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5 Easy Freezer Meals for the Crock-Pot

Claudia has been writing recipes online for many years. She enjoys coming up with unique and tasty dishes, especially sweet treats.

Slow cooker freezer meals ready for the freezer.

Slow cooker freezer meals ready for the freezer.

Save Time and Money

Crock-Pots, otherwise known as slow cookers, cook food slowly over the course of a day. They are an easy labor-saving appliance that should be in every kitchen. If you are like me, and you don't always plan your meals ahead of time, then a Crock-Pot is for you. The only problem with this is you may not always have the ingredients on hand the morning you want to use it. My solution to this problem is to freeze some meals ahead of time. Freezing meals for slow cookers is the perfect way to ensure you always have a home-cooked meal ready when you come home.

Frozen Crock-Pot meals are budget-friendly and easy to assemble. More inexpensive cuts of meat work well in these recipes because of the long cooking time. You can also take advantage of grocery store sales for some of the items.

With just a little organization and preparation, you'll have delicious home-cooked meals—no matter how busy you are!

What You'll Need

You'll need a few things before you start assembling your freezer meals:

  • Heavy-duty freezer bags (gallon size)
  • Permanent marker
  • Large slow cooker (at least 5 quarts, but I recommend 6 quarts)
  • Ingredients
  • Time: It takes a while to assemble the meals, so you'll need to allot a couple of hours. It took me 1 1/2 hours to assemble these meals (not including shopping time).

I usually prepare five different meals to freeze at one time. For my small family of three, we can get 10 dinners and a couple of lunches out of them.

The following five recipes are my favorites, but there are many other Crock-Pot recipes that would work well, too. Try freezing your favorites!

Not Everything Freezes Well

Through trial and error, I've learned that there are few vegetables that don't do so well in the freezer. They seem to absorb the sauce, and it ruins their taste and texture.

  • Carrots: tough and chewy
  • Potatoes: grainy and soft
  • Pineapple: chewy
Slow cooker freezer meal of sausage and peppers, simmering away.

Slow cooker freezer meal of sausage and peppers, simmering away.

Grocery List for All 5 Recipes

This is a grocery list for all five of the freezer recipes, below.

  • 6 pounds chicken thighs/legs
  • 5 to 6 chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork roast
  • 6 to 8 Italian sausages
  • 1 bottle barbecue sauce
  • 1 can cranberry sauce
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 3 peppers
  • 6 cloves garlic or 1 jar minced garlic
  • 1 jar red salsa or picante sauce
  • 1 jar green salsa or picante sauce
  • Dry onion soup mix
  • Italian seasoning
  • Chicken broth
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Pepper
  • Honey
  • Yellow mustard

How to Assemble and Defrost Freezer Meals

Assembling these freezer meals is simple. Just follow these easy steps.

  1. Make sure you have a large clean work surface.
  2. Lay out all of the ingredients.
  3. Label the freezer bags and lay them out.
  4. Chop all of the vegetables. Measure out and place in the appropriate bags.
  5. Open all cans (drain if necessary) and place in the appropriate bags.
  6. Prepare the meat as directed and place in appropriate bags. Make sure to keep hands clean after handling all food.
  7. If the recipe has liquids, follow recipe directions and then add to the appropriate bags.
  8. Add the spices into each bag as directed.
  9. Seal the bags and gently roll them around to mix the ingredients.
  10. Lay the bags flat on a baking sheet and freeze. Once they are completely frozen they can be removed from the baking sheet and tucked away in your freezer. Freezing them flat allows for easier storage and quicker defrosting.
  11. When you are ready to use one of your meals, take it out 1 to 2 days ahead of time and defrost in the refrigerator. Make sure to defrost on a tray in case the bag leaks. To avoid spoilage, never defrost on the kitchen counter.

The following five Crock-Pot recipes are easy to assemble, easy to freeze, and delicious. If you need smaller portions, all of these recipes can be divided into two bags.

