10 Best Crockpot Freezer Meals

By: Cassy Joy Garcia
Fed & Fit
Fed & Fit

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These Crockpot freezer meals are a cinch to throw together and make for the easiest weeknight dinners!

Ziplock bags with writing on them filled with food and stacked in the freezer
Table Of Contents

Why Make these Crockpot Freezer Meals?

Freezer meals can be an absolute life-saver. You can rely on them for an extended period of time, like maternity leave, surgery, or a trip away from your family, or, you can stock a few at a time to pull out when life gets busy and you need a no-fuss dinner. Either way, these slow cooker freezer meals will get the job done, and for those who like even speedier dinners, we've also included Instant Pot instructions for all of them! We've also made sure to only include recipes in this roundup that don't require any cooking to prep, so you can get these made as quickly as possible.

How to Make Crockpot Freezer Meals

We talk about freezer-friendly meals all the time, but what makes slow cooker (or Instant Pot) freezer meals different? For these meals, you don't cook them in advance and then freeze them. Instead, you just throw all the ingredients in a bag, freeze, and then dump into your slow cooker on the day you're ready to eat it. This means you get a fresh, delicious meal with minimal effort!

5 gallon size ziplock bags with two sharpies laying on top of them on a white marble surface

Tools for Making Freezer Meals

Here's what you'll need to make these meals:

  • Storage Containers – it's up to you whether you want to use glass storage containers, plastic containers, or gallon-sized plastic freezer bags. While we love using glass containers wherever possible, it isn't always practical to stock your freezer full of bulky containers. If you use freezer bags, on the other hand, you can lay them flat to freeze and save even more space. Note that if you plan on using these meals in your Instant Pot, we recommend using a round storage container for them so you can fit them in the pot without defrosting.
  • Bag Stands – if you're going to be using freezer bags, things can get messy quickly when you're trying to fill them one-handed! These bag stands are super helpful for assembly.
  • Vacuum Sealer – while this isn't necessary, it can be a great investment if you want to make freezer meals regularly. Vacuum sealing will help extend the life of your meals and prevent freezer burn.
  • Labels and a Sharpie – labeling your food before you put it in the freezer is super important! I can't tell you the number of times I've tossed something in the freezer, decided I would be able to remember what it is and skipped labeling it, then wound up throwing it out because I did not, in fact, remember what it was!

Cooking Freezer Meals

While we designed these freezer meals for the slow cooker, we wanted you to have plenty of flexibility, so we’re giving you two methods to choose from – Instant Pot or Crockpot. Here are instructions for both:

Crockpot Method

For food safety reasons, any freezer meal that contains meat that you plan to make in the slow cooker needs to be completely defrosted before you cook it. Since the slow cooker cooks at such a low temperature, it can't cook frozen meat quickly enough to properly kill any potentially harmful bacteria. To defrost your meals, place the bag in a bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight, or fill your sink with cold water and let the meal sit in the water for about 1-2 hours until fully thawed. Once thawed, you’ll put the contents of the bag into the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low, in most cases.

Instant Pot Method

The best thing about the Instant Pot method is that you don't have to defrost your meal before adding it to the pot; instead, it can cook completely from frozen! If you want to go this route, though, you'll need to find round containers to store your meals in so that the frozen meal fits into the pot. Otherwise, you'll still need to defrost it for a while until you're able to fit everything in. We recommend taking the food out of the freezer about 30 minutes before you plan to cook, running it under some hot water, then letting it sit on the counter so that it easily pops out of the container. From there, you’ll cook according to the instructions included below!

5 freezer meals in gallon size labeled ziplock bags laying on a white surface

What is best for Crockpot recipes, cooking on low or high?

Honestly, we find that cooking on both low and high produce similar results! It just depends on how much time you have. Cook on low if you have all day or want to let the meal cook while you’re out of the house, and opt for high when you only have a few hours to cook!

Preventing Freezer Burn

Preventing freezer burn is largely about trying to keep air away from your food as much as possible. Here are a few of our best tips for preventing it:

  1. If using a freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible. Removing as much air as you can from the bag is key to preventing freezer burn! This is why vacuum sealing is so effective against freezer burn.
  2. Fill your container all the way up. If you're using a glass-lock or other container, you want to leave as little room as possible between the container and lid. Know that the volume of liquid will expand slightly once frozen, though, so don't over-fill either.
  3. Eat your older meals first. The longer food sits in the freezer, the more likely it becomes that it will develop freezer burn. When I put new meals in the freezer, I like to move older meals to the front to make sure I eat them first!

