Can You Freeze Potato Salad? – Find the Answer Here!

Who does not love potato salads? As a quintessential side dish, it adds a yummy dose of umami to any meal!

Potato salad is a dish which is made from boiled potatoes and other ingredients.

It is generally considered a side dish, as it typically accompanies the main course. It is widely believed to have originated in Germany from where it spread widely throughout Europe.

American-style potato salad is served at room temperature or cold, and ingredients often include mayonnaise or other mayonnaise-like substitutes (sour cream or yogurt), vegetables (such as celery and onion) and herbs.

Potato salad is a big hit with most folks and a dish you can rack up quickly.

However, there are times when there’s a sizable quantity left, and you wonder whether you can freeze it for later use, rather than place it in the other compartment of your fridge.

This question gave me a lot of wondering, so I decided to research, as always.

If you were wondering too, you are right - the ingredients are not exactly conducive to prolonged storage. Particularly eggs and mayonnaise. And as you already know, freezing a mayonnaise and potato mix carries the potential hazard for food poisoning.

So, Can you freeze potato salad?

Ok, first, we need to get this clear. As far as possible, make only as much salad as is required. Or freeze potato piece separately without other ingredients and mayonnaise.

Having said this, some people frozen, thawed and eaten potato salad, and guess what? They survived to tell the tale.

The fact is, potato salad has a notoriously short shelf life, and when you keep it in the fridge, it’ll only keep for a week. But, when held in the freezer, it should keep for several months.

That being said, most culinary experts and chefs don’t recommend freezing potato salad. The boiled eggs, dairy, and mayonnaise in the salad tend to degrade quickly when frozen and defrosted.

If there is some leftover, it’s distressing to throw away perfectly good potato salad. So the answer to the question is - yes, you can freeze potato salad, with a few things to remember.

Spin the salad

  • This is the most important step if you want your potato salad to keep its incredible taste. By spinning, salad gets rid of all the moisture in the potatoes, helping them keep their shape and stopping them from going mushy when they are thawed.
  • Just put the salad in the spinner, push the button down for thirty seconds or so, and then pour away the excess water. Easy and simple!

How to freeze potato salad?

If you love food, you will know that the freshness of the ingredients you use can affect the taste of the dish, no matter if it is cold or hot. So, I recommend choosing the freshest ingredients that you can find - the fresher the veggies, the better they freeze!

It is crucial that you use fresh eggs, for your salads’ dressing, but most people do not know how to tell a good egg from bad. Let me make your life a little easier!

Pro Tip: Put an egg in a bowl or water. If it sinks on its side, it is a goody. If it stands up, it is still okay. If it floats, it is a baddy. 🙂

I suggest you refrigerate it as soon as it’s prepared, even if you are serving it immediately. From the refrigerator compartment, it is ok to transfer it for storage in the freezer.

You should freeze only the amount that will get frozen in 24h. That is two or three pounds of food per cubic foot space in the freezer. 

I recommend storing the potato salad against the wall of the freezer compartment for quick freezing, and once frozen, keep other frozen food close together in the freezer compartment.

You should be aware that mayonnaise tends to break up on the freezing but don’t worry - it is safe to eat. So your potato salad may lose its creamy texture, but hey - it can be eaten! It is better to use commercially made mayonnaise than homemade merely because it has preservatives and therefore lasts longer, too.

There shouldn’t be any moisture when storing, so do not freeze potato salad in a serving bowl. Store it in plastic bags which are freezer safe, or in an airtight container. And please leave some space in the container for the potatoes to maintain form and breathe.

Unfortunately, shredded or mashed potatoes freeze better than cubed ones!

Your potatoes shouldn’t be overcooked, as this way they can be frozen for a more extended period. The trick is to start boiling them by adding them with salt to a pot of ordinary water, so they should heat up along with the water.

Be sure not to add the diced potatoes to boiling water. That will make them overcooked, and it will spoil the texture of the salad, both thawed and fresh.

Do not freeze potato salad for too long. The potatoes lose their texture after a month of continuous freezing. It’ll be mush after thawing because of the water content in the mayonnaise will separate out. More than one month is too risky, health-wise too.

I think that the right idea is to label the container and mention the date.


How to thaw potato salad?

Ok, you had put away your salad to freeze appropriately, and now it’s time to take it out and finish it. I suggest not to refreeze the second time. Prepare to thaw it by removing it from the freezer into the refrigerator compartment.

Your refrigerator temperature should be 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above that temperature and the thawed potatoes will start to spoil.

Do not attempt to thaw the potato salad in the microwave. Room temperature is not a good option too, because the mixture contains eggs, and there are chances of bacterial growth while thawing which can lead to food poisoning.

The taste and texture will be a little different from the freshly made potato salad, but that cannot be helped.

I would say that the best way is to finish the potato salad as soon as you make it for some reasons:

  1. Potatoes spoil very fast at room temperature, and they cannot be stored in the refrigerator at more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. While serving potato salad fresh, some experts provide cooling around the vessel with ice cubes. They even put a couple of them in a bag, deep in the center of the potato salad to keep the ambient temperature right.
  2. Even if you have to store potato salad, there are better ways of storing it than as a salad. I like to fill it into tortillas, which can be frozen.
  3. Mayonnaise doesn’t freeze well - it breaks up in texture, and in all likelihood, the taste will also change after you thaw it.
  4. Raw ingredients in the potato salad like onions also tend to become mushy after thawing.
  5. You have to be super careful while freezing potato salad. So, why go through all that trouble? Just make enough and if there’s extra, give it away! There isn’t absolutely anybody who would refuse a delicious potato salad! 😉

Assemble the salad

Once the veggies and the potatoes are defrosted, put them in the salad spinner to get them nice and fluffy. After that, pour your dressing over the potatoes and give it a good stir.

Conclusion

Potato salad is a delicious side dish, but only practical if you know the proper way of extending the shelf life of it. Freezing is not the ideal method of preserving its freshness. Instead, it is best suited for refrigeration - when left in the fridge, it can stay safe for consumption for 3 to 5 days.

Barbara Whitney
 

For the last 20 years, I’ve been cooking, preparing, researching, and gathering recipes, tools, and knowledge about food and the way we prepare it. Raising two lively boys and spoiling one great husband later, it’s safe to say that I’ve optimized my kitchen to deliver the best possible meal, no matter the occasion.

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