15 Make-Ahead Freezer Bag Meal Recipes

Written by Carly Hallman

Master the whole week in one afternoon with our list of 15 healthy make-ahead meals that can go right from your freezer into your slow cooker! We’ve found some of the best freezer meal recipes for families who need cheap and delicious dinners during the week but can’t spend hours cooking. Crock-Pot freezer meals are all the rage right now, with hundreds of options for every family. Try one of these easy-to-make freezer bag meals and see how you like it! Or go all in and create your own once-a-week freezer meal plan.

Keeping Dump Dinners Safe

First, you might ask, “Is it safe to freeze a meal together like that?” The answer is “absolutely!” Both businesses and cooks make many kinds of make-ahead dinners, and it’s perfectly safe. It’s just essential to freeze foods for a safe amount of time, make sure that each ingredient isn’t frozen for too long, and make sure the meals stay consistently at a low temperature. (The USDA advises the 40/140 rule: Food should be kept below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.) Then, when you’re ready to throw it into your slow cooker, it’s important to make sure the meal is heated thoroughly. Some foods are riskier than others, but most are perfectly safe. Knowing how to cool and thaw your freezer meal properly will help to keep away bacteria and also help the taste.

Make Ahead Freezer Bag Meals

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15 Make-Ahead Freezer-Bag Recipes

