Having a delicious side dish is always a great thing because it can enrich the flavor profile of your meal greatly. One of the most popular side dishes is definitely coleslaw.
It originated in the Netherlands in the 16th century and it was brought to America by Dutch settlers in the 17th century.
When translated from the Dutch language, it means “cabbage salad” in English.
You can conclude that its main ingredient is cabbage, i.e. white or red cabbage. Other ingredients include green peppers, onions, carrots, and celery, alongside a few different types of dressings.
Actually, the type of dressing determines the answer to the question “Can you freeze coleslaw?”. In general, coleslaw can be frozen, but it depends on the type of coleslaw dressing how it will go through the freezing process.
So, let’s see.
Can You Freeze Coleslaw?
For many years, a freezer has been used for extending the shelf life of food. But, can coleslaw be frozen? Generally speaking, coleslaw can be frozen, but various types of coleslaw freeze differently. Below, I will explain how each type of coleslaw goes through the freezing process.
Can You Freeze Coleslaw Mix?
I will start with the coleslaw mix. It is a mix of various veggies that include shredded cabbage and carrots, alongside some other types of vegetables like red peppers and onions.
Fresh coleslaw mix can certainly be frozen if you freeze it properly of course. In order to do that, you must mix your desired veggies and put that mix in an airtight container or freezer bag and place it in the freezer.
The mix will last in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you decide to use it, it is best to defrost it in the fridge overnight, drain the excess water, add your desired dressing, and enjoy it.
Can You Freeze Vinegar-Based Coleslaw?
You definitely can freeze coleslaw made with vinegar-based dressing and this type of cole slaw freezes quite well.
Once you make your coleslaw with vinegar-based dressing, don’t let it stay at room temperature for too long. If you freeze it immediately, it will last up to 6 months in the freezer.
However, I would recommend you use it within 3-4 months after freezing. In that time frame, it will preserve its best quality, i.e. its best flavor and texture. The longer it stays in the freezer, the softer it becomes and that is not something you want to achieve.
Can You Freeze Coleslaw That Has Mayonnaise In It?
It is a different story when it comes to freezing mayo-based coleslaw. I know that most of you like coleslaw made with a mayonnaise-based dressing, but I have to disappoint you with the fact that mayo-based coleslaw doesn’t freeze well.
The problem lies in the process of freezing mayonnaise. Mayonnaise doesn’t freeze well because the emulsion of eggs and oil tends to separate after freezing and defrosting. That leads to a ruined texture that is not pleasant for consumption.
However, you can always freeze your coleslaw mix without mayonnaise and add it after you defrost the mix properly.
Can You Freeze Coleslaw Made With Miracle Whip?
Miracle whip is similar to mayonnaise, but it has a lower oil content. Because of that, it is more suitable for freezing since the texture won’t deteriorate that much.
However, I would still recommend that you freeze the coleslaw mix and add miracle whip after defrosting it, just like you would do with coleslaw with mayonnaise dressing.
That way, you will be sure that you are eating creamy coleslaw with the best quality.
Can You Freeze KFC Coleslaw?
KFC coleslaw contains miracle whip in most cases. Because of that, it can be frozen since miracle whip’s texture doesn’t deteriorate too much after freezing and defrosting.
However, there are some consequences of freezing this type of coleslaw because miracle whip is not an ideal ingredient for freezing. So, your KFC coleslaw may become a bit mushy and the dressing may separate a little bit.
In this case, it is really up to you to decide whether you want to freeze your KFC coleslaw or not.
Can You Freeze Raw Cabbage For Coleslaw?
My quick answer to this question is “no”.
It is not recommended to freeze raw shredded or chopped cabbage before you incorporate it into your coleslaw, especially if you want to consume it on its own after you defrost it.
The main reason for this is the fact that cabbage, just like any other leafy vegetable, contains a high amount of water. So, when you freeze it, water freezes as well and it creates ice crystals that ruin the texture of the vegetable after being defrosted.
The main consequence of that is that your cabbage won’t stay crispy anymore, i.e. it will become soggy.
Because of this, it is best to incorporate your shredded cabbage into the coleslaw mix, pour a little white vinegar over it, and then freeze it. Vinegar will help to preserve its texture.
One more note. Only if you plan to incorporate that coleslaw into some kind of cooked dish like cabbage casserole, you can freeze it this way. In that case, the texture won’t matter much.
How To Freeze Coleslaw The Right Way?
Now that you know which types of coleslaw can be frozen, it is time to learn how to freeze it properly. So, here are the simple steps that you need to follow in order to freeze your coleslaw the right way.
STEP 1: As I already said earlier in the text, it is not recommended to freeze mayonnaise-based coleslaw and since most store-bought coleslaw contains mayonnaise, you should avoid freezing them. Instead of that, you should prepare your homemade coleslaw mix blended with oil and vinegar.
STEP 2: Blanch your shredded cabbage in boiling water because it freezes better that way. Mix it with other veggies and add vinegar and a bit of lemon juice to preserve its texture. Add all the ingredients that your coleslaw recipe requires.
