Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?
The short answer to this question, can you freeze chicken salad, is that it depends how the salad was made and what ingredients are included, to determine if your chicken salad can be frozen or not. While foods such as chicken freeze well, other parts of your salad may not freeze well at all. Therefore, the answer to your question is that it depends.
Most of your chicken salad can freeze very well, but there are a few common ingredients that do not react well after they have been frozen and then thawed. These items are found in most chicken salads. The problem ingredients are mayonnaise, yogurt, hard boiled eggs and some fruits and vegetables often included in chicken salad.
Ingredients That Don’t Freeze Well
While key ingredients in chicken salad freeze well, such as well, chicken. There are several other ingredients which are included in many chicken salad recipes that emerge in an altered state after being frozen. Foods such as mayonnaise, yogurt, hard boiled eggs and some fruits and vegetables have bad reactions to being frozen.
Mayonnaise is often used for the base of your average chicken salad. This is the dressing it is typically smothered in, which gives the iconic creamy goodness. What’s wrong with freezing mayonnaise? The problem is the freezing process causes the different components of the dressing to separate after it has been frozen. Suppose you freeze chicken salad containing mayonnaise, you pull it out after thawing and it has completely separated. You now have this watery gooey mess that does not appear nor smell appetizing at all. Miracle Whip on the other hand, seems to have a better outcome after it has been frozen. Unlike mayonnaise, miracle whip does not tend to separate after it has been frozen.
Yogurt reacts much like mayonnaise to being frozen. Yogurt is sometimes used in the dressing for chicken salad and is also on our list of ingredients to avoid freezing. Once regular or Greek yogurt has been frozen it tends to come out in a form that does not smell or look appetizing.
Some types of eggs are able to be frozen, however hard boiled eggs that have been frozen have a change in their color and texture, and not for the better. Hard boiled eggs that have been frozen become chewy and rubbery after they are thawed. This occurs because hard boiled eggs release any excess moisture they contain, which then makes the egg whites turn to a rubber like substance.
Chicken salads that contain the following fruits and vegetables do not have a good result after they have been frozen. These fruits contain a high-water content and become mushy, and not very delightful to eat once frozen. Avoid freezing these fruits in your salad:
How Long Can It Sit Out
There is nothing quite as delicious as chicken salad at a summer picnic. But how long is it okay to sit at room temperature, or outside the refrigerator in general? To avoid bacteria growth and the possibility of getting sick after eating chicken salad. It is a good idea to not let it sit out more than two hours. If your salad is at a temperature above 90F degrees, then the time drops down to no more than one hour. Do not attempt to freeze chicken salad that has been sitting at room temperature for more than two hours.
Length of Frozen Storage
Once your chicken salad is in the freezer, the sooner you use it, the better it is going to be. However, it can last for up to three months stored in your freezer. Again, the faster you enjoy it, the better it is going to be. Do not attempt eating it once it has been frozen for more than three months. Like anything, if you go to eat chicken salad that has been frozen, it is a good idea to take a good smell of it before you eat it.
How To Freeze Chicken Salad:
Begin by finding a container that is airtight or a freezer appropriate storage bag. You will want to find a container that is about the right size, so that there is not a lot of extra air in it.
Next label your container or bag with the date and name of the food. You might think this step is unnecessary, but trust me, once food is frozen it can be very difficult to identify. Writing the date will also help you keep track of how long it has been, so that you know if the chicken salad has been frozen for more than three months.
Once your container is selected and dated, begin to fill it with your food. If you are using a freezer bag, make sure you are leaving enough room to seal it up tightly.
Make sure you tightly seal whatever kind of storage container you are using. If you are using a bag, it is a great idea to vacuum seal it. If you do not have one, you can fill your sink with water, and submerge all except the seal of your bag into the water. Then make sure it is tightly sealed shut.
Then place into your freezer for no more than three months. Remember that your chicken salad will be best if eaten earlier, however it can be kept frozen for up to three months and still be good.
How To Thaw Frozen Chicken Salad:
When you are ready to eat your frozen chicken salad. Move it directly from your freezer to the fridge. You do not want to speed it up by leaving it at room temperature or microwaving. However, if you need it earlier than the next day, you could try submerging it in cold water. You will want to make sure your salad is airtight so that no water gets into the chicken salad. Then submerge in cold water to speed up the thawing process.
Once your chicken salad is thawed, you can off any extra liquid. Or if the liquid does not look funny you can mix it up vigorously so that the liquid absorbs back into the mixture.
