can you freeze coleslaw

Coleslaw, the dance of the vegetable kingdom! Imagine a vibrant carnival of colors and textures, where crunchy characters join hands in a zesty celebration of taste and freshness. But can you freeze coleslaw when you’ve had massive leftovers?

Let’s carry on with the poetry… that crisp, white cabbage, standing proudly at the heart of the festivities. A kaleidoscope of vegetables: vibrant orange carrots, like fiery confetti, bringing a sweet and earthy melody to the ensemble. A green bell pepper shimmy and shake, and the red onions injecting a note of vivacity, while purple cabbage, the mysterious belle of the ball, lends its royal intrigue.

But what’s a party without a tangy twist? Enter the maestro of the soirée, the creamy, luscious mayonnaise, swaying in with a smooth and indulgent waltz. A hint of Dijon mustard steps in as the sassy tango partner, infusing a subtle bite into the harmony.

In this fanciful gathering, a sprinkle of salt and black pepper serves as the enchanting fairy dust, casting its spell of flavor over the revelry. And finally, a delicate squeeze of lemon, the citrus prima donna adding a sprightly citrusy crescendo to the medley.

Alright…but can you freeze this magnificent creation, please? I got loads of leftovers from the rainy BBQ we had yesterday and don’t want to throw it away!

Can you freeze coleslaw with mayonnaise in it?

I would not doubt about freezing it except for the fact that it has mayonnaise in it. So went to Google God and he said:

Freezing coleslaw with mayonnaise in it is generally not recommended. Mayonnaise does not freeze well and tends to undergo textural changes when frozen and thawed. As a result, when you thaw the coleslaw, you might experience a separation of the mayonnaise, leading to a watery and undesirable consistency.

If you want to make coleslaw ahead of time and store it, it’s better to prepare the coleslaw without the mayonnaise and freeze just the vegetable components. You can add the mayonnaise and any other perishable ingredients when you’re ready to serve the coleslaw. This way, you’ll maintain the desired texture and taste of the coleslaw.

Dang it! That’s really useful but…only when you haven’t done it! So I’ll bear in mind for next time. Basically do the coleslaw mix, put in a freezer bag and bang in the freezer but WITHOUT the mayonnaise.

How long can I keep coleslaw in the refrigerator? 

Coleslaw can be stored in the refrigerator for a certain period of time, but its freshness and quality can vary depending on the ingredients and how it’s prepared. 

Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Homemade Coleslaw with Mayonnaise or Dairy-Based Dressing:
    • Coleslaw made with mayonnaise, yogurt, sour cream or other dairy-based dressings can be stored in the refrigerator for about 3 to 5 days.
    • Keep it in an airtight container to prevent moisture loss and exposure to odors from other foods.
  2. Store-Bought or Pre-Packaged Coleslaw:
    • Store-bought coleslaw typically comes with a “use by” or “best before” date on the packaging. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for storage.
    • If you’ve purchased coleslaw from a deli or restaurant, it’s best to consume it within a day or two for optimal freshness and safety.
  3. Homemade Coleslaw with Vinegar-Based Dressing:
    • Coleslaw made with vinegar-based dressings (no mayonnaise or dairy) can often last a bit longer in the fridge, usually up to 5 to 7 days.
    • Store it in an airtight container.

To ensure your coleslaw stays fresh and safe to eat, store it in the refrigerator at or below 40°F (4°C), which is the recommended temperature for food safety. Additionally, avoid leaving coleslaw out at room temperature for extended periods, especially on warm days, as this can promote bacterial growth and spoilage.

If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as an off smell, mold, or changes in texture or color, it’s best to discard the coleslaw to prevent foodborne illness.

Always use your best judgment when assessing the freshness of coleslaw, and when in doubt, it’s safer to err on the side of caution and dispose of it if it seems questionable.


What is the best way to freeze cabbage?

Freezing cabbage is a great way to preserve it for later use in recipes like soups, stews, and casseroles. Or even as a side dish. 

Here’s the best way to freeze cabbage:

Prepare the Cabbage:

  • Start by selecting fresh, firm cabbage heads. Remove and discard any damaged or wilted outer leaves.
  • Cut the cabbage into quarters, and then cut out the core from each quarter.

Shred or Chop:

  • Decide whether you want to freeze the cabbage in shredded or chopped form. Shredded cabbage works well for coleslaw or stir-fries, while chopped cabbage is suitable for soups and stews.
  • Use a knife to chop the cabbage finely or use a shredder for a finer texture.

Blanch it:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. You’ll need enough water to submerge the cabbage.
  • Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl or sink.
  • Place the cabbage in the boiling water for 1.5 to 2 minutes for shredded cabbage or 3 to 4 minutes for chopped cabbage. This blanching process helps preserve the color, texture, and flavor of the cabbage and also kills enzymes that can cause it to deteriorate in the freezer.
  • After blanching, immediately transfer the cabbage to the ice water bath to cool rapidly and stop the cooking process. Let it sit in the ice water for the same amount of time as the blanching.

Drain and Dry:

  • Drain the cabbage thoroughly in a colander to remove excess moisture.
  • You can gently pat it dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels if needed.

Pack for Freezing:

  • Divide the blanched and drained cabbage into portion sizes suitable for your needs. You can use plastic freezer bags or airtight containers.
  • Squeeze out as much air as possible from the bags before sealing, or if using containers, leave a little headspace to accommodate any expansion.
  • Label the containers or bags with the date so you can keep track of the storage time.


