Chicken salads are quite possibly among the most baffling creations known to us: with endless nutritional value and health benefits. A delectable tasty flavor allowing you to bring out while experimenting with several combinations, it really is the whole package in one.
However, what happens when you need to store it for a long time, for whatever reason?
Thankfully, chicken salad can be kept in freezer storage for up to even 2 or 3 months!
It is a great idea to keep your salad in the freezer and have it ready for quick meals or store it up in case you have too many leftovers.
However, there are tricks and issues you should know.
You’re in luck. This guide covers all that you need to know everything about freezing chicken salad that only time-tested experience and research can give you. Good luck!
What to Note and Do Before Freezing Chicken Salad
Whether or not you will be able to properly freeze your chicken salad comes down to one essential issue: its contents and ingredients.
So, for example, if your salad has ingredients like mayonnaise or hard-boiled eggs, it is best to avoid freezing it.
The reason we are asking you to avoid mayo is because it tends to separate while freezing, so it might end up ruining your salad.
Hard-boiled eggs, on the other hand, are safe to freeze, but once they do, they release a lot of excess moisture, causing the egg whites to become inedible.
The other thing you should note is that it is not a great idea to freeze a chicken salad that has been kept at normal room temperature for even a few hours.
This is FDA-recommended, as food left at room temperature for more than two hours cause increased bacteria growth.
Lastly, always be sure to check the smell and look for any signs of the defrosted chicken salad having gone bad while freezing before you eat it.
It is recommended to finish it within not more than 3 months of freezing it, as the longer you keep it, the chances are higher of it going bad.
- Airtight heavy-duty resealable freezer bag/container
- A sturdy spoon or ladle
It works best if you freeze chicken salad the day it was made itself if it is homemade.
If store-bought, prep to freeze it the day it was bought, don't delay it further.
All you need is some good quality airtight freezer bags or containers, whichever you prefer working with.
Freezing Mixed Chicken Salad Whole
- Transfer the chicken salad into the bag or container – Using a sturdy spoon, transfer the chicken salad in small quantities into an airtight freezer bag or container. Be sure to not fill to the brim; leave out some space at the top.
- Seal securely, label and freeze – Make sure you squeeze out all the air possible out of the bag, and try your best to make sure there is no excess air left in the container before you seal it tightly and securely.
- Label the bag or container, and your chicken salad is ready to freeze! Just ensure that the container or bag stays in the freezer and the temperature is maintained. You should be able to keep it in freezer storage for up to 3 months, given you store it carefully.
Freezing Salad Ingredients Separately Before Mixing
Time Taken: 30-45 minutes (depending on the number and the quantity of ingredients)
What You Need:
- Multiple small airtight freezer bags
- A sturdy spoon or ladle
This method is better if you intend to have the chicken salad some time in the future.
Storage-wise, it is a smarter option as you can store the ingredients individually for up to 6 months or even more, considering you store them very carefully.
Transfer the Ingredients Separately into their Respective Freezer Bags
Whatever your ingredients be, transfer all of them one by one into each airtight freezer bag.
As mentioned before, avoid ingredients that have chances of separating/getting ruined while freezing.
Be sure to not fill to the brim; leave out some space at the top.
Seal Securely, Label and Freeze
Make sure you squeeze out all the air possible out of the bags and seal each one them very carefully and securely.
Label each bag (don’t underestimate how important this is!), and they are ready to freeze!
Your ingredients can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Take out to thaw whenever you feel like having some chicken salad.
The thawing process is also easy, and don’t forget to reheat and then properly mix everything together and have a splendid chicken salad! Enjoy!
How to Freeze Chicken Salad Wraps
Time Taken: 20-30 minutes
What You Need:
- Aluminum foil
- Airtight freezer bag(s)
Wraps actually freeze pretty well. And they can even be reheated really easily, in a panini press.
All you need is foil and freezer bags, and do try to avoid freezing wraps that have mayonnaise in them.
Pack the Wrap(s) Tightly in Foil
Once the wraps have cooled down (not necessary if leftover but make sure that it has not been in room temperature for more than a few hours), pack them tightly in aluminum foil, secure enough so there is no air.
