Can You Freeze Coleslaw?

The short answer is you can freeze coleslaw. But there are some critical things to keep in mind when doing so. In this article, we’ll go over why people freeze coleslaw, the best ways to do so, and discuss freezing various specific types of coleslaw.
Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer

Written by Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer. Updated on October 21, 2022.

Coleslaw is a tasty side dish that can bring a refreshing punch of flavor to an otherwise heavy meal.

But it’s a challenge to have coleslaw always ready to go. And other times, you might have a lot of coleslaw leftover and need a way to store it for a long time. And that is why you might wonder, “Can you freeze coleslaw?”

The short answer is you can freeze coleslaw. But there are some critical things to keep in mind when doing so.

In this article, we’ll go over why people freeze coleslaw, the best ways to do so, and discuss freezing various specific types of coleslaw.

Why You Might Want To Freeze Coleslaw

People choose to freeze many types of foods for various reasons. It usually comes down to two things.

First, freezing foods allows them to be stored for extended periods. Second, having frozen foods around makes creating meals quickly easy.

Let’s go over both of these reasons in more detail to show why you might want to freeze coleslaw.

Avoid Food Waste

One of the worst things that can happen to foods is seeing them get rotten and go to waste.

Having to throw away food is not only proof that you missed out on more delicious food, but it also can be expensive.

That is why freezing some types of foods is a good idea. With coleslaw, freezing increases the amount of time it will last before going bad.

Without freezing coleslaw, it will last about five to seven days. After that, the coleslaw has likely gone rotten, and you should throw it away.

Can you freeze coleslaw? Absolutely, and it’s a great way to avoid throwing away food.


But avoiding rotten food isn’t the only reason why you might want to freeze coleslaw. There’s another reason, which might be even more significant for some people.

Have you ever wanted a specific food, like coleslaw, but don’t want to make another trip to the grocery store? I think it’s pretty safe to say almost everyone has. Freezing foods allows you to keep them on hand.

While freezing coleslaw can help avoid extra trips to the grocery store, it also helps make a large recipe at one time.

Then you can save some for later and make eating healthy foods easier.

Preparing food always takes time. Why not save time by making a large batch, serving some immediately, and saving the rest for later? Then you’ll be able to grab the coleslaw, ready to go, from the freezer whenever you want it.

No more taking additional trips to the store. And no more making small batches over and over again.

It’s a way to create healthy eating habits.

Cons of Freezing Coleslaw

Before you start making big batches of coleslaw to freeze, it’s crucial to take a moment and understand what you are doing. While we know that the answer to, “Can you freeze coleslaw?” is yes, it has some consequences. These are both good and bad.

We’ve already gone over the two main reasons why people like to freeze coleslaw, to avoid wasting food and to save time by making large batches and freezing them for later. Now let’s discuss the downfalls of freezing coleslaw.

The main problem with freezing coleslaw is the vegetables in the mix.

As most coleslaws have a variety of cabbage, carrots, and other vegetables, it’s wise to consider the impact that freezing has on these vegetables.

Unfortunately, freezing crisp vegetables usually results in them becoming slightly wilted and not as crunchy.

The high water content of things like cabbage allows them to freeze solidly, but it also causes damage to the aspects which provide structure for the food.

As these parts are damaged, the rigid structure of the vegetable is lost. What used to be a firm piece of cabbage might end up being soft and mushy rather than crunchy.

So before you freeze your coleslaw, ask yourself if you will be alright with a slightly mushier texture. The flavor and the food stay mostly the same. But the texture will be different.

Best Methods for Freezing Coleslaw

There are many ways to freeze coleslaw. Let’s consider some methods you can try to decide which is best for you.

Pre-Packaged Containers

If you are working with pre-packaged coleslaw, like what you might buy from the deli counter of your grocery store or your favorite fast food restaurant, then the coleslaw is already in a container.

Can you freeze the coleslaw in the pre-packaged container? You can do so, but it might not be ideal.

The problem with some of these containers is that they aren’t as airtight as you’d like them to be for freezer storage.

Freezer Bags

It’s much better to put the coleslaw into something that doesn’t have air inside the package. Freezer bags can work very well, but you’ll want to get high-quality ones. These bags prevent the liquid from leaking out.

Reusable Containers

You can also use other reusable containers to freeze coleslaw, but do your best to fill the container to the top.

There should be little to no air inside. But this can be tricky to balance because the coleslaw will expand a little when you freeze it.

The trick is to use whatever container or freezer bag you’d like, as long as it’s airtight, and do your best to remove as much as you can, without filling it to the point that it will burst when frozen.

Can You Freeze Coleslaw Mix?

There might come a time when you have too much coleslaw mix and need to consider freezing it.

This mix does not have the dressing added to it yet, so it’s just the coleslaw salad portion, usually consisting of shredded cabbage and carrot mixture.

I have great news if you’re in this situation. Not only can you freeze coleslaw mix, but it is also much better to freeze it without the dressing than with it.

By freezing just the vegetables alone, you will avoid having them get overly water-logged and soggy.

