Can You Freeze Tuna Salad?

Yes! But the mayonnaise makes the situation a little more complicated. 

You can freeze Tuna Salad but if you do so then be prepared for the salad texture to completely change, and for it to not last for very long in the freezer. 

Like many other salads, Tuna Salad is a really simple meal to make in bulk. Sadly because of the ingredients like fish, eggs, and mayonnaise it can go bad really quickly. Don't worry though, there is any easy way to get a longer shelf life out of your tuna salad - freeze it! 

Yes, Tuna Salads contain some very temperamental ingredients, but they are all perfectly fine to freeze. You will, however, have to be more careful when defrosting this dish.  

Healthy Tuna Salad with tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber and corn

 If you're making Tuna Salad to freeze, then a simple trick to making the freezing and defrosting process easier is to not mix the mayonnaise in during the cooking process. Leave the mayonnaise out of the dish until you're serving it up to be eaten. 

Mayonnaise is the hardest to freeze ingredient on this list, and by taking that out of the equation freezing Tuna Salad becomes a lot easier. 

If the Tuna Salad does already have mayonnaise in it then it still can be frozen but you should expect a significant texture change. Mayonnaise is easy to freeze but difficult to defrost properly. 

How to freeze tuna salad

As mentioned before, if possible do not add the mayonnaise to your Tuna Salad until just before you eat it.

If that is not possible then the method below will still work for your salad but it will not have the same texture after defrosting. 

Because of the temperamental ingredients in this salad, you want to avoid introducing any extra bacteria into it.

It is very important that every tool that comes into contact with the Tuna Salad is clean, otherwise the salad will go bad faster. 

If the Tuna Salad has been sat out at room temperature for over two hours then it should be binned rather than frozen.

That is long enough for the salad to develop enough bacteria to induce food poisoning. 

Step 0

Make your Tuna Salad (leave the mayonnaise out if possible) and move to the fridge until the salad is chilled. 

Step 1

Use a clean spoon to transfer the salad to a clean airtight container or plastic freezer bag. 

If you are using freezer bags make sure to squeeze all of the air out of the bags before sealing them. 

Step 2

Place in the freezer, making sure to label your container with the date you began freezing the salad. 

Tuna can usually last for 3 months in the freezer, however, when mixed with the other ingredients in this salad we would not recommend keeping it in the freezer for longer than a week. 

How to defrost TUNA SALAD

Freezing Tuna Salad is fairly simple. Defrosting Tuna Salad is a little more complicated. 

Dure to the sensitive ingredients you have to be careful when defrosting this salad. You cannot allow it to get too warm during the defrosting process or it will spoil.

For this reason the salad cannot be defrosted in a microwave, water bath, or by leaving it out to thaw at room temperature. 

The best way to defrost Tuna Salad is to remove your container from the freezer, place the whole container in a larger bowl or on top of some kitchen roll.

Then leave it in the fridge for 6-18 hours (depending on the amount of frozen salad). This is a slow method but avoids heating up the salad and allowing it to spoil. 

Factors to consider before freezing TUNA SALAD

Like many mayonnaise based salads, it is technically possible to freeze Tuna Salad. However, freezing this salad is not without consequences.

Sadly, there is no way to freeze this salad without compromising the quality of the ingredients and texture. 

Most of  the salad is made up of ingredients with a high water content. These ingredients freeze quickly but really suffer during the defrosting process, and their composition will change drastically.

Eggs, leafy greens, and cucumber are a few of the prime offenders. 

The mayonnaise in this salad adds yet another level of complexity to this process. Again, you can technically freeze mayonnaise but the process completely ruins it.

Freezing mayonnaise will result in a change in taste and texture, and it may struggle to unfreeze completely. If you have a mayonnaise heavy salad you should not store it in the freezer for longer than a week. 

Tuna by itself is a great ingredient to freeze - humans have been doing it for thousands of years.

Not only does it last well in their freezer - up to three months - but it retains its texture  when it thaws.  

You may find it better to keep frozen Tuna to make smaller batches of Tuna Salad as and when you want them, rather than making it in bulk and freezing it.

This way you won't experience a texture change. 

If the above is not possible then there are a few ways you can make the process of freezing Tuna Salad easier. 

As we mentioned before many of the ingredients in this salad will change texture after being frozen, there isn't a way to avoid this. 

Tuna Salads can go bad very quickly. If the salad has been out at room temperature for longer than two hours then do not freeze it.

Bin it instead, don't risk being unwell. 

Everything that comes into contact with your salad during the freezing process should be clean to avoid introducing bacteria into the salad.

This will make it go bad faster, even whilst frozen. 

Remember not to drastically or rapidly heat your frozen salad when trying to defrost it. This will ruin the salad and fill your home with a really nasty smell.  


Hi there! My name is Caroline Stevens, and I am an American mom of three wonderful children. I started this blog to help everyday families be more sustainable and save money by preventing food waste. I currently live in Wisconsin, and enjoy crafting, cooking at home, and traveling. I have a degree in art and previously worked in the restaurant business.