Can You Freeze Coleslaw?

Coleslaw has got to be one of the most popular accompaniments with such a variety of uses. Whether you like it on top of your piping hot jacket potatoes, served as part of a picnic or paired with barbequed meat.

There’s no denying that coleslaw is incredibly versatile. But can you freeze coleslaw with success?

The Quick Answer

Yes, you can freeze coleslaw. Coleslaw can be frozen for around 6 months. Make up a batch of coleslaw before portioning it into freezer bags. Seal the freezer bags up, removing as much air as possible before placing the bags of coleslaw into the freezer.

How to Freeze Coleslaw

Freezing coleslaw is not straightforward because some coleslaws will freeze fine, whereas others won’t.

If you take your generic supermarket coleslaw (such as this one from M&S), you’ll see it’s thickly coated in mayonnaise. This won’t freeze well. Any coleslaw that contains mayonnaise won’t freeze that well because it tends to split.

When it comes to freezing coleslaw, try and stick to those homemade with an oil and vinegar-based dressing. This way, you’ll have more success in freezing it. If you have a suitable coleslaw, then the method for freezing coleslaw is easy: 

  1. Bag Up
    Place your coleslaw mix in a freezer bag.
  2. Seal
    Going from the bottom of the bag to the top opening, squeeze out as much of the excess air as you can, then seal the bag up. As always, label your bag with the date it was frozen and when it needs to be consumed.
  3. Freeze
    Place the sealed bag in the freezer. 

3 Tips for Freezing Coleslaw

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing coleslaw to have the best results:

  • Try Freezing Without Dressing – Although not technically coleslaw, you can freeze all the vegetables prepared in a bag to make a coleslaw. When you fancy coleslaw, thaw it, then dress as you normally would.
  • Avoid Mayo at ALL Costs – This cannot be reiterated enough – mayonnaise will not freeze well at all. The dressing will split, and the coleslaw will not be salvageable. Avoid freezing mayo-based dressings!
  • Consider Alternative Vegetables – Don’t limit yourself to carrots and cabbage. Try mixing in some other vegetables that freeze well, such as turnip, celeriac, kohlrabi or radishes

How Long Can You Freeze Coleslaw?

Coleslaw will be fine to store in the freezer for around 6 months, after which the texture will break down further. However, it’s a good idea to try and consume it within 3 or 4 months to avoid any flavour or texture loss. 

Bear in mind that, if dressed, the longer it is in the freezer, the soften it will likely become.

You Can Freeze Coleslaw for up to 6 Months

How Do You Defrost Coleslaw?

Coleslaw is best thawed slowly overnight in the fridge. Take your bag of frozen coleslaw and place it in a bowl in the fridge and allow it to slowly thaw overnight. Try not to rush this process. The one downside to frozen coleslaw is that it will become watery once thawed. That’s why it’s a good idea to drain the excess water from your thawed coleslaw before serving.

Once thawed, you’ll want to use the coleslaw within 3 days. After this time, there’s a chance that the texture will soften too much, and the flavour will degrade.

Can You Refreeze Coleslaw?

This is not something that is recommended. When refrozen, coleslaw can break down far quicker, leaving you with a watery dressing and overly soft vegetables. Instead, try to freeze coleslaw in suitable portions to make it easier to grab the amount you need at a time. 

Does Coleslaw Freeze Well?

As discussed above, this will depend hugely on the coleslaw you’re freezing. We would avoid freezing coleslaw that contains mayonnaise. Unfortunately, it will never be as good as the fresh stuff, so there really is no point in freezing it.

If, however, you make coleslaw with an oil and vinegar dressing or a sour cream coating, then you’ll be good to freeze it and won’t notice much difference between the fresh versions.

Unfortunately, coleslaw is one of those things where fresh will always beat frozen. But freezing it is certainly better than tossing it away. The other option, of course, is to freeze all the individual ingredients such as cabbage or red cabbage and carrots and then construct your coleslaw as you normally would.

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing coleslaw or slaw in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Broccoli Slaw?

Broccoli slaw can be frozen like any other slaws. However, we’d recommend not dressing it. Instead, freeze the vegetables ready-prepared and then dress them after thawing. This is the best way to enjoy any frozen slaw. 

The one element of broccoli slaw that will not freeze well is the dressing. If the dressing ruins, then the whole slaw will be ruined. 

Can You Freeze KFC Coleslaw?

We strongly advise against freezing KFC coleslaw. Not only do you not know what in the coleslaw, but with it being dressed in a thick creamy sauce, it won’t freeze very well.

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