thawing.
To ensure the best quality, it’s recommended to consider the ingredients and their freezing properties before preparing and freezing your chicken salad. And in some cases, you might want to skip the freezing altogether. Finish it in one sitting, refrigerate for a few days, or bin it. These are the instances in which you’d want to chuck the chicken salad:
- If it has been sitting in warm temperatures for more than 1.5 hours.
- If it’s a packed chicken salad bought from a store that’s been opened, and you are unsure when it was opened.
- If the salad tastes or smells sour or nasty
- If the expiration date of the salad is looming
- If any perishable ingredients (some of which will be discussed) have been added to the mix.
- If it has mayonnaise in it, the mayo will curdle and separate when it’s frozen.
How to freeze chicken salad without altering texture and flavor
There are several ways that you can freeze chicken salad. Dividing it into individual servings works best for our family. Place each serving into an airtight plastic freezer-safe container and place it into the freezer. Plastic containers come in all shapes and sizes, so you can personalize whatever portion size you want! Pull a container out and let it defrost in the refrigerator as needed. I use this method for lunches. The only downfall is that plastic containers take up a bit of freezer space.
Another option is to freeze a large batch of chicken salad. Either put the salad into an airtight container or a large freezer-safe bag. If you put it in a ziplock bag, distribute the salad evenly in the bag and press the contents flat. Freeze on a cookie sheet or freezer shelf. Once it has frozen, you can rearrange it as you’d like. This method doesn’t take up a lot of space.
Consider vacuum-sealing your chicken salad before placing it in the freezer. Place it in a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible before sealing it. Then, place the bag in the fridge or freezer.
When you’re ready to eat the chicken salad, thaw and enjoy!
The dos and don’ts of freezing chicken salad
There are so many different types of chicken salad. With many different variations and ingredients of chicken salad recipes, we’ve included a few tips below for specific kinds of chicken salad.
How do I freeze chicken salad for meal prep?
You can make a large batch of shredded chicken with salt and pepper on the stovetop, in the instant pot, or the crockpot, and then freeze it for later. This is one of my most used meal prep hacks. Always have shredded, cooked chicken on hand! Once it defrosts, you can use it for chicken salad or any other recipe that calls for shredded chicken.
Check out how I make shredded chicken using my crock pot.
Freeze the chicken in quantities that work for your family (I usually freeze in 1.5lb portions). It can also be frozen into portions (4-6oz). By freezing the chicken plain, you will never have to worry about which chicken salad ingredients don’t freeze well. Let the chicken defrost and stir in your preferred salad fixings. The flavor and texture will never be compromised!
Tip: Not all crockpots are the same; this Ninja Multi Cooker is my absolute favorite!
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad Sandwiches?
Since chicken salad is moist, I don’t recommend freezing the chicken salad on bread, croissants, or chaffles. The bread will get soggy. It is best to freeze the chicken salad on its own and add it to bread if desired after it has defrosted.
Can I freeze chicken salad with mayonnaise?
Freezing chicken salad with mayonnaise is generally ill-advised as the emulsion contains fat and liquid ingredients such as oil, egg yolk, and vinegar. When frozen and thawed, the mayonnaise separates, becomes lumpy, and cannot be re-emulsified.
To avoid this problem, you can freeze the chicken salad’s ingredients separately, combine them, and add the mayo when it’s time to serve.
You could freeze it with the mayo and then add in more mayo after it thaws, making it *better*, but not nearly as good as when it was fresh.
If you anticipate freezing leftover chicken salad, it’s recommended to avoid ingredients like mayo and look for a recipe that freezes well. Ingredients such as cooked chicken, hard-boiled egg yolks, and dressings like vinaigrettes and oil-based dressings tend to freeze better.
Can I freeze chicken salad with grapes?
No. Grapes are a high-water content fruit. The water in the grapes freezes, leaving the defrosted grapes limp and deflated. Nobody likes soggy grapes. Plan to consume chicken salad with grapes immediately upon making it.
Can I freeze chicken salad with nuts or seeds?
Chicken salad with nuts can be frozen. Freeze in an airtight container with a layer of wax paper between the salad and the lid. This will prevent the nuts from coming into contact with oxygen, which can cause them to go rancid.
Can you freeze chicken salad with Miracle Whip?
