Macaroni salad is one of the most popular types of pasta salad that makes for a perfect meal for summertime. It’s usually served at picnics and family BBQ gatherings, which is why it’s easy to end up with leftover macaroni salad. So, can you freeze your macaroni salad?
Yes, you can store leftover macaroni salad in the freezer to enjoy it later. While it won’t have the exact same texture and taste as it did originally, frozen macaroni salad will still be enjoyable when thawed.
In this article, I’ll share an easy and quick method for freezing macaroni salad. I’ll also discuss how to thaw and reheat it correctly so that you can enjoy the best taste.
How to Freeze Macaroni Salad
The following steps will help you freeze macaroni salad easily.
- Let your creamy macaroni salad come to room temperature if it’s still hot. Make sure that the cooling process doesn’t take more than one hour if the temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit (or two hours if the temperature is above 90).
- Next, divide your salad into meal-size portions, depending on how much macaroni salad you have. It’ll allow you to remove only the amount of salad from the freezer that you need to eat.
- Place each portion in a separate zip-lock freezer bag. Squeeze all bags gently to remove excess air from them to prevent freezer burn.
- If you don’t have freezer bags, you can use a freezer-friendly plastic container for the same purpose. Make sure that you use plastic wrap to keep all meal-size portions separated from one another.
- Label each container or freezer bag with the current date so that you can remove and eat the macaroni salad before it goes bad. It’ll help you avoid confusing your macaroni salad with other food items as well.
- Store macaroni salad inside the freezer.
You can use this method to freeze any other pasta salad recipe, such as potato salad.
What to Know About Storing Macaroni Salad in the Freezer?
There are different macaroni salad recipes that you can use to make this delicious food. But one of the macaroni salad ingredients that almost all recipes use is mayonnaise.
The problem with this ingredient is that it’s egg-based, and it can change its consistency and start to disintegrate in the freezer. It can create ice crystals in the salad and change the taste of the entire dish.
It’s the biggest problem, in terms of freezing, that all macaroni salads made with mayonnaise have. While you can skip mayonnaise from the recipe, you won’t be able to enjoy the classic macaroni salad flavor without it.
The best way to solve this problem is to avoid adding mayonnaise to the portion of macaroni salad that you want to freeze. Then, freeze your salad using the method discussed above.
When it’s finally time to eat frozen macaroni salad, remove the frozen salad from the freezer, thaw it (using the method discussed below), and then add mayonnaise to enjoy the taste that you love.
How Long Can You Store Macaroni Salad in the Freezer?
The time for which the macaroni salad will stay fresh in the freezer will depend on the ingredients it has. Generally, it’ll stay edible and fresh for up to one month.
However, it’ll start losing its taste and texture after two weeks. Therefore, you’ll need to make sure that you eat your frozen macaroni salad within 14 days of freezing for best results.
How to Defrost Macaroni Salad
When you want to eat your frozen macaroni salad, you’ll need to remove it from the freezer and place it inside your refrigerator. Using the cold environment of your fridge is the safest way you thaw frozen macaroni salad.
You don’t want to place it on your kitchen countertop after removing it from the freezer. That’s because it’ll allow the bacteria to multiply rapidly, which can make the food unsafe to eat.
The refrigerator method will take about 8 to 10 hours, but it’ll prevent macaroni salad from losing its quality. If you place your frozen macaroni salad directly on a heat source, it’ll become watery, especially if you have mayonnaise in it.
How to Reheat Macaroni Salad
Once Your macaroni salad has thawed properly, you can use the methods discussed below to reheat it if the original recipe was for a warm macaroni salad (otherwise, you can keep it chilled in the fridge and eat it directly from there.)
Put the thawed portion of your macaroni salad in a microwave-friendly bowl.
- Add one teaspoon of milk to the bowl and place it inside the microwave. Adding milk will keep the salad from getting burned because of the added moisture.
- Set your microwave at 50 percent or low power and run it for 30 seconds.
- Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the salad gently.
- Place it again inside the microwave and run it for another 30 seconds. Inspect the salad and repeat one more 30-second cycle if needed.
Once reheated properly, add flavor-enhancing ingredients like dressing and toppings to refresh the salad and bring it back to its original taste and quality.
Another way to reheat your thawed macaroni salad is to use a stove and pan. Use the steps listed below to complete this process.
- Add your macaroni salad to a pan and stir it gently.
- Place the pan on the stovetop and start heating the salad at low-temperature settings for two to three minutes.
- Keep stirring the salad gently throughout the reheating process. You might also need to add a teaspoon of olive oil to the pan if you feel that the salad is getting dry.
Once reheated, remove the salad from the stovetop and place it in a bowl. Then, add your favorite toppings to restore the taste and enjoy.
Can You Freeze Macaroni Salad – Final Words
You can freeze your macaroni salad in the freezer to keep it fresh for about a month, but it’ll offer the best taste if you eat it within two weeks. While the process of freezing macaroni salad is easy, the quality of the food can deteriorate if it contains mayonnaise.
Therefore, you should avoid adding it to your salad that you want to freeze. You can also add mayo to your macaroni salad after thawing it.