Freezing can extend the shelf-life of foods by several months or even a year or more, but it isn't suitable for all foods. Mayonnaise, along with egg whites and soft dairy products, tend to become watery and unappealing in the freezer. However, in certain situations, mayonnaise can be frozen successfully.
Mayonnaise doesn't freeze well in uncooked foods, such as chicken salad, potato salad or sandwich fillings. Commercial mayonnaise contains pasteurized eggs, oil, vinegar, and seasonings that have been emulsified, or whipped, into a creamy state. The eggs tend to separate from the oil in the freezer, causing loss of flavor and a watery texture.
You can freeze a cooked casserole that contains mayonnaise, providing all the other ingredients freeze well, too. Some recipes for chicken and rice, chicken and stuffing or even chicken enchiladas call for mayonnaise combined with canned cream soups, cheese or other ingredients. In these dishes, the eggs in the mayonnaise have been cooked, so they won't separate during freezing. Mixing mayonnaise with other ingredients, such as cream soups, also helps stabilize them.
If you use mayonnaise in baked goods, such as cakes or quick breads, you can freeze the baked goods; since the eggs are baked, they are firm and stable. Sugar also acts as a stabilizer and preservative in the freezer.
For best results, don't freeze sandwiches or raw foods containing mayonnaise. Instead, make small portions that you can use within three days. Refrigerate any leftovers within two hours. To freeze casseroles and baked goods, allow them to cool to room temperature. Place them in sealed plastic bags or boxes, or cover casserole dishes with a heavy layer of foil or plastic wrap. Mark the date on the package and freeze these items for up to three months. Thaw casseroles in the refrigerator before reheating them. Baked goods can be thawed at room temperature.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images