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

Save 2 Hours a Week by Meal Prep Batch Cooking

In the midst of being a super busy mom, you’ve no doubt been lured by the possibility of saving time in the kitchen through meal prep or batch cooking. Whether or not you’ve tried it is another story. I’m here to tell you: DO IT!!

Meal planning saves me loads of time, sure. But batch cooking, whether slow cooker batch cooking or just bulk cooking things that go in the oven, saves me so much time it’s silly. My philosophy is always to figure out how to find the magic ✨ middle where we merge healthy with efficient so we can make prioritizing our health doable. So as long as you’re choosing healthy recipes to batch cook, you’re golden.

So let’s dive into all the little ditty details of batch cooking, how it can save you loads of time, and why should start now. 

meal prep batch cooking, cook once eat twice

What is batch cooking?

Batch cooking can be called many things these days. Sometimes it’s called meal prep batch cooking, batching, bulk cooking, and some even refer to it as cook once eat twice, cook once eat all week, that sort of thing. 

But the general idea is that you cook a lot of something. This can be either a lot of one ingredient to be used in many meals, several of the same recipe to be used later, or 2-3 sets of several recipes, all to be cooked later.

My two favorite ways to take advantage of the time-saving benefits of meal prep batch cooking is to designate one day a month or quarter to batch cook a whole bunch of freezer meals that can be thrown in the slow cooker on super busy mornings, or to batch cook meals for the week. This means choosing up to six meals that either all have the same protein prepared the same way, or I’ll split the recipes into two different types of protein and batch cook the proteins and chop and bag the veggies one on meal prep day at the start of the week. 

Is batch cooking cheaper?

I dare to say yes, you’ll save money batch cooking. Here’s why. 

1- You’re usually using a recipe that has individual ingredients, so you can control the cost of those. Meaning, if there’s seasonal produce vs something out of season, you can choose to use or not use that recipe at that given time.

2- If you’re buying the ingredients separately, you usually buy a large box, can, or package of it. Which is usually thought of as buying in bulk and tends to be cheaper anyway. It all comes down to the fact that you pay extra for ingredients to be mixed together for you already. Think about how expensive one pre-made meal is in the freezer section at the store.

3- When you already have dinner done, even if it’s in the freezer, you don’t eat out.

What can I cook in bulk?

There are several different types of foods you can cook in bulk, so let’s break them down a bit.

Proteins: Chicken, ground beef or turkey, pork, other cuts of beef. I wouldn’t pre-cook fish, but shrimp is usually available pre-cooked and frozen at the store, so I’d recommend just buying that frozen instead.

Vegetables: Most veggies can be cooked in bulk. I would consider this though: When you can things, you only really blanch the vegetable, not fully cook it. So this may be a consideration before cooking vegetables if storing in the freezer.

Breads: Dough (unrisen), muffins, scones, biscuits, etc. are great to cook in bulk and pop in the freezer for later.

Eggs: You can easily bulk cook eggs (boiled style) in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker, cook large amounts of scrambled eggs, or fry up as many eggs as your skillet can handle. All of these can be stored in the fridge a few days, or you can store in the freezer for later, up to 3 months. And if you’re trying to batch them as a separate ingredient for cooking or baking later, you can either crack eggs into a muffin tin, flash freeze then store in the freezer in a freezer bag; whisk together and store the mixture in a freezer bag; or even separate the whites and yolks and store separately in the freezer for later. (Don’t ever freeze in the shell–the insides will expand, which is no bueno.)

Grains: Rice, quinoa, and other small grains cook up and store in the fridge a few days or freeze just fine.

Apart from these individual ingredients, it’s super easy and convenient to bulk cook things like soups, stews, chilis, casseroles, lasagna, meat with sauce (think spaghetti or even tacos), and fillings for things to pop in the fridge or freezer for later.

My number one recommendation would be to make a list of your family staple recipes you eat often, and make those sauces or casseroles, etc in bulk and store in the freezer for the month until you need them. That’s a sure way to get dinner done quick that you know everyone will love.

How do you store batch cooking?

This really depends on your reason for batching. If you’re just cooking for the week, storing it in the fridge is fine for several days. But if it’s for longer, it should go in the freezer. 

This doesn’t hold true, though, if you’re batch prepping mixes for things like muffins, trail mix, or that sort of thing. If it’s a dry mix it should store fine in a dark and cool pantry. This is still something that many put in the freezer if they have room, though. It’s supposed to help the flours and other ingredients from going stale or rancid. And usually doesn’t need to be ‘thawed’ since it’s dry.

What meals can I batch cook and freeze?

I don’t really believe there is one perfect meal that you could batch cook and freeze. But that’s awesome, because it means there are several types of freezer meals you can batch cook! Here’s a rundown: 

Casseroles, soups, bakes, sheet-pan dinners, smoothies or smoothie mixes, stews, meats with marinades, slow cooker or crockpot meals, and any of the others listed above (breads, muffins, grains, etc).

Ready to give meal prep batch cooking a go? Get started with the one-week meal plan! 👇

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Have you given batch cooking a go yet? Let me know your biggest challenge in the comments below!

And SHARE this article with anyone else who may be interested in saving HOURS every week by meal prep batch cooking! 💕

meal prep batch cooking recipes meal plan