Scan this QR Code to follow PureWow on Snapchat!
PureWow

The only thing better than a home-cooked dinner (or breakfast, or lunch) is one that takes almost no effort at all. But when you’re strapped for time, it’s easy to fall back on convenient staples like frozen pizza or takeout—we’re definitely guilty. So allow us to introduce you to our time-saving savior for homemade weeknight dinners: the freezer meal.

Meal-prepping and packing your freezer with fancy lasagnas and casseroles sounds time-consuming, but it’s easier to do than you’d think. A lot of simple foods you already make happen to be freezable and reheat like a dream. (If not, all it usually takes is a different baking dish or a modified cooking step to get them there.) Once your freezer is stocked, you’ll be able to save on weeknight prep time when the last thing you want to do is cook. Sound appealing? Start one of these 45 freezer meal recipes. 

Tips and Tricks for Freezing Meals:

- Stock up on freezer-safe baking dishes and silicone food bags, which are more eco-friendly than disposable aluminum tins and plastic bags.
- Storing food in smaller servings means it will freeze faster and allow you to reheat only what you need, reducing food waste.
- Label and date everything you freeze. Use the FIFO method (first in, first out) to organize your freezer so you use the oldest meals first and nothing goes bad.
- Choose freezer-friendly foods: Casseroles, soups, chilis, meat loaves and meats keep well. Foods with high water content (like lettuce) will become soggy when thawed. Fully cooked pasta can become mushy (but if you slightly undercook it before freezing, it will stay al dente).
- Most frozen meals will keep for about three months without a change in texture or flavor. Make sure they’re wrapped and stored airtight to avoid the dreaded freezer burn.
- Defrost food safely by transferring from the freezer to the fridge instead of thawing at room temperature. It’s slower, for sure, but it reduces the risk of foodborne illness.

RELATED: Freezing Bread: Everything You Need to Know to Avoid Ruining It

1. Spinach and Three-Cheese Stuffed Shells

Instead of baking this gooey number in a skillet, use a freezer-safe casserole dish or aluminum pan. When you’re ready to eat, thaw and reheat it in a 350°F oven until the cheese is bubbly and golden again.

Get the recipe

2. Mac and Cheese with Crispy Parmesan-Phyllo Crust

As if we didn’t love mac and cheese already, it also happens to freeze and reheat beautifully. This one is practically a work of art.

Get the recipe

3. Spicy Lemon-Ginger Chicken Soup

To make this simple soup even more make-ahead friendly, freeze the chicken and broth in separate containers, and assemble with fresh greens and jalapeños whenever you want to eat it.

Get the recipe

RELATED: 50 Chicken Soup Recipes to Warm You Right Up

4. White Turkey Chili with Avocado

This makes enough to feed eight, so we’re dividing it in half and freezing some for later. (The other half is for tonight.)

Get the recipe

5. Slow-Cooker Pork Carnitas

Who knew a slow cooker would be the secret to the fastest Taco Tuesday ever?

Get the recipe

6. Quick Congee

Congee, a type of rice porridge, happens to be as convenient as it is comforting when you make and portion it ahead of time. If only skipping the snooze button were that easy.

Get the recipe

7. Vegetarian Chili

One batch will feed you for an entire week, and the hardest thing you have to do is let the ingredients simmer.

Get the recipe

RELATED: The 25 Best Side Dishes for Chili

8. Slow-Cooker Chicken Potpie Soup

You’ve got two easy options here: Make the biscuit topping ahead and freeze it separately, or bake and assemble the day of (in less than 20 minutes!).

Get the recipe

9. Quiche with Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Crust

Think of this low-carb, gluten-free dish as freezer-friendly scrambled eggs that happen to serve a crowd.

Get the recipe

10. Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage

The thing about store-bought tortellini is that it feels fancy when it’s not. In fact, we’re pretty convinced it’s magic.

