Check out these 20 Easy Slow Cooker Freezer Meals that will help you stock up your freezer. These freezer-friendly crockpot recipes make dinner a breeze.
I know you may be scratching your head, wondering what exactly is a slow cooker freezer meal. Don’t worry; I will explain it, so it makes much more sense. These easy to prepare meals can be made up in advance; then, when you’re ready, dump them in the crockpot! All you need to do is figure out what sides and desserts to make, and you have a meal made in heaven (without a lot of effort!).
🥖 Why You Will Love These Recipes
Make Ahead | These are great family friendly recipes that are perfect for make ahead for those busy nights where you aren’t able to pull off working, after school activities and having homemade meals.
Quick and Easy to Prep | These aren’t going to set you back a lot of time. The whole premise is to make meals when it is convenient for you and then add to the crockpot when you know you’ll be busy.
Variety | You will love the fact that there is a good variety of different kinds of dinners here for you to try. Don’t worry, this is a lot more than just a bunch of soups.
Meal Prep | If you haven’t started to meal prep everything in your life yet, start with the How to Meal Prep 101 post I wrote for you and then you can come back to this one. If you are a veteran, you already know the time, money and stress that prepping saves you and your family. These meals just add to saving you even more.
Each recipe has its own list of ingredients. Thankfully, you can easily print off the recipe cards so you can organize what you have versus what you need. Make your shopping list and hit the market to pick it all up in one trip. I recommend keeping the most commonly used essentials on hand like:
- Broth – You can never have too much broth, and it goes with many recipes. Chicken, beef, or vegetable broth are all easily swapped for one another. Even better, make your own broth with leftovers.
- Vegetables – Keeping some basic veggies on hand like carrots, celery, and potatoes are perfect for preparing meals like these!
- Proteins – I like to base my recipes around which meats are on sale that week. I will buy extra to save money on the grocery bill over the long term. So, I usually have some chicken or beef around the house.
- Seasonings – You always will need seasonings and spices for these recipes. It’s nice to have a large array of spices to grab when you need them. Do yourself a favor and buy the large containers. If you price out the small containers from the grocery store, you’ll be shocked at the price!
⏰ How Long Does It Take To Prepare?
How long it takes to throw together these easy meals is going to depend significantly on how many recipes you are making. In most cases, you can put together several meal packets in just a few hours. Keep in mind, if you pick foods that have a lot of the same ingredients, you can save preparation time.
🍝 Benefits of Make Ahead Meals
Oh, there are SO many wonderful reasons to make these delicious meals. I will give you a breakdown of the biggest reasons to consider this idea.
Time – My number one reason for all of this freezer meal prep is saving time! You will be amazed by how much time you have when you don’t have to be in the kitchen every single night. Yes, you might spend a couple of hours preparing the freezer meals on the weekend, but the day you are ready to cook, you can just dump and go.
It’s Easy – You don’t have to be a chef to make these! If you’re just starting out in the kitchen, I promise they are foolproof recipes that you can rarely mess up. And if you happen to have kiddos in the house, I’m sure they would love to help you prepare them too.
Huge Money Saver – Think about all the money that is spent on take-out. You can practically avoid it altogether except for special occasions with a little bit of prep work. I don’t know about you, but I feel so much better when I can be frugal when it comes to food. Food is SO expensive, and there are so many other things I would rather spend my money on.
You’ll Get Multiple Meals – Unless you have a large family or some hungry football-playing teens, odds are you’re going to end up with leftovers. This is fantastic because then you also will have an easy lunch too. Just toss it in the microwave for a couple of minutes and enjoy a hot meal without the fuss.
⚠️ Be Careful With Uncooked Proteins
I am paranoid when it comes to mixing raw meats in with veggies. I know that they will be immediately frozen, but it still gives me the willies! To solve that, I put the meat in a separate Zilpoc baggie and place that in the larger freezer bag. It keeps the food separated, but together in the same container. Win win!
The method for storing freezer meals that makes the most sense is to use freezer bags. These are usually a bit thicker plastic than regular Ziploc bags, and the zipper is more secure. You can fill the bag around ⅔ full and then push out the excess air. When you’re ready to cook it, grab it out of the freezer and place it in the fridge. Then, once it’s thawed, pour it in the crock pot.
Just don’t forget to write on the bag what’s in it and the date it was prepared. You might think you will remember, but I promise when it freezes, they all look the same. That has never happened to you right? My husband jokes that I serve him “mystery meat” when I give him something and I can’t remember what it was — I’m sure he liked it, so he’s fine! 😁
If it helps, try my editable freezer labels. Just fill it out and stick it on the bag. Easy!
🥛 What Foods Can’t You Freeze?
Unfortunately, there are several foods that just don’t do well when they are frozen. Whenever possible, try to avoid freezing these:
- Anything That’s Cream Based – Think of things like alfredo sauces or creamy soups. They tend to separate when you try and reheat them, and the texture is just off.
- Cucumbers – They are pretty much made of mostly water. When you freeze them, the water solidifies, and they just have a very undesirable texture after that.
- Lettuce – Much like cucumbers, the texture and flavor get ruined once it’s frozen.
- Pasta That’s Overcooked – If you attempt to freeze pasta that’s a little overdone, you can expect to have a slimy, mushy mess! You can freeze pasta if it’s been cooked al dente.
- Egg Whites – If you have some cooked egg whites and don’t want to waste them, you can’t save them by freezing. The texture will become really rubbery and not appealing at all.
- Marshmallows – I don’t recommend eating a frozen marshmallow unless you prefer them to be hard as a rock! They don’t defrost well at all, either.
⏱️ Time Saving Tips
I’ve already covered that you are going to save a lot of time, but there are even more things you can do to make it even easier. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Invest In A Vegetable Chopper – Whether it’s a food processor, a handheld dicer or chopper, you’re going to need one. Don’t go for the cheapest thing you can find, because many vegetables are hard and you don’t want it to break after the first use or two.
- Chop Everything At Once – It’s way easier if you’re preparing several meals to chop similar foods all at once. For example, chop the carrots for all the recipes instead of one dish at a time. You will save you TONS of time. Then keep all of them in one bowl and grab what you need for each freezer meal.
- Use High-Quality Freezer Bags – You don’t want to go to all this trouble only to grab a meal and find out its freezer burnt. These aren’t that much more expensive, and you’re already saving money.
- Label Everything – If there is one crucial step you don’t’ want to skip, it’s labeling. Just use a sharpie marker and write the date and what the meal is. You can also write any instructions for cooking, as well.
- Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew – Pun intended! Anyway, don’t go crazy and make too many recipes at once. If this is your first time or two it can get a little overwhelming. It’s better to try a handful of recipes at a time. Then once you feel comfortable you can always add more recipes the next time.
- Double Up The Use Of Your Instant Pot – Did you know that your Instant Pot can serve double duty as a slow cooker? It can! In fact, I made these Slow Cooker Turkey Legs with mine. Just make sure to open the pressure relief valve all the way before you set it to slow cooker mode. Alternatively, there is a glass lid you can buy for the Instant Pot that replaces the tight sealing lid you use when pressure cooking. Pretty cool, right?
Helpful tip: When I make a Costco run, I grab the large packages of chicken breasts and use these recipes to create several meal prep freezer meals for the slow cooker. Plan ahead and grab that ONE MILLION count freezer ziplock bag box from Costco too! 🙂