How long will these freezer meals last in the freezer?

Freezer meals will keep for about 3 months in the freezer, which is why it is so important to label your food! If you use a vacuum sealer, they can keep for about 5 months.

How long after the meal is thawed do I have to cook it?

I would recommend cooking the meal the same day as you thaw it. If you thaw in the fridge overnight, just be sure to cook it the next day!

Freezer Bag Ingredients and Directions

Healing Chicken Soup with Ginger and Turmeric

This is a great Crockpot freezer meal to have on hand in case unexpected illness hits, and it makes for a flavorful, comforting meal.

freezer meal healing chicken soup in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
freezer meal healing chicken soup in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
a raw, thawed freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a bowl of healing turmeric soup with a spoon sticking out of it

Freeze these ingredients together:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, skinned and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 pound)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5 cups chicken broth or bone broth (use 4 cups if using the Instant Pot method)
  • ½ teaspoon dried chopped thyme
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk

To freeze this meal, place the onion, celery, garlic, ginger, sweet potatoes, and chicken breasts in the bottom of your container. Then, whisk together the broth, thyme, salt, pepper, bay leaf, turmeric, and coconut milk and pour over the chicken and vegetables. Seal, label, and freeze.

To make the soup:

Ingredients Needed:

  • 1 head lacinato kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

Crockpot Method

  1. Defrost soup in a bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Add frozen ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  3. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add 1 bunch of de-stemmed and chopped lacinato kale. Cook for 10 minutes, then stir in lemon juice and serve.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Set the frozen ingredients out for about 30 minutes before making, and run under hot water to ensure you can get them out of their container.
  2. Place the ingredients in the Instant Pot, then secure the lid and set to cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. 
  3. Let the pressure release naturally, then remove the lid, set the pot to ‘saute' mode, and stir in the kale. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the kale is bright green and wilted, then stir in the lemon juice and serve!

Teriyaki Chicken

This teriyaki chicken is quick to prepare and sure to be a family favorite! Keep some frozen broccoli and cauliflower rice in your freezer to make it a complete meal.

freezer meal teriyaki chicken in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
freezer meal teriyaki chicken in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
freezer meal teriyaki chicken in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
a raw, thawed freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a cooked freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
teriyaki chicken bowl with white rice and broccoli garnished with sesame seeds and red pepper flakes on a marble surface

Freeze these ingredients together:

  • 1 cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts

To freeze this meal, place the chicken in the bottom of your container, then whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour it over top. Freeze until ready to use.

To make the teriyaki chicken:

Ingredients Needed:

  • 1 tablespoon of arrowroot or cornstarch
  • White, brown, or cauliflower rice, for serving 
  • Steamed broccoli, for serving 
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Crockpot Method

  1. Defrost in a bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Add frozen ingredients to slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours, until the chicken pulls apart easily with a fork.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pot, then shred with two forks, or using the paddle attachment with your stand mixer.
  4. To thicken the sauce, transfer it to a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together the arrowroot with 2 tablespoons of water, then stir it into the sauce. Let the sauce come to a bubble until it is thickened. 
  5. Pour the sauce over the chicken and toss to coat. Serve over rice with steamed broccoli alongside. 

Instant Pot Method

  1. Set the frozen ingredients out for about 30 minutes before making, and run under hot water to ensure you can get them out of their container. 
  2. Place ingredients in the Instant Pot, then seal and set to cook for 18 minutes if fully thawed, and 25 minutes if still partially frozen. Allow the pressure to release naturally, then remove the chicken, shred with two forks, and set the pot to ‘saute' mode. 
  3. Whisk together the arrowroot and 2 tablespoons of water, then stir into the sauce. Let the sauce come to a boil and thicken, then turn off the pot. Toss the chicken with the sauce and enjoy!

Creamy White Chicken Chili

This chicken chili is easy to make, has just a hint of spice from the diced green chilis, a bit of sweetness from the corn, and a creamy broth thanks to sour cream, and is a great meal to have stocked in your freezer!

freezer meal white chicken chili in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
freezer meal white chicken chili in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
white chicken chili ingredients including broth, chicken, and corn frozen in a clear zip top bag with writing on it
a raw, thawed freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a cooked freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
White Chicken Chili Fed and Fit-9

Freeze these ingredients together:

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced hot or mild green chilis, drained (depending on preference)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5 cups chicken broth (use 4 cups for Instant Pot)
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen yellow corn

To freeze this meal, place the chicken, yellow onion, minced garlic, drained green chilis, white beans, and yellow corn in the bottom of your container. Then, whisk together the dried oregano, sea salt, ground cumin, black pepper, lime juice, and chicken broth and pour it over top. Seal, label, and freeze.

