With the cost of living rising, many of us are feeling anxious about our finances. You might be thinking of ways to tighten your purse strings and save cash where you can – but this doesn’t mean that your diet has to suffer.
Batch cooking and freezing the extra is an effective way to save both time and money – and it can be incredibly comforting knowing that there’s a tasty, nutritious meal in the freezer after a long day. Plus, it can also help to stop you from ordering a takeaway when you’re too tired to cook.
Many of the best freezable recipes use ingredients you probably already have at home – and because meals should last up to six months in the freezer, you can set yourself up until the end of the year.
With all of this in mind, here are 15 freezable recipes that make for easy meals later on.
1. Cottage pie
Cottage pie is one of those comforting dishes that makes all the difference on a damp, drizzly evening – and luckily, it’s a great meal to make in advance and freeze.
Beef mince is mixed with veggies like onion, carrot, and celery. Stock and a dash of red wine are then added to make a rich, savoury gravy; and lastly, the meat and veg are topped with mashed potato and baked in the oven.
For maximum health points, you can add more vegetables to your pie: frozen peas, sweet potato, and parsnips all work well. If you’d like to make a veggie version, simply swap the beef mince for veggie mince. Or, to make it vegan, just use plant butter and milk and leave out any eggs.
Try this easy cottage pie recipe from Olive Magazine.
2. Spicy pumpkin soup
Pumpkins are surprisingly versatile, but one of the best ways to use this tasty squash is to make a warming soup. Soups are one of the easiest recipes to double, so you can make a big batch and enjoy half now and freeze the rest for later.
Pumpkin soup is really simple to make, and to add even more flavour, you might like to make it spiced.
The curry pumpkin soup recipe below contains fresh ginger, curry powder, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon – all of which add a wonderfully fragrant and warming hit to the soup.
To make this soup vegan, just swap the chicken stock for veg stock and the cream for coconut cream or another non-dairy alternative. Serve with plenty of crusty bread!
Try this spiced pumpkin soup by Simply Recipes.
3. Smoked haddock, pea, and leek fishcakes
If you have leftover mashed potato, why not make some fishcakes? Not only do they freeze well, but they’re also easy to whip up, and work just as well for a weekend brunch or a quick weeknight supper.
Try serving with a poached egg on top and spinach on the side for brunch. Or serve with plenty of green vegetables or a salad for dinner.
To freeze, store the fishcakes in a plastic box and separate each layer with greaseproof paper. When it’s time to defrost, make sure you lay each cake out by itself to avoid them going soggy!
Try this smoked haddock, pea, and leek cakes recipe by The Guardian.
4. Sausage, spinach, and ricotta lasagne
If you love lasagne (and really, who doesn’t?!), you might like the sound of this easy sausage, spinach, and ricotta lasagne.
Traditional lasagne can be rather a labour of love, but this simple version only takes 15 minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to cook. Once it’s cool, you can pop it in the freezer and look forward to enjoying it another day.
Using sausages rather than mince cuts down cooking time, and you can use whatever sausages you like – both meat and vegetarian work well.
Chopped tomatoes and leafy spinach add plenty of vitamins while ricotta brings a creamy hit. This is a lasagne dish that’s not meant to be neat! Assembling it is as easy as mixing it together, topping it with cheese, and baking until golden.
Try this easy sausage, spinach, and ricotta lasagne by Tesco.
5. Chicken and mushroom hotpot
Hotpots are the perfect weeknight dinner. They’re delicious, hearty, and filling; quick and easy to prepare; and they freeze well too.
This recipe calls for chicken thighs, but you can use any leftover chicken you might have in the fridge at home. Packed with chunky veg, juicy mushrooms, and tender chicken, it’s an excellent, fuss-free, one-pot meal.
Though this recipe has a golden potato topping, raw potatoes don’t tend to freeze well, so if you’re making a big batch – some to eat now and some to freeze – it’s best to bake the hotpot before freezing. Otherwise, just freeze it without the potato topping. Serve with green beans or other seasonal veg, and some warm crusty bread to mop up all the flavoursome juices!
Try this chicken and mushroom hotpot recipe from Tesco.
