22 Healthy Freezer Meals (That You’ll Actually Love)

22 Healthy Freezer Meals

Heading back to school, prepping for a new baby, or just tryna get your life together?

Bring on the FREEZER MEALS!

A little history of this post: I started to do some research around freezer meals for my maternity leave in 2018, and I was shocked at the lack of options out there. Don’t get me wrong – the internet has many freezer meal recipes, but most of them were not what I was looking for in terms of whole food ingredients, flavor, and ease of prep.

So I put together my own! We’ve been working on updating this post every year since it published and it just keeps getting better and even more useful. Now, as I prepare for another maternity leave, we’re rolling out the latest version which has 6 new freezer meal recipes (bringing our grand total to 22 freezer meal recipes) and an amazing printable resource including grocery lists and labels.

Just to set the stage for you, here’s what makes these freezer meals you can actually love:

  • These are freezer meals that are healthy – made with real food.
  • These are freezer meals with actual vegetables in them.
  • These are freezer meals that are – sometimes! – vegan and vegetarian.
  • These are feezer meals with no-cook prep.
  • These are freezer meals with largely no advance thawing required.
  • And most importantly, these are freezer meals made with fun, bold, interesting flavors that we would actually be excited to eat! For me, these had to be at least as good as a takeout pizza, otherwise it was game over, and add the cheesy breadsticks please.

In a nutshell, this post contains my favorite freezer-friendly recipes that are big on flavor, nutrition, and ease of prep!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Freezer-Meals-Extras-3-3.jpg

The idea here was to put everything into one big post so you don’t have to keep a million tabs open and jump back and forth between browser windows while you’re doing your own planning.

The free printables will help make your freezer meal process as smooth and easy as possible. I’ve tailored them to exactly what is useful to me, and now I’m just sharing my process with you.

I hope this post allows you to put a healthy and super delicious dinner that you ACTUALLY love on the table with little to no stress, even in life’s most busy seasons. You got this! ♡

Click for Shortcuts:

Free Downloads:

We have a FREE starter kit download for you!

Click here to sign up to receive your 22 Healthy Freezer Meals Starter Pack.

This starter kit includes:

  1. Notes and tips for making these freezer meals.
  2. Master grocery list of all 22 freezer meal recipes.
  3. Recipe Labels that include the directions for prepping AND cooking so you know what to do right when you pull your food out of the freezer. 

(You’ll need this size of labels to print the labels at home – affiliate link.)

Poof! Now you can make them ALL this week! Or make four this month, four next month, and four the following month. Or make just one at a time! However you wanna do it. I keep the Starter Kit in my kitchen and refer to it often, even if I’m only prepping a few freezer meals at a time.

Click here to sign up to receive your 22 Healthy Freezer Meals Starter Pack.


detox lentil soup

A clean and simple soup made with onions, garlic, carrots, olive oil, squash, and LENTILS! Super healthy.

butternut squash, lentils, carrots, potatoes, herbs, kale, olive oil

serves 6 // vegan, gluten free, dairy free

FREEZE TOGETHER:

  • 2 cups chopped butternut squashfresh or frozen
  • 2 cups mirepoix, fresh or frozen
  • 1-2 cups chopped potatoes, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup uncooked brown lentils
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence (or other spices you like)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • 4-5 cups vegetable or chicken broth

AFTER COOKING:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 cups kale, finely chopped

INSTANT POT: From frozen, 15 minutes on high pressure + 10 minutes natural release.

SLOW COOKER: From frozen, 6 hours on high.

FINAL STEP: Stir in olive oil and kale. (If you made this in the Instant Pot, some of the vegetables should break down just enough to make the soup creamy! If you made this in the slow cooker, blend a little bit of the soup with the olive oil to make a creamy base.) Finish with a splash of lemon juice or red wine vinegar.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Spicy Peanut Soup

Comforting and SUPER nutritious soup. Naturally vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, ALL THE GOOD THINGS.

onion, jalapeño, sweet potato, fire roasted tomatoes, coconut milk, curry powder, kale

serves 6 // vegan, gluten free, dairy free

FREEZE TOGETHER:

  • 3 cups chopped sweet potatoes, fresh or frozen
  • 2 jalapeños, minced
  • half of an onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk

AFTER COOKING:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1-2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1-2 cups water

INSTANT POT: From frozen, 8 minutes on high pressure + 10 minutes natural release.

