The world of mayo based salads is vast. There are many different recipes from egg salads, to pasta salads, potato salads and more! It is extremely fun to play with different recipes and get your own version of something so classic and loved. Lots of times, mayo based salads are easy to make a large quantity of. Storing mayo based salads is a whole other ordeal.
Any other time, it’s pretty normal to think you can simply freeze food that you have an abundance of. However when you have a mayo based salad, you actually shouldn’t freeze it. The problem here is the mayo, which really doesn’t freeze well at all.
Why Can’t You Freeze Mayo?
Of course there is no law that says you can’t freeze mayo. Mayo can be frozen and will remain a safe food to eat once it’s thawed, however once it’s thawed things aren’t the same. Mayo is an emulation based product, this means the ingredients will break down once they are being thawed. Basically, the oil will separate from the other ingredients, leaving the mayo extremely runny and oily. When you freeze salads that are mayo based, the entire dish will most likely be ruined since the texture and even flavor will be completely changed.
How To Freeze Mayo
If you do still need to freeze mayo, there is something you can do to keep the mayo from separating too badly. You can add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to the mayo before freezing that will help the ingredients stay together when they are being thawed.
It is important to know that mayo can only be frozen for up to three months.
How To Freeze Mayo Based Salads
Now that we have discussed why mayo shouldn’t be frozen, the question remains, if you must freeze your mayo based salads, what can you do? Here are a few options.
Freeze Ingredients Separately
The easiest thing you can do, and the way that is guaranteed to work, is by simply freezing your ingredients separately. Make your tuna salad or your potato salad with all the ingredients except for the mayo. Go ahead and freeze your mayo-less mayo based salad and just wait to put the mayo in.
The nice thing is that mayo can last up to 2 months in the fridge, so you most likely won’t have to try and freeze the mayo at all. When you are ready to eat your prepared salad, take it out and thaw it in the fridge, then add your mayo and you are good to go!
Lemon or Vinegar Trick
If you have already made your salad, with the mayo and it needs to be frozen you can try the lemon or vinegar trick. For many mayo salads, lemon or vinegar won’t change the flavor too much or it may enhance the flavor. For things like tuna salad, pasta salad, or coleslaw, lemon or vinegar will be completely fine as an addition to the dish. All you have to do is add 1-2 tablespoons of either vinegar or lemon juice in with your salad and go ahead and freeze it.
This trick is only a suggestion and still may not help completely, especially if the salad is frozen for a longer period of time.
Mayo isn’t really something that you should freeze because it will not thaw the same way it was before it was frozen. So when you freeze mayo based salads, the entire salad may not be what you expected. Play it safe and either leave the mayo out of the salad when you freeze it or try adding a little bit of lemon juice or vinegar.