To make the white chicken chili:

Ingredients Needed:

  • Juice of 1 lime 
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 avocado, sliced, for garnish (optional)
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
  • 4 lime wedges (from ½ lime), for garnish (optional)

Crockpot Method

  1. Defrost in a bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Add ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  3. When the chili is finished cooking, remove the chicken from the pot and shred it with two forks, then return it to the pot and stir in the sour cream and lime juice. 
  4. Garnish each serving with avocado slices, cilantro, sour cream, and a lime wedge and enjoy!

Instant Pot Method

  1. Set the frozen ingredients out for about 30 minutes before making, and run under hot water to ensure you can get them out of their container. 
  2. Place the ingredients in the Instant Pot, then seal to cook and set to cook on high pressure for 18 minutes if fully defrosted, or 25 minutes if still partially frozen. 
  3. Once the time is up, let the pot naturally release pressure for at least 10 minutes before turning the valve to “venting” to manually release the rest of the pressure. 
  4. Remove the chicken from the pot and shred it with two forks, then return it to the pot and stir in the sour cream, lime juice, and bacon. Garnish each serving with avocado slices, cilantro, sour cream, and a lime wedge and enjoy!

Salsa Chicken

This Instant Pot Salsa Chicken is perfect for a quick weeknight meal and can be eaten in a variety of ways: on top of a salad, in tacos, or in a burrito bowl!

freezer meal salsa chicken in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
freezer meal salsa chicken in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
freezer meal salsa chicken in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
a raw, thawed freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a cooked freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a bowl of salsa chicken and rice garnished with cilantro, avocado, limes, and red onion

Freeze these ingredients together:

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 ½ cups salsa verde
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

To freeze this meal, place the chicken in the bottom of your container. Then, whisk together the salsa verde and sea salt and pour it over top of the chicken. Seal, label, and freeze. 

To make the salsa chicken:

Ingredients Needed:

  • Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • Sliced red onion, for garnish

Crockpot Method

  1. Defrost in a bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Add frozen ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours, until the chicken pulls apart easily with a fork.
  3. Shred the chicken with two forks. 

Instant Pot Method

  1. Set the frozen ingredients out for about 30 minutes before making, and run under hot water to ensure you can get them out of their container. Place the ingredients in the Instant Pot and set to cook on high pressure for 18 minutes if fully defrosted, or 25 minutes if still partially frozen. 
  2. Once the timer goes off, manually release the pressure by turning the valve on the Instant Pot from “sealed” to “venting”. 
  3. Once all the steam has been released, remove the lid from the pot and shred the chicken with two forks. You can eat it as-is, garnished with cilantro and red onion, or use it as a filling for tacos or in burrito bowls!

Chicken Tikka Masala

This Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala comes together quickly and is packed with flavor, making it the perfect weeknight meal to have on hand in the freezer.

freezer meal chicken tikka masala in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
freezer meal chicken tikka masala in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
freezer meal chicken tikka masala in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
a raw, thawed freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a cooked freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a plate of tikka masala and a bed of rice with a spoon resting on the plate

Freeze these ingredients together:

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 14 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

To freeze this meal, whisk together the tomato paste, tomato sauce, coconut milk, and spices, and pour into the container. Add the cubed chicken, then seal, label, and freeze. 

To make the Chicken Tikka Masala:

Ingredients Needed:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 ½ limes)
  • White rice or cauliflower rice, for serving
  • Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • Fresh sliced jalapeno, for garnish

Crockpot Method

  1. Defrost the Tikka Masala ahead of time, either in a bowl of water in your refrigerator overnight if using a freezer bag, or by refrigerating for 24 hours if using a glass container.
  2. Once ready to make, dump all of the previously frozen ingredients into your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. 
  3. Serve over white rice or cauliflower rice and garnish with cilantro and jalapeno.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Set the frozen ingredients out for about 30 minutes before making, and run under hot water to ensure you can get them out of their container. 
  2. Place the ingredients in the Instant Pot and set to “meat/stew” for 18 minutes if thawed, or 25 minutes if partially frozen. 
  3. Once the timer goes off, manually release the pressure by turning the valve on the Instant Pot from “sealed” to “venting,” then stir in the lime juice. Serve over white or cauliflower rice, garnish with cilantro and jalapeno, and enjoy!

