ComScore

31 Postpartum Freezer Meals Any Parent Will Appreciate

Clear out your freezer

postpartum freezer meals
Nico Schinco/What’s Gaby Cooking/Liz Andrew

When your body’s mending and you’re running on no sleep, feeding yourself can fall to the wayside—this, every parent knows. So, whether you’re in nesting mode yourself or you just joined a meal train, these postpartum freezer meals are going come in handy when baby arrives. From comforting pasta bakes and soups to family-friendly numbers (like chicken fajitas and mac and cheese), they’re make-ahead friendly and they reheat like a dream. What’s more, the recipes below include meals that are high in protein (important for nursing and recovering from childbirth), dairy-free (since some breastfeeding newborns have a dairy intolerance) and child-friendly (for families with older kids in the picture).

56 Easy, Kid-Friendly Dinners The Whole Family Will Love


1. Easy Green Chicken Enchiladas

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, high protein, impressive presentation

They’re as easy as can be to make, and even easier if you use a rotisserie chicken instead of cooking the meat yourself. You can freeze these fully baked and reheat as needed, or just assemble them and add a few minutes to the cooking time to cook them from frozen.

2. Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: slow cooker recipe, <10 ingredients, kid-friendly

A giant batch of pulled chicken takes almost no effort at all (especially if you use your favorite bottled barbecue sauce), but the end result is so versatile that you’ll want to make a double batch. If you’re gifting to a new mom friend, don’t forget to include the buns and fixings.

3. Mac and Cheese with Crispy Parmesan-Phyllo Crust

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, vegetarian, crowd-pleaser

It’s cheesy, comforting and impossibly kid-friendly, but did you know mac and cheese also happens to freeze and reheat beautifully? And you thought you couldn’t love it more. The rosette topping is delicious and impressive, but for a low-effort alternative, just lay the phyllo sheets down flat.

4. Cauliflower Sweet Potato Burgers

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, high-protein

Most veggie burgers are disappointingly dry and crumbly. These, however, hold together beautifully when you sear them on the stove, making for a crispy crust and juicy interior. Wrap them individually in a double layer of foil before freezing to ensure they stay fresh.

5. Kale, Leek and Goat Cheese Strata

  • Time Commitment: 8 hours, 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, make ahead, vegetarian

A strata is a casserole featuring eggs, bread and cheese—a savory bread pudding, if you will. It’s equally appropriate for breakfast or dinner and can be customized with any vegetables you have in your fridge.

6. Spinach and Three-Cheese Stuffed Shells

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

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.

7. Instant Pot Carrot Ginger Soup

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Instant Pot recipe, vegetarian, dairy-free

Puréed soups freeze and reheat like nobody’s business, and since this one starts in an Instant Pot, it might be the fastest weeknight meal you’ve ever made. If you want to make this one vegan, use vegetable stock or water instead of chicken stock.

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

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegetarian, low-sugar

Ina Garten is the queen of low-effort, high-reward meals, and this baked pasta is no exception. To prep it for the freezer, bake it in one large pan instead of many small ramekins.

9. Mediterranean Sheet Pan Eggs

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: sheet pan recipe, crowd-pleaser, low-carb

Slice the thin layer of baked eggs into squares and freeze them, then thaw as needed for is topping toast, rolling into tortillas, sandwiching between English muffins or serving as the base of a breakfast salad.

10. Chipotle Cocoa Three-Bean Chili

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian, gluten free, one pot

Chili recipes are a dime a dozen, so it takes a lot for one to stand out. This version is zhuzhed up with a surprising addition: cocoa powder. It sounds outlandish, but the pairing of spice and chocolate makes the dish taste complex.

11. Perfect Meatballs with Cherry Tomato Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

If you don’t have a dozen meatballs in your freezer for pastas, sandwiches and eating straight up, it’s time to change that. Bake and freeze them separately from the sauce (which you can also freeze), then reheat just as many as you need later on.

12. Eggplant Parm Casserole

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, crowd-pleaser

This hearty casserole will feed a crowd and maybe even convince your toddler that they like eggplant—layers of bubbly cheese can have that effect. If not, well, that’s what frozen mac and cheese is for.

13. Spicy Slow Cooker Green Chicken Chili

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours, 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: slow cooker recipe, crowd-pleaser, gluten-free

It takes hours tending to a pot on the stove to get a supremely satisfying bowl of chili…unless you enlist your trusty slow cooker to do all the work. This one requires just 15 minutes of active prep and can be frozen for up to three months.

14. Baked Ziti

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

Want to have dinner ready at the drop of a hat? Make this beloved pasta in an aluminum pan, wrap it tightly and freeze for up to three months. When you’re ready to eat, make sure you give it 24 hours to thaw in the fridge, otherwise you’ll have to bake it for hours and hours to get it hot and bubbly. (Trust us, we’ve tried it.)

