freeze coleslaw

Can You Freeze Coleslaw?

A barbecue party is incomplete without the tangy, refreshing coleslaw on the side. Whether vinegar-based or with mayonnaise, both types are equally delicious.

When it comes to hosting a party, we often overestimate how much our guests will eat. We inevitably have to deal with leftovers, so they don’t end up in the garbage. While freezing cooked meat is very common, can you freeze leftover coleslaw?

Perhaps, you love having coleslaw as a side dish. So, you are planning to make it in a big batch and store it in the freezer. But, can you freeze coleslaw mix successfully?

If you find yourself in a similar situation above, keep reading. In this article, you will discover the nitty-gritty of freezing coleslaw and how you should do it. So, read on!

How Long Does Coleslaw Last In The Fridge?

Many people often confuse coleslaw with fermented vegetables, such as pickles, sauerkraut, or kimchi.

Contrary to popular belief, coleslaw is not made through the fermentation process. Coleslaw doesn’t last as long as pickles or sauerkraut.

Coleslaw only stays fresh for only 3 to 5 days in the fridge. It is best to put it back in the refrigerator as soon as you’re done with meals since coleslaw goes bad quickly if left out at room temperatures.

Can You Freeze Coleslaw Without Ruining It?

If you want to keep coleslaw longer, freezing is a good option. But, you need to prepare it in a certain way to make it freezer-friendly. This way, quality changes during freezing can be minimized.

Coleslaw tastes the best when it’s fresh. Freezing preserves some of its flavors, but it won’t be as crunchy and crisp as the fresh batch.

As long as coleslaw doesn’t contain mayonnaise, it should freeze quite well. Mayonnaise tends to separate after thawing and subsequently ruin the coleslaw.

That being said, if you plan to make coleslaw ahead of time, consider making vinegar and oil-based coleslaw and omit mayonnaise. The addition of spices, such as mustard and celery seeds, is quite helpful to preserve the flavor.

If you’re more into creamy slaw, don’t worry. You can always add mayonnaise later after thawing before serving it up.

How To Freeze Coleslaw

Freezing coleslaw is no rocket science. It is easy, and anyone can do it. Here is our practical guide to freezing coleslaw successfully.

1. Prepare coleslaw as usual. Choose a vinegar or oil-based recipe and avoid using mayonnaise at this stage.

For leftover coleslaw, make sure it is still fresh and not spoiled. Avoid freezing mayonnaise-based coleslaw because the mayonnaise will separate and ruin the whole salad.

2. Divide coleslaw into individual serving size. By portioning into single serving sizes, you’ll save time for thawing. Plus, you won’t need to deal with any leftovers.

3. Pack coleslaw into a freezer-safe bag or container. If using a bag, flatten out, spread evenly, and release as much air as possible from the bag.

4. Seal the container tightly.

5. Label the package with a freezing date, a use-by date, and the amount (if necessary).

6. Transfer the package to the freezer.

A quick note, make sure that your freezer’s temperature is maintained at 0 °F (−18 °C) or lower. For quality and safety reasons, frozen foods should be continuously kept at this temperature.

How Do You Defrost Frozen Coleslaw?

When it comes to defrosting, simply place frozen coleslaw in the fridge and let it slowly soften up. For a large portion, transfer the frozen package overnight or the day before.

For quick thawing, submerge frozen coleslaw in cold water. Make sure the package is tightly sealed and doesn’t leak.

Once the salad is completely thawed, it can turn a little watery. That’s normal. Simply drain off any excess liquid. Serve immediately and keep leftover for 2 to 3 days in the fridge.

If you prefer creamy coleslaw, add mayonnaise before serving.

How Long Can You Freeze Coleslaw?

Frozen coleslaw is best to eat within 3 to 4 months after freezing. Beyond this time, it is likely safe to eat with lower quality. The flavor and texture diminish after prolonged storage in the freezer.


Can you freeze cabbage for coleslaw?

Yes, you can use frozen cabbage to make coleslaw. However, the coleslaw won’t be as delicious as it is made from fresh cabbage. Instead, consider making coleslaw first and freeze it. For freezer-friendly coleslaw, omit mayonnaise in the preparation.

Can you freeze dry coleslaw mix?

Yes, it is possible to freeze a dry coleslaw mix. Make sure to squeeze the excess air from the bag and seal tightly. Defrost in the refrigerator and add the dressing right before serving. Enjoy the coleslaw immediately and keep the leftovers in the fridge.

Can you freeze lettuce?

Yes, you can freeze lettuce. But, its usage after thawing is limited for cooked dishes. Lettuce is high in water, and it will lose its crisp texture when it’s thawed. Freezing is not recommended if you want to use lettuce for salad and sandwiches.


Coleslaw has a limited shelf life of 3 to 5 days in the fridge. Freezing is a viable option to lengthen coleslaw’s shelf life.

As long as coleslaw doesn’t contain mayonnaise, it freezes pretty wonderfully up to 3 to 4 months without significant changes in flavor and texture.

Now that you know how to freeze coleslaw without ruining it, you can make a big batch and freeze it for later. Freezing also works to preserve leftover coleslaw. This way, you can prevent food waste and save money on groceries!

See more: How to freeze cabbage

frozen coleslaw

*image by urban_light/depositphotos

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