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Made with just a few simple ingredients in the Crockpot or Instant Pot, this soup is SO flavorful, and you can easily customize it to your liking with different toppings.

the ingredients for creamy enchilada soup being poured into a labeled freezer bag
freezer meal creamy chicken enchilada soup in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
freezer meal creamy chicken enchilada soup in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
a raw, thawed freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a cooked freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a bowl of creamy chicken tortilla soup garnished with avocado, sour cream, and fried tortilla strips

Freeze these ingredients together:

  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt, to taste
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (may use breasts if desired)
  • 1, 16 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained (omit for Paleo and Low Carb)
  • 1 cup frozen corn (omit for Paleo and Low Carb)

To freeze this meal, place the chicken, black beans, and corn in the bottom of your container. Then, whisk together the chicken broth, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, and sea salt and pour it over top. Seal, label, and freeze. 

To make the enchilada soup:

Ingredients Needed:

  • ½ cup sour cream, or an equal amount of cream from the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk for dairy-free
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 corn tortillas, or two grain-free tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil or ghee
  • Diced red onion, for garnish
  • Additional sour cream, for garnish
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

Crockpot Method

  1. Defrost in a bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Add ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  3. Once the soup is finished cooking, remove the chicken from the pot and shred with two forks, then add it back to the pot. 
  4. Stir the sour cream and lime juice into the soup.
  5. Cut the tortillas into thin strips and heat the oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Once it is hot, add the tortilla strips. Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp.
  6. Serve the soup garnished with the tortilla strips, sour cream, and jalapeno.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Set the frozen ingredients out for about 30 minutes before making, and run under hot water to ensure you can get them out of their container. 
  2. Place the ingredients in the Instant Pot and set to cook for 18 minutes if fully thawed, or 25 minutes if still partially frozen. 
  3. While the soup cooks, cut the tortillas into thin strips and heat the avocado oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the tortilla strips. Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp. 
  4. Once the Instant Pot timer goes off, manually release the pressure by turning the valve from “sealed” to “venting,” then remove the chicken and shred with two forks. Return the chicken to the Instant Pot, and stir in the sour cream and lime juice. Serve with tortilla strips, avocado, red onion, sour cream, and jalapeno.

Slow Cooker Barbacoa

This barbacoa is super easy, and once the slow cooker (or Instant Pot) does its magic, you'll be left with tender, flavorful barbacoa ready for tacos, stuffed potatoes, or even scooped on top of a salad.

the ingredients for slow cooker barbacoa tacos being poured into a labeled freezer bag
freezer meal slow cooker barbacoa tacos in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
freezer meal slow cooker barbacoa tacos in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
a raw, thawed freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a cooked freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a grey plate filled with shredded barbacoa and two forks next to a white speckled plate with lime wedges and a knife on a marble surface

Freeze these ingredients together:

  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano leaves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 (3-pound) chuck roast, cut into 8 large chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

To freeze this meal, place the chuck roast and garlic in the bottom of your container. Then, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, lime juice, sea salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, oregano, cloves, and bay leaves and pour it over top. Seal, label, and freeze. 

To make the barbacoa:

Ingredients Needed

  • 1 lime, quartered, for garnish
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Crockpot Method

  1. Defrost in a bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Add frozen ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  3. Pull out and discard the bay leaves and then, working in the slow cooker, use two forks to shred the beef. Stir it in the juices, serve, and enjoy!

Instant Pot Method

  1. Set the frozen ingredients out for about 30 minutes before making, and run under hot water to ensure you can get them out of their container. 
  2. Place the ingredients in the Instant Pot and set to “manual” for 60 minutes. After 60 minutes is up, let the pressure release naturally (about 20 minutes), then remove the lid from the pot. 
  3. Pull out and discard the bay leaves and then, working in the Instant Pot, use two forks to shred the beef. Stir it in the juices, serve, and enjoy!

Beef and Broccoli

This healthy beef and broccoli dish is perfect to have stocked in your freezer to satisfy those weeknight take-out cravings!

the ingredients for beef and broccoli being poured into a labeled freezer bag
freezer meal beef and broccoli in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
freezer meal beef and broccoli in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
a raw, thawed freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a cooked freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
instant pot beef and broccoli over white rice in a white bowl on a marble surface

Freeze these ingredients together:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1 ½ pounds beef stew meat
  • ½ cup coconut aminos
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt

To freeze this meal, place the stew meat, onion, and garlic in the bottom of your container. Then, whisk together the chicken broth, coconut aminos, toasted sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, coconut sugar, ginger, and sea salt and pour it over top. Seal, label, and freeze. 