SLOW COOKER: From frozen, 5-6 hours on high.

FINAL STEP: Stir in peanut butter, peanuts, and kale. Add water to thin to desired consistency.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Wild Rice Soup

Wild Rice Soup: so creamy and simple and ready in an hour from the freezer. Perfect for fall/winter nights!

carrots, celery, onion, garlic, wild rice, mushrooms, poultry seasoning, butter, milk

serves 6 // vegetarian

FREEZE TOGETHER:

  • 3 cups mirepoix, fresh or frozen
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, fresh or frozen
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice (the REAL stuff, not a blend)
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (or spices like sage, thyme, and rosemary)
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts (optional)

ADD AFTER COOKING:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk

INSTANT POT: From frozen, 30 minutes on high pressure + 10 minutes natural release.

SLOW COOKER: From frozen, 4 hours on high.

FINAL STEP: Melt butter, whisk in flour, whisk in milk until creamy and thick. Add to the soup. Add extra water to thin to desired consistency.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Life-Changing Beef Stew

Beef Stew made in an Instant Pot or slow cooker! Just a few ingredients, minimal time, and SO EASY.

beef, onion, celery, carrots, tomato juice

serves 6 // gluten free, dairy free

FREEZE TOGETHER:

  • 2 lbs. beef chuck, fat trimmed, cut in small-ish pieces
  • 1 medium onionsliced thinly
  • 6 stalks celerysliced diagonally
  • 6 carrotssliced diagonally
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cans tomato juice (about 1 cup)

ADD AFTER COOKING:

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water

This recipe takes up quite a bit of space, so it works best when divided between two 7-cup glass containers, or stored in a plastic bag.

INSTANT POT: From frozen, 30 minutes on high pressure + 10 minutes natural release.

SLOW COOKER: From thawed, 5-6 hours on high.

FINAL STEP: After cooking in Instant Pot, turn on saute function. Add cornstarch slurry. Cook for a few minutes until slightly thickened. (If using a slow cooker, add cornstarch when it’s done and let thicken for 30 minutes.)

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Golden Soup

Cozy, bright, and healing with power-foods. Topped with crispy chickpeas. Super creamy and SO GOOD.

onion, garlic, cauliflower, cashews, turmeric, lemon juice

serves 6 // vegan, gluten free, dairy free

FREEZE TOGETHER:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • half an onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into about 5 cups of chunks or florets
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons salt

This recipe takes up quite a bit of space, so it works best when divided between two 7-cup glass containers, or stored in a plastic bag.

INSTANT POT: Add three cups of water before cooking. From frozen, 10 minutes on high pressure + 7 minutes natural release.

SLOW COOKER: Add three cups of water before cooking. From frozen, 3-4 hours on high.

FINAL STEP: Blend soup until smooth. Add more water, 1/2 cup at a time, to reach desired consistency.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Moroccan-Spiced Chickpeas

Detox Moroccan Chickpea Glow Bowl: clean eating meets comfort food! Vegetarian / vegan.

onion, garlic, spices, chickpeas, fire-roasted diced tomatoes

serves 6 // vegan, gluten free, dairy free

FREEZE TOGETHER:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon each – chili powder and cumin
  • 1 teaspoon each – turmeric and garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • dash of each – cinnamon and cayenne
  • 2 14-ounce cans chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 14-ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes

INSTANT POT: From frozen, 15 minutes on high pressure + quick release.

FINAL STEP: Serve with couscous, cucumber, hummus, yogurt, herbs, and pita bread slices!

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Cauliflower Curry

Tender cauliflower, butternut squash, and red lentils cooked in a coconut red curry sauce and poured over rice.

onion, garlic, cauliflower, squash, red lentils, red curry paste, coconut milk, diced tomatoes

serves 6 // vegan, gluten free, dairy free

FREEZE TOGETHER:

  • half of an onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

INSTANT POT: From frozen, add 1 cup water before cooking. High pressure for 6 mins + quick release.

