Whether it comes in the traditional mayo-laden creamy variety, lightly seasoned with herbs, or mixed with veggies, who doesn’t love a good potato salad? Potato salad is a popular side dish at summer barbecues, Sunday lunches, and holiday festivities.
But, what can one do to preserve leftovers for the future? Some potato salads just don’t have the same appeal after being thawed than they did at the barbecue spread. Here is exactly what you need to know about freezing potato salad and how to go about it.
Types of Potato Salad
The variety of potato salad recipes are endless, but when it comes to freezer suitability, they can be divided into two main categories:
#1. Creamy Potato Salad
As its name suggests, creamy potato salad is laden with a creamy dressing, usually mayonnaise. Traditionally, a mayonnaise-based potato salad will also include eggs and pickles, however, there are so many varieties that one can include any ingredients as long as there are potatoes and a dairy- or mayonnaise-type dressing.
#2. Oil- and Vinegar-Based Potato Salad (French-style)
A French-style potato salad does not include a creamy dressing but rather an oil- and vinegar-based dressing. These types of potato salads come mixed with a variety of herbs, vegetables, and salad ingredients to taste.
Can I Freeze Potato Salad?
When it comes to freezing, not all potato salads are the same. Since mayonnaise and dairy denature and separate on freezing, creamy potato salad is not ideal for storage in the freezer. The potatoes will also discolor due to the separation of the mayonnaise and ice crystal formation which makes it look very unappetizing.
Potato salad that does not include a creamy dressing or eggs will result in a much better product once thawed. When freezing potato salad, it is important to take note of what other ingredients are in the salad. Water-rich vegetables such as onions, celery, and green peppers will turn mushy on defrosting.
Your best bet, when cooking large batches of potatoes for salad in advance, is to freeze the cooked potatoes without dressing, and to add the dressing after defrosting, just before eating.
Waxy varieties of potatoes freeze best due to their low moisture content which prevents them from becoming too mushy after defrosting. This will require using varieties such as white or yellow potatoes, and round red potatoes in your potato salad.
Thawed potato salad does not always have the same consistency as it did before freezing. In this case, you can still reinvent the potato salad in a cooked dish or as a warm potato salad that can be heated up with other veggies or herbs.
How To Freeze Potato Salad
Potato salad that contains a creamy dressing such as mayonnaise or sour cream will not freeze well. Follow the below steps to freeze plain potatoes that you have pre-cooked for a potato salad or French-style potato salad with an oil or vinegar-based dressing.
Step 1: Portion
Divide the potato salad into portion sizes suitable for defrosting to avoid having to defrost an entire large batch that may go to waste.
Step 2: Pack
Place each portion of salad into a good quality resealable freezer bag.
Step 3: Remove Air
Lie the bag flat and lightly press out all the air so that there is no air left in the packet. Close the seal.
Step 4: Label
Label the bag with a permanent marker with the contents and date so that you can keep track of how long it has been in the freezer.
Note: Do not use foil to freeze the potatoes as this will cause them to discolor.
How To Thaw Frozen Potato Salad
To thaw the potato salad, remove the freezer bag from the freezer and place it straight into the refrigerator to thaw. This may take a few hours or can be left overnight.
Once thawed, give the potato salad a good stir which will fix a slightly cloudy appearance caused by oil-based dressings. You can also revive your potato salad by adding fresh ingredients, herbs, dressings or use it in a cooked dish such as breakfast casserole, mash, stew, or added to warm vegetable bake.
Depending on the type of potato salad leftovers you have on hand, you can freeze it and use it in many delicious ways in the future.
Creamy dairy- or mayonnaise-dressed potato salads are not good for freezing and will not be edible once defrosted. But undressed, or French-style potato salads can be frozen and kept for up to 3 months in the freezer.
Now, there’s no need to send any potato goodness to the bin after your next holiday feast. Store your spuds with care and enjoy them again.
Up Next: Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?
*Image by depositphotos/studioM