1. Barbecued Chicken

This recipe is perfect for more inexpensive cuts of chicken, like the legs or thighs; however any part of the chicken can be used. For a healthier version, remove the chicken skin.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds chicken pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except for the chicken.
  2. Put the chicken in a freezer bag. Pour the mixture into the bag and seal it.
  3. When ready to cook, place the thawed ingredients in the slow cooker and cook for 4 to 5 hours on low.

Serving suggestions: Delicious with mashed potatoes and a vegetable or a side salad.

Salsa chicken assembled and ready for the freezer

Salsa chicken assembled and ready for the freezer

2. Salsa Chicken

When you are in the mood for Mexican, this recipe is perfect.

Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 chicken breasts
  • 1 (15 1/4 oz) can corn, drained
  • 1 (15 1/4 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar salsa, any type

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except for the chicken.
  2. Put the chicken in a freezer bag. Pour the mixture into the bag and seal it.
  3. When ready to cook, put the thawed contents of the freezer bag in the slow cooker.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. When done, take 2 forks and shred the chicken and mix all together.

Serving suggestions: Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. Serve with rice or tortilla chips. Also good with sour cream and taco sauce.

3. Salsa Verde Pork

Another south-of-the-border favorite in our house, this recipe is great on cold winter nights.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork, cubed
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 (16 oz) jar salsa verde
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix.
  2. Pour into a freezer bag and freeze.
  3. When ready to cook, pour thawed contents into a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

Serving suggestions: Serve with rice.

4. Sausage and Peppers

Great for a party or the big football game, this recipe is fantastic!

Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 Italian sausages
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 (15 1/4 oz) cans diced tomatoes, do not drain
  • 2 tbs Italian seasoning
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a freezer bag and freeze.
  2. When ready to cook, place the thawed ingredients in a slow cooker on low heat for 6 hours.

Serving suggestions: Serve over rice or noodles and add some cheese. Crusty bread or a side salad also goes nicely with this.

5. Cranberry Chicken

Another easy chicken recipe, you'll love the sweet and sour tang of this dish.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs chicken thighs or legs, skinned (chicken breasts can also be used)
  • 1 can whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, mix together the cranberry sauce and the onion soup mix.
  2. Place chicken in the freezer bag and pour cranberry mixture on top.
  3. When ready to use, thaw and place contents of freezer bag into Crock-Pot and cook on low heat for 5 to 6 hours.

Serving Suggestions: Serve over a bed of rice. Green beans are perfect with this dish.

Freezer Crock-Pot Meals Take the Pressure Off!

When schedules are hectic and family members are running here and there, just pull one of these frozen meals out of your freezer, thaw it for a couple of days, and put it in the slow cooker before you go off to your busy day. You and your family will come home to a delicious home-cooked meal every time.

© 2012 Claudia Mitchell

Comments

Rachelle Williams from Tempe, AZ on February 27, 2020:

I want to try these recipes. I think I would substitute Polska Kielbasa for the Italian Sausage in the sausage and peppers recipe, and I can't wait to try the BBQ chicken...

Fin from Barstow on November 26, 2017:

the sausage pepper recipes sounds good because I love peppers but I don't know how well they fare in the crock pot....thanks for the ideas.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on February 23, 2016:

Thanks for catching that lj! This article has been out there for a while and I missed that.

lj on February 23, 2016:

Ok so the list doesn't have bbq sauce and the first recipe is bbq chicken hmmmm

Claudia Mitchell (author) on February 13, 2016:

Thank you MayberryHomemaker - I love the idea of freezing so many meat loaves. Right now I'm super busy and that would be a great solution to some of my busy nights. Glad you liked the recipes and definitely try the Salsa Verde Pork, it's my favorite.

Thelma Raker Coffone from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA on February 10, 2016:

I love how you gave one list for all of the ingredients to make all of the meals. This is a super hub! Not long ago I made 5 meat loaves at one time and froze all of them. Sure came in handy having them in the freezer. I look forward to following you.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 29, 2015:

Hi Tina - Sorry I don't have any more compilations like this one, but it's a good idea for another article. Thanks for asking!

