Some days all you want to do when you get home from a long day of work is curl up on the couch with a binge-worthy TV show and a great meal, but even thinking about what to cook feels like too much effort. For nights like these, you usually have two options. You can finally eat the backup frozen pizza that has been sitting in your freezer for at least six months, or you can give into the temptation of redownloading the DoorDash app after vehemently swearing it off in the name of saving money in 2024. We’ve all been there, and we all know who wins out in this scenario. Lucky for you, there’s a way to enjoy both takeout-level instant gratification and the satisfaction of a home-cooked meal. The solution is make-ahead freezer meals.
Freezer meals don’t just save you money—they can also save you time during the week. If you’re reheating frozen breakfast, you can get an extra hour of precious sleep. If you’re reheating lunch, you can use your lunch break to actually take a break instead of spending it cooking. You’ll be thanking your past self for taking one thing off your metaphorical plate and putting a very tasty something onto your literal one.
Keep reading for tips on how to get started freezing your meals, plus some of the best freezer meal recipes to try out.
Our Best Tips for Make-Ahead Freezer Meals
If you already love to meal prep on Sundays, you can easily work freezer meal recipes into your routine. Or you could double up a recipe, eat part of it for dinner, and freeze the rest for the future. To ensure these meals taste just as good after being frozen, proper food safety practices are important. According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service, most cooked foods are safe to store in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Just make sure to keep frozen food airtight to avoid freezer burn. For an extra layer of protection, you may want to wrap food in plastic wrap or foil before storing inside a freezer-safe food storage container or zip-top bag.
Some recipes include specific freezing and reheating instructions, but if not, here are a few good rules of thumb. If you’re reheating soup or stew, your stovetop or slow cooker will allow you to heat it evenly without boiling. You can also reheat frozen meals in the oven if you have extra time to wait for it to preheat. In a pinch, the microwave is great for reheating food quickly, but if you want to crisp something up, popping it into the air fryer should do the trick. For anything uncooked, be sure to let the food thaw in the fridge, cold water, or the microwave before cooking.
The Best Freezer Meal Recipes
Scroll on for some recipes for freezer meals that are just as convenient as they are tasty.