Most of us will have an open jar of mayonnaise in the refrigerator, and another full jar stashed away in the cupboard. In most houses, mayonnaise is pretty much considered to be an essential item!
But what if you’re not going to finish that open jar before it goes off? You might start to wonder what would happen if you froze your mayonnaise.
So, can you freeze mayonnaise? Yes, you can freeze mayonnaise, and mayonnaise that has been frozen and thawed is perfectly safe to eat. However, frozen mayonnaise will change in texture and palatability, as the emulsified ingredients will split and become watery.
Freezing is not the best way to store mayonnaise, but it can be used if no other options are available. If you think you might need to freeze your mayonnaise, read on to find out the best way to do this.
What Is Mayonnaise?
Thick, creamy, savory, and indulgent – there aren’t many people who don’t enjoy a dollop or two of mayonnaise!
This popular dressing works perfectly as a condiment, enhancing salads, sandwiches, and fries. It can also be used as a thickener and binder in cooking.
But what exactly is mayonnaise? If you have never had a go at making it yourself, you might wonder what miracles happen to create this delicious creamy sauce.
The basic ingredients for mayonnaise are eggs, oil, and an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar.
If you can imagine putting these in a bowl, it can be hard to envisage how to turn this into mayonnaise! But this is where the magic happens…emulsification!
Emulsification is the process of suspending fat in water, turning two ingredients that do not normally mix into a luscious blend. In mayonnaise, the egg yolk acts as the emulsifier, blending the oil with the acid and water.
However, it is this emulsification process that can cause problems when we want to freeze mayonnaise!
The delicate blend of egg, oil, water, and vinegar can just as easily ‘split’, causing the mayonnaise to lose the lovely creamy consistency. Split mayonnaise will separate and become curdled, with white lumps floating in a watery liquid. Yuck!
Can You Freeze Mayonnaise?
In theory, yes, mayonnaise can be frozen, but when defrosted it may not be as palatable as the original product. Mayonnaise which has been frozen is perfectly edible; however, the texture may have changed so much that it tastes horrible!
As mayonnaise is an emulsion, the freezing and thawing process will cause the ingredients to break down and separate. The result is a sauce that appears much less appetizing!
If you choose to freeze mayonnaise, the oil, eggs, and vinegar or lemon juice will most likely separate during the thawing process. You will see a layer of liquid on top of your mayonnaise.
Homemade mayonnaise is at greater risk of splitting than store-bought mayonnaise. This is because commercial mayonnaise contains added preservatives and stabilizers.
However, it is possible to revive frozen mayonnaise, creating a condiment that is tasty and fit to eat – although not a patch on the original sauce!
Freezing is a convenient way to keep food fit for consumption and extend its shelf life.
You may find that you need to freeze mayonnaise if you’ve got more than one jar open at once, or if you are going on vacation and don’t want to leave it to spoil in the fridge.
Read on to find out how to freeze mayonnaise, and the best way to keep it as creamy as possible when you thaw it out!
How To Freeze Mayonnaise
If you need to freeze some mayonnaise, try to do this when it is as fresh as possible. Shop-bought mayonnaise which has been open for some time will have started to deteriorate, and is more likely to separate than fresh mayonnaise.
Good hygiene is vital when freezing mayonnaise. Any contamination will cause mayonnaise to spoil, so no double-dipping!
Here’s our step-by-step guide to freezing mayonnaise:
- Use freezer-safe glass bottles. This is the best option for keeping your mayonnaise in perfect condition. Do not be tempted to use glass jars that are not freezer-safe, as they may shatter!
- Sterilize the glass jars to reduce the risk of contamination. Place the jars in a pan of water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Carefully lift them out with some tongs and put them on a clean rack to cool and dry.
- Using a clean spoon, scoop the mayonnaise into the jars. Try to avoid air pockets in the mayonnaise, and fill the jars up to an inch from the top. Mayonnaise will expand as it freezes so this gap at the top is essential!
