How To Fix Frozen Mayonnaise

If there’s one challenge any Mayo enthusiast never wants to face — it’s fixing a mayonnaise that has broken during the emulsification process, and while that’s a significant challenge in itself, it’s second to reviving a mayonnaise that has been damaged by freezing. 

The latter does a lot to the textural damage to a mayo such that when thawed and no effort is put in place to rescue the Mayo, it makes it unappetizing and unpalatable. 

When it comes Mayo rescue, the highest you can do is to try and hope, and in this guide, will give you all the necessary tips you can try to help salvage a mayonnaise that has been broken from freezing.

What Happens To Mayonnaise If It Freezes?

When you freeze mayonnaise (which by the way you should never do), it undergoes some changes due to the nature of its ingredients and their reactions to cold temperatures. 

Mayonnaise at its core, is an emulsion, which means it is a mixture of two liquids that don’t like to combine – in this case, oil and water (from the egg yolk and vinegar or lemon juice) – that are held together by an emulsifying agent (lecithin from the egg yolk or sometimes mustard).

As the temperature drops in the fridge, the ingredients in mayonnaise begin to respond differently. 

The water content in it will freeze first and form ice crystals: the size of which depends on the speed of freezing (in a regular household fridge, it’s mostly large crystals due to the slow rate of freezing). 

The creation of ice crystals then leads to a breakage of the emulsion as it causes the water, previously held intact with the scattered oil bits to separate from it. 

Upon thawing, you’ll find that the Mayo is now separated or lumpy instead of being smooth and creamy.

During freezing, the lower the temperature the more damage is done to the emulsion, and it would come to a point, around -50°F (45.6°C), where the emulsion would be irreversibly damaged. 

At this point, which can never be reached by a standard refrigerator (so no need to freak out), no amount of fix can salvage the broken mayonnaise.

Can You Use Mayonnaise If It Has Been Frozen?

Yes, you can use mayonnaise if it has been frozen, but it may not have the same quality as before it was frozen since the emulsion would break and cause most of the oil and water to go their separate ways.

To use previously frozen mayonnaise, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight and make sure to use it in a recipe where texture isn’t the most crucial component, for instance in a salad dressing or a baked dish. 

If you want to use it in a dish where texture is a priority, such as in a sandwich or a dip, it’s best to try and re-emulsify the Mayo (using the technique we provide below) or give up and head for a fresh batch of mayonnaise instead.

How To Re-emulsify Mayonnaise

If you’ve frozen a mayonnaise, ran into a broken Mayo and now want to fix it, here’s something you can try to help restore its texture

First, transfer the thawed mayonnaise to a mixing bowl and use a whisk, electric mixer or an immersion blender to beat the mayonnaise until it starts to become creamy and smooth again.

If you’re still having trouble re-emulsifying the mayonnaise, you can add a small amount of prepared mustard or a few drops of lemon juice to help stabilize the mixture and help it re-emulsify. 

Make sure to start with a small amount and gradually add more, as needed, while whisking or blending.

If the re-emulsion works, it’s possible that you might still struggle with texture and taste of the Mayo not being the same as before. Try adjusting the seasoning and see if that helps. 

Frequently Asked Question

Can You Freeze Mayonnaise On A Sandwich?

It is not recommended to freeze a sandwich with mayonnaise and othe fillings that do not freeze well in it such as hard cooker eggs and tomatoes, as the mayo can separate and become grainy when thawed, affecting the overall texture and quality of the sandwich. If you need to make sandwiches ahead of time, package them as recommended in this guide and consider adding the mayonnaise just before eating.

Can You Freeze Mayo Based Dips?

Freezing mayo-based dips is possible, but the texture might be affected upon thawing just like when you freeze Mayo itself. The emulsion can break especially when enough acids are added to it prior to freezing, leading to separation and a grainy consistency. If you do freeze a mayo-based dip, you may need to whisk or blend it vigorously to restore its texture after thawing.

Can You Freeze Hellmann’s Mayonnaise?

No, it is not recommended to freeze Hellmann’s mayonnaise, because the emulsion can break and result in separation of the Mayo. The best way to store open mayonnaise is in the refrigerator, and if you must freeze it, follow the steps mentioned earlier in this article to fix it. 

Can You Freeze Vegan Mayo?

Vegan mayo also has water content in it, which means that the water would turn to ice crystals and this results in the destruction of the texture upon thawing. Because of that, it is generally not recommended to freeze vegan Mayo, but if you do end up freezing, try to incorporate it using a whisk or blender. 

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad With Mayo?

Chicken salad with Mayo would freeze well if not for the mayo content in it. That’s because the rest of the ingredients like chicken, almonds and celery can all withstand freezing and still maintain their texture, to a great extent. 

The Mayo however, as we have established before, would separate and affect the overall texture of the dish, being the binder. 

Therefore, the best way to store chicken salad that has Mayo in it is in the refrigerator, in an airtight container (for up to 3 to 4 days).

Can You Freeze Tuna Mayo?

You can freeze tuna mayo, but like with any other product containing Mayo, the quality of the dish will be affected when thawed, although for tuna Mayo, it may not be as pronounced or irritating as with other products. 

Can Mayonnaise Be Heated?

Mayonnaise can be heated, but it needs to be done gently and gradually to avoid breaking the emulsions. If high heat is applied to Mayo, and quickly, it will cause the mayo to separate, become oily or lose its creamy texture.

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