Cheap Dump-and-Go Meal Plans for the Slow Cooker

Recipe Name Ingredients Add Instructions Servings Source
French Onion Chicken
  1. French onion soup (15-ounce can)
  2. Sour cream (½ cup)
  3. 3-4 chicken breasts
Rice
  1. Dump bag into slow cooker after thawing overnight.
  2. Cook in slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours or until done.
  3. Serve on cooked rice.
Servings: 6 Stephanie Ertel, stockpilingmoms.com
Coconut Quinoa Curry (Vegetarian)
  1. Sweet potato
  2. Broccoli crown
  3. ½ of a white onion, chopped
  4. Chickpeas (1 15-ounce can)
  5. Diced tomatoes (1 28-ounce can)
  6. Coconut milk (2 14.5-ounce cans)
  7. Quinoa (¼ cup)
  8. 2 minced garlic cloves
  9. Ginger (1 tbsp.)
  10. Tumeric (1 tbsp.)
  11. Tamari sauce (2 tsp.)
  12. Miso (1 tsp.)
  13. Chili flakes (½ tsp.)
1 cup water
  1. Dump bag into slow cooker with 1 cup of water.
  2. Cook on high for 3-4 hours.
Servings: 6-8 Alyssa, simplyquinoa.com
Spicy Orange Chicken
  1. Sliced red peppers (1 pound)
  2. Coconut oil (2 tbsp.)
  3. Orange juice (2 tbsp.)
  4. Minced ginger (1 tbsp.)
  5. Red pepper flakes (1 tsp.)
  6. 2 pounds of chicken breasts
  1. Dump bag into slow cooker.
  2. Cook for 8 hours on low.
Servings: 6-8 Jill, bloglovin.com
Lemon Butter Chicken
  1. Peas (1 pound)
  2. Butter (2 tbsp.)
  3. Lemon juice (2 tbsp.)
  4. Minced garlic (1 tbsp.)
  5. Black pepper (1 tsp.)
  6. 2 pounds of chicken breasts
  1. Dump bag into slow cooker.
  2. Cook for 8 hours on low.
Servings: 6-8 Jill, bloglovin.com
Homemade Minestrone (Vegetarian)
  1. Water (2 cups)
  2. Vegetable stock (4 cups)
  3. A Parmesan rind
  4. Tomato paste (2 tbsp.)
  5. Dried oregano (1 tsp.)
  6. Rosemary (½ tsp.)
  7. Bay leaves (2)
  8. Sun-dried tomato pesto (¼ cup)
  9. Diced tomatoes (2 14.5-ounce cans)
  10. Carrots (1 cup)
  11. Celery (1¼ cup)
  12. Onion (1½ cup)
  13. Minced garlic (4-5 cloves)
  14. Salt and pepper
  1. Red kidney beans (1 15-ounce can)
  2. Great Northern beans (1 15-ounce can)
  3. Zucchini (1½ cups)
  4. Pasta (1 ½ cups)
  5. Green beans (1 cup)
  6. Spinach (2½ cups)
  1. Dump bag in cooker and heat for 6-8 hours on low.
  2. Add beans, zucchini, and pasta and cook for another 25 minutes.
  3. Add green beans and spinach and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Serve.
Servings: 6-8 Marzia, littlespicejar.com
Jerk Pork
  1. Jerk seasoning (3 tbsp.)
  2. Minced garlic (4-5 cloves)
  3. Lime juice (¼ cups)
  4. Orange juice (½ cup)
  5. Red onion (2, chopped)
  6. Cilantro (2 tbsp.)
  7. Pineapple chunks (1 cup)
  8. Boneless pork chops (2 pounds)
Rice
  1. Dump bag and cook for 8 hours on low.
  2. Serve on rice.
Servings: 8 Lisa, onceamonthmeals.com
Mushroom Barley Stew (Vegetarian)
  1. Baby bella mushrooms (1 pound)
  2. Carrots (2, sliced)
  3. Celery (1 stalk, diced)
  4. Onion (1, diced)
  5. Diced tomatoes (1 14.5-ounce can)
  6. Pearl barley (1 cup)
  7. Minced garlic (2 cloves)
  8. Basil (1 tsp.)
  9. Salt and pepper
Vegetable stock (6 cups)
  1. Dump bag and add stock before cooking.
  2. Cook 8 hours on low.
Servings: 6-8 Melissa Griffiths, superhealthykids.com
Lentil-Butternut Squash Curry (Vegetarian)
  1. Onion (1, chopped)
  2. Red or brown lentils (2 cups)
  3. Carrot (1, sliced)
  4. Coconut milk (1 14.5-ounce can)
  5. Butternut squash (2 cups)
  6. Diced tomatoes (1 14.5-ounce can)
  7. Curry powder (1 tbsp.)
  8. Salt
  1. Water (4 cups)
  2. Rice
  1. Dump bag and add water before cooking.
  2. Ladle in more water if the soup is too thick.
  3. Cook for 6-8 hours on low.
  4. Serve with rice or flatbread.
Servings: 8 Lindsey Johnson, helloglow.co
Beef Stroganoff
  1. Apple juice (½ cup)
  2. Onion (1, diced)
  3. Beef stock base (1 tbsp.)
  4. Baby bella mushrooms (1 pound)
  5. Minced garlic (2 cloves)
  6. Salt and pepper
  7. Stew meat (1 pound)
  1. Water (1 cup)
  2. Sour cream (1 cup)
  3. Egg noodles (1 package)
  1. Dump bag and add water before cooking.
  2. Cook for 8 hours on low.
  3. Stir in sour cream at the end, just before serving.
  4. Cook egg noodles and serve.
Servings: 6-8 Melissa Griffiths, superhealthykids.com
Sweet Fire Chicken
  1. Water (1 cup)
  2. Sugar (2/3 cup)
  3. Sweet red chili sauce (2 tbsp.)
  4. Red pepper flakes (2 tsp.)
  5. Minced garlic (2 tsp.)
  6. Pineapple chunks (1 can)
  7. Red bell pepper (1, chopped)
  8. 3-4 chicken breasts
  1. Water (4 tbsp.)
  2. Cornstarch (3 tbsp.)
  3. Rice
  1. Dump bag into slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high 3 hours.
  3. Whisk water and corn starch and pour into pot. Stir, then cook another 30 minutes.
  4. Serve over cooked rice.
Servings: 6 Tiffany, lecreamdelacrumb.com
Cilantro Lime Chicken
  1. Cilantro (1 bunch, chopped)
  2. Corn (1 16-ounce bag)
  3. Minced garlic (2 cloves)
  4. Red onion (½, chopped)
  5. Black beans (1 15-ounce can)
  6. Lime juice (2 limes)
  7. Cumin (1 tsp.)
  8. Salt and pepper
  9. 3-4 chicken breasts
Tortillas
  1. Dump bag into slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Shred meat and serve on tortillas.
Servings: 6 Ashley Marx, ashleynoelbarnes.blogspot.com
Ranch Pork Chops
  1. Ranch seasoning mix packet
  2. Cream of chicken soup (2 cans)
  3. 3-4 pork chops
Potatoes
  1. Dump bag into slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low 4-6 hours.
  3. Serve with potatoes and/or your choice of side.
Servings: 4-6 Amy, pennywisecook.com
White Chicken Chili
  1. Onion (1, chopped)
  2. Minced garlic (1 tsp.)
  3. Cumin (2 tsp.)
  4. Oregano (2 tsp.)
  5. Chopped green chilies (1 4.5-ounce can)
  6. Great Northern beans (2 15-ounce cans)
  7. 3-4 chicken breasts
  1. Chicken stock (2 15-ounce cans)
  2. Monterey Jack cheese (12-ounce package)
  1. Dump bag into slow cooker and add chicken broth.
  2. Cook on high for 6-8 hours.
  3. Shred chicken with forks.
  4. Stir in cheese.
  5. Serve.
Servings: 6 Onecrazyhouse.com
Cauliflower Bolognese (Vegetarian)
  1. Minced garlic (1 tsp.)
  2. Red onion (¾ cup)
  3. Oregano (2 tsp.)
  4. Basil (1 tsp.)
  5. Diced tomatoes (1 28-ounce can)
  6. Vegetable stock (½ cup)
  7. Red pepper flakes (¼ tsp.)
  8. Salt and pepper
  9. Cauliflower (1 head)
Regular or zucchini Noodles
  1. Dump bag into slow cooker and cook on high for 3.5 hours.
  2. Smash cauliflower to break up florets.
  3. Serve over your choice of noodles.
Servings: 4-6 Alissandra Maffucci, Inspiralized.com
Pepper Steak
  1. Garlic powder (½ tsp.)
  2. Beef bouillon cube (1)
  3. Onion (1, chopped)
  4. Stewed tomatoes (1 14.5-ounce can)
  5. Soy sauce (3 tbsp.)
  6. Sugar (1 tsp.)
  7. Stew meat (2 pounds)
  1. Red bell pepper (1, sliced)
  2. Green bell pepper (1, sliced)
  3. Water (1 tbsp.)
  4. Cornstarch (1 tbsp.)
  5. Rice
  1. Dump bag into slow cooker and cook 2-6 hours on low.
  2. Add sliced peppers, water, and cornstarch 1 hour before serving.
  3. Serve over rice or noodles.
Servings: 4-6 Brandi Burgess, auntbeesrecipes.com

