Did you make a big batch of macaroni salad or do you have some left over from a event you were hosting? Are you wondering if its a good idea to freeze your macaroni salad?
Yes you can freeze Macaroni Salad. It is best to freeze the dressing separate from the pasta. However if you have already mixed it, use a resealable freezer bag to keep in freezer for up to 4 months. To thaw, keep it overnight in fridge.
You may have to plan this ahead of time , even before preparing the dish. It is best to separately freeze the dressing and pasta. The mayonnaise in the dressing may change consistency and affects the taste of the salad. To preserve the flavor of a macaroni salad, each ingredient must be kept in the freezer individually.
The macaroni pasta itself must be cooked al dente, firm enough to hold its shape. Freezing soggy pasta must be avoided since too much water content holds moisture. Excess moisture encourages bacterial growth and decreases the effects of taste of other ingredients.
Separately freezing the pasta from the dressing adds more flexibility for future use. In case you decided to add additional ingredients later on, it will not overpower the flavor of the pasta itself.
After cooking the pasta, immediately place it under running water or soak it in ice cold water to stop the cooking process.
Have separate plastic containers with air tight lids for storing each individual ingredient of your macaroni salad. You can also use zip lock plastic bags to save space.
Nutritional contents of the pasta and the ingredients will not be reduced when frozen. Make sure that you buy good quality pasta, which is usually made from Durum or Semolina.
Thaw macaroni salad in the fridge at least three hours before mixing the ingredients. Slow thawing is important to prevent excess water content to immediately come out of your pasta. Otherwise, you will be dealing with soggy pasta.
How to Freeze Macaroni Salad
Having in mind that leftovers is inevitable, place your macaroni salad ingredients in their individual containers. Prepare your salad based on your estimated consumption. Anyway, it’s easy to do a refill when somebody wants some extra.
- Make sure that the pasta is already cold before placing it in separate container. You do not want that steam forming water bubbles on the cover of the container since this will become moist. Moist provides favorable growth for bacteria.
- Have all possible ingredients you want to mix with your salad. Be it vegetables, chicken meat or ham.
- For vegetables, place them in a plastic zip lock and squeeze out excess air before placing them in the fridge. If possible, blanch the veggies before freezing them.
- Have your dressing mixed. A basic macaroni salad requires mayonnaise. Mustard and ground pepper can also be added. Place your pre-mixed dressing in a squeeze tube before placing it in the fridge.
Macaroni Salad Recipes
For protein, adding chicken strips to macaroni salad will make it more filling. This recipe is usually served as an appetizer.
Sweet Macaroni Salad
If you opt to have the macaroni salad as dessert, adding fruits will do the trick. This recipe needs some canned fruits for added sweetness and finely diced cheese for a hint of saltiness.
Potatoes can also be added to macaroni especially if you want to have other texture in the dish. Just be cautious of the proportions of these two ingredients since both are carbohydrates.
You can freeze macaroni salad in an air-tight bag or container. Frozen macaroni salad will last for 6-8 months. Here are tips on how to freeze macaroni salad: make sure you cool down your meal before putting it in the freezer, wrap it well with plastic bags or airtight containers, ensure there is no leakage during transportation, label the bag with the current date and contents, defrost in fridge 24 hours prior to serving (you can also use a microwave oven for faster results), and enjoy!
Let me know your experience with freezing macaroni salad in the comment box below.