Can You Freeze Coleslaw?



Hi, I'm Maggie. I love cooking for my family and sharing my experiences from the kitchen.
Coleslaw in a a bowl

I love coleslaw, but sometimes I make too much. That’s when most folks wonder:

Can you freeze coleslaw? Yes, you can freeze it, and I plan to show you exactly how to freeze coleslaw. The vinegar-based dressing is ideal while I’d avoid freezing mayonnaise-topped slaw. Freezing is not a bad idea if you know how to do it properly and have the time to thaw it. 

Can you freeze slaw, and what dressings are best with it? Can you freeze coleslaw with mayonnaise and sour cream? Is it a good idea, and what can you expect? These are just some of the questions I plan to answer in this guide. 

Freezing coleslaw mix is generally unnecessary for store-bought salads; I recommend typically freezing homemade coleslaw, as you have complete control over the ingredients you put into it. 

How to Freeze Coleslaw

First of all, let me recommend and emphasize not adding the dressing before you freeze your coleslaw. Slaw dressings can make it incredibly difficult to freeze it, or at the very least, they’ll ruin its texture and taste. To get the most out of your frozen coleslaw, take the following steps:

Step 1: Prepare Your Coleslaw Mix

For homemade coleslaws, prepare the veggies and, as mentioned earlier, leave the dressing for later. If you’re planning on freezing a store-bought slaw, don’t open the package just yet. If you’ve opened it, tie the opening tightly with a rubber band. 

Step 2: Place the Slaw Into a Freezing Container of Choice

You can use freezer wraps, bags, airtight containers, or vacuum-sealed boxes. I’ll briefly go over each of these options for your convenience, starting with:

1. Freezer Wrap

It’s great for smaller quantities of coleslaw. The texture will remain intact, and you’ll be able to take it out whenever you want. 

2. Freezer Bag

This is essentially an option similar to freezer wraps; freezer bags are sturdier and better suited for bigger batches of coleslaw. They’re also more expensive, which is only warranted for bigger slaw salads. 

3. Airtight Container

The quality of the container determines its effectiveness, so you will get what you’ve paid for. Cheap plastic boxes are great for the short-term, but they will eventually crack and lose their ‘airtight’ quality. Invest in better containers for long-term freezing. 

4. Vacuum-Sealed Box

Similar to airtight containers, but far more efficient (and usually more expensive). Should you go with this, you’ll get a fool-proof solution to freeze pretty much everything and anything. They’re generally not overly durable but will beat most airtight containers.  

Step 3: Place Coleslaw in the Freezer

Most coleslaw mixes aren’t too bulky, so finding a suitable spot should be a breeze. If storage space is an issue, consider using freezer wraps or bags. 

What Happens if You Freeze Coleslaw?

The quality of your frozen coleslaw largely depends on the quality of ingredients you’ve put into the salad. Old veggies don’t freeze as well as fresh ones, which have an abundance of nutrients that are retained once the vegetables are frozen. 

Pros of Freezing Coleslaw

  1. Minimal preparation effort – you don’t really need to do much aside from choosing a container from freezing. 
  2. Typical coleslaw ingredients freeze good – cabbage and carrots can sit in your freezer for months
  3. Great taste after thawing – if you did everything by the book, your coleslaw should taste as great as it did before freezing

Cons of Freezing Coleslaw

  1. Most dressings can’t be frozen – whichever option you go with, it will probably ruin your salad
  2. Requires a good freezer – poor-quality freezers can spoil your slaw, and you won’t know until you taste it

How Long Can You Freeze Coleslaw?

The answer to this question depends on your chosen dressing. With vinegar-based dressings, as well as dressing-less slaws can remain frozen for about half a year. You can also freeze coleslaw with a mayo dressing but expect varying results when you thaw it. 

How to Defrost Coleslaw?

You can fridge-thaw coleslaw, defrost it in a microwave, or defrost it in a bowl filled with water. The first option is the easiest, as you’ll simply need to place your frozen slaw at the bottom of your fridge and wait for about a day.

Defrosting in a microwave will somewhat alter its structure, but it’s the quickest way to go. 

