Can You Freeze Coleslaw? (Mix or Homemade)

Can you freeze coleslaw? If you’re like me, you buy bagged coleslaw mix but you don’t use it all up. Then you feel bad and think, “maybe I can freeze it and use it in something else later?”

Yes, you can freeze most slaws, but there are three key rules you need to know that’ll help ensure it stays crunchy after freezing.


Freeze-ability Index Freezability Index of Two

Best Stored In…
Airtight container or freezer bag

How to Thaw
Refrigerator

What to Expect
Watery, not as crunchy

Can I Re-Freeze?
Not recommended


Can I Freeze Coleslaw?

Can coleslaw be frozen? Yes, you can freeze it, but there are three important rules you need to follow, or it’ll be virtually inedible:

  1. The fresher the vegetables (cabbage, carrots, etc.) are when you freeze them, the better.
  2. Always freeze coleslaw with a vinegar-based dressing mixed in to help keep it crunchy.
  3. Never freeze creamy slaw made with pure mayonnaise. However, coleslaw made with Miracle Whip can be frozen because it’s made with different ingredients than mayonnaise. Bonus: This means KFC coleslaw can be frozen, too.
Can you freeze coleslaw? It should be freshly made, dressed in vinegar, and contain no mayonnaise.
Can you freeze coleslaw? It should be freshly made, dressed in vinegar, and contain no mayonnaise.
Airtight, freezer-friendly containers

How To Freeze Coleslaw In A Container

Freeze the coleslaw dressed in vinegar as soon as possible after making it.
Never freeze creamy slaw made with pure mayonnaise. However, you can freeze coleslaw made with Miracle Whip because this condiment is made with different ingredients. Bonus: This means KFC coleslaw can be frozen, too.
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins

Equipment

  • A slotted spoon
  • Clean airtight, freezable containers
  • Cling-wrap
  • Freezer labels
  • A permanent marker
  • Space at the back of your freezer

Instructions
 

  • Fill the container with coleslaw. Use a small container for faster freezing and thawing.
  • Leave 1 inch of space at the top of the container so the coleslaw can expand when it freezes.
  • Cover the top of the container with cling wrap and then put the lid on.
  • Add a freezer label to the container and write today's date on it.
  • Store the container at the back of your freezer.
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The Best Airtight Containers (Glasslock)

• Over 3,700 Reviews
• 4.5 out of 5 Stars

These airtight glass containers from Glasslock don’t leak or absorb food smells, they’re oven-safe, freezer-safe, microwavable, and affordable.


Plastic freezer bag

How To Freeze Coleslaw In A Freezer Bag

Coleslaw frozen in freezer bags can be stacked in the freezer. Don't let it come to room temperature before freezing, and freeze it as soon as you can.
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins

Equipment

  • A slotted spoon
  • Resealable, plastic freezer bags
  • Freezer label
  • A permanent marker
  • Space in the back of your freezer

Instructions
 

  • Fill the freezer bags with coleslaw. Use smaller bags for faster freezing and thawing.
  • Important: Gently squeeze the air out of the bag before sealing it.
  • Stick a label to the bag, write today’s date on it and place it deep in the freezer.
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Best Practices for Freezing Coleslaw

  • Freeze vinegar-dressed coleslaw as soon as possible after making it or buying it.
  • Don’t let coleslaw come to room temperature before freezing.
  • Coleslaw dressed in vinegar freezes better than creamy coleslaw dressed in mayonnaise.

Can You Freeze Coleslaw Mix?

A lot of people ask me if you can freeze coleslaw mix, like this one from Concord Foods. Yes, you can freeze coleslaw mix but only if you follow these three rules:

  1. The fresher the vegetables are when you freeze them, the better. If you aren’t sure how old the coleslaw mix is—or if it’s starting to look brown and old—don’t freeze it.
  2. A vinegar-based dressing will help coleslaw stay crunchy. Make one and combine it in with your coleslaw mix before freezing it.
  3. Never freeze coleslaw mixed with mayonnaise. Mayonnaise separates in the freezer and your coleslaw will be really watery and gross. Only Miracle Whip is an exception to this rule.

You should also transfer the coleslaw into a freezer-friendly container or a plastic, resealable freezer bag.

Can You Freeze Coleslaw With Miracle Whip?

Yes, you can freeze coleslaw made with Miracle Whip.

