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Easy Freezer Meal Recipes Guide

A roundup of the BEST easy freezer meal recipes that are weeknight dinner lifesavers! Tips and tricks on how to batch cook freezer meals and my favorite tools for making freezer meals.

Ahhh freezer meals – they’re one of my favorite things, ever! I didn’t see the benefit of them before becoming a busy mom of three, but honestly – anyone could benefit from them! If you’re a busy person (with or without kids), like to eat but don’t want to spend a ton of time every night cooking, or just need some easy meals every now and then, freezer meals are for YOU!

I started making bulk freezer meals five years ago with my sister-in-law, meaning we would make a bunch of freezer meals in one day to stock up our freezer. These freezer meals have truly become lifesavers for busy weeknights or nights when I just don’t feel like cooking.

What is a Freezer Meal?

Freezer meals are meals that are prepped ahead of time, frozen, and then cooked. Some freezer meals are completely cooked and then just need to be re-heated, and others have the raw ingredients frozen, and then they are cooked once you’re ready to make them. In many instances, freezer meals are best suited for a slow cooker or an Instant Pot, and this is the case with most of the freezer meals we made. While I do love casserole freezer meals, like this taco spaghetti and this creamy chicken pasta, we usually stick with the freezer bag-type recipes. They usually take up less space in the freezer (which is important when we make 15+ freezer meals in one day!), and they take less time to prep.

For the “dump” style recipes, the ingredients can be thawed overnight in the freezer bags, and then cooked according to directions in a slow cooker or Instant Pot. As mentioned, we like to use bouillon instead of all of the broth that some recipes call for. This cuts down on the bulk of each freezer bag and decreases the chances of leakage. So when you go to cook the freezer meal, be sure to add the appropriate amount of water for each recipe, too. We always write the name of the recipe, the cooking time, and how much water to add on the outside of each bag.

How to Thaw a Freezer Meal

These freezer meals are easiest to cook when they are thawed, at least partially. I like to thaw mine overnight in the refrigerator. To do this, I’ll put it on a plate or in a baking dish, so in case it leaks at all, it doesn’t get all over the refrigerator. In the morning, the entire freezer meal may not be completely thawed, and that’s okay. It’s just usually easier when the plastic Ziploc bag isn’t stuck to the rest of the meal!

Tips for Batch Cooking Freezer Meal Success

  • Get a buddy.  Not only will it make the day more fun, but two (or three!) people chopping and assembling are definitely better than one!
  • Organize your grocery list.  If you plan to make the entire meal plan that we did, go through the recipes and make your grocery list.  I do this by writing it out first, and making tallies when there are multiples, like onions or chicken breasts.  Don’t forget to double everything if you’re making this with a friend!
  • Shop smart to keep things economical.  Buy things like produce and meat at Costo or Sam’s Club.  We shop for the remaining ingredients at ALDI, Target, Hy Vee, or our local grocery store.
  • Prepare in advance.  The night before our big day I typically organize all of the ingredients on our dining room table or large island by each recipe.  I put little pieces of paper with each recipe name on them and organize all of the shelf stable ingredients.  Obviously I couldn’t set out meat or refrigerated vegetables, but you get the point.  This makes it easy to locate exactly what we needed for each recipe.
  • Use boullion cubes or powder instead of broth.  This will cut WAY down on the bulk that each freezer bag will have and decrease your chances of spillage.  This is my favorite brand and I find the best deal on it at Costco.
  • Start with an empty dishwasher.  You’ll potentially be going through quite a few cutting boards, measuring cups/spoons, and knives so make cleanup easy on yourself and have the dishwasher free to fill up.
  • Work in batches that make sense.  By this I mean, do all of the beef recipes at the same time.  Or all of the chicken recipes.  Or all of the recipes that call for carrots.  Try to figure out what makes the most sense given the recipes you are making.  We did ours by protein, which was helpful because I was able to place the chicken in all of the bags that it belonged in and then dispose of the chicken container when I was done.
  • Print out the recipes.  And print a copy for each person involved.  It’s nice to have the paper copies and not have to touch computers/phones while cooking!
  • Start with recipes that are pre-cooked first.  For example, if you’re making the Turkey Bolognese and Egg Roll in a Bowl, then you’re going to want to start with those since they take time to cook and also you want to allow them some time to cool off prior to putting them in the freezer bags.
  • Write detailed instructions on your labels.  We included slow cooker instructions, Instant Pot instructions, as well as anything that would have to be added  right before serving, such as water, broth, heavy cream, pasta, or some vegetables (like the broccoli in my Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup).
  • Do it kids free.  We’ve done it both ways and it is WAY easier without kiddos around.  I’m sure this is pretty obvious!
Easy Freezer Meals

Tools for Freezer Meal Cooking Success

Since we’ve been doing this for five years, we’ve learned a lot along the way. Here are our favorite and must-have tools for making freezer meals!

