Save money and time with 10 freezer meal prep hacks. Discover surprising items you can freeze so less food goes in the garbage!
I'm a big fan of freezer meal prep. I love having ready-to-go meals in my freezer for those busy weeks when normal meal prep just isn't going to happen.
But, I may love these freezer meal prep hacks even more than freezer recipes. These aren't meals, rather little things you can do to stock your freezer with easy ingredients that will elevate your meals in the months to come. You won't find freezer meals below. Instead, you'll learn about items you might not know you can freeze, and tips on how to best freeze them.
Knowing what can go in your freezer is an excellent way to reduce food waste. This is of course great for the environment, and great for your grocery budget. A definite win-win!
I'm always looking to increase my freezer meal prep repertoire so please share any of your own freezer meal prep hacks @prepdish on Instagram or on Facebook. I would love to see them!
10 Freezer Meal Prep Hacks
1. Freeze Grated Ginger
Fresh ginger lends dishes like this one so much zesty flavor. However, most recipes call for only a few teaspoons, leaving you with a bunch of extra ginger, probably lingering in the fridge until it goes bad. This is especially true if you use grocery delivery! I know I've gotten some pretty massive knobs of ginger in my deliveries 🙂
If you've had this happen too, you'll be happy to know that ginger freezes quite well! Grate or mince the ginger and place in 1 tsp mounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet for a few hours. Once it's frozen, transfer to a freezer container and pull out a teaspoon any time you need it!
2. Flash Freeze Tomato Paste
Similar to ginger, you often get more tomato paste than you need. It does help if you can find a squeeze tube rather than a can, but it still doesn't last forever.
Scoop 1 tablespoon mounds of tomato paste on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for a few hours.
Once frozen, transfer to a freezer container and you'll always have it on hand when you need it.
3. Save Garlic in the Freezer, Minced or Whole
You have a couple of options for freezing garlic. First, you can freeze the cloves whole.
Alternatively, mince the garlic and freeze in little 1 tsp scoops on a parchment-lined baking sheet before transferring to a freezer container.
4. Freeze Fresh Herbs in Olive Oil
Adding fresh herbs is one of my favorite ways to brighten up a recipe. It can be hard to use up a whole bunch of herbs sometimes though. Fortunately, they freeze really well!
Fill an ice cube tray halfway full with finely chopped herbs. Then fill each cube the rest of the way with olive oil. Freeze before transferring to a freezer container.
You can use these little cubes in soup, pasta sauce, sauteing veggies or anytime you want a burst of flavor!
5. Double & Freeze Homemade Pesto
Homemade pesto is one of my favorite recipes to double up on and freeze. It takes pretty much zero extra effort to make a double batch and it's so convenient to have on hand!
When you're stumped on what to make for dinner, thaw the pesto and rub on salmon, chicken, pork tenderloin etc., or toss with pasta or zoodles!
6. Start a “Broth Bag”
Starting a “broth bag” to make homemade broth is an excellent way to use up veggie scraps that would otherwise go in the garbage. Save those carrots tops, celery scraps, onion peels, etc. in a freezer bag or container in the freezer.
Make sure you wash all of your veggies, including the onions, if you're going to use the scraps! Once the bag is full, you're ready to make veggie broth!
Place the scraps in a large pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour or so. Then strain out the veggie scraps and store the broth. Make sure you have plenty of carrots, celery and onions in the pot but you can also add other veggies and fresh herbs! Avoid these veggies in your stock: cruciferous veggies, starchy items like potatoes, beets, green beans and zucchini.
Bonus? Store the broth in 1 cup containers in the freezer! Then you'll have homemade broth anytime you want.
Want to make bone broth? Listen to my podcast episode all about how I use leftover bones to make the most delicious broth.
7. Make Smoothie Bags for Easy Breakfasts
If you love smoothies but feel like you never have time to make them, this one's for you! To make prep-ahead smoothies, all you have to do is make individual “smoothie bags” to store in the freezer.
First, flash freeze any fruit / veggies that aren't already frozen. To do this, lay fruits / veggies out on a sheet pan in your freezer for a couple of hours before placing in a freezer bag. (You can see how I do this in my short video on freezer breakfasts!)
Make individual smoothie bags using either quart-sized freezer bags or reusable silicon bags. Add all ingredients to the bag EXCEPT your liquid of choice and any nut butter you're using. You may also want to wait to add dates, depending on the strength of your blender.
Finally, add 1-1 1/2 cups of liquid to your blender (almond milk, coconut water, or even water!) and then dump in the smoothie bag. Blend and enjoy!
Try this method for my Purple Haze Smoothie Bowls or my Mixed Berry Green Smoothie.
8. Make Coffee Ice Cubes
This is another freezer meal prep hack that lets you make something out of nothing!
I'm a tea drinker but if you love coffee, pour the rest of that half-drunk pot into an ice cube tray. Use these little coffee cubes for your iced coffee this spring / summer so it doesn't get watered down!
9. Flash Freeze!
This one isn't about an item you can freeze, rather how to freeze.
Any time you're freezing individual items like muffins, mini frittatas, energy bites, etc., flash freeze first to avoid freezer burn and items sticking together.
All you need to do is place items on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the freezer, freeze for a few hours until totally frozen and then transfer to a freezer container.
10. Fill Your Freezer Containers / Bags
This last tip will help you avoid freezer burn. When placing items in the freezer, try to choose a container you can fill as close to the top as possible.
If you store a 1/2 cup of soup in a 2 cup container, there is going to be a lot of extra space, and therefore air, in that container. That will lead to freezer burn.
Try to choose a container that will be almost completely full when you add your food to it before freezing.
Want meals you can freeze?
If you want actual freezer meals in addition to these tips and hacks, make sure to check out my Homemade Freezer Meals roundup! We also sometimes host freezer meal prep challenges, which have been quite popular. Make sure to sign up for our free newsletter below to get alerts for the next one!