SLOW COOKER: Add 1 cup water before cooking. High setting for 4 hours.

FINAL STEP: Serve with rice and cilantro.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Healing Chicken and Rice Soup

Limey, salty, and so fresh! Garlic-ginger-infused brother, shredded chicken thighs, tender jasmine rice, fresh herbs, and peanuts. 

garlic, ginger, shallot, chicken thighs, turmeric, spinach, rice limes, fresh herbs

serves 6 // easy, gluten-free

FREEZE TOGETHER:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • juice of 4 limes (about 1/4 cup, plus more to taste)

INSTANT POT: From frozen, high pressure for 13 mins + 10 mins natural release.

SLOW COOKER: Thaw first, and then cook 6 hours on high.

FINAL STEP: Shred chicken and add 1 cup jasmine rice. Use sauté function with lid off, and cook for 15 minutes until rice is cooked. Stir in 3 cups spinach and a splash of soy sauce or fish sauce. Serve with fresh herbs (mint and basil), and crushed peanuts.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Beef Ragu

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu that’s perfect with pasta! Easy, cozy comfort food.

garlic, mirepoix, beef, crushed tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves

serves 6 // gluten free, dairy free

FREEZE TOGETHER:

  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup mirepoix, fresh or frozen
  • 2 pounds flank steak or beef chuck, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

INSTANT POT: For beef chuck: From frozen, 65 minutes on high pressure + 10 minutes nature release. For top sirloin: From frozen, 45 minutes on high pressure + 10 minutes nature release.

SLOW COOKER: From thawed, 6 hours on high.

FINAL STEP: Shred the meat and serve with pasta, baked potatoes, polenta, rice, cauliflower rice, gnocchi, zucchini noodles, etc.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Chicken Tinga

The only chicken tinga tacos recipe you will ever need! Spicy, saucy, simple, and so fresh.

chicken thighs, chipotles, oregano, cumin, crushed fire roasted tomatoes

serves 8 // gluten free, dairy free, whole30

BLEND INTO SAUCE:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • half of an onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 individual chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt

FREEZE WITH:

  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs

INSTANT POT: From frozen, 12-15 minutes on high pressure + 10 minutes natural release.

SLOW COOKER: From thawed, 4 hours on high.

FINAL STEP: Serve as tacos, or on a salad, or in a rice bowl, or in enchiladas…. limitless possibilities!

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Tandoori Coconut Chicken

Coconut Tandoori Chicken made with rich spices and creamy coconut milk. EXTREMELY EASY and so, so yummy.

chicken thighs, honey, spices, coconut milk, salt

serves 8 // gluten free, dairy free, whole30 (minus the honey)

FREEZE TOGETHER:

  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk

INSTANT POT: From frozen, 15 minutes on high pressure + 20 minutes natural release.

SLOW COOKER: From thawed, 4 hours on high.

FINAL STEP: Serve in rice bowls, with roasted vegetables, with cauliflower rice, or in fusion-style tacos or burritos.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Korean BBQ Beef

Flavorful garlic and ginger beef gets slow cooked and shredded. Use in tacos, burritos, or bowls!

pears, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, beef

serves 6 // dairy free

BLEND INTO SAUCE:

  • 1 15-ounce can pears, drained (or 2 fresh pears, cored)
  • a 2-inch knob of ginger, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

FREEZE WITH:

  • 2 lbs beef chuck or top sirloin, cut into 6-8 pieces

INSTANT POT: For beef chuck: From frozen, 65 minutes on high pressure + 10 minutes nature release. For top sirloin: From frozen, 45 minutes on high pressure + 10 minutes nature release.

SLOW COOKER: From thawed, 3-5 hours on high.