STEP 3: After it is ready, you can transfer it to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. You can also portion it and put those portions in a few freezer bags to make the handling easier. But, that is up to you.
STEP 4: Pull out all the excess air from the bag and seal it properly in order to avoid freezer burn.
STEP 5: Finally, you can label the bag with the exact date of storage and put it in the freezer. Coleslaw’s shelf life in the freezer is up to 6 months.
How To Thaw Frozen Coleslaw?
The best way to defrost coleslaw is to transfer it from the freezer directly to the fridge and let it stay there overnight until it defrosts.
Here’s what the USDA says about thawing food in the refrigerator: “Refrigerator thawing takes the longest but the leftovers stay safe the entire time. After thawing, the food should be used within 3 to 4 days or can be refrozen.”
If you have frozen coleslaw without dressing, you will pull it out of the freezer, add the mayo-based dressing, and serve it cold. If you have any leftovers, it is essential to refrigerate them immediately.
On the other hand, if you have frozen coleslaw with a vinegar-based dressing, you should get rid of the excess liquid because it is more watery after thawing than when fresh.
After you do that, you should consume the thawed coleslaw within 2-3 days and you should store coleslaw leftovers in the fridge if there are any.
What To Do With Leftover Coleslaw?
There are various ways to use coleslaw and if you made a large bowl of coleslaw and you don’t know how to incorporate it into the dish, there are a few recommendations that you need to try.
• Serve your delicious and refreshing coleslaw as part of a picnic because it is known as one of the best picnic foods out there.
• Use it as a topping for a piping hot jacket potato.
• Combine it with BBQ meat, hot dogs, burgers, or smoked ribs.
• Use it as a topping for shredded pork, roast beef, steak, or grilled chicken.
• Add it to some Mexican classics like tacos.
• Enrich your favorite sandwiches with this delicious and refreshing food.
• Make quick cabbage soup by incorporating coleslaw.
• Make batches of refreshing salads like macaroni coleslaw salad, chicken cobb salad, or Thai peanut chicken crunch slaw salad.
• Turn on your culinary imagination and play around with different recipes that contain coleslaw and other interesting ingredients.
One Simple, But Delicious Freezer Slaw Recipe
For those who fell in love with coleslaw, I provide you with a simple but amazing recipe for freezer coleslaw that contains a vinegar-based dressing and can be easily frozen and used after defrosting. So, let’s take a look.
Ingredients For Coleslaw Mix:
• 1 grated carrot
• 1 green cabbage, shredded
• 1/2 red onion, sliced
Ingredients For Dressing:
• 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
• 3 tbsp of olive oil
• 1/2 tbsp of Dijon mustard
• 1 cup of sugar (or more, depending on sweetness)
• 1 tbsp celery seed
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• 1/4 tsp salt
STEP 1: You first need to add cabbage, onion, and carrot to a large bowl.
STEP 2: Your next task is to blend together the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, mustard, sugar, celery seed, pepper, and salt in a smaller bowl in order to make a delicious dressing.
STEP 3: After making the dressing, you can add half of it to the previously made mix of cabbage, carrots, and onions and stir it gently. You can continue adding the dressing until you achieve desired consistency.
STEP 4: After you are done stirring, you can serve your homemade coleslaw and enjoy it any way you like.
How Long Does Coleslaw Last In The Fridge?
If you are dealing with store-bought coleslaw, it can last in the fridge for up to 1-2 days past the printed date. When you open it, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
If you make your own homemade coleslaw and you store it properly in the fridge, it will last up to 3-4 days as well. For additional info, here’s how long salads last in the fridge.
What Is The Best Way To Keep Coleslaw Fresh Without Freezing?
There are a few tips that can help you keep your coleslaw fresh without freezing it. It is best to put it in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.
After that, you should consider putting the container in the fridge because higher temperatures will spoil it. It is not a bad idea to add some acidity like vinegar, lemon juice, or sour cream because that will help to preserve your coleslaw.
And, finally, eat the coleslaw within 2-3 days because it is freshest during that time frame.
How Long Can You Store Frozen Coleslaw In The Freezer?
According to the USDA, coleslaw and any other leftovers should be frozen for 3 to 4 months not for safety but for quality.
Also, you don’t want to freeze mayonnaise-based coleslaw because it doesn’t freeze well. Instead, only freeze vinegar-based coleslaw because its quality won’t deteriorate in the freezer.
Freezing Coleslaw Final Words
Coleslaw is one of the favorite picnic foods here in the US. However, it can be consumed in various other ways since it is quite versatile. Besides that, there are many types of coleslaw, as well as many coleslaw recipes. So, it is quite important to know how to handle each and every one.
The answer to the question “Can you freeze coleslaw?” depends on the type of coleslaw. It is not recommended to freeze mayo-based coleslaw because the freezing process will ruin the texture.
On the other hand, coleslaw with a vinegar-based dressing is perfectly suitable for freezing and you just need to follow the exact freezing guidelines explained in this article to do the thing right.
The coleslaw with a miracle whip dressing is somewhere in the middle. It won’t separate that much like mayonnaise, but it will separate to some extent, so it is up to you to decide whether or not you will freeze it.