Large Stock Pot or Dutch Oven – this is particularly helpful for the Turkey Bolognese and Beef Chili. We typically make two batches of the bolognese, in which case we need two Dutch ovens. For the chili, I just cook the beef prior to combining it with the other chili ingredients in the bag, so one Dutch oven works for this.

Wok – this comes in handy when making the Egg Roll in a Bowl recipe.

Freezer Bags – Gallon-sized freezer bags are a must for these recipes. I highly recommend using ones with sliders, as they tend to stay closed better.

Meat Chopper – this was a game changer for me this last year! When cooking up a large batch of meat for the Turkey Bolognese and Beef Chili, and is so helpful for breaking up the ground meat into smaller pieces.

Freezer Bag Stands – this is a new one to us this year and it made our lives SO much easier!

Measuring Cups – you’ll want to have at least two sets of measuring cups, because you’re likely going to need to use some of them more than once.

Measuring Spoons – same thing as the measuring cups. It helps to have at least two sets because when you are making a lot of recipes, you’re bound to need them more than once!

Cutting Boards – I really like this set is three boards in a few different sizes – they’re my go-to boards!

Easy Freezer Meal Recipes

All of the recipes below are tried and true easy freezer meal recipes that I’ve made multiple times. I’ve included links to the recipes, along with instructions for making them freezer meals. So pick one, or all of them, and get freezer meal cooking!
Slow Cooker Meatball Tortellini Soup - Easy Freezer Meals

Meatball Tortellini Soup

Freezer Meal Instructions: Place all ingredients except tortellini in a freezer bag. Place tortellini in a separate freezer bag. I like to tape them together in my freezer so they don’t get separated. Place in freezer. Thaw overnight in refrigerator prior to cooking. I use bouillon cubes instead of broth when freezing this recipe. Simply add the appropriate number of bouillon cubes to the freezer bag and write on the freezer bag how much water to add when cooking.

Slow cooker Instructions: Place soup ingredients (everything except tortellini) in slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Add tortellini for last 30 minutes.

Instant Pot Instructions: Place soup ingredients (everything except tortellini) in Instant Pot. Cook on HIGH for 10 minutes. Let pressure naturally release for 5 minutes and then release completely. Turn Instant Pot to brown/saute function and add tortellini. Cook for 5 minutes, or until tortellini is cooked.

Chicken Taco Soup Easy Freezer Meals

Chicken Taco Soup

Freezer Meal Instructions: Place all ingredients in freezer bag and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator overnight prior to cooking. I use bouillon cubes instead of broth when freezing this recipe. Simply add the appropriate number of bouillon cubes to the freezer bag and write on the freezer bag how much water to add when cooking.

Slow Cooker Instructions: Place all contents of freezer bag in slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Shred the chicken.

Instant Pot Instructions: Place all contents of freezer bag in slow cooker. Cook on HIGH pressure for 20 minutes. Let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes and then release completely. Shred the chicken.

Slow Cooker Korean Beef Burrito Bowls Easy Freezer Meals

Korean Beef

Freezer Meal Instructions: Place all ingredients in freezer bag and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator overnight prior to cooking. I use bouillon cubes instead of broth when freezing this recipe. Simply add the appropriate number of bouillon cubes to the freezer bag and write on the freezer bag how much water to add when cooking.

Slow Cooker Instructions: Place all contents of freezer bag in slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Shred the beef. Serve with Sriracha mayo, cucumbers, kimchi, cilantro, and rice.

Instant Pot Instructions: Place all contents of freezer bag in slow cooker. Cook on HIGH pressure for 50 minutes. Let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes and then release completely. Shred the beef. Serve with Sriracha mayo, cucumbers, kimchi, cilantro, and rice.