Get the recipe

11. Slow-Cooker Pulled Chicken

A giant batch of pulled chicken takes almost no effort at all, but the end result is so versatile that you’ll want to make it at least once a week.

Get the recipe

12. Slow-Cooker French Onion Soup

Stand by the stove and watch onions caramelize? We’d rather not. Thankfully, the slow cooker can do the hard work while we catch up on the second season of You.

Get the recipe

13. Perfect Meatballs with Cherry Tomato Sauce

We’ve never met a meatball we didn’t like. Good thing they take no time to make and keep for up to six months in the freezer.

Get the recipe

RELATED: 10 Unexpected Meatball Recipes You Need to Make for Dinner

14. Instant Pot Spicy Thai Butternut Squash Soup

Memorize this equation: Instant Pot + freezer meal + fastest weeknight dinner ever. Psst: Microwave the squash to make it easier to chop.

Get the recipe

RELATED: Here’s How to Cut a Butternut Squash Without Hurting Yourself

15. Ravioli Lasagna

Lasagna is well known for being freezer-friendly. We put our own spin on the classic and made it with ravioli, because why not?

Get the recipe

16. Loaded Baked Potato and Cauliflower Soup

Making the soup ahead leaves you plenty of time for the most important part: prepping the toppings.

Get the recipe

17. Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

Like pulled chicken, pulled pork is endlessly versatile and easily freezable. Do we see sliders in your future?

Get the recipe

18. Spicy Turkey Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seeds

Want to know a secret? This is just as delicious (and equally fuss-free) if you use a store-bought rotisserie chicken in place of the turkey.

Get the recipe

19. The Ultimate Chicken Potpie

Follow all the steps right until baking. It’ll go into the freezer with the crust still raw so it’s crisp and flaky when you get a craving.

Get the recipe

20. Roasted Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

When you want something healthy yet decadent but don’t have the patience, this mashup will serve you well.

Get the recipe

RELATED: 7 Macaroni and Cheese Recipes That Are on Your Diet

21. Mozzarella Meatball Frittata

Meet our secret go-to fridge-cleanout dinner. It takes 20 minutes to make and even less time to eat. Win-win.

Get the recipe

RELATED: Our 47 Favorite Egg Recipes Ever

22. Sunday Morning French Toast

Brunch is great in theory, but sleeping in might be better. Stash this one away for a sleepy Sunday morning that’s also delicious.

Get the recipe

23. Baked Mac-and-Cheese Bites

If you don’t think we’re baking a million of these babies and keeping them in freezer bags for future cocktail parties, think again.

Get the recipe

24. Savory Cheese Waffles

Eggo was on to something: Waffles keep well in the freezer and are so easy to reheat in the toaster. Ours have cheese, so they’re even better.

Get the recipe

RELATED: 22 Things You Can Make in Your Waffle Iron

25. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Easy Frittata

A frittata is the ultimate way to clean out your crisper drawer. You can swap the beet greens for kale, spinach or another hearty green, or go wild with roasted vegetables and cheese.

Get the recipe

26. Waffle Breakfast Sandwich with Chorizo

You stocked up on waffles, right? Put them to good use in a savory breakfast sandwich. Everything can be made ahead of time except the egg—just fry up it à la minute.

Get the recipe

27. Cauliflower Sweet Potato Burgers

For a convenient vegetarian dinner (or lunch), freeze these burgers before you get to the sautéing step. Pull them out of the freezer to thaw ahead of time, and when it’s time to eat, you’ll only need to cook them for about ten minutes.

Get the recipe

28. Market Corn Chowder with Summer Savory

Our M.O.? Make a batch in the summertime while the produce is fresh, then stock the freezer for those dark days of winter.

Get the recipe

29. Ina Garten’s Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Eggplant

If you don’t have individual ramekins, you can store this in one large baking dish. But we like the convenience that individual servings bring to the table.

Get the recipe

30. Vegan Lentil-Mushroom Burgers

Not today, store-bought vegan burgers. These lentil-based patties are made with ingredients you can actually recognize, and they hardly take up space in your freezer.