6. Sweet potato, chickpea, and spinach curry
For a hearty, healthy dish that’s easy to freeze and packed with immune-boosting nutrients and spices, why not make a sweet potato, chickpea, and spinach curry? Not only is this dish really good for you, it’s also cheap and easy to prepare.
Most of us already have tinned tomatoes and chickpeas in our cupboards – then it’s just a matter of adding your fresh veg and spices.
This recipe is also really customisable. You can add extra veggies like chopped cauliflower, red pepper, or aubergine; throw in some cooked chicken when you add the tomatoes; add prawns or fish pieces while it’s cooking, or serve in a flatbread with a salad. Otherwise, it’s delicious by itself with rice.
Try this sweet potato, chickpea, and spinach curry recipe by Jamie Oliver.
7. Fajita bombs
If you love Mexican food – particularly fajitas – you’re definitely going to want to batch-cook this next recipe and pop half in the freezer!
Fajitas might not seem like the most freezer-friendly food. After all, half the fun is stuffing your soft, fresh tortillas with just-cooked veggies and protein, and smothering with toppings like salsa, guacamole, and cheese. But fajita bombs are another story…
By wrapping up lightly spiced vegetables and your choice of protein into a tortilla parcel, then baking in the oven until the shell is crisp, you’re creating the perfect freezable meal.
Once your tortilla bombs are cool, put each one in a freezer bag. Then, when you’re ready to reheat, just make sure you’ve got all your sauces, cheese, and fresh herbs in the fridge, and you have a tasty and quick midweek dinner!
Try these fajita bombs by Pinch of Nom.
8. Butternut squash and black bean chilli
Squash is a delicious but underused vegetable, so why not make the most of it by making this delicious roasted butternut squash and black bean chilli?
Not only is this dish rich, satisfying, and filling, but it’s also made mostly from store cupboard ingredients. With the exception of the squash and celeriac, you may already have everything you need at home.
This health-boosting chilli is packed with character, flavour, and texture, and you can tweak it to your own taste preferences. If you have other root vegetables at home, like carrots and parsnips, you can add them in too. After all, the more veggies you add, the more layers of flavour you’ll build. Serve with guacamole, rice, and soured cream for maximum enjoyment.
Try this butternut squash and black bean chilli recipe from The Guardian.
9. Cauliflower cheese pithivier
Cauliflower cheese is one of the most popular comfort foods around. For a special twist on this classic recipe, why not make a cauliflower cheese pithivier?
Pithiviers are French pies that traditionally contained sweet fillings, but these days are usually savoury. This pithivier is stuffed with leeks, cauliflower, onions, and a cheese sauce – and its gooey, oozy centre tastes wonderfully indulgent.
This recipe might look impressive, but it’s surprisingly simple and takes only five minutes to prepare. Plus, because it freezes so well, it’s the perfect dish to pop in the freezer for when you have guests or a cause for celebration. It also makes a wonderful vegetarian centrepiece for a Sunday roast!
Try this cauliflower cheese pithivier recipe by Tesco.
10. Chicken tikka masala
Chicken tikka masala is famously one of the UK’s favourite dishes, and this creamy, spicy curry is packed with comforting flavours.
Many of us find ourselves craving an Indian takeaway from time-to-time, and with food prices rocketing, making your own and freezing in advance is a great way to save money without missing out. Plus, homemade tikka masala is usually much healthier (and just as delicious!).
This recipe contains red peppers, tomatoes, and onions, so you’ll get plenty of veg too. And if you’re watching your cholesterol, you can always swap the cream for coconut milk, which will add a lovely creamy taste and flavour while also providing some good fats. If you’re veggie, or trying to reduce the amount of meat you eat, why not swap the chicken for cauliflower or paneer?
Try this classic chicken tikka masala recipe from BBC Good Food.
11. Seven-veg tagine
Tagine is the national dish of Morocco, and its earthy, fragrant flavours offer a wholesome pick-me-up on a dreary day.
Named after the conical pot it’s cooked in, tagine is a hearty stew that’s made with vegetables, spices. Meats like lamb or chicken are often added too. However, this particular tagine is vegetarian and contains seven different veggies that are packed with nutrients.