To make the beef and broccoli:

Ingredients Needed:

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Cooked broccoli florets (we use a steamable bag)
  • Prepared rice (cauliflower or white)

Crockpot Method

  1. Defrost in a bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Add frozen ingredients to slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  3. When finished cooking, turn the Crockpot to high and whisk together the cornstarch and water. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the pot and let cook for about 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  4. Serve over steamed broccoli and rice of choice.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Set the frozen ingredients out for about 30 minutes before making, and run under hot water to ensure you can get them out of their container. 
  2. Place the ingredients in the Instant Pot and set to “manual” (high pressure) for 15 minutes if fully thawed, or 20 minutes if still partially frozen. 
  3. Once the timer goes off, immediately release the pressure from the pot by setting the valve to “venting,” then remove the lid and set the Instant Pot to “saute” mode. 
  4. Whisk together the cornstarch and ¼ cup of water and stir it into the pot. Let the mixture come to a low boil and thicken. Once the sauce has thickened, serve over steamed broccoli and either white or cauliflower rice.

Slow Cooker Carnitas

These slow cooker carnitas are my absolute favorite way to make easy, flavorful carnitas with minimal effort!

the ingredients for slow cooker carnitas being poured into a labeled freezer bag
freezer meal slow cooker carnitas in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
freezer meal slow cooker carnitas in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
a raw, thawed freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a cooked freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a sheet pan of crispy slow cooker pork carnitas

Freeze these ingredients together:

  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1, 4-5 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 4-5 equally-sized pieces

To freeze this meal whisk together the salt, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and black pepper in a large bowl, then add the pork shoulder pieces and toss to coat. Place the pork in a large Ziplock bag, or other container, then pour in the orange juice. Seal, label, and freeze. 

To make the carnitas:

Ingredients Needed:

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Corn tortillas, for serving

Crockpot Method

  1. Defrost the carnitas ahead of time, either in a bowl of water in your refrigerator overnight if using a freezer bag, or by refrigerating for 24 hours if using a glass container. 
  2. Once ready to make, dump all of the previously frozen ingredients into your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 425°F. 
  4. When the pork is finished, transfer it to a cutting board or large mixing bowl, and shred it into small chunks using two forks. 
  5. Melt the butter and pour it over the shredded pork along with the lime juice. Spread the pork out on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast for 15 to 20 minutes minutes, or until the tops just start to crisp. 
  6. Remove from the oven, garnish with cilantro, and serve in warmed tortillas.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Set the frozen ingredients out for about 30 minutes before making, and run under hot water to ensure you can get them out of their container. 
  2. Place the ingredients in the Instant Pot and set to cook on high pressure for 90 minutes. Once the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally. 
  3. When the pork is finished, transfer it to a cutting board or large mixing bowl, and shred it into small chunks using two forks. 
  4. Melt the butter and pour it over the shredded pork along with the lime juice. Spread the pork out on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast for 15 to 20 minutes minutes, or until the tops just start to crisp. 
  5. Remove from the oven, garnish with cilantro, and serve in warmed tortillas.

Bourbon Chicken

This bourbon chicken is one of my favorite meals ever! A combination of tender chicken and sticky-sweet sauce, you’ll be so glad to find this one in your freezer.

the ingredients for bourbon chicken being poured into a labeled freezer bag
freezer meal bourbon chicken in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
freezer meal bourbon chicken in a labeled ziplock bag on a marble surface
a raw, thawed freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a cooked freezer meal in a slow cooker sitting on a marble surface
a beige bowl filled with white rice and shredded instant pot bourbon chicken with red pepper flakes on top on a marble surface with a linen napkin beside it

Freeze these ingredients together:

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup coconut aminos
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar, brown sugar, or honey
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

To freeze this meal, place the chicken thighs in the bottom of your freezer bag or other container. Add the remaining ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the sauce over the chicken, then seal, label, and freeze it.

