There is nothing like chicken salad to add flavor and versatility to any kitchen.
You can compose an endless array of tasty dishes with chicken and mayo (or Greek yogurt) as the base.
You can make chicken salad pretty easily, and if you use batch cooking to save time in the kitchen, you may make more than you can consume within a week.
If you have leftover chicken salad, you might wonder how to store it.
What about chicken salad that you freeze? Chicken salad may have a different texture if you freeze mayo or Greek yogurt before thawing. In either case, you can fix your problem by adding some mayo or Greek yogurt to the thawed product.
In this article, you’ll learn whether it is possible to freeze different types of chicken salads, how to freeze them the best way, how to store them, and how to make the best chicken salad ever!
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad With Mayo?
Shredded or chopped chicken combined with mayo and other seasonings and ingredients, is one of the most popular ways to make chicken salad.
Adding mayonnaise gives all of the ingredients a creamy flavor and texture while also helping to bind the chicken together.
But can you freeze mayonnaise-based chicken salads? In order to better understand how mayo performs during the freezing process, let’s look at what it is.
In order to produce mayo, a liquid and fat are combined through a specific process, which isn’t normally done.
The basic ingredients you need to make mayonnaise are oil, egg (whole or yolk), lemon or vinegar, and sometimes mustard.
A mayonnaise is made by emulsifying oil with egg yolks to create a creamy sauce.
Unlike oil-based sauces like vinaigrette, which are thinner, this sauce is thicker because the oil and egg are completely combined to form a stable and creamy sauce.
Once frozen, mayo can end up oily instead of creamy because when it thaws, the oil separates. You probably don’t want to freeze chicken salad for its best quality.
In that case, here are some tips to help improve the texture when you thaw your chicken salad.
I like to stir the thawed chicken salad with a tablespoon of mayo and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
It is possible to achieve a better texture by adding more mayo and mustard emulsified with the oil.
There is no foolproof method to thawing chicken salad, but this step is sure to enhance the taste.
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad With Greek Yogurt?
The addition of Greek yogurt to your chicken salad can give it a new twist. With its nutritious fats, it is filling, full of flavor, and packed with protein.
I like the tanginess the yogurt adds to chicken salad, thanks to the fermentation process it goes through before being eaten.
As with mayonnaise, Greek yogurt can also separate when thawed.
Although it contains oil and liquid as well as fat, the two ingredients may separate when frozen and thawed since it does not go through the same emulsification process.
What about Greek yogurt in chicken salad? Can it be frozen? Freezing your chicken salad may not be the best idea due to the separated texture of thawed Greek yogurt.
You may stir in some Greek yogurt and Dijon mustard once thawed to help mix back the split yogurt once it is thawed like your chicken salad with mayo.
Even with more yogurt in the chicken salad, some people will not enjoy the texture.
Best Methods To Freeze Your Chicken Salad
While freezing chicken salad that is made with Greek yogurt and mayo probably isn’t the best idea, you can still try it. The following sections will outline ways you can save time in the kitchen, including freezing ingredients.
How To Freeze Leftover Chicken Salad
The best way to freeze chicken salad is to prepare a large batch and not finish it before the lettuce begins to spoil in the fridge.
Add some more mayo or Greek yogurt to the thawed product if you are using a mayo or Greek yogurt base; this will improve the texture.
- If you will consume your chicken salad once thawed, portion it into your usual serving sizes. In cases where you will not be able to thaw it all, don’t freeze it in a big lump.
- Use freezer bags or containers with sealable lids that fit your serving size. The chicken salad will expand once it is frozen, so leave about a third of the space empty.
- Then seal the freezer bag by pressing out any air and putting the chicken salad inside. Use a container for the chicken salad and seal the lid after placing a piece of plastic wrap on top of the mixture.
Mark the date and the contents of a masking tape.
Use your chicken salad within 3 months after freezing it.
How To Freeze Batch-Cooked Chicken Salad
Here are the steps you can follow to properly freeze chicken salad if you do not yet have mayo or Greek yogurt added.
- Once shredded, combine the chicken with any spices and any non-water-containing veggies (don’t put celery or cucumber in the freezer since they get mushy when they thaw).
- As you portion out your chicken mix, be sure to have one or two meals from it.
- In a freezer baggie or sealable container, place chicken salad mix (minus mayo or Greek yogurt).