Get the recipe

RELATED: 35 Veggie Burger Recipes Even Meat-Eaters Will Love

31. Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Corn Chowder

With no cream in it at all, Gena Hamshaw’s hearty and healthy chowder is kind of a creamy soup miracle. Best of all, it freezes for up to two months.

Get the recipe

RELATED: 21 Super Satisfying Vegan Soup Recipes

32. Leek, Kale and Goat Cheese Strata

A strata is just a baked dish of eggs, bread and cheese. Keep this recipe in your back pocket and customize it with what’s already in your fridge. Just promise you won’t skip the cheese.

Get the recipe

33. Ina Garten’s Baked Spinach and Zucchini

We know for a fact that Ina herself is a fan of the freezer. We’re sure she wouldn’t mind if you whipped up this gratin for a later date, as long as you used good olive oil.

Get the recipe

34. Joanna Gaines’s Asparagus and Fontina Quiche

Prebake this pretty, savory pie before putting it in the freezer so Sunday brunch is just a thaw and a reheat away. File this one under “genius.”

Get the recipe

35. Crock-Pot Corn Chowder

We’re doubling the batch and making enough to last until Memorial Day. Don’t have fresh corn? Use frozen. No one will know the difference.

Get the recipe

36. Easy Indian-Inspired Kitchari Bowls

Kitchari is an Ayurvedic Indian stew that’s as soothing and restorative as it is easy to freeze. You can switch up the vegetables for anything you have on hand; we like to use whatever’s in season at the moment.

Get the recipe

RELATED: 12 Healing Ayurvedic Recipes to Try at Home

37. Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup

Puréed soups freeze and reheat like nobody’s business. The next time you get carried away with an apple haul, prep this for soup season.

Get the recipe

38. Freezer-Meal Wild Rice Soup

The last thing we feel like doing on a Monday night? Making dinner. This creamy soup goes from freezer to slow cooker or Instant Pot in no time, so dinner is handled.

Get the recipe

39. Breakfast Quesadilla with Soft Scrambled Eggs and Avocado Salsa

For on-the-go breakfasts all week long, stop just after assembly. Wrap the quesadillas tightly, freeze, then thaw in the microwave before toasting in a skillet the day of.

Get the recipe

40. Pork and Charred Cabbage Dumplings

Homemade dumplings are definitely a project, but they’re so worth the effort when it’s crunch time (read: dinnertime) and you can’t be bothered with a complicated dinner.

Get the recipe

41. Freeze-Ahead Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sandwiches

Cook, assemble and stash a bunch of these sammies in silicone storage bags for busy mornings. The whole thing can be reheated in a 375°F oven while you enjoy your coffee.

Get the recipe

42. Southwestern Lasagna

To make this spicy, cheesy number freezer-friendly, Phoebe Lapine suggests baking it in a lidded casserole dish instead of a skillet. Then the whole thing can be stowed away for a rainy—or lazy—day.

Get the recipe

RELATED: 20 Easy Pasta Bakes to Try for Dinner Tonight

43. Freezer-Meal Spicy Sweet Potato Peanut Stew

Freezer meal, meet Instant Pot. To make this vegan wonder in eight minutes flat (really!), you’ll prep and chop ahead of time, portion into freezer bags, then toss into the pot and go.

Get the recipe

44. Chinese Mushroom Dumplings with Sweet Chili Ginger Sesame Sauce

Thanks to store-bought wonton wrappers, your usual takeout spot doesn’t know what’s coming. Don’t get us started on the sweet chili ginger-sesame sauce.

Get the recipe

45. Pesto Roasted Veggie Breakfast Burritos

We know they’re called breakfast burritos, but if we’re being honest, we would eat them for lunch and dinner too.

Get the recipe

RELATED: 15 Freezable Ketogenic Recipes (So There’s Always Something Ready for Dinner)

From Around The Web