Are you tired of scrambling to get dinner on the table after a long day juggling school, work, and chores? These easy freezer meals are here to save the day (and your sanity)! Set aside a little time this weekend, and you can prep enough meals to last a month!
It's 5:15 pm. Sure, you've got baked chicken on the meal plan, but you're just not feeling it. Chicken? Meh. Prepping and cleaning it all up? No thanks. And it might be more than just dinner. Maybe you could use a little help at breakfast, or for dessert…or even sides, too.
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Trust us; we get it! But we have a better solution than takeout or delivery. Save yourself a TON of money and give yourself a break with one of these easy freezer meals. We've got enough ideas to last you a month! Ready?!
FREEZER-FRIENDLY MAKE-AHEAD SOUPS
We're obsessed with soup around here! It's such a quick and easy way to feed the fam. Add a baked potato or some bread and salad, and you're done. And even better? So many soups freeze well! So, the next time you're meal prepping, make a few batches of these soups to stock your freezer:
- Chili – This slow cooker chili will cook itself while you're doing laundry or binging Netflix! It's a no-brainer. Make a big batch, toss it in the freezer, and thank us later.
- Bone Broth – It's never a bad idea to have bone broth on hand! Use it as the base to build other soups, to season food, or cook rice and casseroles. It's a kitchen staple! Grab our turkey broth, chicken broth, and beef broth recipes.
- Turkey Soup – If you have leftover turkey or find one on sale, this recipe is for you! This slow cooker turkey soup is hearty and filling and freezes so well.
- Sweet Potato Curry Soup – This soup is full of flavor and the leftovers are so delicious! Go ahead and make a few batches to freeze; you can find our favorite sweet potato curry soup recipe on Fun Cheap or Free.
- Easy Taco Soup – This is probably the easiest soup you will ever make, but it's a family fave! Head over to Fun Cheap or Free for our taco soup recipe.
Go ahead and make two batches of each of those soups, and you'll have at least six dinners ready to go! See? That was easy! Now, where's the meat?! Let's talk about it.
MAKE-AHEAD MEATS: THE HOLY GRAIL OF FREEZER MEALS
Do you want to know one of our top-shelf cooking hacks? When you bring your meat home from the grocery store, go ahead and cook it, portion it out, and freeze it. It makes meal prep SO much easier!
Then, you can grab your meat for tacos, pasta, casserole, quesadillas, rice bowls, and endless other combinations. We're talking meals on meals on meals! Here's what we suggest batch cooking to keep in the freezer:
- Shredded Chicken – If you only keep one thing stocked in your freezer, make it shredded chicken. It's the base of so many recipes! If you have shredded chicken on hand, you can whip up a meal in no time.
- Ground Beef/Turkey – Having pre-cooked ground beef in your freezer is a game-changer. Trust us. Try it, and you'll never go back!
- Pulled Pork – Take your pick! This slow cooker pulled pork recipe is quite tasty, but so is this copycat Cafe Rio sweet pork. Why not make a double batch of both? Now you'll have four meals ready to go! Just grab some rice or tortillas.
- Steak – Turn a single steak into a meal that will feed your whole family! These steak quesadillas are too dang easy.
- Seafood – Salmon, tilapia, and shrimp are easy to freeze and easy to stretch, too! Keep some on hand for salads, fried rice, and more.
We promise if you take an hour or two to cook up several batches of these meats, it will be worth it and then some! You'll have enough protein to last a month. Looking for something even easier? We've got one-dish ideas coming your way.
ONE-DISH FREEZER MEAL IDEAS
Gather up some disposable casserole dishes, and let's start cooking! We're about to fill up your freezer with some amazing one-dish meals. When you're ready to eat, thaw these overnight, then pop them in the oven, and your work is done. These entrees are everything because the cleanup is so minimal:
- Tamale Casserole – Our kids love this one, and it's so dang easy to cook in batches. Make one tamale casserole for dinner tonight and another to freeze for later.
- Easy Pasta Bake – Pasta is pretty much the MVP of shelf cooking, and this easy pasta bake is the BEST!
- Sheet Pan Fajitas – There's hardly any cleanup involved with this dinner! Go ahead and triple the recipe for these sheet pan fajitas and you'll have several meals ready to grab and go.
- Slow Cooker Lasagna – We love a slow cooker meal, and this crockpot lasagna is pretty much life-changing. Make it, freeze it, and thank us later!
- French Onion Chicken – We can't get over how delicious this French onion chicken is! It's like something you'd get at a fancy restaurant, but for WAY less money. Whip up a few batches to toss in the freezer.
- Meatloaf – Oh hey, comfort food! Grandma's classic meatloaf recipe freezes beautifully, so go ahead and double or triple that recipe. You will be SO glad you did!
- Shepherd's Pie – Here's another super filling meal that's easy to freeze. Grab our easy shepherd's pie recipe and go to town!
You guys, if you made two batches of each of these entrees, you'd have dinner for TWO whole weeks. Holy smokes!