Tina Procyk on October 23, 2015:

Do you have more recipes for a week to share?

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 22, 2015:

Thanks allthingsclassy. The pork with salsa verde is my favorite! Enjoy.

Stacy from Omaha, Nebraska on October 17, 2015:

These recipes look good. I can't wait to try each of them.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on September 11, 2015:

Thanks for reading Lindsey. These can be frozen for a couple of months. I wouldn't leave them for longer and they are so good that you'll probably want to make them right away!

Lindsey on September 10, 2015:

great idea!!! And some yummy recipes :) how long would you recommend to leave them frozen? Should they only be prepared for the week or can you go months?

ginger on January 10, 2015:

Thanks wanted to make sure we did it right it was delicious I will be making it again and I will throw the rice in the last hour hour I'll let you know how it goes but family loved this recipe and hubby isn't big on pork so that says a lot thanks again

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 09, 2015:

Hi Ginger - This pork salsa verde does create a lot of liquid and what a great idea to cook the rice in it. I've never done that so I'd be curious to know how it turns out. That's a great idea! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Ginger on January 08, 2015:

have you ever cooked the rice in the the crock pot with the salsa verde pork? I made it and there was a lot of liquid it mixed well with the rice but I thought it would really be more favorful if the rice was cooked in the dish just wondering if you've tried it

Claudia Mitchell (author) on August 06, 2014:

Hi federows - I love those two and have both in my freezer now. Crock pots really are useful to have. Thanks for reading and commenting.

thefedorows from the Midwest on August 06, 2014:

I have actually just started doing the freezer-crockpot meals and am having fun trying new recipes! I am intrigued by the cranberry chicken and sausage with peppers! Adding these to my list to try.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on July 14, 2014:

Thanks thomdrilling. I appreciate you reading and commenting. I need to replenish my freezer and this was a good reminder.

Big Dan on July 12, 2014:

Great article and photos. I like to cook ahead of time also.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on March 27, 2014:

Thanks so much lesliebyars! I hope you enjoy them. I just made the Salsa Verde pork about a week ago.

lesliebyars on March 26, 2014:

I voted up and useful! I pinned this to my pinterest page for future use. Thank you so much for sharing these great sounding recipes. I am always looking for easy meals.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 17, 2013:

Thanks Efficient Admin. That sausage and peppers in good. Hope you get some good dinners out of this hub. I appreciate the comments.

Michelle Dee from Charlotte, NC on November 16, 2013:

I love the way the ingredients have a chance of marinating the meat. The sausage and pepper looks especially appealing. I will bookmark this hub and can't wait to try it. Voted up and useful, awesome.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 20, 2013:

Thank you Bonsie007 - I had the pork salsa verde the other day and it was really good with rice. I appreciate the comments.

Bonsie007 on January 20, 2013:

Defintely going to try some of these recipes. Thank you for posting them.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 05, 2013:

Thanks so much Kris. This method has come in handy for me many times. Once nice side effect is that the house smells really good when we come home after running around all day. I appreciate the comments.

Kris Heeter from Indiana on January 04, 2013:

This a great idea for those on the go with busy schedules! Preparing a good home cooked meal can be easy this way with some planning ahead and preparing many meals all at one in advance. Voted up:)

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 03, 2013:

Thanks twig22bend! I'm glad you liked it and appreciate the comments.

twig22bend on January 03, 2013:

Just Awesome! I freeze everything, but never this way. I have a new crock pot and now I know how to prepare more than one meal at a time.

Thanks so much for sharing. Great Hub!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on December 30, 2012:

This id definitely a great way for you to make meals to share with family. I've made a few for my parents and they can just throw it in their freezer for later use. I appreciate the visit pstraubie!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 28, 2012:

This is so smart. When I was married I used to make meals and freeze but did not use the crock pot to assist. I use my crock pot much more now than ever. I make a lot of meals for my fam who lives down the street so this will be a perfect way for me to make a number of meals. thank you for sharing this. Voted up +++

Claudia Mitchell (author) on December 03, 2012:

Thanks so much savingkathy! We just had one last week. They are great, especially around this busy time of year. I appreciate the support.