You’re in luck. This particular whipped salad dressing can be frozen. Miracle whip, which contains artificial stabilizers and preservatives, serves as a mayo substitute and has the advantage of freezing better than traditional mayonnaise.
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad With Vegetables?
Some raw vegetables freeze well; however, many vegetables typically found in chicken salad don’t. The moisture in celery, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickles will freeze. When they defrost, it results in limp, soggy, flavorless mush. Freezing these vegetables will not result in the crisp satisfaction you’ll be looking for in a refreshing salad. Really crunchy vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower, work well to freeze in a chicken salad.
To help vegetables freeze better, you can blanch them by bringing a pot of water to a boil and adding the vegetable to the boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and immediately plunge it into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. This will help a vegetable maintain crunchiness and flavor when frozen and thawed.
Can you freeze chicken salad with eggs?
It is important to note that their two distinct parts have differing freeze-thaw properties when it comes to freezing eggs. While hard-boiled egg yolks freeze and thaw well, egg whites tend to become tough and rubbery upon thawing.
If your chicken salad recipe only contains egg yolks, it is more suitable for freezing. However, if it also has egg whites, its quality may not be as satisfactory as when freshly made.
Can you freeze chicken salad with Greek yogurt?
Yogurt is a dairy product that can be frozen. Thawing frozen yogurt will leave it with a little more water and a grainy texture. The good news is that you can stir a little more yogurt into the salad to help cover the texture and freshen it up.
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad with Sour Cream?
Freezing chicken salad with sour cream is not recommended as the resulting thawed salad may appear unappetizing, retain excess moisture, and have an altered taste. Sour cream is known to be one of the least freezer-friendly ingredients as it tends to separate into liquid and solids upon thawing.
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad with Celery?
Freezing chicken salad with celery is not recommended, as celery tends to become soft and loses its crisp texture upon thawing. To prevent this, it is advised to slice fresh celery and add it to the chicken salad after it has been defrosted.
Can I Freeze Rotisserie Chicken Salad?
There is no difference between freezing home-cooked chicken salad and a rotisserie chicken salad. The one thing you’ll want to pay close attention to is how fresh the chicken is. When was it cooked? Did you make the chicken salad with fresh rotisserie chicken, or was it from the refrigerator? And, of course, check the other ingredients.
Can You Freeze Costco Chicken Salad?
I know, I know, the portions at Costco are big, and if you buy the chicken salad, you’ll likely have too much chicken salad to eat at one time. I suggest finding a friend to share it with or keeping it in the fridge for 3-5 days. If you choose to freeze it, remember that it has mayonnaise and will separate after being frozen. It can’t be re-emulsified. The taste and texture will be compromised.
Can Chicken Salad Chick be frozen?
All of the chicken salad options at Chicken Salad Chick have mayonnaise in them. Mayo separates when frozen, and the ingredients cannot be re-emulsified. You also don’t know exactly when the store-bought chicken salad was made. I’d recommend storing the leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
How long can chicken salad be left out of the refrigerator?
The FDA guidelines state that chicken salad should sit at room temperature for no longer than two hours. In case the temperature exceeds 90°F (32°C), it is advised to refrigerate the chicken salad within an hour. Follow these guidelines to minimize dangerous bacteria growth.
How long can I freeze chicken salad?
The general rule of thumb is approximately three months. Just make sure that your freezer setting is correct – the best would be around -18–20 Celsius. Above all – freeze it on the day it is made! Don’t risk having bacterial contamination or, worse, food poisoning.
How do I thaw frozen chicken salad?
Remove it from the freezer and immediately place the chicken salad in the fridge to thaw overnight or for a few hours, depending on the portion size. If you are in a bit of a hurry, just put the freezer bag with the salad inside under tap water.
How do I prevent chicken salad from becoming watery after freezing?
After it is completely thawed, remove the bag from the fridge and drain all the excess moisture and liquids. Be sure not to let the chicken salad thaw at room temperature, as this allows for bacterial growth.
Serving suggestions for chicken salad
Low Carb Options:
- Rolled into a lettuce wrap
- Rolled into a variety of wraps (almond flour, low-carb, etc.)
- With low-carb cracker crisps
- On a bed of lettuce with avocado
- On a chaffle for a low-carb sandwich
- Stuffed in baby sweet peppers
Non Low-Carb Options:
- Stuffed into a baked sweet potato
- On a toasted croissant
- Rolled into a variety of wraps