Can You Freeze Salad Dressing?
to Freeze or Not to Freeze
In most cases, there is really not purpose or value in freezing salad dressings.
You can freeze salad dressing, but with varying results. Salad dressings generally have a very long shelf life, especially if they include a vinegar (natural preservative) ingredient. That said, those that contain mayonnaise, cream or cheese (or any dairy product for that matter) have a shorter shelf life and might make one consider the freezing option. The problem is that dairy products do not freeze well. Yes, they can be frozen – but they do not thaw well. Their ingredients separate upon thawing and no matter how hard you try to whip them back together, they’re generally separated for life. A lumpy or curdled salad dressing is generally not considered a desirable dressing.
Besides the dressing base, herbs and spices can also change flavor after freezing.
Some, for instance green peppers, celery, garlic and cloves, tend to get stronger in flavor and develop a bitter taste (even imitation vanilla can begin to develop a bitter taste after freezing). Some seasonings, like salt, tend to loose flavor during freezing. Salt, when frozen, also tends to increase the rancidity process in foods that also contain fat… and salad dressings are generally some form of combined salts and fats. Some spices, like paprika, onion and curry change flavor when frozen. To alleviate these symptoms on most foods we recommend doing the main seasoning after thawing, but for salad dressings they are already full of many of these seasonings.
Despite these warnings, if you should still choose to freeze salad dressing please follow these recommendations.
Liquids expand when frozen, so since dressings are liquid they should be taken from their containers and placed into freezer safe containers before placing into the freezer. Leave at least an inch of room between the top of the dressing and the top of the container. This will leave room for expansion. Beware that containers can crack when the contents expand if sufficient room has not been left. When thawing, be sure to thaw the dressing in the refrigerator overnight before using.