FINAL STEP: Serve in rice bowls or fusion-style burritos or tacos (MY FAVE) with kimchi, rice, slaw, spicy mayo, etc.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Hawaiian Chicken Tacos

Juicy pineapple and spiced chicken crisped under the broiler, tucked into tortillas, and rolled up with creamy jalapeño ranch slaw.

serves 6 // gluten free

FREEZE TOGETHER:

  • 1.25 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, finely chopped
  • jalapeño, minced (remove ribs and seeds for less heat)
  • half of a red onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard

INSTANT POT: Add 1/4 cup of water before cooking. From frozen, 20 minutes on high pressure + quick release.

SLOW COOKER: Add 1/4 cup of water before cooking. From thawed, 3-4 hours on high.

FINAL STEP: Shred chicken and serve with Jalapeño Ranch Slaw (see below) in tortillas. Blend up the Jalapeño Ranch ingredients and toss with shredded cabbage to make a slaw.

Jalapeño Ranch:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup each olive oil and water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • jalapeño 
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill 
  • 1/4 cup each fresh parsley and fresh chives 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.


Italian Beef Sandwiches

Tender shredded beef, crusty buttered bread, melted provolone, salty tangy giardiniera, and some broth to dunk it all in.

beef, garlic, onion, spices, beef broth, giardiniera, provolone, sandwich rolls

serves 6 // gluten free when using GF buns

FREEZE TOGETHER:

  • 3 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • half an onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

INSTANT POT: Add 2 ½ cups broth and ¼ cup giardiniera brine before cooking. From frozen, 1 hour 15 minutes on high pressure + 15 minutes natural release.

SLOW COOKER: Add 2 ½ cups broth and ¼ cup giardiniera brine before cooking. From thawed, 5-6 hours on high.

FINAL STEP: Serve on toasted rolls with melted cheese and chopped giardiniera!

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Creole Chicken and Sausage

Shredded chicken, andouille sausage, creole seasoning, a rich tomato sauce, veggies, and rice. 

chicken, sausage, onions, garlic, chicken broth, tomato paste creole seasoning

serves 6 // easy, gluten-free

FREEZE TOGETHER:

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 12 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 14-ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2–3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • green or red bell peppers, chopped
  • half an onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • 1–2 teaspoons salt (if your Creole seasoning doesn’t have any)

INSTANT POT: From frozen, high pressure 15 mins + 10 mins natural release.

SLOW COOKER: Thaw first, and then cook 4 hours on high.

FINAL STEP: Shred chicken. Serve with rice and top with cheese, hot sauce, and/or green onions.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Cilantro Lime Chicken and Lentils

The BEST easy protein powerhouse meal prep. Just 15 mins of prep and totally hands-off cooking!

lentils, chicken, salsa verde, onion, cilantro, jalapeño

serves 8 // high protein, gluten-free

FREEZE TOGETHER:

  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • 3 cups salsa verde
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • jalapeños, diced (ribs and seeds removed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 cups chicken broth (can add at cook time)

INSTANT POT: From frozen, high pressure 25 mins + 10 mins natural release.

SLOW COOKER: Thaw first, then high setting 6 hours.

FINAL STEP: Serve with rice and cilantro.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

cauliflower walnut meat

This vegetarian taco meat is made with cauliflower, walnuts, and chipotle peppers. It’s so easy: just mix, bake, and eat or freeze. Meatless miracle!

cauliflower, walnuts, chipotles, chili powder, cumin

serves 6 // vegan, gluten free, dairy free, whole30
(This one is my favorite, so I like to double or triple this recipe when I freeze it!)

PULSE IN A FOOD PROCESSOR:

  • 3 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups whole walnuts
  • 2 individual chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • optional: lime juice, onion or garlic powder, cayenne to taste

BAKE: 375 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Freeze for later!

FINAL STEP: Serve in tacos (yummy!), enchiladas, rice bowls, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, the usual.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Lasagna Florentine

This Creamy Tomato Lasagna Florentine is so deliciously comforting and simple. Noodles, tomato sauce, and a creamy spinach layer!

garlic, spinach, ricotta, egg, pasta sauce, noodles, mozzarella

serves 6 // vegetarian

SAUTE:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces fresh spinach

MIX WITH:

  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg

LAYER WITH:

  • 1 24-ounce jar of really good pasta sauce
  • 10-12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

BAKE: From frozen, bake at 425 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes, covered. Remove cover and bake for 10 minutes until bubbly and browned. Let stand for 15 minutes to firm up.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Baked Chicken Meatballs

These Baked Chicken Meatballs are the BEST! The perfect addition to any meal or to eat right on their own.

chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan, spices

MIX AND ROLL:

  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
  • egg
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste

BAKE: From frozen, bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

You can also bake them first (400 degrees, 20 minutes) so that you can keep them in the freezer fully cooked and ready to go.

