Can You Freeze Potato Salad?

If you’ve made potato salad before, I bet you noticed that it has a very short window of time before it goes off. 

This is especially annoying when there’s quite a bit of preparation involved in making potato salad, and frustrating if you don’t get around to eating it in time. 

If you buy it ready-made, you’ll notice that most manufacturers don’t recommend freezing it. In fact, hardly any people recommend freezing it, because of its ingredients.

Because potato salad contains a lot of dairy, not to mention eggs and mayonnaise, it can be tricky to freeze, and the consistency will change to some extent. 

These ingredients can be difficult to preserve on their own. When they are frozen and then defrosted, the quality plummets quickly. This is why most culinary experts advise against freezing potato salad. 

That’s not to say that it’s impossible to freeze potato salad, or that you shouldn’t try it. 

The Shelf Life Of Potato Salad

When made fresh, you have a week at most to use up the potato salad before it goes bad, or as little as a day or two.

If you freeze it properly, it could keep for several months. You’re better off using it before then, as the texture will continue to degrade as long as it’s still in the freezer.

Only keep it in the freezer for as little time as possible. 

How Do You Freeze Potato Salad?

In order to freeze potato salad properly, you need to prepare an airtight container or a suitable freezer bag. 

When you decant the salad into your container of choice, seal it very tightly. 

Remember that freezing some foods can cause it to lose its original texture, and this is especially true of potato salad. So don’t leave it in the freezer for long! 

How To Freeze Fresh Potato Salad

When you’re making a lot of potato salad, and you know you want to freeze some for later, it’s worth portioning the dish before you serve it.

Set aside the extra portions to save it from any cross contamination, keeping it separate from the portions you are going to serve or eat now. 

Grab several airtight containers which will keep their shape in the freezer, or some heavy-duty freezer bags. 

Put the potato salad in, making sure to leave some space at the top for the salad to expand as it freezes. Seal it, label, and put it in the freezer.

How To Freeze Leftover Potato Salad

If you’ve got some leftover potato salad (see also Freezing Gnocchi), you may be better off keeping it in the fridge and using it for later, as the risk of contamination is much higher.

Having said that, here’s how you freeze the leftovers.

Make sure to fish out any food that doesn’t belong in this salad, otherwise you risk the salad going bad fairly quickly, much quicker than if you prepared the salad only to freeze it. 

Get a freezer bag or an airtight container, whichever suits the size of your dish more.

Decant the salad into the container, making sure you don’t pack it too much so that you can’t leave some space at the top.

Seal it, label it, and freeze.

Frequently Asked Questions: Freezing Potato Salad

Can You Freeze Homemade Potato Salad? 

Yes, you can freeze homemade potato salad. If you made the potato salad with oil, such as olive oil, this can result in a cloudy dressing, but it won’t be detrimental to the flavor.

If you made the potato salad with mayonnaise, eggs, or even tartar sauce, it will go bad quickly, and bacterial growth is very likely, so you’ll need to freeze it straight away.

Transfer the potato salad into your container of choice, leaving some room at the top. Before you seal the container, cover the top with cling film. 

This will help prevent freezer burn and some texture changes. Seal the container, label it with the date and when you should use it, and freeze it.

Can You Freeze Mayo Potato Salad?

Most do not recommend freezing potato salad (see also Freezing Mashed Potatoes), which contains mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is a tricky ingredient to keep fresh at the best of times, as the egg content is sensitive to temperature.

During the freezing process, the mayonnaise could curdle. If you leave it out on the counter to thaw, the chances of bacterial growth occurring and making the salad unsafe is too high.

The mayonnaise will also be altered after freezing and thawing, and this is not something you can change. Best hold off adding any mayo if you’re trying to freeze potato salad. 

You can always add the mayo once it has thawed.

Is Freezing Store-Bought Potato Salad Safe?

Well, it depends. How fresh was the salad when you bought it? That’s a bit of roulette in itself, as you have no guarantees there. 

If it was sat in the store for more than a day, the chances are it won’t be fresh enough to freeze. 

If it was made on the same day you bought it, you can probably freeze it. Your chances are better if the container is fully sealed and freezer friendly.

You would still be better off consuming it fresh. If that’s not an option, transfer the salad into a container you know is suitable for freezing. 

The rigid plastic will help protect the salad from freezer burn. 

Is German Potato Salad OK To Freeze?

As German potato salad isn’t made with mayo, this is a perfect potato salad to freeze. You’ll notice a little separation, but that’s normal. Just give it a good stir.

How To Defrost Potato Salad

The only way to defrost potato salad is to put it straight into the fridge, and leave it overnight. 

You’ll notice some separation on thawing, but just stir that back in. 


If you want to make it quicker to prepare potato salad, you may be better off freezing boiled potatoes on their own, and preparing the fresh ingredients as you need the dish. 

This will still save you time and cut down on the potential food waste, without risking perfectly good ingredients spoiling. 

If not, hold off the mayo and other sensitive ingredients until you’re ready to use the salad.

Leave a Comment