Stock your freezer with tomato sauce, soups, chili, and more.

By Bridget Hallinan
Updated July 13, 2020
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Having a well-stocked freezer is always a good idea. You can have pre-prepared meals at the ready for busy nights, or whip out a dish when you don't have time to make the trek to the grocery store. Portioned sauces also come in handy, in case you're craving a comforting bowl of pasta—just defrost on demand and dig in.

Luckily, there are several recipes that happen to freeze particularly well, from lasagna and tomato sauce to stews and chilis. We like to have a few in our back pocket for all of the scenarios above and more—besides, if you have leftovers, it's easy to save them and make sure they don't go to waste. Check out some of our favorite freezer-friendly dishes and recipes below, supplemented with tips from our test kitchen.

Greg DuPree

A note about food safety: If you’re cooking something and plan to freeze it, cool it quickly to room temperature—you can do this using an ice water bath or by putting the food in a shallow container, so it spreads out and cools faster. (Metal is particularly good for conducting hot and cold temperatures.) Then, cover and freeze the dish. Don’t put hot food right in the refrigerator or freezer. If you do, it will lower the temperature—the danger zone for food is 40–140 degrees Fahrenheit, since that’s the range where bacteria grows. If you’re planning on freezing a lot of food at once, chill it in the refrigerator first so the temperature in the freezer doesn't rise.

For thawing food, make sure it thaws evenly and keep it below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or above 140. You can thaw slowly in the fridge, or quickly under cold running water.

Basic Tomato Sauce

© Abby Hocking

Tomato sauce is a great freezer staple, and we always like to have a few containers on hand for quick spaghetti dinners, ziti, and more. Hugh Acheson adds a little grated carrot to offset the acidity, and fresh oregano as well. If you’d prefer bolognese, the sauce in this pasta recipe can be frozen for up to one month, and pesto also freezes well.

Get the Recipe: Basic Tomato Sauce

Lasagna 

Victor Protasio

Lasagnas and other baked pasta dishes, like ziti, can easily be frozen—simply bake, freeze, and then reheat once you’re ready. This particular recipe from Andrea Slonecker includes Italian sausage, mushrooms, and three kinds of cheese: Parmigiano-Reggiano, whole-milk mozzarella, and whole-milk ricotta. It’s the perfect hearty, stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal.

Get the Recipe: Après-Ski Lasagna

Parsley Egg Noodles with Squash-and-Tomato Sugo 

Victor Protasio

The cut egg noodles in this recipe can be frozen up to three weeks; the sauce also freezes well, and is tasty on any pasta.

Coconut-Creamed Swiss Chard 

Victor Protasio

Rocco DiSpirito’s vegan side dish gets its creaminess from unsweetened coconut milk and refined coconut oil. If you want to make a few batches and freeze it, make sure the greens are submerged in the liquid. (You might need to press down a little bit to achieve this.)

Get the Recipe: Coconut-Creamed Swiss Chard

Gnocchi

Oriana Koren

The uncooked shaped sweet potato gnocchi in this recipe can be frozen up to one month. First, freeze them uncovered on a baking sheet for one hour; then, transfer them to a large ziplock freezer bag and keep them in the freezer up to one month.

Get the Recipe: Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Potato-Leek Soup

Victor Protasio

It’s helpful to have a few frozen soups ready to go. Once this potato-leek soup is defrosted, you can top it with anything you like, from roasted broccoli florets and shredded cheddar to crème fraîche and smoked salmon.

Beef Stew 

Greg DuPree

This recipe serves six, but it can easily be doubled. Feel freeze to freeze leftovers—just make sure it’s cooled first. Our oven-braised veal stew can also be frozen.

Chili 

Our classic beef chili, which makes eight servings, can be frozen—reserve the toppings for when you reheat and eat. The same goes for our vegetarian chili from Ellie Krieger, which gets a warm, sweet note from fresh orange juice and zest.

Get the Recipe: Classic Beef Chili

Chicken Pot Pie 

© Scott Hocker

Feel free to use store-bought pie dough if you want to save time on this recipe; once it’s cooked, add it to the freezer and reheat for a comforting meal.

Get the Recipe: Classic Chicken Pot Pie

Enchiladas 

Just like the lasagna, enchiladas can also be pre-baked and then frozen for future use. Grace Parisi’s red chile-chicken enchiladas get flavor from smoky guajillo chiles and fruity ancho chiles.

Birria Tacos

Greg Dupree

To do a little prep for these tacos, shred the meat and toss with one and one half cups of the broth (enough so that the meat is submerged) and freeze (freeze the remaining broth separately). You can also pre-make and freeze the adobo before you braise the meat.

Get the Recipe: Birria Tacos

Burger Patties 

Victor Protasio

The patties for our next-level turkey burgers can be made in advance and frozen (uncooked) for up to one month. (Thaw in the refrigerator before cooking.) The same idea applies to classic beef burger patties, black bean patties, and more.

Biscuits

Eva Kolenko

These buttermilk biscuits are incredibly moist and tender, thanks to the butter to shortening ratio. You can freeze the portioned biscuit dough and bake at your convenience. 

Get the Recipe: Buttermilk Biscuits

Hand Pies 

Victor Protasio

Prepare these hand pies up through step four in the recipe—rolling out the dough and adding/sealing in the filling. Then, cut three small (1/3-inch-long) vents in the top of each pie, and freeze them uncovered on a baking sheet for one hour. After that, you can transfer them to a large ziplock bag and freeze up to one month. Once you’re ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit, arrange them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, brush them lightly with one beaten egg, and sprinkle evenly with one and one quarter teaspoons of granulated sugar. Then, you’re all set to finish up the recipe.

Get the Recipe: Dried Apple Hand Pies

Gougères

Hector Sanchez

Gougères freeze well. Just bake them, cool them, and freeze until firm on a baking sheet—then, they can be stored in the freezer in a ziplock bag for several months.

Get the Recipe: Alain Ducasse's Gougères