Thursday 11 February 2021

Some tips for cooking in advance!

When life gets busy, it helps to have a make meal or two in advance to put in the freezer that you can quickly defrost and heat and eat without much trouble.

Cooking in advance, batch cooking or whatever you want to call it is a great way to get a head start on your dinner by preparing several dinners at once. It is a smart way to get a homemade meal on the table even when there's no time to stand in front of the cooker. It is also a great way to save money and time when it comes to your meals. Preparing and cooking your food in advance is a fantastic for families and those who have a busy life.

chopping veg

Pick family favourites!
Make simple dishes you know the whole family will enjoy and when you are cooking them make an extra few portions to pop in the freezer. It ensures whatever you get out of the freezer will be a hit with everyone. Some of our favourites are bolognese, sausage casserole, curries and cottage pie.

Choose foods that freeze well!
Lots of food freezes well but there are a handful of foods that should be avoided which include cream cheese, sour cream, or any kind of milk-based sauce, mayonnaise, egg whites, or meringue, and lettuce.

Use large pans!
A batch cooked meal will start as a large dish so make sure you have a big enough pan. I have 2 big pans but I mostly use the slow cooker when I am batch cooking as it holds the most and I find it impossible just to cook what we'd eat for one meal.

Use a base sauce!
Pick dishes that can be made with the same starter sauce and life will become much easier. You can freeze your sauce in portions ready to defrost as and when you need it. A basic tomato sauce is great for lasagne, chilli, bolognese, curry or even tomato soup.

Cooling is everything!
Allow cooked food to completely cool before freezing or refrigerating to prevent the growth of bacteria. Once cool, pop on your airtight lid and freeze immediately. 

Pick the right containers!
Batch cooking containers need to be freezer safe and airtight. Several containers of the same size maximise space in your freezer. Whenever we get Chinese takeaways we keep the plastic tubs which are just the right size for one portion.

Date those dishes!
Frozen food doesn’t last forever so it’s important to date your food to ensure it’s eaten in plenty of time. Once frozen many dishes look the same so labelling your dishes prevents any nasty shocks when you think you’re making one thing and getting another. 

Do you cook meals in advance to freeze?


  1. I've never done batch cooking although I tend to have leftovers the next day, and then any extra leftovers I freeze, and either use for work lunches for me or sometimes combine them with a fresh batch cooked up later. I think the OH would be horrified to be given a batched frozen meal as his fresh meal that day. Although it would make life easier for me. I find the making too much and just having leftovers the next day works for us.

  2. Excellent tips! I don't do this enough. The few times I've done it with soups or pancakes it's been such a godsend, but for some reason I don't take the time to do it. It's been even harder this last year. I feel like since we're not going anywhere anyway, I can just take the time to make food each meal. And then when I make it I wish I had planned in advance! I do freeze pesto sauce though, into these little single serve pucks that I can use for pasta or pizza, since I'm the only on in the house that likes pesto this is the best way to buy a big container and not waste it.

  3. Great tips. I used to be quite efficient with batch cooking especially when the kids were toddlers. I tend to just meal plan now instead. xx