Kathy Sima from Ontario, Canada on December 02, 2012:

Freezer meals and crockpots work wonderfully together. These recipes all look great. Voted up/useful and shared!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on November 07, 2012:

I appreciate the remarks daisydayz! Give it a try. You'll be surprised how much money and time is saved!

Chantele Cross-Jones from Cardiff on November 07, 2012:

Im actually planning to try freezer crock pot cooking next week. been wanting to try for ages, but never seem to get organized enough. But im doing an online shop at the weekend so will hopefully be able to get myself in line. i love my slow cooker so think it's a great idea.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 21, 2012:

Thanks so much Carol. Start filling that freezer up! LOL. Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

carol stanley from Arizona on October 21, 2012:

What a great idea for a busy person. Just reach into the freezer and pop in the crockpot. And to boot they all look delicious. Voting this UP+++ and sharing.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 16, 2012:

Hi eHealer - Thanks so much for the comments. These are super easy to make so they are great for anyone. "Talk" to you soon.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 16, 2012:

Thanks ESPeck! These are such easy recipes and they are good too. I pick up a lot of supplies for this at our Costco. I'm always amazed at how much cheaper their meat is over grocery stores. I appreciate the comments.

Deborah from Las Vegas on October 15, 2012:

Yum! This hub is a winner Glimmer! I am so hungry now, even I can cook this! The photos are brilliant. Great job!

Emilie S Peck from Minneapolis, MN on October 15, 2012:

This is fantastic! My hubby is ridiculously picky, but I have the feeling he'd actually like the BBQ chicken recipe. I'm a huge fan of crock pots, and the freezing idea is wonderful. I think I'll keep this in mind for our next Costco trip.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 15, 2012:

Thanks kitkat! The freezing flat method is great and it definitely takes up less space. Have fun skiing and enjoying these recipes! I appreciate the comments.

kitkat1141 from Ontario, Canada on October 14, 2012:

These look like yummy easy recipes. I use my slow cooker a lot in the colder months. I like to freeze meals like you, that can be thawed and cooked in the crockpot all day while we ski. I also like to freeze them flat on a cookie sheet, so they don't take up much space which makes it easier to transport to the cottage in a cooler. We don't have a grocery store up there, so this takes less room than bringing all the ingredients separately. Will definitely try your recipes!!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 14, 2012:

Thanks ElleBee! I'm sure there are vegetarian recipes that could easily adapt to this freezer meal too. I appreciate the comments.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 14, 2012:

Thanks so much for the votes an share rebecca! It really is worth it to have a crock pot. I use mine all year round, more in the winter. Even keeping cider warm for a party is good in a crock pot.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 14, 2012:

Thanks Patsybell! I know that having these is a deterrent to us picking up the phone and ordering pizza. I hope you enjoy them!

ElleBee on October 14, 2012:

Interesting idea - I have heard of people using crockpots and making freezer meals to save time and assure a home cooked meal, but this is the first article I've seen that combines the merits of both freezer meals and crock pot cooking! This could REALLY save us all some time! The salsa chicken sounds phenomenal!! It's making me wish I wasn't in charge of a vegetarian dish for potluck this week!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on October 14, 2012:

Great ideas! I use to have a crock pot but it broke or something. This Hub makes me want to get another. Your cranberry chicken sounds good. I cook a lot of chicken. I must try this. Voted awesome, useful and shared!

Patsy Bell Hobson from zone 6a, SEMO on October 13, 2012:

I like that these, easy "back up" meals are healthy and ready to cook. This will keep me out of the drive through fast food lane. Very handy. Up and useful.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 13, 2012:

Thanks so much ExpectGreatThings! I think you'll like this method, especially if you know you are going to have a super busy day and won't have time or feel like cooking!