Thawing in a bowl with water is viable when the other two options aren’t, for whatever reason, available. 

Can You Refreeze Coleslaw?

I don’t recommend it, but you can refreeze coleslaw at least once more after freezing it for the first time. This will work better if you plan to add the dressing later, in which case you can refreeze the prepared vegetables multiple times.

Creamy dressings, particularly mayonnaise and sour cream, freeze terribly and will only get worse with each refreezing cycle. 

Creamy Coleslaw in a bowl
A bowl of delicious creamy homemade coleslaw.

Freezing different types of coleslaw

Can you freeze coleslaw with mayonnaise?

You can, but the taste will be far inferior. 

Can you freeze coleslaw with Miracle whip?

Yes. Miracle whip features special ingredients that prevent separation once frozen. 

Can you freeze coleslaw mix?

Yes, but freezing coleslaw without a dressing is generally a better idea. 

Can you freeze homemade coleslaw?

Yes, you’ll have more control over the ingredients and will be able to make the most out of the process.

Can you freeze store-bought coleslaw?

In case the container is unopened, yes. If opened, wrap it with rubber wraps before preparing it for the freezer. 

Can you freeze coleslaw and potato salad?

Technically speaking, you can. However, I strongly advise against it, as thawing this combination can be a nightmare. 

Can you freeze creamy coleslaw?

It’s generally smarter not to freeze slaw with any creamy dressing. 

Best Tips for Freezing Coleslaw

To sum it up here are my best tips for freezing coleslaw:

  • Prepare your veggies and freeze them. Add dressing later. 
  • Avoid mayo and creamy dressings when freezing slaw, as they’ll mix with the veggies. 
  • Use freezer wrap to save as much space as possible. 
  • Carrots and cabbage freeze well, don’t be afraid to make a bigger batch. 

Frozen Coleslaw Recipes

Coleslaw is a European meal, and it’s prepared totally different in many countries. I’ve borrowed my recipes from German, Italian, and Russian cuisine:

German Slaw

The German Slaw recipe revolves around refining shredded cabbage. Marinate it in oil; use vinegar to add extra flavor, and then sprinkle it with shredded carrots and onions. 

Italian Slaw

The Italian variation of coleslaw involves meat, which might make it more appealing to people who don’t particularly love vegetables. Mix your carrots and cabbage with freshly cooked ham and pepper. 

Russian Slaw

According to a traditional Russian slaw recipe, you should mix freshly-shredded cabbage with apples, cranberries, and carrots. It’s typically dressed with sunflower oil and marinated with vinegar. 

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Coleslaw Dressing for Potato Salad

To my taste, mayonnaise and potato salad should never mingle. If you like the combination, you should still think twice about freezing the mix, as mayo freezes pretty bad. All creamy sauces freeze badly, but you can always use vinegar dressing for your potato salad. 

Can You Freeze Coleslaw Dressing

Although you can, you may want to consider not to. Freezing coleslaw dressings will blend the vegetables and the dressing together. This may turn out okay, but it may completely change the taste and texture of your slaw as well. 

Can You Freeze Coleslaw Vegetables

Yes, absolutely. The most basic coleslaw recipe revolves around carrots and cabbage, both of which freeze exceptionally well. 

How Long Does Coleslaw Last in the Fridge?

Between three and five days, regardless of whether it’s store-bought or homemade. The only exception is unopened coleslaw; the ‘timer’ should start ticking once you open the package. 

Verdict: Is Freezing Coleslaw a Good Option?

Can you freeze coleslaw? You certainly can, but it doesn’t freeze as well as deli meat. At the end of the day, you can alter your recipes to prolong the freezer and fridge life. Fortunately, there are more than a few ways to freeze and thaw it as well, so you can quickly adapt to new circumstances. 

If you’ve liked my “Can coleslaw be frozen” guide, feel invited to my other articles and guides as well. I’d appreciate it if you’d be gracious enough to share your favorite slaw recipes in the comments, and I hope you’ll like the ones I’ve shared with you. Until next time, enjoy your meal!


About Maggie

Hi, I'm Maggie. I love cooking for my family and sharing my experiences from the kitchen.
Related Posts:

Leave a Comment