To make the bourbon chicken:

Ingredients Needed:

  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot starch
  • Red pepper flakes, for garnish
  • Rice of choice, for serving

Crockpot Method

  1. Defrost in a bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Add frozen ingredients to slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  3. When finished cooking, turn the Crockpot to high and whisk together the cornstarch and water. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the pot and let cook for about 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  4. Shred the chicken with two forks, then stir in the sauce. 
  5. Serve the chicken over white rice, garnished with red pepper flakes.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Set the frozen ingredients out for about 30 minutes before making, and run under hot water to ensure you can get them out of their container. 
  2. Place the ingredients into the Instant Pot and cook for 18 minutes on high pressure, if fully defrosted, or 25 minutes if still partially frozen. 
  3. After the timer goes off, manually release the pressure and remove the chicken from the pot and shred with two forks.
  4. Set the pot to ‘saute' mode again, then whisk together the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water, until there are no lumps. Once the sauce is bubbling, whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce is thickened, then turn off the heat.
  5. Return the chicken to the pot and stir it to coat with the sauce. Serve over white rice garnished with red pepper flakes.

More Crockpot Recipes

Comments

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  1. AG says:

    This is amazing! Link to print is not working though. 🙂

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      It’s there now! Sorry about that, AG!

  2. Kate says:

    Please post link to printable pdf because I want to make them all!!!!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      It’s there now! Sorry about that, Kate!

  3. Tiffany says:

    Could you link to the blog post with the details about freezing foods/prepping for baby?

    Thank you! 🙂

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      This is the most extensive freezer resource we have right now, but we’re working on more resources for the future!

  4. Rachel Anderson says:

    This would be perfect if it contained the nutritional content for each meal. Any chance you could include?

  5. Janelle says:

    Would love to print this out to keep on hand, and to make it easier to refer to when prepping…but I can’t find the link to print that others have mentioned! Where is it?

    1. Sarah Waninger says:

      agreed!

    2. Megan P. says:

      I can’t find it either! This is perfect for summer cooking when you don’t want to heat up the house with an oven. Also, I know everyone tends to be busier in the summer, so having the ability to just toss in the crock pot and go is great. Now if only we can find that pesky PDF printable!

    3. Brandi Schilhab says:

      We’re working on updating it, Megan! We changed some of the recipes included in this post, so the original PDF needs to be updated as well!

    4. Brandi Schilhab says:

      We updated the meals in this article, but the printout isn’t finished being updated. We will post it as soon as it’s updated!

  6. Nicole Harman says:

    Love this!! Definitely going to do this next week!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Wahoo! Such a great way to keep healthy meals on hand!

  7. Katie says:

    Hi! I can’t wait to try some of these! In the description of the creamy chicken chili, it says there’s a hint of bacon, but there’s no bacon in the ingredients. I’d love to know how you’d add it! Thanks.

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Thanks for catching that in the description, Kate! I’ll fix it now. We actually left the bacon out of the freezer version of the meal to cut that step out (and keep with the easy, slow-cooker-does-all-of-the-work theme!), but you could certainly add cooked crumbled bacon over top the soup before eating!

  8. Courtney says:

    Hello!
    Am I able to print them all from this page or each one individually? Thank you!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      If you want to print the recipe card for each meal, you’ll have to print them individually. Do keep in mind, though, that the instructions given in their original posts may be different (we adapted some of them to be freezer meals!). We are working on getting a printable PDF version of this with all 10 meals + a shopping list, though, so you may just wait for that before printing!

  9. Sara T. says:

    These look amazing!!! Do you also have a list of recipes that we can fully prep and freeze? I think I saw where you like to freeze fully cooked breakfast burritos? Any other great foods for keeping in the freezer that are fully prepped? Thank you!!!! ❤

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      So glad, Sara! These are all meals that can be frozen raw and then dumped into a slow cooker or Instant Pot to cook, but we have many casseroles (and yes, those breakfast burritos!) on the site that would be great to cook and then freeze!

  10. Kristin B. says:

    I tend to get most of my meat from Butcher Box so it arrives frozen. Do you think it would be ok to put the already frozen meat in the container/bag and add the other ingredients on top to further freeze? I recognize that the beef recipes may not work because I can’t cut up the meat beforehand but I wondered if the chicken recipes would work doing that. Thanks!!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      That would be totally fine, Kristin!

  11. Amy says:

    I keep checking back for the printable shopping list. Can’t wait to get all these yummy meals in the freezer!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Hi Amy, we’re still working on it!

  12. Laney says:

    The end of the Barbacoa crock pot version says add cornstarch then put over broccoli. This doesn’t seem correct, but I could totally be wrong?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Nope, you’re not wrong, Laney! So glad you caught that. It’s updated now!