FINAL STEP:  Serve with literally anything – personal fave includes some kind of pasta, red sauce, and a salad.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

These Quinoa Black Bean Crockpot Stuffed Peppers can be made with or without meat – all with simple pantry ingredients! Minimal prep, awesome taste.

bell peppers, quinoa, black beans, refried beans, enchilada sauce, spices, pepperjack cheese

serves 6 // vegetarian, gluten free

MIX FILLING:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, drained
  • 1 14-ounce can refried beans
  • 1 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

STUFF INTO:

  • 6-8 large hollowed out fresh bell peppers

BAKE: From frozen, bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes, covered.

FINAL STEP: Finish by melting extra cheese on top. Serve with guac, sour cream, cilantro, hot sauce, etc.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Chipotle Quinoa Burgers

Veggie burgers you’ll want to eat again and again! Filling but not too dense, crispy but not crumbly, and with all the smokiness and yumminess.

quinoa, black beans, chipotles, spices, egg, breadcrumbs

serves 6 // vegetarian, gluten free

PULSE IN A FOOD PROCESSOR:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (about 1/2 cup uncooked)
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1–2 individual chipotle peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin
  • egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

FORM: Form into 4 large patties and freeze on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once frozen solid, store in a bag or container.

BAKE: From frozen, bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.

STOVETOP: Heat on medium high for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.

FINAL STEP: Serve on buns with spicy mayo, avocado, lettuce, tomato, pickled onions, and whatever else you like.

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Sheet Pan Chicken Pitas

Sheet Pan Chicken Pitas that are salty-briney-crunchy in all the right ways! Marinated chicken, roasted peppers, fresh cucumber, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and an easy homemade tzatziki.

chicken, garlic, lemon juice, curry powder, peppers, tzatziki

serves 6 // vegetarian, gluten free

TOSS TOGETHER:

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into very thin strips
  • 2–3 bell peppers, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1–2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon each: cumin, smoked paprika, kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • black pepper to taste

FREEZE: Spread into a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid; transfer to a bag or container to store in the freezer. 

BAKE: From frozen, bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

FINAL STEP: Serve with pitas, tzatziki, hummus, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, olives, red onion… sky’s the limit!

Click here for the original recipe where you can find these freezer meal instructions in the recipe card notes.

Best Containers For Freezer Meals:

Obviously plastic bags are the most common, but let’s be real – not everyone wants to use depressing plastic bags all the time (ME!!) so here my favorites along with a few pros and cons of each type of container.

These products are linked using affiliate (referral) links on Amazon.

Pyrex round 7-cup containers

  • Pros: Fits perfectly inside the Instant Pot or slow cooker! Pretty to look at. NO PLASTIC WASTE!
  • Cons: More expensive. Takes up more space.

**These are my personal favorite!** I own 5 of them and use them all the time. I definitely can’t fit 12 of them in my freezer (nor did I want to BUY 12 of them!), but that’s fine by me since I only prep a few recipes (4-6) at a time.

Considerations: Many recipes will require leaving the liquids out in order to fit. The food expands a little bit as it freezes, so you want to leave a little space at the top. To loosen the frozen food before cooking, I just run the containers under hot water for a minute until loosened, and then dump them into the slow cooker or Instant Pot. Unlike freezer bags, the food will be frozen in a round shape so they fit straight into the Instant Pot like a dream! No plastic waste! No awkward square shaped frozen blocks of food! Wash and use for leftovers! Did I mention these are my favorite?

Click here to see the Pyrex 7-cup containers that I use.

Pyrex rectangular snapware 8-cup container

  • Pros: Freezer, oven, and dishwasher safe. Pretty to look at. NO PLASTIC WASTE!
  • Cons: More expensive. Takes up more space.