Chicken Enchilada Soup Easy Freezer Meals

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Freezer Meal Instructions: Place all ingredients except cream cheese and, cheese, and toppings in freezer bag and freeze. You can place cream cheese and cheese in separate freezer bags and tape the bags together so they don’t get separated in the freezer. Alternately, you can just buy the cream cheese and shredded cheese when you’re ready to cook the soup. Thaw in refrigerator overnight prior to cooking. I use bouillon cubes instead of broth when freezing this recipe. Simply add the appropriate number of bouillon cubes to the freezer bag and write on the freezer bag how much water to add when cooking.

Slow Cooker Instructions: Add contents of freezer bag in slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Shred chicken. Combine 1 cup of broth with cream cheese in a separate bowl and stir to combine. Pour this mixture into slow cooker and mix well, along with shredded cheese.

Instant Pot Instructions: Add contents of freezer bag to Instant Pot. Cook on HIGH for 10 minutes. Let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes and then release completely. Shred chicken. Combine 1 cup of broth with cream cheese in a separate bowl and stir to combine. Pour this mixture into slow cooker and mix well, along with shredded cheese.

Thai Peanut Chicken Ramen Noodles

Thai Peanut Chicken Ramen

Freezer Meal Instructions: Place all ingredients except ramen noodles in freezer bag and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator overnight prior to cooking. 

Slow Cooker Instructions: Add contents of freezer bag in slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3 hours. Shred chicken. Cook ramen noodles separately and add, stirring well to combine.

Instant Pot Instructions: Add contents of freezer bag to Instant Pot. Cook on HIGH for 8 minutes. Let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes and then release completely. Shred chicken. Cook ramen noodles separately and add, stirring to combine.

Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup Easy Freezer Meals

Coconut Curry Chicken Noodle Soup

Freezer Meal Instructions: Place all ingredients except broccoli and noodles to a freezer bag. Place the broccoli in a separate freezer bag. I like to tape them together so they don’t get separated in the freezer. Keep a package of rice noodles in your pantry for when you decide to cook this. Thaw in refrigerator overnight prior to cooking. I use bouillon cubes instead of broth when freezing this recipe. Simply add the appropriate number of bouillon cubes to the freezer bag and write on the freezer bag how much water to add when cooking.

Slow Cooker Instructions: Place all ingredients except broccoli and noodles to slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours. Shred the chicken. Add the broccoli and noodles and cook on high another 20-30 minutes, until broccoli is tender and noodles are cooked.

Instant Pot Instructions: Place all ingredients except broccoli and noodles to Instant Pot. Cook on HIGH for 15 minutes. Shred the chicken. Turn Instant Pot to brown/saute function and add broccoli and noodles. Cook for 5 minutes, until broccoli is tender and noodles are cooked.

chicken noodle soup Easy Freezer Meals

Chicken Noodle Soup

Freezer Meal Instructions: Place all of the ingredients except the noodles into freezer bag and freeze. Note: I use chicken bouillon powder and add water to the slow cooker or Instant Pot once I’m cooking it. Thaw overnight in refrigerator prior to cooking.

Slow Cooker Instructions: Once thawed, add to slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Add noodles for lat 30 minutes.

Instant Pot Instructions: Once thawed, cook in Instant Pot for 20 minutes on HIGH. Release pressure. Turn on brown/saute function, add noodles and simmer for ~10 minutes, until noodles are cooked.

Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese Easy Freezer Meals

Turkey Bolognese

Freezer Meal Instructions: Cook the sauce according to directions. Cool and then divide into freezer bags. This makes a lot of sauce, so it’s nice to divide it into portions for 1 meal at a time. Thaw overnight in refrigerator prior to cooking.

Slow Cooker Instructions: Once thawed, add to slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6 hours.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs Easy Freezer Meals

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Freezer Meal Instructions: Place all of the ingredients into a freezer bag. Thaw overnight in refrigerator prior to cooking.

Slow Cooker Instructions: Once thawed, add to slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours.

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili Easy Freezer Meals

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Freezer Meal Instructions: Brown the turkey on the stovetop. Add cooked turkey with remaining ingredients to freezer bag and freeze. Thaw overnight in refrigerator prior to cooking.

Slow Cooker Instructions: Once thawed, add to slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.