When your thawed salad is mixed back together, it may be slightly dry. To take care of this, add additional mayonnaise, miracle whip or yogurt to your salad to moisten it and make it fresher.
Before you eat salad you just pulled out of your freezer, check to make sure it has not gone bad. To tell if your chicken salad has gone bad, you can usually tell by smelling it or looking at it. If it does not smell right, or if it smells the slightest bit unpleasant, then toss it. You can also look at it. If it appears to have anything growing on it, or is a funny color, then don’t risk it.
How Long Can You Store It In Your Fridge?
How long chicken salad lasts in your fridge is impacted by how it is stored. As long as it is stored in an airtight container, it will last for no more than five days. However, it is best if used by day three. If it is day four or five, you will want to be sure to take a good look at it and smell it. If it seems off, don’t chance eating it.
How Long Can Chicken Salad Be At Room Temperature?
The amount of time your chicken salad can be kept at room temperature, largely depends on the warmth or the room. Do not allow it to sit out of the fridge any more than two hours. Even then, if your temperature is over 90F degrees, then it should be left out no longer than one hour. Depending on your heat conditions, the warmer it is, the faster bacteria will grow. You will not want to chance getting food poising from it if it has sat out too long. It is better to play it safe and not risk it if you are unsure.
Other Dressings to Consider
When you are preparing your chicken salad and are not sure if you will need to freeze any of it or not. It is a really good idea to be careful what ingredients you are adding to it. You might consider adding your fruit at the last minute and mixing in your mayonnaise or yogurt-based dressing also at the last minute. There are also a few additional types of dressing you might consider using such as: whipped salad dressing, pesto, olive oil, mustard, Dijon mustard, and ranch dressing. If you are looking for that traditional chicken salad, you could consider using miracle whip, adding your dressing mixture to half of the salad, or adding your dressing right before serving.
1) Our best practice for preparing chicken salad that you might freeze are as follows:
2) Add the dressing, fruit, and vegetables to only half of your mixture. This way you don’t have items included that will not freeze well. Resulting in your whole salad going bad after being frozen.
3) Mix all your ingredients together, right before serving. This allows the salad to be as fresh as possible. Doing this will also enable you to have a better idea of how much you will need.
4) Do not let sit outside of the fridge for more than two hours. If your temperatures are over 90F then it should sit out for no more than one hour. Unfortunately, if either of these has been breached, you will need to toss your chicken salad.
5) Store your salad in refrigerator if it is not being served. This will keep it fresh and prevent it from going bad.
6) If you have extra chicken salad left over, it is a good idea to freeze right away. This will prevent any unnecessary bacteria from growing and will also keep your salad fresh.
7) When you are freezing your salad, place in airtight container or freezer bag. If you are using a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible. If you are using an airtight container, use one that is closest to your volume needs. This prevents extra air from being including unnecessarily.
8) Be sure to label your freezer container with “chicken salad” and the date. This will help you track it, so that it stays in the freezer no more than three months. It will also help you to identify what it is.
9) Keep in the freeze no more than three months. Remember, the sooner you eat it, the better it will be.
10) Move the salad directly from freezer to fridge to thaw overnight. If you need earlier, you can make sure it is airtight and then submerge in cold water to speed up the thawing process.
11) Once your salad is thawed, stir it together thoroughly. If desired, add additional dressing to make it moist.
12) Before you eat the salad, be sure that your thawed salad looks and smells okay after freezing. If it does not, it is a good idea to toss it.
13) Keep your chicken salad in refrigerator no more than three to five days. This goes for chicken salad that has been frozen as well as fresh.
The answer to can you freeze chicken salad widely varies, depending upon the ingredients in your salad. If the salad contains fruits and vegetables such as apples, grapes, or celery, then it is not the best idea to freeze those as they do not endure the freezing process well. If your salad also contains mayonnaise, it is also a good idea to avoid freezing it in that case. However, if you use a different dressing and leave out the fruits and vegetables we have mentioned here, you can absolutely freeze chicken salad.
Have you ever frozen chicken salad? Write to us about your personal experience!
Learn all about the best way to store your delicious cheesecakes. Check out Do Cheesecakes Need To Be Refrigerated today! Also, be sure you don’t miss out on the Best Answer: Is Canned Chicken Cooked? Find some additional ideas on how to use canned chicken! It is so easy, and should be an item everyone has in their pantry!
Share on Pinterest!