15. Classic Stuffed Peppers

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

We think of bell peppers as nature’s bowls, just waiting to be filled with something delicious. Here, that’s ground beef and cheese, but you could swap in turkey or shredded chicken too. (Assembled and baked, they’ll keep in the freezer for about a month.)

16. Freezer Meal Golden Soup

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, vegan

This vegan soup is surprisingly creamy, thanks to blended cashews and cauliflower. You can do all the prep in advance and stash the ingredients in a freezer bag, then pull it out anytime you need a freshly cooked meal ready in less than 20 minutes.

17. Freezer Chicken Fajitas

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: sheet pan recipe, dairy-free, kid-friendly

Tip: Swap the spices for store-bought taco seasoning if you’re really pinched for time (or just feeling lazy). You’ll season the chicken and prep the vegetables before freezing them. When you’re ready to serve, cook everything on a sheet pan and break out the tortillas and toppings.

18. Sweet Potato Chili with Turkey and Black Beans

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: high-protein, low-sugar

We added sweet potato to this chili recipe for a hearty meal that you can still feel good about when you go back for seconds. Portion it into a few pint or quart containers before freezing, so it’s easy to reheat and serve a few portions as needed.

19. Butter Chicken

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours, 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: high-protein, low-carb

Sure, takeout exists, but it doesn’t compare to a home-cooked meal. This indulgent Indian dish can be frozen in portions and reheated in a skillet once thawed. Serve it with rice, naan or both.

20. Creamy Vegan Lentil and Roasted Vegetable Bake

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegan, high-protein

Vegan casserole? It’s a thing. Caramelized roasted vegetables and hearty lentils are baked in a rich cashew sauce that’s creamy without any dairy. The crispy topping brings crunchy texture, but to make it gluten-free, you can substitute toasted pine nuts.

21. Spicy Lemon-Ginger Chicken Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten-free, high-protein, low-sugar

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.

22. Baked Coconut-Curry Meatballs

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, high protein, low-sugar

Curried lamb meatballs? Sounds fancy. Luckily, they’re easy to make and freeze using ground lamb. (If you can’t find it at the store, no sweat—beef, pork or turkey are all fine substitutes.)

23. Sausage, Corn and Poblano Chowder

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, one pot

This soup offers an appealing combination of spicy and sweet, plus it’ll keep in your freezer for up to three months. We suggest leaving out the chopped herbs until you serve it for the freshest flavor.

24. Philly Cheesesteak-Stuffed Mushrooms

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: high-protein, low-sugar, gluten-free

Yep, you can totally freeze mushrooms. As long as they’re cooked beforehand, they won’t suffer from texture changes. These are filled with beef, cheese, caramelized onions and peppers—we’re drooling.

25. Greek Turkey Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: high-protein, beginner-friendly

To freeze these flavorful burgers, mix and assemble the patties and wrap them before storing. The tzatziki is best when made fresh, but we’ve also been known to lean on store-bought sauce.

26. Cheater’s Sicilian-Style Pizza with Jalapeños and Honey

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

What new mom doesn’t want to bite into a slice of homemade pizza…that she didn’t have to make? Slice it before freezing so it’s easy to reheat individual pieces.

27. Creamy Lentil Stuffed Butternut Squash

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegan, high-protein

Lentils are high in protein and fiber, two welcome nutrients for any postpartum mom. Here, they’re cooking in a flavorful, creamy miso-tahini sauce, so you’d never know the dish is vegan.

28. Slow Cooker Bolognese

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours, 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, high-protein

This ragù tastes like you spent all day cooking but is almost entirely hands-off, and since the recipe makes a huge batch, you can eat some now and freeze the rest for another night. Serve it on your favorite pasta—we like pappardelle.

29. Freezer Meal Hawaiian Chicken Tacos

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

Prep the spicy-sweet filling in advance and freeze it in a bag, so when dinner rolls around you can simply dump everything in the Instant Pot and call it a night. Serve with tortillas and coleslaw—store-bought or homemade.

30. Slow Cooker Pasta e Fagioli Soup

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours, 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: slow cooker recipe, beginner-friendly

The trick to making this hearty soup taste like you made it that night is to add the pasta and fresh parsley after reheating. You’ll avoid soggy noodles and brown herbs, two things no one wants.

31. Pesto Roasted Vegetarian Breakfast Burritos

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian

When you’ve been up all hours tending to a new baby, day and night start to blur together. That’s nothing a few make-ahead burritos stashed in the freezer can’t fix. Pass the hot sauce.


headshot

Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...