EASY FREEZER MEALS FOR BREAKFAST
If you've got kids, then you know how hectic weekday mornings can be! Save yourself some time by batch cooking a few filling breakfast options you can grab from the freezer. Here are six of our favorite freezer-friendly breakfasts:
- Easy Egg Muffin Cups – You have endless possibilities when you make a batch of these easy egg muffin cups, so go on use up what you've got!
- Smoothie Packs – Buy that fresh produce when it's in season and take 20 minutes to make some smoothie packs for the freezer. You'll have breakfast and snack options for days.
- French Toast Sticks – These french toast sticks are just too much fun! Oh, and they're pretty tasty, too.
- Copycat Egg Sandwiches – You don't need to wait in a fast food line to get your favorite breakfast sandwich. These copycat egg English muffins are the perfect freezer food!
- Breakfast Burritos – These freezer breakfast burritos are so filling! You can whip up enough for a month in less than one hour. Score!
- Waffles – Don't buy the boxed kind! If you have a waffle iron, you can make ahead a slew of waffles for just pennies each.
No need to shell out tons of money on processed cereals! These freezer breakfasts are way more filling and will make your morning routine a breeze. But wait; there's more! Onto the side dishes, you guys.
ROUND OUT YOUR FREEZER MEALS WITH THESE SIDE DISHES
No meal is complete without a sidekick, and these side dishes are begging to wait in the freezer:
- Cilantro Lime Rice – We're obsessed with this copycat Cafe Rio rice. Like, we'd probably eat it at every meal if we could. And if you freeze a huge batch, you can, too! And speaking of rice, any type of rice is freezer-friendly, so go for it.
- Sweet Potato Casserole – When you pull this sweet potato casserole out of the freezer, you'll bring major Thanksgiving vibes to the dinner table. That's never a bad thing, right?!
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts – Don't knock it until you try it. These roasted Brussels sprouts are made with bacon.
- Buffalo Cauliflower – Move over chicken, wings! This Buffalo cauliflower is just about as good as it gets. Go ahead and freeze some for a fun weeknight side or a game-day snack.
- Macaroni and Cheese – Be sure to freeze this macaroni and cheese before you bake it! Serve it as a side, or toss in a little meat and make a meal out of it.
Mix and match these sides with the meats, soups, or entrees of your choice, and have fun planning! Now, one more thing to cover. We saved a sweet surprise for last!
DON'T FORGET TO FREEZE A FEW DESSERTS!
You never know when a potluck dinner or a baked sale might pop up on the calendar, so it doesn't hurt to be prepared! Make-ahead a few of these desserts to keep in the freezer:
- Cake Mix Cookies – Freeze the dough or freeze a cooked batch of these cake mix cookies.
- Homemade Ice Cream – Isn't ice cream the ultimate freezer food? Learn how to make your own. It's so much fun!
- Cheesecake Bites – If you love cheesecake, you HAVE to try these freezer-friendly cheesecake bites!
- Strawberry Freezer Jam – This strawberry jam is an effortless way to use up fresh berries before they go bad! We like to use ours on biscuits or as a dipping sauce for shortbread cookies or donut holes.
Well, there you have it! You have dozens of meals to choose from, complete with dessert options. Sweeeeet!!
A FEW FINAL TIPS: PUT YOUR EASY FREEZER MEALS TO GOOD USE
Okay, before we let you go start batch cooking, a few more quick tips!
- Learn How to Prevent Freezer Burn – Don't throw all your hard work out the window! These tips will help you keep frozen food from going to waste.
- Build Your Stock Slowly – You don't have to run out and buy pounds of beef and chicken! Go slow, and use these tips for building a stockpile on a budget.
- Inventory Your Food – Keep track of everything you're freezing. It will make meal planning super easy and save you a TON of cash if you use these free food inventory printables!
Now you're ready to conquer the world! Or at least mealtime.
Pick several of these recipes and set aside half a day this weekend for food prep. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish in just a few hours, and you'll be relieved when you have dozens of dinner options ready to go.
Tell us, what's your favorite freezer meal? Leave a comment below or stop by our Shelf Cooking Facebook group to say hi! We'd love to keep in touch.
Looking for more life-changing shelf cooking hacks?
- Try these freezer organization tips so you can keep track of all your make-ahead meals!
- Learn how to use your Instant Pot like a pro.
- Bookmark this running list of all the foods you can freeze!
I have been freezing meals for over 2 years now and I absolutely LOVE it! My husband teases me, but they come in handy when I need to take food to someone who is sick, had a baby, or is going through a hard time, or if life gets crazy and I just need to pull something out that will be easy and I dont want to worry about the crockpot. I find making double batches or cookie dough, but freezing 3/4 of it helps me a ton too because I don’t overeat cookies, but it is also already prepped so if I need to take dessert to something (or if I’m feeling cookies at home for dessert or craving cookie dough) I have cookies ready in 10-15 minutes. Seriously, freezers are the best!
Way to go!!
Love these tips! I hate meal planning and cooking but any way to streamline it, I’m all over!