These are my second favorite. I own two of these which is just the right amount for the occasional pan of lasagna, enchiladas, stuffed peppers, or even snacks like energy bites. The snap closure is awesome for leftovers and look super pretty in the fridge.

I couldn’t find the exact Pyrex 8-cup snapware on Amazon (I bought mine at Target) but I this OXO version is almost identical!

Stainless steel containers

  • Pros: Happy for the environment! Can use for other leftovers.
  • Cons: Not huge. Can’t see into them – this is why I don’t use them.

Click here for the stainless steel food storage containers on Amazon.

Silicone bags

  • Pros: Happy for the environment! Can use for other small-batch leftovers (perfect for energy bites or smoothies, for example). Visually nice to look at.
  • Cons: Too small for most freezer meal recipes.

Click here for the silicone bags that I have!

Gallon-sized freezer bags (like a Ziplock)

  • Pros: Convenient. Cheap. Easy to stack or squeeze or tuck into small freezer spaces.
  • Cons: Bad for the environment and makes you sad thinking about ocean animals swimming in plastic every time you throw them away.

Disposable aluminum pans

  • Pros: Convenient. Cheap. Works well if delivering meals to someone.
  • Cons: Not environmentally friendly. Takes up a little more space in the freezer. Lids are always kinda awkward.

Freezer Meal Tips, Questions, and Other Notes

Do you have to thaw your freezer meals before cooking?

I am so happy to say that you do NOT need to thaw them first! I don’t thaw my freezer recipes before cooking! *evil laugh* I just take them straight out of the freezer and put them in the Instant Pot, slow cooker, or oven.

The one exception is the category of meats in the slow cooker. Those should always be thawed first. It’s a food safety thing – it takes longer amount of time for the meat to heat up in the slow cooker, leaving the frozen meat in “the danger zone” for a potentially unsafe amount of time.

How long does it take to thaw frozen meats before cooking?

If you’re making meat in the slow cooker, I recommend thawing them in the fridge for 24 hours first.

If you’re using the Instant Pot / pressure cooker, you don’t need to thaw the meat first.

What about thawing and refreezing meat?

For food safety, I always use freshly purchased, unfrozen meat to assemble the freezer meals.

Once a recipe has been frozen, I don’t thaw it out and re-freeze it (remember: I just pull them right out of my freezer and cook them from frozen).

And once a recipe has been cooked, I don’t freeze it again. Most of these recipes make 6 servings so we just keep it in the fridge and eat it up over the next 2-3 days.

What do these terms mean?

  • Mirepoix: a trio of chopped onions, carrots, and celery.
  • Instant Pot: an electric pressure cooker.
  • High pressure: the setting for the pressure cooker.
  • Natural release: letting everything sit in the pressure cooker before opening the valve, rather than opening the valve immediately.

Can you put something straight from the freezer into the oven?

When using my Pyrex bakeware, I put them straight from freezer to oven several times (wiping off the extra water or frost on the outside of the container first). It was fine. Nothing shattered.

That being said, I know shattering does happen. I had a pan shatter on me a few years ago, completely unrelated to freezing, and it was slightly traumatic. I would feel really sad to get comments with reports of your shattering glass dishes, so you’ll have to decide for yourself what you feel comfortable with.

Here’s what the internet says:

If you want to be 100% safe, here are a few alternative things you can do:

  • Thaw your oven-bound recipes in advance.
  • Use aluminum pans which will not shatter.
  • Line your frozen glass containers with parchment so you can pull your lasagnas out and transfer them into a room-temperature pan for baking.
  • Buy one of these fun pans! They are specifically made to be “highly resistant to thermal shock.”

How do you avoid freezer burn on your freezer meals? 

Get all the air out of your storage containers before freezing.

I had some mild freezer burn on a few of my recipes because it’s hard to press out all the air when using a reusable container like a Pyrex bowl with a lid. To be honest, I didn’t think it was all that big of a deal. My belief on this is that the point when freezer burn really starts to become a bad-tasting problem is when it’s built up on stuff that’s been hanging out in your freezer for, like, months upon months. I wouldn’t worry too much about a little layer of frost on top of your soups in your Pyrex containers.

