Macaroni salad is one of the most versatile side dishes you can make.
It’s great for picnics, potlucks, and barbecues because it travels easily and keeps well at room temperature.
It’s also popular at church suppers because it can be made the day before and kept in the refrigerator.
Macaroni salad is a crowd-pleaser, too.
No matter your tastes, there’s something for everybody to enjoy in macaroni salad: fat from the mayonnaise, starch from the pasta and vegetables, healthy vitamins from the vegetables and cheese, protein and iron from the ham or other meat that you add to it.
Freezing macaroni salad is a great way of making sure you have it on hand to serve unexpected guests or for easy meals during the week.
As with any food that contains mayonnaise, there’s a risk that macaroni salad will get freezer burn if you don’t take proper precautions before freezing it.
In this article, we will show you how to make macaroni salad and store it in the freezer for future use.
How to Make Macaroni Salad? The Simple Way
Macaroni salad is one of the easiest dishes to prepare, and it can be made with ingredients you probably have on hand.
It’s also great for using up leftovers in your pantry.
Use this versatile recipe to come up with your own signature macaroni salad dish.
It’s a great side dish for any family meal.
Here’s how to make macaroni salad:
Ingredients You Need.
For the Pasta:
- 2 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni.
- 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- 1 cup chopped celery.
- 1 cup chopped onions.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
For the Dressing:
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise.
- 3 tablespoons pickle relish.
- 1 tablespoons white vinegar.
- 1 tablespoon prepared mustard.
- 2 teaspoons sugar.
Here’s how to make macaroni salad:
- Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain it. Run cool water over the noodles until they’re cool enough to handle. Drain them again.
- Mix all of the ingredients for the dressing in a measuring cup or bowl with a lip that’s at least 4 inches tall so you can mix everything well.
- Add the macaroni, celery, and onions to a large bowl that will fit in your fridge or freezer. Pour the dressing over it, keeping some aside if you’re planning to serve some of this salad right away. Stir until everything is coated with the dressing.
- You can top this salad with a little finely grated cheese if you’d like. You can also add some cooked shredded or cubed chicken, ham, bacon, or real mayonnaise; it all tastes great.
If you’re planning to serve the macaroni salad immediately, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill it until it’s ready to serve.
Does Freezing Affect Macaroni Salad?
The key to preserving macaroni salad is preventing the mayonnaise from breaking down, which will cause it to separate and turn an unappetizing shade of gray.
Freezing macaroni salad is a great way of having your favorite side dish ready to cook anytime you need it.
Still, it’s critical to use a container that will protect your salad from freezer burn and other damage.
That being said, if the main ingredient in your macaroni salad is pasta and vegetables, then it’s probably just fine to freeze the dish without a special container.
Just make sure you wrap it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil before placing it in the freezer.
If your macaroni salad includes meat, shrimp, tuna, or other ingredients that are subject to freezer burn, it’s best to freeze your salad in one of the following types of containers:
A freezer bag with a zipper seal.
Be sure to squeeze all the air out of the bag before sealing it so that your food won’t absorb any odors or freezer burn.
An airtight container made of plastic, glass, or stainless steel is okay for small portions of macaroni salad, but you’ll need a larger container for bigger portions.
Look for one that has an airtight seal to keep odors from affecting your food.
A tightly sealed plastic container labeled with the contents and date is ideal for storing frozen foods.
How to Freeze Macaroni Salad?
If you’ve ever wondered how to freeze macaroni salad, the following tips will help you keep it as fresh as possible:
Prepare the salad in small quantities since freezing causes foods to lose liquid and can alter their texture.
Your best bet is to make small batches of this recipe, so you don’t end up with any puddles of mayonnaise in the bottom of your freezer.
Once the macaroni salad has been thoroughly cooled, transfer it to a freezer bag or an airtight container and seal it, so the ingredients are well-protected from freezer burn.
If you want to store leftover macaroni salad in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, don’t overfill your containers because macaroni salad can get watery when it’s chilled.
You can freeze macaroni salad without making many changes to the recipe because pasta, vegetables, and mayonnaise are usually fine when frozen.
They will all hold their texture and flavor so you can enjoy your favorite foods any time of year.
Plus, creating a stockpile of food that you can pull out at the last minute is always a good idea.
Frozen macaroni salad will last in the freezer for up to 6 months, especially if it’s well-wrapped in an airtight container.
How to Thaw Frozen Macaroni Salad?
If you’re planning to use this dish as a side for your next barbecue, holiday party, or get-together, the best way to thaw macaroni salad is by placing it in the refrigerator overnight.
It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t try thawing it by running hot water over the container because this can make your food soggy.
If you’re in a hurry, you can thaw frozen macaroni salad using cold water or ice packs, but you should change the water every 30 minutes until it has completely thawed.
To save time, you can thaw your frozen macaroni salad in the microwave.
Ensure to use a microwave-safe container and heat the food at 50 percent power for 2-minute intervals until it has defrosted completely.
Tips on Making Macaroni Salad Taste Better
Many ways of making macaroni salad taste better, from experimenting with your favorite combinations of ingredients to finding a convenient way to cook the dish.
Here are some helpful tips for making macaroni salad as delicious as possible:
If you’re not sure how much pasta salad recipe to make, start by following the amounts listed in the recipe for the first time.
You can always double or triple it to feed everyone later if the salad disappears too quickly.
If you notice that your cabbage is starting to wilt even when it’s stored in a sealed container away from direct light, try adding cucumbers and other fruits and vegetables that have high water content.
The cucumber should help keep your macaroni salad fresh and crisp for several days.
When you’re ready to serve the macaroni salad, make sure that it’s well-chilled, so it tastes as delicious as possible.
You can also add a little more salt or pepper to jazz up the flavor when you’re serving the dish.
How to Tell if Macaroni Salad is Bad?
If you’re wondering how to tell if macaroni salad is bad, you should look for signs of spoilage.
You shouldn’t eat the pasta if it has an off smell or a slimy texture because these are surefire indications that the food isn’t fresh anymore.
If your macaroni salad develops a brownish color, it’s also best to throw it away.
This discoloration is caused by oxidation that occurs when oxygen in the air mixes with the pasta.
Macaroni salad that has been stored in the refrigerator for too long might also smell sour or have off-colored liquid at its bottom.
If you notice any of these signs, get rid of the food as soon as possible and try making a fresh batch.
In conclusion, macaroni salad is a great dish to enjoy as part of your next family gathering or holiday party.
It’s easy to make at home, and you can customize the recipe depending on your preferences.
You can also freeze macaroni salad for up to 6 months if you have extra servings lying around, making this one of the best dishes for quickly stocking up on food that your family will love.
- Prepare the salad in small quantities since freezing causes foods to lose liquid and can alter their texture.
- Once the macaroni salad has been thoroughly cooled, transfer it to a freezer bag or an airtight container and seal it, so the ingredients are well-protected from freezer burn.
- You can freeze macaroni salad without making many changes to the recipe because pasta, vegetables, and mayonnaise are usually fine when frozen.
- Frozen macaroni salad will last in the freezer for up to 6 months, especially if it’s well-wrapped in an airtight container.