Today, I’m going to share my top 10 Easy Freeze Ahead Lunches for Large Families. (If you haven’t seen it yet, you can find my top 10 picks for freeze-ahead breakfasts here.) I love making freeze-ahead meals because it helps to cut down on the time I spend in the kitchen. Because we homeschool and I work from home, my days are pretty full, so having meals made ahead of time that we simply reheat is a true blessing to this mama of 7!
Burritos- Our number one choice for freeze ahead lunches
Burritos are a staple in the Kilcoyne home! We make all kinds using different ingredients. Some of our favorites are:
- Bean, rice, and cheese
- chicken, peppers, and cheese
- beef and cheese
- black bean and sweet potato
- tofu and roasted veggie
They are super cheap to make, easily made in bulk, and keep very well in the freezer. Here’s my basic recipe for Burritos. Once you know the basics, you can easily swap out ingredients for your own taste preferences.
Soups and chilis
We are definitely a soup and chili family! I make a variety of soups to store in the freezer, especially during the winter months. I try to store about 2-4 cups of soup per freezer bag and then just pull them out as needed for lunches.
Sometimes I make a few batches of cornbread muffins or biscuits for the freezer too so that we have something quick to serve with the soups.
Here are a few of our favorites that I try to keep in the freezer most months of the year:
- Crockpot Chicken Soup from Leftover Roast Chicken
- Crockpot Chili
- Crockpot Hamburger Soup
- White Chicken Chili
- Slow Cooker White Bean Stew
- Vegan Lentil Stew
Sometimes I just make soup or stew with whatever I have on hand. Once you start making soups, you can quickly make adjustments to recipes or make up your own. The only thing you have to keep in mind is whether or not an ingredient is freezer friendly. For example, I never freeze soups that have pasta in them because the pasta gets too mushy.
If a recipe calls for pasta, I usually add it when I am reheating it on the stove or I will cook the pasta to add to the soup once it is reheated.
My kiddos love sloppy joes for lunch so I make a large batch in my crockpot, cool the mixture, and then portion it out for lunch servings into freezer bags. A quick reheat in the microwave and lunch is ready!
I make two types:
Chicken, beef, or lentil, we are a Tacos family thru and thru! I usually rotate the type of tacos I make on a weekly basis for Taco Tuesday, but for the freezer, I rotate the type monthly for convenience. I make a large batch of whatever kind I am making and then portion it out into lunch meal portions for the freezer.
We reheat the mix in the microwave and set out all the fixings for a yummy lunch!
Pizza pockets or mini pizzas
These are so easy to make and of course, the kids love anything pizza flavored. All you have to do is use your favorite pizza dough recipe and your favorite pizza sauce and toppings.
For pizza pockets, you roll out the dough into a rectangle and put a tablespoon of sauce, and your toppings on one half of the rectangle and then you fold the other half over top and press to seal. Place on a sheet and flash freeze then transfer the pizza pockets to a freezer bag until you are ready to make them.
Pop them in an oven from frozen and bake until golden and heated through. You CAN bake them ahead of time and freeze them fully baked and simply reheat them in the microwave for an even quicker lunch. We’ve done it both ways with no issues.
For mini pizzas, you just make personal-sized pizzas and freeze them. Then, wrap them and store them in Ziploc bags. Pull them out of the freezer and bake from frozen like you would any store-bought frozen pizza.
Bierocks A Favorite for Freeze-Ahead Lunches
I grew up enjoying bierocks as a child that my grandmother made. I absolutely love them and so do my children. A german roll that is stuffed with cabbage and beef, bierocks freeze beautifully and reheat like a dream. They’re soft and savory with a hint of sweetness from the bread.
To make them, follow the recipe here.
Quesadillas are a favorite with kids and they can easily be made in advance and frozen. We usually make three types: Black Bean and Cheese, Just Cheese, and Shredded Chicken and Cheese.
I like to cook up a big batch, slice it into quarters, and then freeze it. Whenever the kids want them, I pull out the amount we need and reheat them in the microwave or air fryer.
PB & J The easiest of Freeze-Ahead Lunches
PB & J sandwiches freeze and thaw well as long as you make them right. The trick is to put peanut butter on both sides and sandwich the jelly in between the two.
This way, when you thaw the sandwich, the bread won’t get soggy. You’ll want to flash freeze the sandwiches first before storing them in freezer bags to make sure they maintain their shape. When you want to serve them, simply pull out the amount you want about an hour before to thaw.
You can freeze other types of sandwiches ahead of time but there are a few steps to take to make sure you don’t end up with soggy sandwiches. These are great for field trips, park days or road trips when you know you will need to pack food. Here is a post that is helpful for making freeze-ahead sandwiches: https://thebatchlady.com/recipe/freezable-sandwiches/
We LOVE pierogis! They are delicious and filling and perfect for a quick lunch. You can make them homemade, which we love most, but they ARE time-consuming to make. Totally worth it, but time-consuming nonetheless!
I usually make homemade pierogis once or twice a year and they don’t last long. For the rest of the year, I buy them frozen at my local grocery store. Mrs. T’s Pierogis are the ones I usually buy and they cook up quickly from frozen.
Mini Pot Pies
You can definitely buy them frozen in the grocery store, but mini pot pies are really easy to make at home. You do need to have tins to put them in, which I buy from Amazon. (aff. link) but other than that, they are easy to make.
This is what I do:
I make pot pie fillings in advance and keep those in the freezer to save space. I usually portion out enough to make 6 pot pies at once. When I want to make pot pies, I thaw out the filling, and the kids and I make the pies.
- Prepare the tins by spraying them with non-stick oil.
- Put the bottom pie crust in.
- Put the filling in
- Place the top crust on and seal
- Bake until golden and bubbly.
Pot pie fillings I have made and frozen are:
Again, I just freeze the fillings in 6-servings portions in gallon-sized freezer bags, thaw them when I’m ready to bake pies for lunch, and bake the pies accordingly. For even faster meals, you can also use store-bought pie crusts and cut them to size.