  • Place the packed cabbage in the freezer. Make sure to lay the bags or containers flat to allow for easy stacking and to save space in the freezer.And remove the excess air.

You can freeze cabbage properly and maintain its quality for up to 10-12 months in the freezer. 

frozen veggies

That’s actually a great idea and sounds even better to divide it into smaller batches so you can get out only what you need.

When you’re ready to use the frozen cabbage, simply remove the desired amount from the freezer and add it directly to your recipes without thawing.

Should I make coleslaw the night before?

Making coleslaw the night before serving can be a convenient and practical option, as it allows the flavors to meld and develop, resulting in a tastier dish. That’s exactly what I did and, in this case, was a mistake as the BBQ got cancelled.

Here are some reasons why making coleslaw ahead of time can be beneficial:

Flavor Enhancement: 

Coleslaw often benefits from a brief period of refrigeration, as it gives the ingredients time to marinate in the dressing, allowing the flavors to meld together. This can lead to a more balanced and flavorful coleslaw.

Time Savings: 

Preparing coleslaw the night before can save you time on the day you plan to serve it. This is especially useful if you have a busy schedule or are preparing multiple dishes for an event.


Coleslaw made in advance tends to have a more consistent texture as the vegetables soften slightly, making it easier to serve and enjoy.

Less Stress: 

Preparing coleslaw ahead of time can reduce last-minute meal preparation stress, making it a convenient option for picnics, barbecues, or potlucks.

However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind when making coleslaw the night before:

  1. Texture: While coleslaw benefits from flavor melding, it can become slightly softer in texture over time. If you prefer a crunchier coleslaw, you might want to add the dressing just before serving.
  2. Moisture: Cabbage and other vegetables can release moisture over time, potentially diluting the dressing. To combat this, you can drain excess liquid before serving.
  3. Seasoning: Taste the coleslaw before serving and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. The flavors may mellow or change slightly during refrigeration.

To make coleslaw the night before:

  1. Prepare the coleslaw as you normally would, mixing the vegetables and dressing in a bowl.
  2. Cover the coleslaw tightly with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container.
  3. Refrigerate the coleslaw overnight.
  4. Before serving, give it a good stir and taste to check the seasoning. Adjust with more salt, pepper, or dressing, if needed.

By making coleslaw the night before, you can enjoy the convenience of a well-flavored dish without the rush of last-minute preparation.

What dishes can I make with coleslaw?

So basically I am stuck with a big bowl of already made coleslaw so I better plan for a ‘special week’ and think of recipes using this cabbage mixture. I have discovered that it is really versatile! 

What to do with the leftovers:

Burgers with coleslaw
  1. Classic Coleslaw: Serve coleslaw as a traditional side dish alongside barbecue, fried chicken, or grilled meats. It’s a classic accompaniment for sandwiches and burgers.
  2. Pulled Pork Sandwiches: Top pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw for a delightful combination of tender, smoky meat and crisp, creamy coleslaw.
  3. Fish Tacos: Use coleslaw as a fresh and crunchy topping for fish tacos. The cool and tangy slaw pairs wonderfully with the flavors of fish and spicy sauces.
  4. Barbecue Platter: Create a barbecue platter with ribs, brisket, or chicken and serve coleslaw on the side. The coleslaw provides a refreshing contrast to the sweetness, smoky barbecue flavors.
  5. Hot Dogs: Add a twist to your hot dogs by including coleslaw as a topping. The creaminess of the slaw complements the savory flavors of the hot dog.
  6. Wrap or Sandwich Filling: Use coleslaw as a filling for wraps or sandwiches. It adds both flavor and a satisfying crunch to your lunch (I add more mayo too)
  7. Coleslaw Salad: Turn coleslaw into a salad by adding protein sources like grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu. Drizzle with your favorite dressing and raisins for a complete meal.
  8. Picnic or Potluck Dish: Bring coleslaw to picnics and potlucks as a crowd-pleasing side dish. It’s easy to transport and can be made in advance.
  9. Coleslaw and BBQ Pizza: Use coleslaw as a topping for barbecue chicken or pulled pork pizza. Spread it over the pizza after it comes out of the oven for a cool and refreshing contrast.
  10. Coleslaw with Asian Flavors: Experiment with Asian-inspired coleslaw by adding ingredients like soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and sesame seeds. Serve it alongside dishes like teriyaki chicken or grilled shrimp.
  11. Coleslaw Stuffed Baked Potatoes: Top baked potatoes with coleslaw for a unique twist on a classic side. It adds a fresh and creamy element to the dish.
  12. Coleslaw Quesadillas: Add coleslaw to quesadillas for an unexpected crunch and creaminess. It works well with cheese, chicken, or pork fillings.
  13. Coleslaw and Fried Rice: Stir coleslaw into fried rice for added vegetables and a hint of tangy flavor. It’s a great way to use up leftover coleslaw.
  14. BBQ Chicken Bowl: Create a BBQ chicken bowl with coleslaw, grilled chicken, rice or quinoa, and your choice of barbecue sauce. It’s a well-balanced and satisfying meal.
  15. Coleslaw Stuffed Avocado: Hollow out an avocado and fill it with coleslaw for a refreshing and healthy appetizer or snack.

Feel free to get creative and adapt coleslaw to your favorite dishes or regional flavors. Its versatility makes it a wonderful addition to a wide range of meals.

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