- Seal the jars and label them with the contents and date.
- Cool the jars in the refrigerator for several hours before popping them into the freezer.
How Long Can Mayonnaise Be Frozen For?
If you have made delicious homemade mayonnaise, then give yourself a big pat on the back! The delicate process of creating the perfect blend of this creamy condiment is one that many cooks struggle to master.
However, homemade mayonnaise will not keep for long, even if frozen. This is because it does not contain the stabilizers and preservatives found in its store-bought counterpart.
Frozen homemade mayonnaise should keep for around 5-6 days.
Store-bought mayonnaise should keep for longer in the freezer, although the sooner it is eaten the better.
Commercial mayonnaise keeps well in the refrigerator for several months, so there is little point in freezing it unless you really need to.
Is Mayonnaise That Has Been Frozen Safe To Eat?
Mayonnaise can be stored in the freezer to prevent it from going bad. Mayonnaise is perfectly safe to eat after freezing, however, you may find that the texture has become unpalatable and inedible!
Can You Freeze Mayonnaise-Based Sauces And Dips?
Made a huge batch of French onion dip for a barbeque? Or perhaps you’ve gone a bit over the top on the spicy mayo burger sauce?
If you’ve got an excess of mayonnaise-based sauces and dips, you might be tempted to pop them in the freezer.
Mayonnaise-based sauces and dips can be frozen, but a separation of the ingredients may occur during the thawing process regardless of how the mayonnaise is mixed with other ingredients.
This means your mayonnaise-based sauce or dip will most likely not resemble what originally went in the freezer! However, you may be able to salvage it, so if you have a glut of sauce on your hands then give freezing a try.
The process for freezing, thawing, and re-emulsifying mayonnaise-based sauces and dips is exactly the same as we’ve described for mayonnaise.
How To Defrost Frozen Mayonnaise
The trick to defrosting frozen mayonnaise is patience! This is not a dip that can be taken from the freezer and thawed quickly. Give your mayonnaise time to thaw slowly and it is much less likely to split and separate.
Remove your jar of mayonnaise from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator, ideally at the back of the lowest shelf. Leave in the refrigerator to thaw for several hours, or ideally overnight.
Once thawed, you may notice a layer of liquid on top of your mayonnaise. This means your mayonnaise has started to split and separate. We wouldn’t advise eating it in this state – it will not have a pleasant texture!
Read on to find out how to turn your separated mayonnaise into something much more palatable!
How To Re-emulsify Thawed Mayonnaise
Now, it’s time to get a bit geeky – here’s the science bit! Plain mayonnaise will hold its original form while frozen, so in the jar it will look completely normal.
However, when the mayonnaise thaws out it will break down and separate. Remember that emulsifying process we talked about earlier? This process is reversed, so the oil becomes separated from the liquid.
Your lovely creamy mayonnaise may now resemble watery, curdled cottage cheese, but don’t despair – we’ve got some tips to help you rescue your sad-looking condiment.
There are several ways to try and ‘fix’ your separated mayonnaise, and even if none of them work you have had the chance to play about with some fun science experiments!
Different methods for re-emulsifying separated mayonnaise:
Pour Off The Excess Liquid
If your mayonnaise hasn’t split too badly then it may be enough to just remove the excess liquid sat at the top of the jar. Gently pour away this liquid and carefully stir the mayonnaise.
Blend The Mayonnaise
It may be possible to re-emulsify the mayonnaise by blending it. Pour the contents of the jar into a mixing bowl and whip with an electric mixer on high speed for several seconds.
If this doesn’t do the trick, try adding a tablespoon of water to help bring the ingredients together.
Egg Yolk Method
Using an egg yolk is a clever trick to help your separated mayonnaise re-emulsify. Add one egg yolk to a clean bowl and pour in a little of the separated mayonnaise.
Stir gently until it resembles a cream, then add more mayonnaise a little at a time.
So, Should You Freeze Mayonnaise?