Transfer Foil Wrapped Wraps Inside a Freezer Bag(s)
Transfer the aluminum foil – wrapped chicken salad wraps into an airtight freezer bag. Make sure you squeeze out all the air possible out of the bag.
Label and Freeze
Seal the freezer bag very carefully and securely. Label it, and put it inside the freezer.
When thawing, remove the aluminum foil, wrap the wrap in a moist paper towel, and give it a run in the microwave in 30-60 second increments until the chicken salad wrap has been heated up enough to eat. Bon Appetit!
In case you need a quick refresher on the best combination of ingredients required to make you the perfect chicken salad, feel free to check out:
How Long Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?
For best quality, it is recommended that you thaw and eat up your frozen chicken salad within 2, and at the most, 3 months within storing it in the freezer.
In case your chicken salad has mayonnaise in it, it is best to eat it within a month, and even less if possible.
And if you followed the second method and froze all your salad ingredients separately, you can keep those individually in freezer storage for up to even 6 months.
Just defrost them properly and have your salad.
How to Store Frozen Chicken Salad?
For all the processes and methods prescribed here for freezing chicken salad, using heavy-duty, airtight, resealable, freezer friendly bags and pouches is a must.
If you are working with containers, please make sure they are freezer-friendly, especially for storing for longer periods.
And they need to be sealed really well. A vacuum sealer is actually a great investment for this purpose, especially if you freeze food often. It would help get all the air out.
How to Defrost Frozen Chicken Salad?
Thawing frozen chicken salad requires no special preparation or methods.
Just move the freezer bags from the freezer to the refrigerator and let the salad thaw overnight.
It will thaw by morning and may have a bit of a watery consistency. If you drain it, your salad is perfect.
In case you are in a bit of a hurry, just put the freezer bag with the salad inside under tap water.
It should speed up the thawing process significantly. For even faster yet, you can soak it in warm water.
While this is the fastest method, it is not highly recommended.
Can You Re-freeze Frozen Chicken Salad?
The answer to this question depends heavily on the ingredients in your chicken salad.
However, it is still advisable to not re-freeze your chicken salad, as some ingredients always run the chance of getting ruined when frozen for the second time.
Refreezing your chicken salad would lead to issues with its texture, consistency, and even the taste and flavor.
Hence, it is best to avoid refreezing chicken salad and just make a hearty meal out of it the first time you thaw.
Does Chicken Salad Freeze Well?
Yes, chicken salad does indeed freeze well.
However, not only do the bags have to be sealed and stored really carefully, the temperature in the freezer must remain consistent and steady.
Strictly speaking, your chicken salad may not be as fresh as it was originally, after freezing and thawing; especially so with greens and certain other ingredients in the salad.
However, freezing chicken salad does also have its fair share of advantages, including the fact that it saves precious time, money, as well as energy and effort.
So go ahead and freeze it!
Yes! There are substitutes for mayonnaise, such as pesto, whipped salad dressing, mustard, and olive oil, to name a few, that freeze significantly better than mayonnaise; which keep from forming into clumps when freezing or thawing.
If you haven’t mixed your salad yet before freezing, it is a better idea to use one of these substitutes rather than mayo for your chicken salad.
If your chicken salad turns weirdly mushy or smells off after thawing, chances are that it has gone bad. However, note that a watery consistency is normal and expected after thawing, but if there is no significant difference in taste or smell, it is still fine to eat.
Egg yolks are fine; however, egg whites do not freeze well. They become rubbery, tough and basically inedible by the time you finish freezing and thawing. So, it is best to avoid freezing chicken salad that has eggs, and especially hard-boiled eggs in it.
The consistency of your chicken salad is highly likely to become watery once thawed after freezing. This can be fixed by giving the salad a good toss, stirring vigorously till the ingredients are all mixed together properly.
You could also add around one tablespoon of mayonnaise or even some whipped dressing to get to a thicker consistency.
As mentioned earlier, the chicken salad should be discarded if left out at normal room temperature for more than an hour or two. Also, never freeze chicken salad that has been left unrefrigerated.
We have gone through the methods to freeze chicken salad, along with chicken salad wraps, as well as a number of other guidelines and things you need to keep in mind while freezing them.
We hope that this guide has helped you understand how to freeze chicken salad at home.
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