- Make sure any excess air is removed from the freezer bag before sealing it, otherwise freezer burn will occur. Apply plastic wrap directly to the chicken mix at the top of the container, then snap on the lid.
- Mark your masking tape with the date and content of anything you have frozen so you won’t eat spoiled chicken salad.
- 3-6 months can be stored in the freezer.
- In order to enjoy chicken salad, defrost it overnight in the refrigerator before adding any watery vegetables like cucumbers or celery, plus mayo or yogurt.
What Kind Of Chicken Salad Can You Freeze?
You can substitute other types of binding agents instead of mayo, Greek yogurt, and yogurt if you wish to batch cook the fully made chicken salad but don’t want to risk the mayo or yogurt separating and resulting in weird textures.
Pesto mix is one of my favorite ingredients for making chicken salad. Pesto comes out fresh and delicious when it is frozen. It’s also great stirred in with some mayo after it’s thawed.
Hummus can also be substituted for mayo or Greek yogurt in chicken salads.
The creaminess will be a difference between the pesto and the emulsified options, but it will freeze and thaw much better. Likewise, chicken salads based on hummus are lighter than those containing mayo.
Make your own chicken salad by choosing from a variety of delicious recipes.
To prevent splitting once you thaw your frozen leftovers, use pesto or hummus as a base instead of mayo and Greek yogurt.
How To Thaw Your Chicken Salad Properly
Especially if you are using mayo as a base, it would be best to let your chicken salad thaw in the fridge overnight.
The refrigerator will keep your mayo from spoiling and will keep you from getting sick if left out at room temperature for too long.
When you defrost hummus, pesto, or a chicken salad based on Greek yogurt, you can let it thaw on the counter easily for a few hours. Remember to keep it in mind!
In addition, you can let the chicken salad thaw in a bowl of cool water until softened. Don’t use hot water to prepare the chicken salad since this could negatively affect it.
You can also thaw frozen chicken salad by placing it in the fridge overnight, but these other options are preferable if you are in a rush.
How To Store Your Chicken Salad In The Fridge
Generally, leftover chicken salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, which is a long period of time that it will stay fresh.
Whether you are batch cooking or making grab-and-go portions, batch cooking is one way to let you know how much to prepare in advance.
For this purpose, I recommend getting some small containers from the store you can reuse.
Keep your chicken salad in a large container and scoop out portions from it as you eat it, if you aren’t as fussy about being able to quickly grab it when you want it. The wraps, sandwiches, and salads can all be made with this mix.
It is not recommended to keep pre-made chicken salad sandwiches in the fridge for more than a couple of days because the filling tends to make the bread soggy.
It is not necessary to store it in a single container but you should follow these steps:
- The chicken salad mix should be placed in an airtight container or bag.
Be sure to gently press out any excess air before sealing the bag if it’s in a resealable one. Keeping it fresh for longer will be easier if the air is removed. A piece of plastic wrap can be placed on top of the mix in a container, and the lid sealed.
- Place a small piece of masking tape on the fridge with the date and contents written on it.
- Eat within 5 days after placing in the fridge.
How To Make The Best Chicken Salad
This simple and tasty recipe makes an excellent chicken salad mix. Keep in mind that it is only a guide, and you can always modify the recipe to suit your taste buds.
- A cooking pan or rotisserie chicken half would yield 2 cooked chicken breasts
- Almonds or walnuts sliced half a cup
- Mayonnaise or Greek yogurt, 1 cup
- Dijon mustard, 1 heaping tablespoon
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 4 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons dried blueberries, currants, or cranberries
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- Fresh chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon
- One and a half teaspoons of sea salt
- Add some black pepper to the mix
- Place your chicken into a large bowl and chop or shred it according to your preference.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Refrigerate for 1-2 hours to allow flavors to meld together. Even though this step isn’t necessary, the final flavor is improved slightly by it.
- Incorporate it into sandwiches, green salads, quinoa or grain bowls, or wraps.
When you want to freeze chicken salad, adding mayo and Greek yogurt first is a good idea because they can separate once thawed and give your salad a weird texture.
Adding a little extra greek yogurt or mayo to leftover chicken salad can solve the issue.
Chicken salad bases like pesto and hummus can be frozen without affecting the texture when thawed.
To make a truly decadent chicken salad, mix in some mayo or Greek yogurt once thawed with the pesto base.
It is best to thaw chicken salad overnight in the refrigerator, especially if it has been seasoned with mayo. You can freeze chicken salad for about 3 months.