Whether you love it or despise it, you can’t deny that mayonnaise is a pretty popular sauce.
This creamy eggy condiment is considered one of the mother sauces in French cuisine. Its versatility makes it ideal for a range of uses such as spreading on sandwiches, squirting on chicken burgers, and dolloping on fries and salads.
Mayo is the base sauce for many other sauces such as aioli, tartare sauce, and rouille. So even when people say they don’t like mayonnaise, they’re probably indulging in its creaminess quite often as it’s hidden in other foods.
As mayonnaise is made from a mix of oil, egg yolk, vinegar, and lemon juice, it’s not able to stay fresh for very long. Once a jar of fresh mayo has been opened, it can start to get funky after just days, even when stored in the fridge.
It’s understandable that the disappointingly low fridge-life of mayonnaise may inspire you to think of alternative methods of keeping your mayo fresh.
So, can you freeze it? Well, yes. Technically you can. However, most of the information out there advises against it. Strongly.
We know that we can, but should we freeze mayonnaise?
Should you freeze mayonnaise?
Probably not. But if you do, don’t expect to be able to use it in the same way as fresh mayonnaise. In fact, I don’t think you’d be able to call it mayonnaise at all.
Here’s the science bit...
Mayonnaise is an emulsion, which is a mixture of two liquids that can’t normally be combined, at least not without a binding agent. The binding agent in mayonnaise is egg yolk.
The freezing process and particularly the thawing process breaks down the emulsion causing the different ingredients to split. This process can’t be reversed and there’s nothing you can do to fix it once it reaches this point. Stop stirring it, it’s not going to work.
The result will look less than appetizing and essentially just be a mass of centrifuged oil on one side and water on the other- yuck!
While it’s still considered safe to eat and unlikely to make you sick, we can’t imagine anyone actually wanting to eat the monstrosity that is thawed mayonnaise.
Do you still want to know how to do it regardless? Of course, you do. You little weirdo.
How do you freeze mayonnaise?
If you’re insistent on ruining your perfectly good mayonnaise by putting it in the freezer, here’s how to do it.
Firstly, we recommend freezing your mayonnaise on the same day that you purchase it, there’s no point freezing bad mayo.
We recommend getting your hands on freezer-safe sterilized glass to store your mayo in the freezer. You can easily sterilize the mayonnaise jar by submerging it in boiling water for a few minutes.
Using a clean tablespoon, fill the sterilized jar up with the mayonnaise. Be sure to leave a gap around an inch high at the top of the jar, as the mayonnaise is going to expand a little during freezing. Remove as much air as possible from the jar, seal it, and place it in the freezer.
Your frozen mayonnaise should keep for around 5 days to a week.
Store-bought mayonnaise from the ambient section of a supermarket will contain a range of preservatives and stabilizers used to extend its shelf-life, therefore it’s likely to stay fresher for longer than its homemade counterpart.
How do you defrost mayonnaise?
The best way to thaw frozen mayonnaise is by removing it from the freezer and placing it at the bottom of the refrigerator immediately.
We don’t recommend allowing the mayonnaise to thaw at room temperature. Eggs are temperature-sensitive food and the risk of cross-contamination and bacterial growth when it’s left to thaw for long periods of time is high.
So to avoid any eggy illnesses, toss it straight in the freezer.
As mayonnaise tends to hold its original form once frozen, you may have deemed your mayonnaise-freezing experience a success, but don’t celebrate too soon. It will break down once it is thawed. You probably will too.
The oil is likely to separate from the emulsion so the liquid will pool on top of the dressing, giving an unappetizing swampy appearance.
If you used store-bought mayo, the separation won’t be as severe. If separation occurs, you can either get rid of the excess liquid or re-emulsify the mayo.
To re-emulsify the mayonnaise, pour the contents of the jar into a mixing bowl, and with an electric mixer, whip the dressing to a high speed for several seconds. If the dressing did not emulsify well, you can try gradually adding the mayo into the bowl one tablespoon at a time.
However, it’s important to note that re-emulsification isn’t always a guaranteed solution and doesn’t always result in success, especially if your mayonnaise is very separated and oily.
So there you have it, you can freeze your mayonnaise if you really want to.
We don’t think you should and you’d need to consider why you’re doing it. Do you really need a jar of separated oil and eggs? If so, crack on.
But be sure to use our handy instructions above to ensure a relatively easy freezing and thawing experience.
Once opened, you’ll only have a couple of days to consume your defrosted and separated mayonnaise - delicious!
Although we strongly recommend only buying the necessary amount of mayonnaise required so you’ll never have to waste or, (God forbid), freeze your mayonnaise!