Now we’ve taken a long hard look at how to freeze, thaw, and rescue separated mayonnaise, there is one important question to ask:
Should you freeze mayonnaise?!
This is one of those situations where just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! Store-bought mayonnaise will last for a long time in the refrigerator, and homemade mayonnaise is always best eaten fresh.
So, it would have to be some pretty unusual circumstances for you to need to freeze mayonnaise.
But if you feel the urge to freeze mayonnaise, then by all means go for it!
Now that we’ve gone over whether or not you should freeze mayonnaise, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the topic!
How do you preserve mayonnaise?
We all like to keep a jar of mayonnaise in the cupboard or fridge – this delicious condiment is considered to be one of life’s essentials by some!
However, mayonnaise contains fresh raw eggs, and it is essential to store it correctly to prevent it from deteriorating or going bad.
Here are some tips to keep your mayonnaise at its best:
- Keep unopened jars of mayonnaise in a cool dry place, away from sources of heat.
- Once opened, keep your jar of mayonnaise in the refrigerator.
- Follow manufacturer guidelines – most commercial mayonnaise will keep for up to two months in the refrigerator. Ensure you consume it before the use-by date.
- Do not expose your mayonnaise to high temperatures. Keep out of direct sunlight – take care at barbeques and summer parties!
- When making homemade mayonnaise, use pasteurized eggs if possible. Homemade mayonnaise should last for about a week in the refrigerator.
How do you know when mayonnaise has gone bad?
Ever found a jar of mayonnaise lurking at the back of the fridge and wondered how long it has been sat there for? If it hasn’t been opened it should be fine to eat, but once opened mayonnaise does start to deteriorate.
Check the use-by date on your mayonnaise – if you’ve gone past this date, then it should be discarded.
If not, the next step is to check your mayonnaise carefully for signs that it has gone bad:
Firstly, open the jar and give it a sniff. Mayonnaise should not have much of a smell at all if it is fit to eat.
Any unusual odor such as an acidic or putrid smell means that your mayonnaise has gone bad and should be thrown in the trash.
Mayonnaise should be a creamy white color. If your mayonnaise has started to turn yellow or even slightly brown, then it has started to deteriorate or has become contaminated.
Your mayonnaise should be a thick, creamy sauce. If you see any clear liquid or separated layers then your mayonnaise has started to deteriorate and should not be eaten.
Bacterial overgrowth can cause this separation, so don’t take any risks if you see this in your mayonnaise!
Hopefully, it goes without saying that if you see mold in your mayonnaise then it is not fit to eat! Check the inside of the lid and neck of the jar thoroughly, as this is where mold normally starts to occur.
Mold can cause serious health issues so is it essential to discard any mayonnaise which has signs of mold spores.
If, and only if, the mayonnaise has passed all the other tests, then have a little taste. If it tastes like anything other than normal mayonnaise then it should be discarded immediately!
Mayonnaise that has gone bad can cause some very unpleasant and serious health conditions, so don’t take any risks with that long-forgotten jar in the fridge.
Expired mayonnaise can bring on digestive complaints such as vomiting and diarrhea, and may contain toxic bacteria such as salmonella.
Can you freeze mayonnaise sandwiches?
Freezing sandwiches is one of life’s great hacks – mornings can be much less stressful if your lunchbox sandwiches just need lifting from the freezer!
Many of us enjoy mayonnaise on our sandwiches. This delicious creamy condiment can transform the most dreary sandwich, and some fillings just aren’t the same without it!
Unfortunately, sandwiches made with mayonnaise do not freeze well. The mayonnaise will cause the bread to become soggy and unpalatable. Also, mayonnaise tends to split when thawed, so your sandwich will be an oily mess!
Freezing sandwiches with mayonnaise does not make them unsafe to eat, but they will not come out of the freezer in the same state as they went in.
We’d suggest freezing your sandwiches without the mayo, and add your dressing just before you eat it instead!
Up Next: How Long Does Mochi Last?