If it’s gonna bug you, plastic bags might be a better choice so you can really squeeze the air out.

Should you freeze the liquids with your freezer meals? 

Either way will work!

I generally DO NOT include the liquids (broth, water, tomato sauce, etc.) because I find it’s harder for them to fit in the freezer and then in the slow cooker or Instant Pot. I just add them right before cooking.

That being said, if you do include the liquids in your freezer containers, the nice thing is they’ll be COMPLETELY ready to go when you pull them out.

Can you use fresh vegetables in freezer meals? 

A lot of people say no, but I say heck yes!

All of these recipes have been tested using fresh AND frozen produce, including onions, carrots, celery, potatoes (!!), mushrooms, and squash. Personally, I didn’t notice a huge difference between fresh or frozen produce (possibly because most of the produce-forward recipes here are soups, and softened veggies never hurt a soup).

Some people swear that you should never use mushrooms or potatoes in freezer meals, but I did it, as did our tester, and neither of us had any issues. Lots of people say that your potatoes will turn black in the freezer, but neither I or our tester experienced that with russet potatoes OR sweet potatoes. The vegetables added great flavor, bulk, and nutrition, so I say yes! Use your fresh OR frozen veggies.

What can I say? I’m a rule breaker.

If you want to go with frozen produce, these are the frozen produce products I have used which save me a lot of time:

*One thing to note about the frozen mirepoix is that it’s usually a little heavier on the onions, so I often add a little extra chopped carrots or celery (simply because I prefer less onion). If you love onions, you’re all good.

How do you make the freezer meal process as fast and easy as possible?

  • You are in the right place! 🙂 Because these recipes are very time-friendly.
  • Buy pre-chopped fresh or frozen veggies. Use pre-chopped garlic and onions. This is a huge time-saver. Downside is that it generates more plastic waste and can be slightly more expensive, but it is EXTREMELY efficient!
  • Honestly, skip the measuring cups and spoons. Just eyeball it. I rarely measure for my freezer meals. These recipes are all pretty forgiving.
  • Don’t do too many at a time. I find that 4-6 per prep session takes me about an hour and a half, which is usually my limit for time and energy.

Do you need an Instant Pot to make freezer meals?

Here’s the thing – if you love the convenience of freezer meals and are not always great at planning ahead (thawing, long cook times, etc.), then YES! I think you would really, really love an Instant Pot for your freezer meals.

Here’s why I ADORE the Instant Pot for freezer meal recipes:

I decide what we’re having for dinner at 4pm, pop it out of the freezer and into the Instant Pot, and in have it done before 6pm! That’s with no advance thawing and minimal stress. You can’t do that with the slow cooker and you can rarely do it with the oven. I highly recommend an Instant Pot if you want to take full advantage of the convenience of your freezer meals!

Click here to see the Instant Pot that I use!

Are these freezer meals healthy?

Yes. I consider these freezer meals healthy because they are made with real food. Real food = food that is minimally processed, or single ingredient foods. Vegetables, meats, legumes, and whole grains are examples of real food.

Healthy means something different to everyone. For some people, the plant-based recipes will be healthy. For some people, the low calorie recipes will be healthy. For some people, the high protein recipes will be healthy. So the thing I keep coming back to when determining whether or not they are “healthy” is the inclusion of as many real, whole foods as possible.

A few of these recipes use prepared sauces – for example, a jar of marinara sauce. I normally prefer homemade sauces, but when prepping freezer meals, convenience and efficiency are top priorities which is why I think this is a perfect time to use the store-bought pasta or enchilada sauces. I recommend looking for “clean” versions of these sauces – avoiding added dyes, added sugars, etc. when possible!


If you have a favorite freezer meal that you’d like to share, or question, suggestion, or tip, feel free to drop it in the comments!

Yes, we read through all the comments and we love to hear what is working for you or what other resources we can add to make this freezer meal collection as helpful as possible.

Happy freezer meal prepping, everyone! ♡

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

seven − 1 =