Chicken salad is a great dish that is loved by so many people. It is an excellent addition to various meals and it’s also easy to make. Because of how much you enjoy eating chicken salad, you may have made way more than you can finish at once – leaving you with some leftovers that you do not wish to waste.
So, what can you do to preserve your leftover chicken salad?
Can you freeze Chicken Salad? Yes, you can freeze chicken salad. Whether you’ve prepared too much chicken salad or you intentionally made a batch for storage, freezing is an excellent way to preserve your chicken salad for long.
Before you start freezing your chicken salad, there are some things you must know. Even during the salad’s preparation you should consider some factors that would ultimately affect the freezing process. When the correct steps are followed, your chicken salad will be preserved excellently.
Once the chicken salad has been prepared and correctly packed in a freezer-safe bag, you can keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months. This means that you’ll have a fresh supply of chicken salads for 3 months – all you need do is take the portion you can finish at once and defrost it in a refrigerator to eat.
Things to Consider When Freezing Chicken Salad
There are certain key components of chicken salad that ultimately affect its quality after being frozen for some time. Mayonnaise is one of those components or ingredients.
Mayonnaise is made up of water and fat, hence it’s classified as an emulsion. Because of its water and fat components, there’s a high chance that both ingredients will separate after some time of freezing. When that separation happens, the chicken salad will turn watery and the texture will be inconsistent and visually unpleasant.
To avoid mayonnaise messing up your frozen chicken salad, it is advisable to leave it out of the salad during preparation – you can always add the mayonnaise after the frozen batch of chicken salad is defrosted.
However, if you have leftovers from a batch with mayonnaise, you’ll just have to freeze it that way. Take note that other ingredients like pesto, mustard, whipped salad dressing, and olive oil can be used in place of mayonnaise; they won’t separate when frozen.
The other ingredients to watch out for when preparing chicken salad for freezing are crunchy veggies like chives and celery. When such crunchy vegetables are subjected to the freezer’s low temperature, they tend to lose some of their crunchiness and leave you with a compromised texture.
How to Freeze Chicken Salad
Now that we’ve established that chicken salad can be preserved through freezing, it is important for us to break down the freezing process for better understanding. Here are steps on how to freeze chicken salad with or without mayonnaise:
How to Freeze Chicken Salad with Mayonnaise
If you’ve already prepared some chicken salad with mayonnaise, and now you have leftovers, here’s how to freeze it best:
- Depending on how much chicken salad with mayonnaise is to be frozen, you can grab one or more resealable freezer-safe bags.
- Allow the chicken salad to cool to room temperature before you dish it into the freezer-safe bags. Freezing warm or hot food is never a good idea; the hot food raises the freezer’s temperature and causes other food items to thaw and refreeze.
- Divide the chicken salad in portions that can be finished at once. That way, you’ll avoid having to refreeze excess chicken salad after thawing it.
- Squeeze out as much air as possible from inside the freezer-safe bags and seal them tightly. Go ahead to write the present date on the bags with a marker.
How to Freeze Chicken Salad without Mayonnaise
If you intend to make a batch of chicken salad for preservation through freezing, you should skip the mayo till the frozen salad is defrosted and ready for eating at a later date.
- After the batch of chicken salad has been made without mayonnaise, grab some resealable freezer-safe bags to store it in.
- Divide the chicken salad into different portions that can be finished at once and squeeze out as much air as possible from the freezer-safe bags.
- Go ahead to tightly seal the freezer bags and write the current date on them. Put the portions of chicken salad in a secure freezer compartment.
If you also wish to skip the crunchy veggies in addition to the skipped mayonnaise, feel free to do so. Just use the steps above to freeze the seasoned chicken. You can always add the remaining ingredients at a later date when the frozen chicken is thawed and ready for final preparation.
How to Thaw Frozen Chicken Salad
After the chicken salad has been frozen for some time you’ll eventually want to take some of it out for consumption. At that point, you’ll start thinking of how to thaw your frozen chicken salad. You should know that even though freezing promises about 3 months of preservation, the best flavors and texture quality will be gotten at the earliest period of the 3 months.
There are some easy methods you can use to thaw frozen chicken salad. First, you may leave it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. If the batch of frozen chicken salad had mayonnaise in it, there’s a chance that it would lose its consistency after defrosting. However, you can rectify that by stirring the salad together with a little bit of extra mayo; this should eliminate the watery texture and restore it to a better consistency.
In case you can’t wait several hours for the chicken salad to defrost in the refrigerator, simply soak the freezer-safe bags containing the salads in a bowl of room temperature water. Before submerging the freezer-safe bag or container in water, make sure that it’s tightly sealed to avoid unwanted entry of water. The frozen chicken salad should be defrosted within a short timeframe. Remember to only defrost portions that you can finish at once!