Instant Pot Instructions: Once thawed, cook in Instant Pot for 20 minutes on HIGH.

Egg Roll in a Bowl Easy Freezer Meals

Egg Roll in a Bowl

Freezer Meal Instructions: Cook the egg roll in a bowl according to directions, and cool. Portion it accordingly in freezer bags and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator overnight prior to cooking. 

Stovetop Instructions: Heat some olive oil over medim-high heat and cook until warmed through. Serve topped with a fried egg and fried wontons, prepared by directions in recipe.

White Chicken Chili Easy Freezer Meals

White Chicken Chili

Freezer Meal Instructions: Place all ingredients except Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, and toppings in freezer bag. Freeze. Thaw in refrigerator overnight prior to cooking. I use bouillon cubes instead of broth when freezing this recipe. Simply add the appropriate number of bouillon cubes to the freezer bag and write on the freezer bag how much water to add when cooking.

Slow Cooker Instructions: Place all contents of freezer bag in slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Shred chicken. Transfer 1 cup of the broth to a bowl and stir in the Greek yogurt until smooth. Pour broth/yogurt mixture back into the Instant Pot, stirring well. Add the cheese and stir until melted.

Instant Pot Instructions: Place all contents of freezer bag into Instant Pot. Cook on HIGH for 20 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes and then release completely. Shred chicken. Transfer 1 cup of the broth to a bowl and stir in the Greek yogurt until smooth. Pour broth/yogurt mixture back into the Instant Pot, stirring well. Add the cheese and stir until melted.

Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Easy Freezer Meals

Creamy Chicken Spaghetti

Freezer Meal Instructions: Cook the casserole according to directions, up to the baking step. Place mixture in a freezer-friendly dish. I like to use these. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Cooking Instructions: Bake at 375 for 45-55 minutes.

Chicken Taco Rice Casserole Easy Freezer Meals

Chicken Taco Rice Casserole

Freezer Meal Instructions: Cook the casserole according to directions, up to the baking step. Place mixture in a freezer-friendly dish. I like to use these. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Cooking Instructions: Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes, until cheese is melted and casserole is warmed through.

Taco Spaghetti Easy Freezer Meals

Turkey Taco Spaghetti

Freezer Meal Instructions: Cook the casserole according to directions, up to the baking step. Place mixture in a freezer-friendly dish. I like to use these. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Cooking Instructions: Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes, until cheese is melted and casserole is warmed through.

Turkey Sloppy Joes Easy Freezer Meals

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Freezer Meal Instructions: This is a great recipe to double, or even triple! Cook the sloppy joes as directed in instructions. Let cool and then portion into freezer bags, as desired. Let thaw overnight in refrigerator.

Cooking Instructions: Cook in slow cooker for 4 hours on low or on stovetop, until warmed.

Other Freezer Essentials for Easy Weeknight Dinners

  • Frozen Veggies – these are essential for us!  If I’m short on time I simply microwave or boil them, but I really love roasting them.  Buying frozen vegetables makes it really easy to have a vegetable on the table every night.
  • Frozen Rice – so nice to go along with a stir fry or my Egg Roll in a Bowl (also a freezer meal!). You can either buy pre-cooked rice or cook a big batch yourself and freeze in portions that fit for your family.
  • Other Pre-cooked Grains – I like to cook big batches of things like quinoa, farro, and wheatberries as easy grains to serve with dinner.
  • Pesto – pesto is so versatile and I love freezing it in ice cube trays and having them to throw in pasta sauces, soups, onto garlic bread, and to use as a bread dip.
  • Bread – it’s so convenient to have a loaf of bread in the freezer to go along with a batch of one of your freezer meal soups.
  • Tortillas and Taco Meat – Taco Tuesday has never been easier than when you have these in your freezer. I like having tortillas in my freeze also for impromptu quesadillas or breakfast burritos.
  • Muffins – making a batch of muffins?  Make a double batch and freeze the second batch for an easy breakfast or snack.
  • Frozen Pizza – YES, sometimes frozen pizza is just necessary!
  • Frozen Tortellini – another super easy option for dinner, to throw in my Meatball Tortellini Soup or to go with some bolognese sauce.
  • Butter – butter freezes really well and I like to stock up when my favorite brand goes on sale.
  • Smoothie Packets – smoothie packets are so convenient for making healthy smoothies on a busy weekday morning.

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