Can You Freeze Macaroni Salad?

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Oodles and oodles of leftover macaroni salad...
Oodles and oodles of leftover macaroni salad... (Image: macaroni 2 image by James Lewis from Fotolia.com)

Let’s face it. There’s only so much macaroni salad one can eat. Even a self-proclaimed macaroni salad lover has a limit of how much macaroni salad he can reasonably consume before waving the white flag of surrender. Rather than giving up and tossing the leftovers into the garbage, consider freezing it. Freezing gives you the freedom and control to plan how to use leftovers.

Things You'll Need

  • Macaroni salad
  • Plastic airtight storage containers or freezer bags
  • Labels

Portion the macaroni salad into individual serving sizes.

Place each portion in a reusable storage container or plastic bag suitable for freezing. Seal the containers and/or bags tight. The advantage of using these types of containers is that they prevent air from getting in, which can cause food to spoil faster.

Label the sealed containers and/or bags with the date and food type.

Place the freezer-ready containers into the freezer for no more than 3 to 5 days.

Thaw the macaroni salad in the refrigerator before serving. Since macaroni salad is a perishable food, because it’s made with mayonnaise; it must be thawed in a refrigerator to prevent bacteria from growing. Plan on the macaroni salad taking about three hours to completely thaw.

Tips & Warnings

  • Start out small to determine whether you're satisfied with the quality of the macaroni salad once it comes out of the freezer and thaws. You can do this soon after the salad is prepared. If you're pleased with the results, then prepare the remaining leftovers for freezing as well.
  • Mayonnaise used to prepare the macaroni salad can sometimes separate and change the consistency of the salad. For this reason, some people don't recommend freezing macaroni salad with mayonnaise. To avoid this problem, prepare the macaroni salad without mayonnaise, freezing the excess for another day; and add the mayonnaise after thawing to finish your salad.
  • Similarly, egg whites can also become rubbery from exposure to extreme cold temperatures in your freezer, so you may want to avoid adding eggs or at least the whites to your salad if you plan to freeze the leftovers.
  • If your macaroni salad contains shrimp or other types of shell fish and sits at room temperature for a couple hours, the macaroni salad is no longer safe to eat and should be thrown away.

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