10 Delicious + Easy Healthy Batch Cooking Recipes for Freezer Meals

Sure, batch cooking has saved my life some weeks, I’m not gonna lie. But batch cooking recipes for freezer meals is really one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s saved me countless hours in the kitchen, and countless days of mealtime stress. Having healthy freezer to slow cooker recipes is a must if you’re a busy mom. So let’s talk about the best tips for batch cooking for freezer meals.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links in which I get a small portion of the proceeds if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products I trust and love.

healthy batch cooking recipes for freezer meals meal prep

What is freezer cooking

Freezer cooking is basically assembling meals into a container (or baggie) to freeze, so that you can later either thaw then just slide into the oven, or dump into a slow cooker and BAM! You’re done.

They’re like the best thing since Spanx for stuff like the quarantine 15. (Freezer cooking can also be a form of batch cooking.) 

Assembling one-pot make ahead freezer meals dishes like this– especially when you set aside a day a week or even one day a month– basically gives you a free pass on any given night when you have one of these waiting in the freezer.

No more frantically scrounging around for a 15-minute recipe just to find you don’t have the ingredients–or compromising your anti-inflammatory dinners with ingredients that are no bueno for your body like sugar and refined flours.

No more expensive take out on evenings after a kid’s practice or late meetings. And no more flitting around the kitchen dodging kids and pets just to get dinner on the table.

It really is one of the best time management tools I’ve ever encountered as a working mom. Yes– I said time management tools. Know what else I’m gonna say? That time management is a form of self-care because it brings your stress levels down.

Whoa. Yep–just went there. My philosophy is to make the anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle doable by merging healthy + efficient. And batch cooking does just that (as long as your recipes are healthy.) 😉

batch cooking recipes for freezer meals

Freezer cooking tools

So the best way to create these magical batch cooking recipes for freezer meals is to first have the right tools. Here’s my go-to list of tools that I use for my healthy freezer meals prep sessions:

1.Freezer bags. Yeah, I know that sounds self-explanatory, but as a mom who can’t hear herself think in the store because kids won’t stop talking to me, I can attest that I’ve accidentally bought ‘storage bags’ instead of freezer bags more than once. Sigh. Ok, so one time I tried to just use them cause they’re cheaper and that ended in a hole in the bag and freezer burn. Lesson learned. I’ve also tried doubling the storage bags but then you’re spending double. So just use the bags that are made for the freezer, already.

Sol!mo gallon freezer bags 👇

2. Baggie stands. Ohhhhh these things make my life so much easier during crockpot to freezer meals prep sessions. I started out using a 4-cup measuring cup to hold the bag up, but when you’re prepping freezer meals in bulk, just one of these won’t cut it. Especially when you have liquids going in the bags. (And yes, I’ve had them dump raw meat juice all over the floor before.)

Baggie stands 👇

3. Slow cooker or Instant Pot. So, some people don’t know this, but the Instant Pot has multiple functions and one of those is a slow cooker function. So you need either of these if you’re planning to prep slow cooker freezer meals. I recommend the Instant Pot because you can do so many different things with it and it takes the space of ONE single small appliance.

✅ 8 Quart 7-in-1 Instant Pot 👇

4. Foil pans. Unless you have an overabundance of glass or metal baking dishes, and can make do with them being in the freezer for potentially a few weeks or months at a time, I recommend using foil pans for freezer meal recipes like casseroles, sheet pan dinners, or lasagna. They should come with a foil topper that folds over to seal it but I recommend still putting plastic wrap ON the food to keep out air before securing the foil lid.

9 x 13 Foil Pans with Lids 👇

5. Sharpies. I know lots of people like to make their baggies and foil pans look all fancy with special labels, but I’ve yet to see any that didn’t buckle under the pressure of being frozen and fall off. I don’t especially like playing ‘dinner roulette’. Just use a Sharpie and call it a day.

4-Pack Black Sharpies 👇

6. Ninja system. This is another one of those all-in-one appliances that I super love because of everything it does. This blender is crazy powerful, and when you buy the whole system, you also get the food processor bowl that does all the veggie chopping you can throw at it for freezer meal prep. It also comes with the ‘bullet’ blender cup and other smaller cups that grate stuff and even spiralize. LOVE this thing.

Ninja Mega Kitchen System 👇

7. Other miscellaneous items. This includes things like measuring cups and spoons, a good set of knives, and multiple cutting boards. I sometimes also use herb scissors because they make mincing fresh herbs a breeze, and the garlic press unless I’ve got minced garlic in a jar in the fridge.

Do you cook freezer meals before freezing?

Here’s the big question of the day. And the answer is usually NO. There are a couple of exceptions, like the ground meat in lasagna or the meat and mashed potatoes in Shepherd’s pie. There are some casseroles that you may need to precook meat or pasta, but the instructions will tell you. 

Also, you will cook part of the meal if you’re doubling a recipe (or tripling it) for mega meal prep batch cooking. Again–check the recipe.

What meals can I make to freeze?

By far the most popular meals to freeze are slow cooker meals. They’re super easy to throw everything into a baggie, freeze, then dump it into the slow cooker first thing in the morning. Other meals you can make to freeze include soups, stews, sheet pan dinners, casseroles, bakes, lasagna, and even taco fillings. {Grab 10 freezer meals below! 👇}

How to prep frozen meals

Frozen meal prep really depends on the meal. Many of them recommend thawing out in the fridge the day before, then putting in the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. This holds true for casseroles in general as well. You would just thaw it in the fridge the day before and then put into the oven to cook before dinner.

I will say this: I don’t know what is going on with the quality of meat lately, but I’ve had a terrible time with roasts and even chicken being horribly dried out by cooking all day in the slow cooker. One day by accident I forgot that I hadn’t thawed the frozen meal the day before, so I just put it in as a frozen chunk around noon and set the Instant Pot slow cooker setting to high. That’s the first time I had a slow cooker freezer meal recipe with super juicy chicken. Unfortunately, all appliances have their own quirks, as do all cooks, and all recipes. So they’re at some point or another going to be trial and error. 

Another tip for reheating an already cooked casserole that’s been frozen is to place the frozen casserole directly into the oven (NOT pre-heated, still cold), then put the oven temp to the correct cooking temperature so that it gradually heats. Then add 20-30 minutes onto the cooking time. (Don’t put a cold, frozen glass dish into a hot oven!)

So take advantage of bloggers who have tested recipes, and get started batch cooking recipes for your own freezer meals!

batch cooking recipes for freezer meals

What are your biggest challenges with batch cooking freezer meals? Let me know in the comments below!

Know someone who’d love 10 freezer meal recipes? SHARE this post!

healthy easy freezer meals for instant pot crockpot or slow cooker to batch cook
Laura Brigance, MS, CHC

Author: Laura Brigance, MS, CHC

Laura is a Nutrition Specialist and Certified Health Coach with a Master of Science in Nutrition. Her goal is to help women reduce inflammation, balance blood sugar, and regain natural energy with an Anti-Inflammatory Diet + Lifestyle.

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