ExpectGreatThings from Illinois on October 13, 2012:

Excellent hub! These look delicious and I think your pictures are beautiful. Crock pot meals are the best. I'm looking forward to trying these.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 12, 2012:

starstream - Thanks for the visit. Even assembling 2 will give you some easy meals and if you freeze them flat they take up little room.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 12, 2012:

Thanks Rajan! I appreciate the comments and share. This is a great money and time saver.

Dreamer at heart from Northern California on October 12, 2012:

I love this idea though we have very little freezer space. The idea of assembling enough to do two large meals is appealing to me. As winter approaches crock pot meals are certainly apprecilated! I enjoy lots of salads in summertime.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 12, 2012:

GTF, this is a great idea and some very interesting meal recipes. Bookmarking this hub to save it for future reference. Voted up, useful and shared.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 11, 2012:

Thanks so much homestead! I have a salsa chicken defrosting in the fridge as I write this.

homesteadpatch from Michigan on October 11, 2012:

That is a fantastic idea. Healthy fast food!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 11, 2012:

Thanks Jill! Now you can enjoy some of your garden bounty in the middle of winter. I appreciate the comments.

Jill Spencer from United States on October 11, 2012:

We've been freezing tomatoes, peaches and applesauce. Never thought about assembling the ingredients for an entire crockpot dish and freezing it. What a great idea! Voted up & useful. Good one!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 11, 2012:

Thanks Written Up! It's really good.

Written Up from Oklahoma City, OK on October 10, 2012:

Mmmm, I want to make the cranberry chicken!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 10, 2012:

Thanks Funom! I hope you enjoy them.

Funom Theophilus Makama from Europe on October 10, 2012:

Hmmm... Yummy! Yummy!

What a fantastic and great share. So in love with this hub

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 10, 2012:

Thanks 2patricias! It is amazing how much money one can save doing this. Can't wait to see your hub!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 10, 2012:

Thanks so much Movie Master. I hope you give it a try and they are all really good.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 10, 2012:

Teaches - That is my favorite recipe in the bunch. So good with tortilla chips on a cold day, or any day for that matter. I appreciate the visit!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 10, 2012:

I hope you like the recipes MHatter. It's amazing how easy they are and they don't need to be frozen, it's just an easy way to prep things. Thanks for the comments!

2patricias from Sussex by the Sea on October 10, 2012:

I am just writing a hub about cooking with economy, and thought I would look for hubs on crock pot cooking.

This looks like a real money (and time) saver.

It will take me a while to finish my current hub, so right now I am adding this to my Recipe Index for HubPages.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on October 10, 2012:

What a fantastic idea, your methods make complete sense and the recipes sound delicious!

A big thank you and vote up from me!

Dianna Mendez on October 08, 2012:

Oohhh, the salsa chicken is making my tummy growl! I can see this would be very handy when company drops in and you need something quick the next day as a meal. Wonderful share! When do we eat?

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on October 08, 2012:

Thank you for sharing. Once just a time and money saver, this has become my meal source 5 days (avg) a week.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 08, 2012:

Thanks so much for your support Janine! My picky eater daughter likes a couple of them so it makes me happy and it is really easy. Best part is that they save money too!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 08, 2012:

Jackie - You are set with 2 slow cookers! Dinner in one and dessert in the other. Great way to save time and money! Thanks for the comments!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 08, 2012:

Thanks Bill. It really is a good strategy, plus I am not into long prep for daily meals and this cuts a lot of that out! I appreciate your visit.

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on October 08, 2012:

Glimmer Twin Fan, I love the crockpot and am always looking for new recipes. Thanks for sharing these here and have pinned to try. Also voted up and shared too!!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on October 08, 2012:

When my kids were small I use to fix up meals and freeze half of it for another day. This looks like an ingenious idea you have. I have at least two slow cookers. Thanks for sharing.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 08, 2012:

I want to eat at your house! :)

I love the fact that you do several cooking jobs at once, thus having so many meals waiting for you when you need them. I talked about this in one of my hubs about living simple; it is time-saving, money saving, and just makes good sense to do so.

Great suggestions and loved the recipes!