The Beginners Guide To Instant Pot Freezer Meals. If you want to create your own Instant Pot Freezer Meals, then this beginners guide is for you. Jam packed with step by step tips for embarking on Instant Pot Freezer Meals.
For the month of February on RecipeThis.com we have dedicated it to Instant Pot Freezer Meals. With lots of unique freezer meals as well as how to freezer guides and much more. With today being the last day of the month, we’re reflecting on our Instant Pot Freezer Meals and showing you how to do them yourself.
Instant Pot Freezer Meals is something that I wanted to try out to see what all the fuss was about and never really thought of our family as Instant Pot Freezer Meals type people.
Don’t get me wrong, we love Instant Pot cooking and maybe that is why I didn’t think freezer meals would suit us. You see I love cooking so much. I can’t imagine cooking in bulk and then just reheating it as I need it.
My idea of freezer meals (well prior to last year) was to freeze any leftover food that we had, or bulk buy clearance meat and then freeze it for another time.
If you looked in our big chest freezer at any time, you’ll always find it loaded with meat, some leftover meals, plenty of ice cubes and some breadcrumbs that I blended ages ago, but totally forgot to use.
But every now and again, I get super tired and can’t think of anything better to have for supper, then sending the hubby out to buy me burger and fries. He will go to our local answer to Burger King and get me a medium sized burger, fries, cold drink and a sundae to finish with. Its heaven, but bad for you. Plus buying it for 5 people can easily see us spending $25.
That was when I was thinking that Instant Pot Freezer Meals might be worth a shot. Then when I do feel like laying on the sofa and binge-watching Netflix rather than cooking, I have my spare freezer meals on tap.
With that in mind I decided to try freezer meals for the very first time!
Instant Pot Freezer Meals
My first go at Instant Pot Freezer Meals was all about using up old food in our pantry, along with some great clearance meat we had grabbed that week.
I cleared out my kitchen cupboards and I also grabbed the groceries that I had just bought. I had a big stash of goodies and I couldn’t wait. I didn’t have printed out recipes, I just had ideas of what would work with the ingredients I had. I love making use of weird leftover food, so this was going to be my dream cooking session.
I made just over 15 meals in less than 4 hours and including the grocery shopping I had recently done I had spent less than $30.
It was an amazing morning of fun, laughter and prepping. Dominic and I said that it was not as much hard work as we thought and that we should do it again.
True to our word, less than a month later we were back with another round, this time taking on 52 Indian curry recipes in less than an hour.
To date those 2 different rounds of Instant Pot Freezer Meals are the best ones that we have ever done, and we can’t wait to do it again and again and again.
If you want to start out with Instant Pot Freezer Meals and are wondering how it all comes together than it is as simple as this:
#1 Plan What Instant Pot Freezer Meals To Prepare
Start with a plan:
- What meals do you and your family love the most?
- What does some of your family not like, so that you can avoid those recipes?
- What is cheap and in season now?
- What could you use from your pantry to clear it out?
- Why do you want to do Instant Pot Freezer Meals?
When I did my Pantry Challenge Instant Pot Freezer Meals, I had a lot of chicken and sausages to work with. I searched my recipe archives for all my favourite chicken and sausage recipes and started from there.
You don’t want to do Instant Pot Freezer Meals where you must buy in a huge amount of ingredients, especially if some of them are expensive. If you find a delicious jerk chicken recipe, why not tweak it and make it barbecue chicken with that leftover jar of barbecue sauce that you have in?
When we did our Instant Pot Freezer Meals we were considering the fact that we are parents to small children as well as a teen. We wanted food high in carbs with lots of potatoes that would fill us all up!
We avoided mushrooms, mixed peppers and nuts as there is more than one of us that hates those.
As I write this, in my pantry I have some barbecue and some piri piri dried chicken seasonings that I bought on holiday in Spain last year. I am planning to use these up next in my next round of freezer meals, so that they don’t get wasted.
A final thought is what kind of Instant Pot Freezer Meals you want to do.
My favourite is make ahead, freeze and reheat. Imagine using up all those leftover vegetables in the bottom of your fridge into a chowder and then reheating it when you want a comforting soup. It’s a wonderful way of using up old vegetables that are going to get wasted.
The second most common is dump and go. Where you bag up your mainly raw ingredients into a freezer bag and then cook in the Instant Pot when you want to eat them. There is no further work involved and its very easy.
#2 Print Everything
Next on the agenda is when I like to print everything. Print out every recipe you plan to use, print out a grocery shopping list and get yourself organised. I also like to print out a job list, if I am working as part of a team.
I do Instant Pot Freezer Meals with my hubby. As a former chef, he is very quick at meal prep and can do all the bigger jobs for me. When I bag everything up, he can be peeling and dicing lots of butternut squash or potatoes.
