Can You Freeze Coleslaw?

Coleslaw is a great addition to a lot of meals, and more commonly a great people pleaser at a party. For this reason, you could potentially be left with a lot of leftover coleslaw after a family gathering or party when everyone leaves.

If you are conscious of creating food waste, you may want to know whether or not you can freeze coleslaw so as not to waste any of it after a meal or a party.

The quick answer is that it fully depends om what kind of coleslaw you are left with that you want to freeze. If your coleslaw has a vinegar base, then you will be able to freeze it fine. But if your coleslaw is made up of the more commonly used mayonnaise base, then you are going to struggle more, and it is not necessarily advised to freeze.

But things aren’t always that simple, so we are going to give you a guide on freezing coleslaw and the reasons that are for and against freezing it. This guide will also go into some detail about why freezing mayonnaise-based coleslaw is not advised. Make sure to read to the end to see some things that you should consider when contemplating freezing coleslaw too

Can you freeze coleslaw?

How to freeze coleslaw

Before we talk about the process involved when freezing your coleslaw, let’s talk about the different types of coleslaw and why it is okay to freeze one and not the other:

Vinegar based: because the base that is made up of vinegar is more of a watery liquid, it is able to be frozen more simply than mayonnaise-based coleslaw.

Mayonnaise based: since this type of coleslaw is made up if mayonnaise, there are few reasons that you should not freeze it… mayonnaise is made up of egg and has a creamy texture. This would break down when frozen. This means that when thawed out, the mayonnaise-based coleslaw would break down and not be edible anymore, wasting your freezer space. Read to the end to see how you can get around freezing mayonnaise-based coleslaw (there is still a way!)

This freezing guide will cater towards the vinegar-based coleslaw to begin with:

  • Step one: pick out the ideal container, one with a lid and that can be sealed airtight for the freezer. You can also use freezer bags; this could be a better option if you are worried about freezer space.
  • Step two: freeze all of your leftovers together OR portion them into sperate containers so that you don’t run into the same problem again when you thaw out your coleslaw for another party.
  • Step three: put your containers full of vinegar-based coleslaw in the freezer.

A guide to freezing mayonnaise-based coleslaw:

One thing to note is that this is for coleslaw that you are preparing yourself, not store-bought coleslaw that is already mixed in with the mayonnaise.

  • Step one: prepare all of your chosen vegetables, cut them into the desired way for your coleslaw. Put these prepared vegetables into containers and then into the freezer. Most coleslaws are made up of cabbage, onions, carrots and then your chosen dry herbs.
  • Step two: when you are ready to make your mayonnaise-based coleslaw, you can take your frozen prepared vegetables out of the freezer and thaw them out in the fridge.
  • Step three: add your mayonnaise or coleslaw mix and serve!

You can freeze your homemade and store-bought coleslaw for up to about two months. But most people tend to only put coleslaw and any other food in the freezer for about a month.

How to defrost coleslaw

When the time comes for you to serve some coleslaw at another party, remember you have some in the freezer. Be that your leftover vinegar-based coleslaw, or the preprepared vegetables that you cut up ready for the addition of mayonnaise.

Since coleslaw should not be served hot or warm, you do not heat up the coleslaw to thaw it out. In order to thaw out and defrost your frozen coleslaw, you will need to take it from the freezer in your chosen containers and place them into the fridge.

Usually this should take around eight hours to fully defrost in the fridge. This means that it is perfect timing to defrost your coleslaw in the fridge overnight before you need to serve the coleslaw the next day.

Remember that if you are defrosting store-bought coleslaw or coleslaw that has a vinegar base, then you will be ready to serve as soon as the coleslaw has defrosted. But if you have defrosted your preprepared veggies, then you will need to add the mayonnaise before serving.

Factors to consider before freezing coleslaw

Most of this has already been mentioned, but the main thing to consider is the type of coleslaw that you have. Since vinegar-based coleslaw freezes better than mayonnaise-based coleslaw, if you have the former then you have a straightforward freezing process ahead. If your coleslaw is mayonnaise-based, then freezing is not the best option.

An extra tip is to portion your coleslaw when you are packaging it up to freeze. If you pre-portion your leftover coleslaw, you are less likely to need to freeze some of the thawed-out coleslaw if any of that is left over.

The main thing that you should be aware of at the defrosting stage is that defrosted coleslaw is likely to come out quite watery. If this is the case, then you can always add some more mayonnaise after draining off the excess liquid.


To reiterate the main points: remember to only freeze vinegar-based coleslaw, you can check this on the ingredients of your coleslaw’s packet. This is because mayonnaise is likely to split when thawed out after being frozen.

There is a way to prepare everything for mayonnaise-based coleslaw and freeze it without the mayonnaise. All you have to do is prepare the vegetables and herbs, then freeze them. when they are defrosted, you can add your mayonnaise and serve.