Broccoli salad is a staple salad that you see at various family dinners, pot luck meals, and particularly around the holidays when there is every kind of dish or salad you could possibly dream of as part of the meal.
Broccoli salad is so easy to make. It tastes delicious and it’s always a big hit at gatherings. You can take broccoli salad as a side dish to almost any type of get-together or you can just make it to enjoy at home by itself or as a side dish to a main course.
Broccoli salad is pretty versatile because it has enough ingredients in it that you can eat it by itself and a little bit of it goes a long way. Chances are if you follow a specific recipe you will end up with a rather large bowl of broccoli salad in the end.
What do you do when there is broccoli salad left over? Can you freeze the broccoli salad and use it later? Will your broccoli get soggy or wilted when you take it out of the freezer?
You can freeze broccoli salad, although you should be aware that some ingredients (like mayo) don’t always freeze well. However, there are recommendations in place for freezing it the best and not having any ill effects when you pull it out of the freezer, such as blanching the broccoli and adding vinegar.
A Staple Guide to Freezing Broccoli Salad
When it comes to making broccoli salad there are about a million and one different recipes that you can follow. Some recipes have cream cheese and mayonnaise while some just have miracle whip. Then there are salads that have tons of sugar added.
Beyond these basic parts, you then have different items in the salad. Obviously, broccoli salad has broccoli as the primary ingredient but from there it can have any number of ingredients.
Here are some examples of commonly used ingredients in broccoli salad:
- Sunflower seeds
- Bacon bits or chopped bacon
- Shredded cheese or cheese cubes
- Dried cranberries
- Jalapeno or other peppers
- Basically anything you want
This list does not narrow down your options but simply gives you a general idea of what you might want to try in your broccoli salad or what you might expect to see in a recipe.
The great thing about broccoli salad is that it can be extremely versatile. You can change it up every time you make it and you can always personalize it to your guest’s tastes or to your own. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different mixtures or combinations.
Broccoli Salad and Broccoli Slaw Are Different
It may seem like broccoli slaw and broccoli salad are the same thing but they are really quite different. They have the same basic concept behind them but they are made entirely differently in the end.
Broccoli slaw is a coleslaw mixture that includes broccoli and potentially has some additional ingredients. The sauce may be mayonnaise-based but it also could have a buttermilk base that is more similar to the sauce of coleslaw.
Broccoli slaw is fashioned after coleslaw. It is meant to be a variation of coleslaw. It is delicious and of course, serves its own purposes but it is not quite the same as broccoli salad. On a side note, you can freeze it just the same.
Broccoli salad, on the other hand, is made with whole pieces. The broccoli is in chopped florets and chunks and broccoli salad has any number of varying ingredients as well as varying sauce mixtures, although the sauce/dressing typically contains mayonnaise.
Freezing Broccoli Salad
While there are a number of broccoli salad recipes out there and you can make it just about any way you like, there are common ingredients that are a part of nearly every broccoli salad. To give you a general idea of what broccoli salad has in it, we want to share a basic recipe with you.
We’re sharing this recipe because it blanches the broccoli. While many recipes use broccoli fresh with no blanching, this is the best form for preparing broccoli salad if you intend to freeze some.
- Start by blanching your broccoli. To do this, bring water to a boil and add the broccoli. Boil until bright green, which should only take about 3 minutes. Immediately drain and then run cold water over the broccoli so it does not continue to cook.
- In a mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, bacon, onion, craisins, and shredded cheese (or whatever ingredients you choose). Mix these items together well.
- Add the broccoli and toss until the broccoli is well coated.
We recommend that you chill your broccoli salad for about an hour after you’ve mixed it. It always tastes the best when it is good and chilled.
The Steps to Freezing Broccoli Salad
Now that you understand the basic concept of your broccoli salad and the ingredients it may contain, it’s safe to move on and discuss how you can freeze your broccoli salad.
If you blanch your broccoli as is recommended above regarding the recipe, the primary concern for freezing your broccoli salad essentially boils down to the mayonnaise and vinegar that are in the mix.
Mayonnaise has a tendency to separate or look funny after being frozen. This does not mean that it can be frozen, it’s just a factor to be mindful of as you follow the freezing process.
Here are the steps to freezing broccoli salad effectively.
- Pre-freeze the broccoli salad by spreading it out on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Place it in the freezer 1-2 hours. This pre-freeze process will help keep the broccoli fresh and maintain the texture of the mayonnaise.
- After pre-freezing, transfer the broccoli salad into a freezer-safe airtight container or seal it well into a freezer bag.
- Broccoli salad will remain good in the freezer for about 6 months.
If you decide to just pull as much life as you can from the broccoli salad while storing it in the refrigerator, you can store it up to 5 days as long as it is in an airtight container. After 5 days, the integrity of your broccoli in the salad could be compromised.
Using Broccoli Salad After Freezing
Broccoli salad is typically served cold. Because of this, you don’t have to worry about trying to thaw and reheat the salad. This will be the lifesaver when it comes to using frozen broccoli salad.
Mayonnaise does not always freeze well and may not look that great when you initially take it out of the freezer. But there are tips for sprucing up your broccoli salad if you think it needs a little bit of love after it’s frozen.
- Pull the broccoli salad from the freezer about 24 hours before you intend to serve it. Let it thaw in the fridge at least overnight.
- If you open up the broccoli salad after thawing and it looks funny from the mayonnaise consistency, you can add about 1 TBSP of water and mix it up really well. This should help refresh the mayonnaise and let you get it mixed back up. Once it is remixed, it should return to normal textures and consistencies.
- Proceed to use or serve as you prefer.
Broccoli salad is relatively easy to make as well as to freeze and use after freezing. You simply want to watch the mayonnaise and determine whether you may need to add a little water and mix up the salad again after it has had time to defrost.
You may defrost your broccoli salad and feel like it looks just fine. The sugar that is typically added into broccoli salad helps to preserve it during the freezing process.
We hope that this guide has provided you with valuable information in regards to freezing broccoli salad and using it after it has been frozen. Our goal is to provide you with everything you might potentially need in order to follow the process effectively.
We’ve put together a question-and-answer section that could provide additional information. We invite you to check out that section below.
Can You Make Broccoli Salad with Frozen Broccoli?
Yes, you can use frozen broccoli for your broccoli salad and it will work quite well. We do recommend that you allow it to thaw out or defrost it and then pat the broccoli dry to eliminate excess moisture on the broccoli.
What Happens if I Don’t Blanch the Broccoli?
It is not required that you blanch your broccoli, however, the end result when freezing is much better if you blanch the broccoli before making the salad. Blanching the broccoli maintains its freshness appeal and keeps it from turning colors or wilting when stored.
Blanching the broccoli does not fully cook it and will not affect the flavor of your broccoli salad. It is simply a means to be proactive and protect your broccoli from disappointing you later.