Some Foods That Don’t Freeze Well

  • >Cabbage
  • >Lettuce
  • >Cucumbers
  • >Potatoes
  • >Cooked pasta
  • >Cooked rice
  • >Eggs
  • >Mayonnaise
  • >Cheeses
  • >Deli Meats

Sources:

Keeping Freezer Meals Delicious

That being said, a lot of foods are perfectly safe to freeze but aren’t quite optimal taste-wise. Some foods might suddenly get a mushy, measly, or rubbery texture that’s not appetizing, such as cabbage, many types of lettuce, potatoes, cooked pasta or rice, citrus fruits, and gelatins. Other foods will separate or lose their consistency, like creams, icings, egg whites, custards, mayonnaise, and many milk sauces. Most foods can be frozen just fine, though; it’s a matter of preparing the ingredients properly before being frozen. So if you ever see freezer bag meals with cooked pasta or one of these other non-freezer-friendly ingredients, make sure to read the instructions in detail. For a lot of healthy freezer meals, recipes include secondary ingredients you add at the end or cook as the meal is finishing up.

Trying New Recipes

There are dozens of Crock-Pot dump dinner recipes that include chicken; all you need to do is add some veggies, fat, acid, and different spices. Beyond chicken breast, pork chops and stew meat are perfect for slow cooking. Celebrating meatless Mondays? There are quite a few choices of vegan and vegetarian freezer meals that you can make ahead as well. For most Crock-Pot dump meals, recipes are usually relatively healthy, especially when compared to the extreme amount of calories in restaurant foods. Naturally, there are a lot of comfort food freezer-friendly meals you can make in advance, too, like chicken pot pie or beef stroganoff.

Saving Money

Getting a bunch of groceries, breaking them down, and having a week’s worth of food is one of the perks of make-ahead freezer meals. The other perk is that most of the time, these recipes are very cheap: Take the lemon butter chicken recipe by Jill, for instance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a pound of chicken is about three dollars, the amount of butter would be under two dollars, a lemon under one dollar, and peas (which are typically around the same price as carrots) would be under a dollar. Even if your grocery store is expensive, the meal would be under ten dollars, making it a fraction of the cost of restaurant meals or even prepared meals. Remember: the cost of creature comforts can add up! Every one of these recipes you could quickly make for under $20, and they often will serve a family of four.

So if your resolution this year is to save money, cut down on calories, and keep your family fed without going insane, having once-a-week meal-planning sessions and packing away five or six slow cooker freezer meals into baggies can help you reach your goals! Once you get going, creating a dump-and-go meal plan is pretty easy. Create stress-less weeks full of delicious food with our list of 15 make-ahead slow-cooker freezer meal recipes.

Feel free to cite the original creators of these delicious recipes:


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