Can You Freeze Coleslaw? Here’s The Truth About It

Perhaps one of our favorite side dishes is the coleslaw thanks to its easy preparation and delicious taste.

Coleslaw or koolsla in Dutch means cabbage salad. As the name suggests, it is basically made of thinly sliced cabbage dressed with either vinaigrette, mayonnaise, or other compatible salad dressing.

Because it is that easy to prepare, we tend to over prepare it thinking that we can consume it one sitting. But more often than not, we can’t.

As a result, we get coleslaw leftover, but it would be a bummer to throw it away.

As with other leftovers, you probably wondered if the good ol’ fridge can help us again.

Can You Freeze Coleslaw

Initial research will tell you that yes, you can freeze coleslaw. However, further reading will tell you that not all coleslaw variations are meant to be frozen.


Because of the ingredients.

More specifically, a coleslaw with mayonnaise as a dressing must not be frozen simply because the mayo will significantly alter the salad’s taste and texture, making it too bad to eat.

The reason?

As we probably all know, mayonnaise is a combination of these ingredients: egg, oil, and vinegar. Hence, once you freeze then thaw it, the ingredients will separate. Particularly, the liquid ingredients in the mayo will come out on top, giving you a watery dressing.

You may try to incorporate them once again, but I’m afraid you won’t be able to bring the original texture back.

For this reason, Huffington Post highly discourages the freezing of mayonnaise. Consequently, anything with mayonnaise would also be bad for freezing.

That being said, other types of coleslaw may be frozen without much of a problem.

Can You Freeze Coleslaw: How to Freeze Coleslaw?

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Once you’ve made sure you’re freezing a coleslaw without mayonnaise, follow these simple steps:

  • 1
    Get a freezer-safe container. Your best bet would be the Ziploc or anything similar because of step number 2.
  • 2
    Squeeze out any excess air.
  • 3
    Seal the bag.
  • 4
    Label the bag with the current date so you’ll know when you started freezing the slaw. Note that a frozen coleslaw is OK for consumption up to two months from the time it was frozen. Beyond that, it may have been already spoiled.

How to thaw coleslaw?

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If you’re planning to consume the cabbage salad once again, you have to thaw it ahead of time. Here are the steps.

  • 1
    Place the frozen slaw in the fridge.
  • 2
    Let it sit for at least two hours. For best results, leave it overnight.
  • 3
    Add freshly sliced vegetables and additional dressing as needed so it will have a fresher taste.

Tips when thawing coleslaw

Can You Freeze Coleslaw
  • 1
    Your slaw will be extra watery because of the dressing, especially if you thawed it overnight. So before consuming it, drain off excess water using a slotted spoon.
  • 2
    Consume the slaw 2-3 days after thawing.
  • 3
    Do no re-freeze coleslaw. Consume everything that has been thawed. Otherwise, throw it away.
  • 4
    Thaw only what you can consume for the day or meal to avoid throwing away your coleslaw.

What to do with thawed coleslaw?

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A thawed coleslaw may be eaten as it is, but take note that it may not taste as good once defrosted.


It doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy it anymore. Here are some ways you can bring back the slaw’s lost glory:

Add It to a Sandwich

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If you love sandwiches, you know that adding coleslaw to it does miracles to its taste and nutritional content.

So after thawing, add a spoonful or two to your sandwich. For better results, toast the buns first before adding the slaw. This contrast in temperature gives an amazing touch.

Eat It with Tacos

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Ah, who doesn’t love tacos? These crunchy tortillas are another favorite snack to serve on almost any occasion.

And what better way to enjoy it than to fill it with meat and sprinkle it with our favorite vegetables?

So if you want to enjoy your slaw even more, add about a spoonful of it to warm tacos. You’d be delighted and the contrast of tastes and texture in every bite. Yum!

Transform It into a Main Dish

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If you don’t have sandwich or tacos around, don’t worry. You can always enjoy a frozen slaw without them.

Just look for meat that would mix well with your slaw and cook them as you wish. Some of my favorites are chicken and salmon.

Here’s a recipe from Taste:

What you need:
  • 1 cup leftover coleslaw
  • 1 avocado, peeled and chopped coarsely
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 4 skinless salmon fillet
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oil for frying
  • Season the salmon with salt and pepper.
  • Coat it with sesame seeds.
  • Fry the salmon for about three minutes on each side or according to your liking.
  • Mix the avocado, raisins, and coleslaw. Add dressing if necessary.
  • Serve the salmon on top of the new slaw.


If you prefer a chicken recipe, here’s my favorite one from Jaime Oliver. Whenever I have a leftover slaw, my family always asks me to do this.

What you need:
  • Leftover slaw
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 red chili, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF
  • Marinate the chicken in lemon juice, lemon zest, chili, garlic, salt, and pepper for 30 minutes.
  • Place the marinated chicken on a baking sheet, skin side up, and bake it for 30 minutes or until the skin is crispy.
  • Serve on top of the leftover coleslaw.


Aside from being super easy to prepare, cabbage salad or coleslaw may be reused. In other words, the answer to the question “Can you freeze coleslaw?” is yes. Yes, you can.

But not without limitations, of course.

Again, you may only freeze coleslaw which dressing is anything but mayonnaise. Also, you have to know how to thaw it properly.

Once thawed, you may consume it as it is, adds fresh ingredients and dressing for a better taste, or add it to a sandwich, tacos, or meat.

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