They will still likely lose some rigid, crunchy texture, but it should be less than what would happen if they are in the dressing already.

Can you freeze the coleslaw mix? Absolutely. And it is the preferred way to do so.

Freezing Dressing

The biggest problem with freezing the mix alone is that you might have to worry about keeping the ingredients for the dressing nearby too. Otherwise, what good is coleslaw mixed without the dressing?

If you usually keep the ingredients handy, which are usually mayonnaise or vinegar-based dressings, you don’t have much to worry about. But if you’d prefer to freeze some of it with the coleslaw mix, you can do that too.

Just put your desired portion into a freezable container, doing your best to remove most of the air from the container. Then you can have your frozen coleslaw mixed along with the dressing.

When it comes time to defrost, take both out, let them defrost separately, and then combine.

It’s a quick, easy way to keep coleslaw available in your freezer for very long periods.

Can You Freeze Coleslaw With Mayonnaise?

Speaking of coleslaw with and without dressing, one crucial thing to figure out is the answer to, “Can you freeze coleslaw with mayonnaise?”

Perhaps the most popular type of coleslaw is made with a mayonnaise-based dressing. It gives coleslaw that creamy and savory flavor that is adored by many.

Freezing mayonnaise isn’t that common. After all, how would you use a big tub of frozen mayonnaise? But when it comes to coleslaw, those concerns fade away.

You can freeze coleslaw with mayonnaise. The only problem is that the oils and fats in the mayonnaise might separate, forming layers.

But thankfully, this separation is not a big deal. Once defrosted, mix the coleslaw with mayonnaise back together. You’ll see the separate layers instantly become one once again. And your delicious coleslaw is ready to go.

Can You Freeze Coleslaw With Vinegar?

Some coleslaw uses a vinegar-based dressing instead of mayonnaise. This type of coleslaw isn’t quite as popular in most areas, but it can still provide a refreshing side dish that many people will enjoy.

The vinegar-based dressing works well with some Asian coleslaw mixes.

It’s also an excellent alternative for those who don’t eat mayonnaise, including those who don’t like it and those who don’t eat it due to dietary restrictions, like egg allergies or people who eat a vegan diet.

But can you freeze coleslaw with vinegar dressings? Once again, this is possible to do. But just like mayonnaise, the vinegar dressing might separate into layers.

The separation is caused by the fact that most vinegar dressings contain both vinegar and oil. These two components can appear to blend in a large mixture of coleslaw, but will more obviously separate when frozen.

While the frozen coleslaw might look funny, wait until defrosting and mix it well. The dressing will blend once again, and you are free to enjoy your lovely coleslaw.

Can You Freeze Coleslaw Made With Yogurt?

Some people opt for a yogurt-based dressing as a mayonnaise alternative. This is a unique way to add a hint of tangy flavor to yogurt.

It can also help create a coleslaw dish that works for people with food restrictions, mainly those who avoid eating eggs.

Since most mayonnaise products are made with a lot of eggs, using yogurt is a viable alternative. Yogurt is usually made from milk products along with some bacterial probiotics.

It removes eggs from the dressing while adding a tangy flavor plus some gut-healthy probiotics.

But can you freeze coleslaw made with yogurt? Great news. Like the other two types of coleslaw, there is no problem with freezing coleslaw made from yogurt.

Since yogurt is generally made with less oil, you likely won’t see as dramatic of a separation in the freezer. But if you do, wait for it to defrost and mix again.

On top of that, the probiotic qualities of yogurt can survive freezing.

This is one reason why frozen yogurt is packed full of probiotics. So you don’t have to worry about losing this incredible aspect of yogurt if you decide to freeze your coleslaw.

Can You Freeze KFC Coleslaw?

It’s hard to have a KFC meal without the side dishes. Who doesn’t love fried chicken with a side of mashed potatoes and coleslaw? My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Sometimes you have way too much coleslaw. This excess leads you to wonder, “Can you freeze KFC coleslaw?”

While there are some rumors about what the exact recipe for KFC coleslaw is, the fact is that you can freeze it almost regardless of what the dressing is.

The dressing and the coleslaw overall have plenty of high water content aspects. This allows it to freeze well.

Keep in mind that freezing will likely change the texture a little bit. While some KFC coleslaw is already a bit on the soggy side for coleslaw, it will lose more structure when frozen.

Once defrosted, the coleslaw might be even soggier.

Can You Freeze Coleslaw? Wrap Up

Coleslaw is a fantastic side dish that can add a bit of refreshing flavor to many meals.

But if you have too much of it and don’t want to see it go to waste, or if you’d like to have coleslaw ready to go without another trip to the store, then freezing coleslaw is an excellent solution.

It doesn’t matter if the dressing is based on mayonnaise, vinegar, or yogurt, you can freeze all types of coleslaw. You can even freeze the mix separately from the dressing if it’s not already blended.

When you freeze it, the coleslaw will likely lose a bit of the rigid, crunchy texture. And you’ll also want to store it in an airtight container with as little air inside as possible.

Follow these steps and you’ll have delicious coleslaw in your freezer and ready to go whenever the time comes to enjoy it.

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