Can you freeze coleslaw?

A summery BBQ spread or a wintery pulled pork topper, life certainly delights when crunched with the tangy, creamy yumminess of coleslaw. Whether classic mayo dressed or zingy vinegar-based, this crunchy slaw is unquestionably a spectacular side. 

However, its textured components frequently mush together due to improper freezing techniques.

So Can You Freeze Coleslaw, And If Yes Then How Do We Freeze It?

Yes, you can freeze coleslaw for at least 6 months by storing its components separately. This method extends its life for a few months. Freeze shredded cabbage, carrots, and dressing in airtight containers. Enjoy it later by mixing and adding fresh dressing. 

How To Thaw Frozen Coleslaw?

Thawing frozen coleslaw properly ensures it retains texture and flavor. Here are some tips:

  • Refrigerator thawing: This is the slowest but safest method. Place frozen coleslaw in the refrigerator in a container and let it slowly thaw over 12-24 hrs.
  • Cold water thawing: Place the frozen coleslaw bag or container in a bowl of cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes until thawed, about 1-2 hours.
  • Microwave thawing: Microwave frozen coleslaw in 30-second bursts, stirring between each burst, until thawed enough to break apart.

Once thawed, drain any liquid that has accumulated before serving. Stir the coleslaw to redistribute dressings and flavors. Use thawed coleslaw within a day or two for best quality. Don’t refreeze thawed coleslaw.

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How Can You Freeze Coleslaw?

Freezing coleslaw can be convenient for meal prep, but it’s crucial to do it right to maintain its taste and texture.

  • Preparation: Begin by making your coleslaw as you normally would, with fresh ingredients. Avoid using mayonnaise-based dressings if you plan to freeze it, as they don’t freeze well. Opt for vinegar or oil-based dressings instead.
  • Packaging: Store your coleslaw in airtight containers or freezer bags. Squeeze out excess air to prevent freezer burn.
  • Storage: Coleslaw can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. Beyond this time, the quality may start to degrade.
  • Thawing: To thaw, transfer the frozen coleslaw to the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Do not use a microwave, as it can make the cabbage soggy.
  • Freshness: Keep in mind that the texture may not be as crisp as fresh coleslaw, but the flavors will remain intact. Stir it well before serving to redistribute the dressing.

What Can You Cook With Frozen Coleslaw?

Frozen coleslaw retains its crunch and adds flavor, color, and texture to various dishes:

  • Sandwiches – Thaw just enough to be able to spoon onto sandwiches.
  • Tacos – Thawed coleslaw adds fresh crunch and tang.
  • Salads – Mix thawed coleslaw into leafy or pasta salads.
  • Dips – Mix into sour cream or Greek yogurt for a chip topper.
  • Omelets or scrambled eggs.
  • Quesadillas, wraps, pitas.
  • Baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.
  • Stir fries, fried rice, noodles.
  • Casserole toppings.
  • Pulled pork, BBQ dishes, slaws.

How To Tell If Coleslaw Has Gone Bad?

Watch for these signs that coleslaw has spoiled and should be discarded:

  • Soft, mushy, or slimy texture
  • Discoloration or grayish areas
  • Sour or “off” smell
  • Mold growth
  • Liquid in the container
  • Extremely bitter taste
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Coleslaw can go bad before or after freezing. Trust your senses. When in doubt, throw it out.

Prevent spoilage by freezing freshly made coleslaw, keeping frozen coleslaw for no more than 3 months, and handling thawed coleslaw properly.

How To Store Frozen Coleslaw?

Follow these storage tips for best-quality frozen coleslaw:

  • Use freezer-safe airtight containers or bags, to remove excess air. This prevents freezer burn.
  • Flatten storage containers or bags so coleslaw freezes in thin, flat layers. This makes it easier to break off portions to thaw later.
  • Avoid overstuffing freezer bags or containers. Leave about 1/2 inch of headspace for expansion during freezing.
  • Label with contents and freeze date so you know what’s inside and how long it’s been frozen.
  • Place freezer bags flat in a single layer in the freezer so they fully freeze.
  • Once frozen, bags can be stacked or stored upright.
  • Store frozen coleslaw at 0°F or below.
  • Don’t allow coleslaw to thaw and refreeze. This affects texture.

Is It Safe To Freeze Coleslaw?

Yes, it is safe to freeze properly prepared coleslaw. Follow these guidelines:

  • Only freeze freshly made coleslaw, not leftovers.
  • Allow coleslaw to fully chill in the refrigerator before freezing.
  • Drain excess moisture before freezing to prevent ice crystals.
  • Use airtight freezer containers or bags, to remove excess air.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months for best quality and food safety.
  • Carefully thaw coleslaw in the refrigerator, cold water, or microwave on a defrost setting.
  • Refrigerate thawed coleslaw and use within a day or two. Do not refreeze.
  • Discard any coleslaw with an off smell, appearance, or texture.
Also Read:   Can You Freeze Chicken Salad? 7 Freezing Tips

By properly freezing and thawing coleslaw, you can safely extend its shelf life while retaining flavor, texture, and food safety.


Q1. What is the best way to freeze coleslaw?

A1. The best way is to make coleslaw, drain excess liquid, transfer to an airtight container allowing headspace, and freeze for up to 2-3 months.

Q2. Can you freeze coleslaw with mayonnaise?

A2. Yes, coleslaw with mayonnaise can be frozen but it may separate a bit when thawed. Mix well before serving thawed coleslaw.

Q3. Can you make coleslaw and freeze it?

A3. It is possible to prepare coleslaw and freeze it for long-term storage. Drain well before freezing and use within 2-3 months for best quality.

Q4. Does creamy coleslaw freeze well?

A4. Creamy coleslaw can be frozen but the texture may be a bit more watery when thawed. Freeze for 1-2 months at maximum.

Q5. How do you freeze creamy coleslaw?

A5. Drain excess liquid from creamy coleslaw, transfer to airtight containers leaving headspace, seal, label, and freeze for up to 1-2 months.

Q6. Why does coleslaw go bad so quickly?

A6. The cut cabbage and water content make coleslaw prone to quicker spoilage from bacteria growth. Refrigeration only preserves it for 3-5 days.

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Archana Bisht

Archana Bisht

A foodie with a flair for talking non-stop. You can find me hogging down food or browsing Pinterest for more recipes in my free time. My favorite cuisine is Italian. That being said, I am an excellent pasta cook and love experimenting with ingredients. You can also find me petting strays and feeding them every chance I get