Here's How Long Tuna Salad Can Hold Up In The Freezer

In the spring and summer, tuna salad dances between backyard barbecues, family gatherings, and picnics in the park. For this reason, we often make it in mass quantities to feed a crowd, or our friends and family at the least. Considering the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) advises leaving tuna salad in the fridge no longer than four days, it's only natural that we may not get to finish our enormous bowl before it spoils. Luckily, if you want to toss your leftovers in the freezer, it's completely possible to do so. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind.

While it's possible, it's not always recommended to freeze this dish because the mayo involved may change its consistency when defrosted. In fact, the HHS specifically notes that tuna salad (along with egg and macaroni versions) doesn't freeze well. But if you want to try it out, it can last when stored this way for up to two months. And while it may not be the same dish you started with once thawed, there are steps you can take to preserve its taste and texture as much as possible.

Swap out the mayo for a smoother defrost

Here's the main obstacle with freezing tuna salad: Mayonnaise relies on an emulsion of oil in water to maintain its smooth consistency, but when you thaw the frozen condiment, these ingredients separate. You could try to mix everything together again, but this may prove difficult when it's already in a tuna salad. To avoid this issue, try making a recipe that only includes a little mayonnaise or omits it entirely (if you're going with the latter, you can try using avocado, Greek yogurt, or even a vinaigrette instead).

When freezing tuna salad, make sure to pack everything into an airtight container, or smaller ones if you want individual portions. If you're using plastic bags, squeeze out all the air before sealing them shut. Because tuna salad doesn't last as long as many other frozen foods, you may want to date your bags as well. Then to thaw, all you have to do is transfer your bag to the fridge the night before you want to use it, but make sure to stir it before going in with your crackers. And, as an extra precaution, check for indications it has gone bad before digging in, which include signs of mold or an unsavory smell.