Ok, I know rule 3 says you can’t freeze coleslaw made with mayonnaise, but Miracle Whip is an exception, and here’s why:

There’s a lot less oil and more ingredients like egg yolks and cornstarch in Miracle Whip, which means it separates less when frozen.

Can You Freeze Coleslaw With Miracle Whip?
Miracle Whip and mayonnaise are not the same. Miracle Whip has ingredients that stop it from separating when frozen. Mayonnaise does not. That’s why you can freeze this KFC-style coleslaw.

Can You Freeze KFC Coleslaw?

Yes, KFC coleslaw can be frozen! Can you guess why?

Bingo—the reason why is it’s made with Miracle Whip (at least according to this former KFC employee who made batches of coleslaw regularly.) Here’s her recipe to make you own at home. Heads up: there is a generous amount of sugar in this recipe.

And why we’re at it, here’s an awesome, easy recipe for freezer slaw that uses vinegar.

How Long Does Coleslaw Last in the Freezer?

You can keep coleslaw in the freezer for up to 1 month. Try to defrost and eat the frozen coleslaw sooner for better texture and taste.

Equipment Shopping List

I made this quick list for you in case you noticed that you were low on freezer bags or realized it was time for a new slotted spoon (I mean, you do deserve a present after all!)

I’ve either used these tools or added them to my own shopping list because they’re affordable and they get great reviews. Add them to your next Amazon order!


The Best Slotted Spoon (OXO)

• Over 1,000 Reviews
• 4.5 out of 5 Stars
• Solid, stylish, & dishwasher safe

The Ultimate Freezer Bags (Hefty)

• Over 2,000 Reviews
• 4.5 out of 5 Stars
• Tough and easy to fill

The Handiest Freezer Labels (Chinco)

• Hundreds of Reviews
• 4.5 out of 5 Stars
• Water-resistant, easy to remove, no residue

The Clingiest Plastic Wrap (Freeze-Tite)

• Hundreds of Reviews
• 4.5 out of 5 Stars
• Amazon’s Choice


How To Thaw Coleslaw

There are two ways to thaw coleslaw – the best way is in the refrigerator because it requires the least amount of effort. Thawing frozen coleslaw in cold water is a faster way.

Do not do thisHow NOT to Thaw Coleslaw

Do not use a microwave to defrost coleslaw.

Fridge

How To Thaw Frozen Coleslaw – In The Fridge

Defrosting coleslaw in the fridge is the safest and easiest method.
Defrost Time 1 d
Total Time 1 d

Equipment

  • A plate OR towel

Instructions
 

  • Put the container(s) or freezer bag(s) of frozen coleslaw onto a plate/towel and into the refrigerator.
  • Leave the coleslaw to thaw in the fridge overnight.
  • Once the salad has defrosted, open the container or freezer bag, and carefully drain off any excess liquid down the sink.
  • Stir the coleslaw a few times to re-incorporate the ingredients. Serve chilled.
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Defrosting in cold water

How To Thaw Frozen Coleslaw – In Cold Water

Follow these steps if you’re short on time. The time to thaw depends on the amount of coleslaw in the container or bag.
Prep Time 5 mins
Defrost Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins

Equipment

  • A large bowl OR a clean sink
  • Cold water

Instructions
 

  • Fill a sink or bowl with cold water.
  • Place the container or bag of frozen coleslaw into the cold water.
  • Replace the water with fresh cold water every 30 minutes.
  • Once the salad has thawed, open the container or freezer bag, and drain off any excess liquid.
  • Pour the coleslaw into a bowl, stir it a few times to re-incorporate the ingredients. Serve chilled.
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What to Expect After Defrosting Coleslaw

Defrosted coleslaw isn’t the same as when it’s prepared fresh. Here’s what to expect in terms of taste and texture after you’ve defrosted coleslaw:

  • The cabbage and other vegetables may not be as crunchy.
  • The coleslaw might be watery.
  • The flavor shouldn’t change.

Eat the defrosted coleslaw within 3 days.

Can You Re-Freeze Coleslaw?

As long as you keep the thawed coleslaw chilled at 40 degrees F or lower, you can re-freeze it, but we really don’t recommend it. Every time it’s frozen and defrosted, the integrity of the cabbage and vegetables will worsen, and it’ll become even more watery.


Ok, But What About…

Do you know a better way to freeze coleslaw? Or are you looking for info on something else? Leave a comment below or email us—we’d love to hear from you!


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