I will have written down the joint jobs and individual ones and then we can tick them off as we are done, and then whoever is done first, can go on and help the other person.
I also like to use the back of the printed paper to go add in any notes that I have. As sometimes you decide to add something extra, or you decide at the last minute to swap one of your recipes with another.
#3 Buy Your Supplies
After printing everything off and cross referencing against what you already have in, you can go grocery shopping. To me that is the hardest part of the task especially if you go grocery shopping when it is busy.
If you have a freezer meal for chicken mince and you get a better price for turkey mince, then you can swap. Just like if you have lots of turkey left from Thanksgiving or Christmas. Use the freezer meals grocery lists as your guide, but don’t feel like you have to follow it to the letter.
#4 Prep It + Freeze It
Now its time to put your Instant Pot Freezer Meals into practice and prep them and freeze them.
I tend to focus on any recipes that need some cooking to be prepped first, then while that food is cooking, I can be doing some of the other prep.
Or if there is two of you doing it, then the person that is fastest at prep does the prep, while the 2nd person bags it all up for the freezer.
#5 Reheat It
The last part of the Instant Pot Freezer Meals is to reheat what you have made, as and when you want to eat it. I always make sure my Instant Pot Freezer Meals are well organised in the freezer, so that I can just grab what I want and when I want it.
Make sure you use big bags or containers to organise your freezer meals inside your big freezer and that it is all well labelled up. I recommend these eraser freezer labels to do the trick.
Beginner Instant Pot Freezer Meals Tips
Freezer food will never taste as good as fresh. This is a fact and its something you can’t change. This is why so many people will choose to buy fresh meat over frozen, or fresh salmon compared to frozen. Think about this and plan your freezer meals based on foods that freeze better than others.
Meat marinades are the QUICKEST freezer meals. Grab some of your clearance meat, quickly marinate it and freeze. You can do this for any meat. Chicken works best, but I also like to prepare meatloaf this way too! Here are 7 chicken marinade recipes to get you started.
Freezer bin – I love to have a bin like this one. That way I can easily store all my freezer food together and it keeps it organised and means I can find everything quickly.
Flat freeze it – I love to flat freeze my Instant Pot Freezer Meals (especially my soups) as they fit so perfectly in the freezer and leaves me room for other things. This is a few of my freezer meals flattened out:
To flatten out freezer meals simply remove all the air, flatten them with your hands and lay them flat in the freezer. Once they are semi frozen you can move them into whatever storage you plan to keep them in.
Never freeze rice – Its just not worth the risk. There is a lot of health risks from pre cooked rice that is reheated. It is much better to cook rice from scratch when you are reheating your main freezer meal.
Double up recipes – It is much better to double up a recipe that you are making anyway and then the second one can head to the freezer. At Christmas we love to have a Veggie Bake. I will make a much bigger cheese sauce and then cook some extra vegetables. The freezer will often end up with a massive veggie bake ready for Easter as well as potato gratins, veggie bakes, cauliflower cheeses etc.
Thawed vs frozen – Its personal choice, but its so much easier to get your freezer meals out the night before, then cook them when they are semi thawed. Otherwise you can be waiting a long time for them to defrost and then often they are not cooked in the middle.
Label everything – I must admit I shout at Dominic when he tries to put my freezer food in the freezer for me. That is because I know he wont label it properly before he throws it into the freezer.
Portion up meat before freezing it – I always portion up all my meat before it hits the freezer. You don’t want to freeze 1 kilo of minced beef and then go to the freezer and need just 300g. It would drive you crazy trying to chop it up. Instead portion all your meat and then you have what you need.
Instant Pot Freezer Meals – Further Reading
Here are lots of resources to get you started with your Instant Pot Freezer Meals:
- Instant Pot Cheap Freezer Meals – includes printables, freezer labels, shopping lists and much more
- Instant Pot Fat Free Curry Freezer Meals – includes everything you need for a big freezer meals session
- Instant Pot Vegetable Curry – A fantastic starting point for when you want to do freezer meals but want a beginners shortcut
- The Best Instant Pot Freezer Meal Accessories – Perfect for finding the best accessories for your Instant Pot Freezer Meals.
- How To Convert Slow Cooker Freezer Meals To The Instant Pot – Perfect for if you have lots of slow cooker freezer meals and now want to cook them in the Instant Pot.
- The Instant Pot Pot In Pot Cooking Method (PIP) – For getting your brain around the PIP cooking method and exactly what you can and can’t use in the Instant Pot for pot in pot cooking.
- How To Reheat Instant Pot Freezer Meals – Learn how to reheat all your favourite Instant Pot Freezer Meals.
- RecipeThis.com Instant Pot Freezer Meals Month – Access the archives for February of 2019 where we walk you through all of our Instant Pot Freezer Meals content. Find an Instant Pot freezer meals or freezer meals tutorial to get you started.