Even though salads have a bad rep, we all have a special place in our hearts for a classic chicken salad.
Something about chicken salad is so refreshing and comforting. Don’t forget it’s delicious too!
So you made way too much chicken salad and don’t know what to do now. No worries as we have some tips to preserve it. Did you know you can freeze your chicken salad?
You can keep your salad in the freezer and enjoy it for the next week or more. This makes meal prepping so much fun, right?
In this article, we will find out how to freeze chicken salad with and without mayonnaise. So let’s jump straight into it!
Learn more about mayo alternative for chicken salad.
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?
You definitely can freeze chicken salad. But not all types of them. If your salad contains mayonnaise or hard-boiled egg, it might not survive for long.
But without those creamy and dairy ingredients, you can keep your chicken salad in the freezer for up to 2 months. Sounds impossible? Don’t dismiss it before trying.
There’s one thing you should be very careful about if you want to freeze your chicken salad. That is not to leave the salad at room temp[erature before freezing. Right after you finish preparing the salad, store it in the freezer.
If you leave your salad on the table for hours and then try to freeze it, the food is already contaminated so it won’t survive. It will definitely go bad after a few days.
What to Consider before Freezing Chicken Salad
Chicken salad is not something we think of when it comes to freezing food. But if you decide to freeze some chicken salad, there are some things you should consider. But before we jump into that part, we need to mention the things you should never freeze with your chicken salad.
Things to Never Freeze:
- Cheeses and mayo
- Salad dressing
- Herbs and sauces
Here’s What You Should Consider Before Freezing Chicken Salad:
- Mayonnaise tends to separate after freezing so make sure to not add them to your salad.
- Do not add fresh, watery veggies like celery or cucumber as they collect water crystals. This will make your salad taste bland after thawing.
- If you have a lot of salad to freeze, do it by portioning the salad out. Freeze your salad in small batches instead of a giant one.
- It’s good to not add any dressings before freezing. Adding dressing takes only a few minutes so do this after the salad has been thawed and strained.
- Don’t season before freezing as salt brings out the water from the food. This might make your salad taste very dry.
How to Freeze Chicken Salad
You can freeze chicken salad but each different type requires a different method.
Chicken Salad with Mayo/ Greek Yogurt:
- Start by preparing the salad as usual but don’t mix the mayo with the salad.
- Keep the salad ingredients and dressing in two separate airtight containers and pop them in the freezer.
- You can use a plastic bag too but make sure to freeze it in portion sizes. Don’t freeze a large batch in one container.
- Squeeze the air out front of the bag before sealing it.
- Write down the date then put the bags in the freezer.
Chicken Salad without Mayo:
- If you are not using any mayonnaise or dairy products as dressing, freezing is much easier to do.
- All you have to do is prepare the ingredients for the salad and freeze them in an airtight container.
- Add your dressing after you thaw it.
- When you thaw the salad, a lot of liquid might come out. Gently strain the liquid and add your desired dressings. We love using a drizzle of olive oil to add acidity and freshness.
How to Defrost Chicken Salad
To defrost your chicken salad, here’s what you need to do:
- Move the chicken salad container from the freezer to the fridge.
- Don’t let your salad sit at room temperature as it will actually ruin it. It can get contaminated from such drastic temperature changes.
- You might have to wait a few hours to properly thaw the salad. Be patient and don’t try to rush things.
- The thawing process can take around 7-8 hours. We like to do it overnight so we have a fresh salad to go in the morning.
- Once thawed, mix the salad together as the water and fat probably separated in the process.
- If the mixture seems watery, try pouring out some dressing and add olive oil. You can add some extra dressing too if the consistency is not creamy enough.
How to Tell If Chicken Salad Has Gone Bad
When chicken salad goes bad, it becomes pretty obvious to tell. Here’s how you know if it’s time to toss out your chicken salad:
- If it smells sour
- If the chicken looks mushy and soft
- If it has molds or darker color to some areas.
Our Homemade Freezer-Friendly Chicken Salad Recipe
If you are planning on freezing your salad, we have the best recipe for you. You will be needing some type of airtight container and Ziploc bags.
- 1 cup cubed chicken breasts (Preferably grilled)
- ¼ cup cooked corn kernels
- ½ cup hummus (Add more if you want)
- 1 tablespoon of bell pepper (chopped)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice/ vinegar
- Add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Add salt and pepper to bring out the flavors.
- Don’t add the salt if you are planning to freeze it. Add the salt after thawing.
- Add green veggies or lettuce after thawing it. It’s easy to add any fresh greens to this mixture.
And that’s it. Making a fridge-friendly salad is that easy!. This amount of salad would be perfect for two people.
Frequently Asked Questions
01. Can You Freeze Salad with Mayonnaise?
Mayonnaise is not an ingredient that freezes very well. It tends to separate and taste different after thawing.
But when you use mayo in a salad, you can freeze it. That’s because we use quite a little amount of mayonnaise in a salad. The quantity is not large enough to cause too much issue.
We however do not recommend doing it unless you have no other option.
02. How Long Can You Leave Chicken Salad Out?
If you leave your chicken salad on the countertop, it will probably survive only 1-2 hours. Depending on the climate you live in, this can vary depending on the climate you live in.
If you live in a hot, humid environment, your salad might start to go off after 45-50 minutes.
So it’s better to not leave your chicken salad on the countertop. If you are going to eat it later, pop it in the fridge for a while.
03. Can You Freeze Hot Chicken Salad?
Yes, you can freeze hot chicken salad. We like to prepare it ahead of time and make a large batch to eat later.
04. Can You Freeze Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt?
Mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, or plain yogurt, all don’t freeze well. The trouble with greek yogurt is, it separates after freezing. So can we freeze chicken salad with greek yogurt?
You can but it will change the taste and texture of your salad. You might like it or hate it. So we advise against freezing it.
05. Can Costco Chicken Salad Be Frozen?
Any store-bought chicken salad can be frozen. They are packaged and designed to be kept at a cold temperature without listing the integrity of the salad.
Costco has a few different sizes of chicken salads. We all have grabbed them at some point in our life for an easy meal.
You can freeze Costco chicken salad but the flavor might change especially as it has mayo. If you don’t open the package, you can keep Costco chicken salad for three days in the refrigerator.
06. How Do You Know If Chicken Salad Is Bad?
Chicken salad has a very specific creamy texture and taste to it. When it goes bad, it can have an odd color or flavor.
It can have a darker appearance too. Oftentimes it happens due to molds. If you see any anomaly, discard your salad immediately.
07. Can You Eat Expired Chicken Salad?
The expiration date is not actually a fixed guide for when the food goes bad. This date actually indicates the time when the food has its best taste. Any time after the expiration date, the food might not taste as good as it is supposed to be.
And that’s pretty much it! The expiration date does not indicate whether your chicken salad is edible or not. You have to use the smell rule.
If the salad smells strange, don’t eat it. If you see strange coloring or look, don’t eat your chicken salad.
The Moral of the Story is..
You can definitely freeze certain types of chicken salad only if you follow some specific steps.
Some salads can survive months in the freezer whereas others go bad within 2 hours of making. So it’s up to you to make sure your salad stays fresh for longer.