Published on February 10, 2022 / Last updated on February 3, 2022
These Easy Freezer Meal Ideas are the best meal prep recipes featuring fresh and healthy ingredients, quick cooking times, and freezer-friendly storing. Master the art of meal prepping and enjoy delicious home cooked meals all year round!
Meal prepping doesn’t have to mean boring! Here are tips, guidance, and bold and delicious recipes to kick your meal planning into high gear.
What is a Freezer Meal?
Freezer meals are just what the name suggests! These meals are made ahead and stored in the freezer for reheating at a later time.
The ingredients in freezer meals are often fresh and hearty, and hold up well when frozen: meats like beef and chicken, cruciferous veggies like broccoli and brussels sprouts, and robust carbs like rice, pasta, and beans.
Many freezer meals involve preparing recipes in batches, or doubling recipes to freeze leftovers for easy weeknight dinners, lunches, and meal plans. They’re a great way to save money, and to have delicious meals organized well ahead of time!
What Are the Characteristics of a Good Meal Prep Recipe?
What makes a good meal prep meal? Here are three keys to successful meal prepping and freezer meals:
Big Batches: Recipes made in large batches are ideal for meal prep, whether you’re prepping for one or four. Think lasagnas, casseroles, or sheet pan dinners that involve scaled-up recipes that are easy to portion, store and/or freeze.
Seasonal Ingredients: Meal prepping is so much easier if you can plan for the kinds of ingredients you’ll have available. Not only will your meals be fresher and healthier, but fruits and veg that are in season are often less expensive!
Customizable: One common misconception about meal prepping is that you’ll end up eating the same meal every day! This doesn’t have to be the case. You can prep full meals, but also individual ingredients to mix-and-match to create well-rounded meals throughout the week.
Reasons to Make Meals Ahead
There are a ton of reasons why these freezer meal ideas are so worth it! To name a few:
Save time. Freezer meals are a godsend during life’s busy moments. Sometimes it’s a particularly crazy week or upcoming medical procedure. With so much else to think about, meals don’t have to mean added stress! Ready-made meals are also a thoughtful gesture for couples with new babies, or for friends who need a helping hand.
Save money. Making meals ahead means you can budget for whole batches of easy recipes, and not just individual meals on the fly.
Get organized. Meal prepping is great for getting a handle on your weekly meal plans. Have an idea of the recipes you’d like to make, prepare a grocery list, and then set out the time for cooking. There’s something so satisfying about knowing your meals for the week are sorted!
Manage portion size. Preparing and and portioning ahead of time is especially helpful when it comes to diets, healthier eating, and making smart food choices!
Hone your skills. Become a wiz in the kitchen thanks to recipes that take the stress out of cooking. You can get creative with ingredients and techniques while you have the time and the pressure is off!
Easy Freezer Meal Recipes
These freezer meals are SO quick to prep, and perfect to tuck away into the deep freeze until it comes time to enjoy them. From easy breakfast ideas, to big batch chilis and soups, to freezer-friendly pastas. Simply thaw, heat, and serve! Here are some tips for freezing meals ahead of time:
As a general rule of thumb when making freezer meals, avoid recipes that contain excessive amounts of dairy or cream, fried foods, and veggies with high water content (think cucumbers, celery, cabbage). These ingredients tend to separate or turn mushy once they’ve been frozen and reheated.
Reheating times will vary depending on the meals. Pay attention to whether you’re reheating food directly from frozen, thawed in the fridge, or otherwise, as the cooking times may increase.
Not all heating methods work the same for all meals. Some freezer meal recipes are great for reheating in the oven, while others may be better suited to the microwave or stovetop. Check recipe notes for the best ways to store, thaw, and warm up your freezer meals!
What’s not to love about a hearty, zesty breakfast burrito that you can enjoy on repeat? These burrito wraps are filled with eggs, smoky bacon, homemade hash browns, along with salsa and cheese. Prep the filling ahead to freeze, or have the whole wrap ready to go!
Lasagna is a classic freezer meal with good reason! The family will love this flavorful and filling homemade lasagna recipe that is perfect for making ahead. Freeze the whole dish or store it in portion-sized slices!
A taco casserole recipe to make ahead, with only six ingredients! Ready in 30 minutes and filled with delicious Mexican-style flavors, unthaw this casserole and pop it in the oven for easy last minute Taco Nights!
An easy recipe for BBQ chicken prepared in the slow cooker or crock pot! This tender chicken in a savory barbecue sauce is effortless to make ahead and perfect to include in meal prep recipes with rice, roasted potatoes, and more.
Chicken Tetrazzini is one of the easiest baked pasta dishes and so full of flavor! Creamy shredded chicken, mushrooms, peas, and cheese are a combination made in meal prep heaven. Also ideal for freezing!
This chicken pot pie recipe comes together super quickly thanks to store bought pie crust and simple, tasty ingredients. The perfect comfort food to prepare and then store (or freeze!) for family meals and weeknight dinners.
You’ll have meals for days with this versatile recipe for baked turkey meatballs! Homemade meatballs are healthy and easy to make in 30 minutes. They can be made ahead to include in tons of meals, from rice dishes to spaghetti recipes!
A big batch of rich and savory pasta sauce goes a long way in terms of serving and storing! Prepare this easy spaghetti sauce in the slow cooker, then freeze half, while using the rest in everything from pastas, lasagnas, baked dishes, chicken parmesan recipes, and more!
These are the MOST flavorful burgers, ever! A versatile burger patty recipe made with a blend of ground beef and pork, plus balsamic vinegar, caramelized onions, seasonings, and more. Batches of burgers mean endless meal options, from dinners to easy lunches!
An easy 30-minute recipe for beef and barley soup bursting with vegetables, tender beef, and hearty pearls of barley. Make a huge batch ahead of time on the stovetop or in the slow cooker, and store it in the fridge or freezer for cozy weeknight dinners!
Juicy, tender and family-friendly beef tips and gravy is just what your weekly meal prep calls for! Easy to prepare, full of beefy flavor, and low carb, the serving possibilities for this recipe are next to endless.
A Southern pot roast prepared ahead in the crock pot is the way to go when it comes to meal prep recipes. Prepare batches of this saucy shredded beef as a separate ingredient to go with easy sides like mashed potatoes or pasta.