There’s only so much salad that one person can eat in a day. Perhaps you’ve overcompensated on just how much you can actually eat, or you’ve bought a family sized salad and your kids have refused to eat it. We get it, we’ve all been there.
The key question in these circumstances is what exactly should you do with your leftover chicken salad? Can you even freeze chicken salad?
The short answer is yes, you can certainly freeze chicken salad. The question is though, should you freeze chicken salad? If the mayonnaise was processed commercially, it shouldn’t be an issue but the salad is going to be a little watery at first, but you’ll just need to drain it. So long as you eat it within 2 months it will all be fine.
How to Freeze Chicken Salad
Freezing chicken salad is pretty simple, and doesn’t require a great deal of effort. With that being said, there are a few steps that you should adhere to if you plan on freezing your chicken salad.
To start with, make sure that you only freeze the chicken salad that has been refrigerated before you use it. It’s best not to freeze a chicken salad that’s been out in the open. After this, grab your salad out of the refrigerator, then thoroughly stir and toss it. The purpose of this is to ensure that your salad is mixed well and that the salad dressing doesn’t clump. The dressing is less likely to separate this way.
Upon completing the previous step, put the salad into a freezer bag. It is best to put the salad into a few different bags and try not to fill any bags up to capacity. This helps to ensure that the ingredients don’t get damaged or turned to mush.
After putting the salad into the freezer bags, get rid of any extra air that’s remaining inside of the bag. To do this, simply press the bags a little bit to remove the air. It’s often better to use a vacuum sealer though.
Then, simply date and label all of the bags to make you aware of how long you can keep them frozen. It’s best to consume the salad within 2 months if possible.
From there, just flatten the bags and then put them into the freezer.
How To Defrost Chicken Salad
Now, it’s finally time to get your chicken salad out of the freezer, but how do you defrost it properly? Well, there are a few methods.
First of all, grab your chicken salad bags out of the freezer. Then, put the bags into the fridge, allowing them to defrost throughout the night before. If you find that your chicken salad is a little bit watery, then you should give it a good stir for a while until the ingredients have been thoroughly mixed. Make sure that you remove any extra liquid before hand, as this isn’t going to taste very nice. At this point, you can add some extra dressing or mayonnaise to make it thicker.
If you don’t have the time to wait for your chicken to defrost overnight, then there’s another way. Put your container into a bowl of tap water. This will help it to defrost more quickly if it’s done properly. It’s very important to ensure that the bag has been sealed correctly though, otherwise, your chicken salad could end up being full of water. Not a good taste!
Factors To Consider Before Freezing Chicken Salad
Before you choose to freeze your chicken salad, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, chicken salad generally contains mayonnaise, and dairy products can sometimes have a habit of separating when they are frozen. They can also go bad much more quickly than the meat in the salad. Not only that, but chicken salad usually has other sensitive ingredients such as vegetables.
For this reason, it’s often best that if you have a large amount of chicken salad you want to freeze that you divide the salad into smaller portions and freeze them that way. It’s also a good idea to remove the mayonnaise before you freeze if possible for the dish to taste as good as possible.
If you are planning on freezing your chicken salad, you should also freeze it as soon as possible for the best results. For instance, if you have made it yourself then you should freeze it on the day that you make it.
If you bought it in a store then freeze it on the day that you opened it. Don’t freeze anything that hasn’t been chilled well beforehand. If you don’t store it properly before you freeze it, you may find that the risk of bacteria contamination is a lot higher. It’s best not to take that risk.
You should also know how to tell if your chicken salad has gone bad. This is usually pretty easy to tell, as the salad will start to look mushy - more so than normal. It may also emit an unpleasant smell after it’s defrosted. You can still eat a salad that smells and looks okay but is a little watery - you may just need to drain it.
In short, yes - you can indeed freeze chicken salad. This can be a great choice if you have bought or made too much chicken salad and you don’t want any of it to go to waste. Of course, it’s important that you refrigerate the chicken salad for a few hours before you freeze it - never try to freeze a chicken salad that hasn’t been refrigerated before hand for the sake of your own safety.
Then you just need to defrost the salad in the refrigerator all night, and you have some wonderful crunchy goodness to enjoy as a side dish or as a main meal for lunch at work. There’s no need to waste your chicken salad if you have a freezer to use! Bon appetite!