Can You Really Freeze Potato Salad?
Don’t bother. Here’s why, according to our food editor.
So you invited 50 people to your cookout and only 15 came. Sorry to hear that! And now you have a potato salad problem on your hands. According to StillTasty.com, prepared potato salad—whether it’s homemade or store-bought, dressed with vinegar and oil or mayonnaise—will stay fresh in the refrigerator up to five days, if stored properly. But by day three of your own personal all-you-can-eat potato salad buffet, we guarantee you’re not going to want to even look at another potato for the foreseeable future.
The next logical thought is to store it in the freezer. But unlike other potato-based dishes such as mashed potatoes or potato soup, potato salad doesn’t freeze well, especially if it’s covered in a mayonnaise- or sour cream-based dressing. Mayonnaise tends to separate once frozen, and when it defrosts, the texture and flavor will be off. You’ll have better luck freezing potato salad that’s been dressed with a non-dairy oil-based vinaigrette, like German potato salad, or a casserole-like hot potato salad that can be reheated. Store leftover potato salad in a ziplock plastic freezer and squeeze out as much of the air as possible without squishing the potato salad. Use within three months of freezing.
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All that said, just because you can freeze potato salad doesn’t mean you should. Even if you store it properly, it just doesn’t taste the same when it’s been defrosted and served cold. The texture of defrosted potatoes is somewhat soggy, and they may even look a bit gray. A warm potato salad will fare better because you can heat it back up, but cold, defrosted potato salad is a lackluster version of its former self.
Share your leftover potato salad with neighbors, use it as an excuse to throw another cookout, or you can even try roasting it, just don’t bother freezing it.