Infused with coriander, cumin, saffron, ginger, and a tomato stock, you definitely don’t need meat to boost the flavour here. Chickpeas add some plant-based protein, and the fresh mint and parsley bring a fresh, zingy twist. For maximum authenticity, serve with a healthy portion of couscous.
Try this seven-veg tagine recipe by Jamie Oliver.
12. Chicken, red pepper, and olive cacciatore
Cacciatore is a rustic Italian dish, and cooking a batch to freeze for later is a good way to make sure you’re getting enough immune-boosting veg in your diet this winter.
Though it’s traditionally made with rabbit, many modern versions use chicken instead. This one-pot chicken, red pepper, and olive cacciatore recipe below is packed with flavour and is a top choice for batch cooking. Plus, it freezes beautifully!
Ripe vine tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic are cooked with red wine, and fresh herbs like rosemary are added for further flavour. Stir the olives through, add the chicken, and cook until the meat falls off the bone (alternatively, you can make a veggie version by adding white beans or meat alternatives instead of chicken). Serve with pasta, rice, quinoa, or polenta for a comforting and quick midweek dinner.
Try this chicken, red pepper, and olive cacciatore recipe from Olive Magazine.
13. Minestrone soup
Minestrone is another recipe that’s endlessly adaptable, and ideal for batch cooking and freezing.
There’s not really a set recipe for minestrone – you can use whatever vegetables are in season. Add pasta, rice, and beans, and make it with either a meat-based stock, like chicken, or keep it veggie.
If you want to add pasta, the smallest shapes, like ditalini or orzo, are best – plus, they freeze better. Generally speaking, however, pasta isn’t the best freezer ingredient, so you might want to freeze your minestrone without pasta and then add some in while you’re warming it up later on.
You can add beans for extra protein and fibre; while white beans like cannellini beans are the most common, you can use whatever tins you have at home. Chickpeas work too!
Try this classic minestrone soup from Simply Recipes.
14. Classic fish pie
Fish pie is another really versatile dish that allows you to use your fish and seafood of choice.
Though white fish, like cod, haddock, or pollock, and smoked fish, like salmon and haddock, are most popular, you can use whatever you like. You can even use the ready-mixed fish pie fillings available in most supermarkets. Fish pie freezes really well and is special enough to serve to guests.
This recipe calls for white skinless fish like cod or coley, smoked haddock and peeled prawns, but again, you can use whatever you like or have.
The fish filling is mixed with leeks and a creamy sauce, and you can add in spinach and frozen peas to bulk out your pie and add extra vitamins. Mashed potato is the most common topping, but you can use puff pastry if you prefer – both freeze well!
Try this classic fish pie by Olive Magazine.
15. Campfire stew
We have officially entered stew season – and luckily, stews are one of the very best freezer meals around.
While this next recipe is warming, filling, and deliciously satisfying, it’s also very diet-friendly, coming in at just over 400 calories per serving.
Made with gammon joint, beans, chopped tomatoes, celery, carrots, peppers, and a range of spices – like paprika, cumin, and coriander – this campfire stew works best in the slow cooker.
Just throw in the ingredients in the morning, and by the afternoon, your home will be full of mouthwateringly smoky aromas. It’s an ideal meal to pull out of your freezer when you’re tired and hungry!
Try this campfire stew by Pinch of Nom.
Batch cooking and freezing – or simply cooking a bit extra and freezing the leftovers – is one of the smartest things you can do in the kitchen.
When you’re cooking a delicious, nutritious meal, making extra takes no time at all and costs very little – yet the rewards are significant. After you’ve had a long, busy day, knowing that you have a healthy, hearty meal waiting to be reheated at home isn’t only comforting, but it can also help to prevent you from ordering an expensive takeaway or snacking on junk food.
We hope these tasty meals have inspired you to make extra the next time you’re cooking to store in the freezer for a rainy day. For more tips on how to save time and money in the kitchen, you might be interested in our articles; 8 batch cooking recipes that will last all week and 10 of the best slow cooker recipes to save you time and money.
Do you often make meals to freeze for later? Or are you planning to do so this autumn and winter? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.