13 Winter Recipes That Freeze—and Defrost—Really Well

'Tis the season to stock the freezer.


Antonis Achilleos

Picture this: it’s the middle of winter, your family’s schedule is busier than ever, and you just placed your third takeout order for the week. Does this sound like you? We get it; meal prepping requires time and organization, and throwing together a well-rounded dinner every night is simply out of the question. This is when freezer meals come in to save the day. When it comes to cooking, there are countless recipes that are ideal for storing in the freezer for another day. In fact, some dishes taste even better after flavors have had a chance to marinate.

If you’re caught in a cooking slump and need some inspiration, we’ve put together a list of the best freezer-friendly meals so you can make dinner a breeze all winter long. In addition to being a time-saver, these dishes are also a money-saver, since nothing goes to waste. From hearty sauces to belly-warming soups, there’s something to satisfy every palate. 

01 of 13

Instant Pot Beef Ragu With Pappardelle

Instant Pot Beef Ragù With Pappardelle

It’s always a good idea to have some sort of meat sauce in your freezer, especially since it makes for such a versatile meal. You can serve this hearty ragu over fresh pasta, cooked potatoes, or creamy polenta for the perfect, well-rounded dish.

02 of 13

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

curried butternut squash soup

Antonis Achilleos

This ain’t your average butternut squash soup. Aside from being unbelievably delicious, this silky soup is loaded with nutrient-dense ingredients like fresh ginger, creamy coconut milk, and protein-packed tofu.

03 of 13

Cheesy Potato Frittata

Cheesy Potato Frittata Recipe
Victor Protasio

Can’t carve out time for breakfast? Make your mornings breezy with a slice of this satisfying egg, potato, and cheese combo. It’s truly everything you could want in a quick and easy breakfast.

04 of 13

Potato Tot Breakfast Casserole

Potato Tot Breakfast Casserole
Greg DuPree

Here’s another tasty breakfast option for busy weekday mornings. I mean, is there a better combination than eggs, cheese, and crispy potato tots all baked into one satisfying casserole? Feel free to customize this dish by adding your favorite breakfast meat or veggies—just make sure the meat is cooked through before adding it to the casserole!

05 of 13

Sweet Potato and Gruyère Turnovers

sweet potato and Gruyère turnovers
Hans Gissinger

In just an hour, you can have a big batch of these handheld turnovers to enjoy for lunch, dinner, or even breakfast. Since they call for store-bought pie crust, they’re incredibly simple to prepare ahead of time. Feel free to customize the filling with cooked meat or different vegetables, depending on what your family prefers.

06 of 13

Decadent Mac and Cheese

Decadent Mac and Cheese
Jen Causey

Want to know a secret to making weeknights easier? Make sure to always have some mac and cheese stored in your freezer. All you’ll have to do is thaw and bake it, and you already know your kids will be happy to eat it. Pair it with some simple steamed or roasted vegetables to make it a full meal.

07 of 13

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie
Jonny Valiant

If you’re a fan of Shepherd’s pie, you’re going to love this British staple that has similar flavoring. The biggest difference is that cottage pie uses ground beef instead of minced lamb, but it’s just as warm and comforting. While you can store cottage pie in the freezer for up to three months, you’re going to want to dig in on the first cold winter night.

08 of 13

Slow-Cooker Black Bean and Zucchini Chili

Slow-Cooker Black Bean and Zucchini Chili
Anna Williams

This veggie-loaded chili is hearty yet healthy, flavorful yet simple to make, and the absolute perfect meal to freeze since it will stay good for up to six months. Just thaw it, reheat it on the stove, and garnish with some fresh cilantro and tortilla chip strips.

09 of 13

Green Chile Enchiladas

Green Chile Enchiladas Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

Enchiladas are the ultimate meal to stash in the freezer, and this spicy vegetarian recipe is no exception. The filling consists of perfectly caramelized beans, corn, and onions, in addition to fragrant cumin and spicy Monterey Jack cheese. Once your enchiladas are formed, they’re tucked into a generous layer of salsa verde and cheese to tie it all together.

10 of 13

Four Cheese Lasagna

Natasia Hanratty

Whether you’re planning a dinner party or attending a potluck, a homemade lasagna is a great option for feeding a crowd. This recipe uses four different cheeses, ground beef, and a jar of your favorite sauce. Serve it with savory garlic bread and a side salad or vegetables.

11 of 13

Spinach and Lamb Meatballs

top view of six Spinach and Lamb Meatballs, one cut in half on white plate with a metal fork
Jennifer Causey

These meatballs are anything but ordinary since they call for lamb, spinach, mint, and spices like cinnamon and cumin. While you can certainly enjoy them over pasta, they are traditionally served with rice and a drizzle of a tangy yogurt-based sauce.

12 of 13

Pulled Pork and Poblano Bake

Pulled Pork and Poblano Bake
Antonis Achilleos

Need inspiration for a versatile, affordable dish? Stuffed peppers are always a good idea because they make it easy to use whatever you have on hand, and this recipe will quickly become a family favorite. The combination of smoky pork, sweet corn, Monterey Jack cheese, and spices is mouthwatering and satisfying.

13 of 13

Deep-Dish Eggplant Parmesan

Deep-Dish Eggplant Parmesan
Paul Sirisalee

The ultimate comfort meal is a hot, cheesy eggplant Parm, and knowing you have one ready in the freezer is a real-life saver. Whether you’re a vegetarian or want to partake in meatless Monday, serve this classic Italian dish with a side of pasta and a Caesar salad.  

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