Sometimes, life can get a little crazy. It happens to everyone, and when it happens, easy, pre-prepped meals come in handy. Whether it's a big batch of chili for the whole family, a healthy salad you can eat for lunch all week long, or a delicious dessert that you can just heat up when you have unexpected guests, having some pre-made meals is a lifesaver. That's why we are sharing our favorite make-ahead meals that will provide you with plenty of inspiration and introduce you to the world of meal prepping.
Luckily, there are make-ahead meals for every kind of diet, whether you're cooking for vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free eaters, those on the keto diet, or simply a family of picky eaters. From fresh summer salads that hold up in the fridge to healthy muffins you can enjoy all week long, these meals are the perfect thing to prep on the weekend and eat throughout the week. With plenty of recipe ideas for breakfast , lunch, and dinner, you can prep plenty of things ahead of time. And the best part — meal prepping will leave you with more time in the day to focus on family time, work, hobbies or even relaxing.
What are you waiting for? Here are some easy make-ahead recipes everyone can cook and enjoy. Let the meal prepping begin!
On the following slides, you'll find some amazing make-ahead meal ideas, but if you really want to become a meal prepping pro, check out Good Housekeeping's Easy Meal Prep cookbook. Not only has each recipe been vetted and approved by the experts in the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, but we're also offering tips and techniques to help you flawlessly execute batch-cooking, freeze-ahead meals, ready-to-serve dinners, and grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches.
This flavorful salad is made with crunchy cucumbers, fresh cherry tomatoes, and topped with a flavorful lemon dressing. It won't get soggy in the fridge, so you could definitely meal-prep this one.
If you're planning to host a big brunch, great news: you can totally prep this quiche ahead of time! Quiches can be stored in the fridge for a few days, or frozen for a few months.
Get the Quiche Lorraine recipe.
This is another one that would be great to bake ahead of a big brunch. But they're so good, we wouldn't blame you for making a batch for yourself to eat for breakfast all week long.
You could bake this sweet cake topped with a crunchy walnut, brown sugar, and cinnamon mixture on Sunday, and enjoy it for breakfast all week long.
Get the Raisin-Walnut Coffee Cake recipe.
Make a few extra beef-and-lentil meatballs to store in the freezer. You could also make an extra batch of the sauce to freeze so it's ready to go.
You could easily make two of these moist chocolate and banana cakes and then freeze one, so you'll have it on hand next time a friend drops by the house unexpectedly.
Get the Chocolate Banana Cake recipe.
This stew brings together flavorful kielbasa sausage and cannelli beans. It takes just 30 minutes to prepare and can be stored in the refrigerator or the freezer and then reheated.
If you have trouble waking up in time to make a filling, balanced breakfast, try making this casserole the night before!
Make an extra batch of meatballs and freeze for future use!
Get the Air Fryer Meatball Sub recipe.
Packed with plenty of good-for-you veggies, this soup turns a traditional comfort food into a healthy meal. Plus, the recipe yields six servings, so you're basically set for the week.
Unlike regular salads that get soggy by lunch, this jarred salad separates the greens from the dressing, so it's sure to stay fresh. Just shake up this Pinterest-worthy mason jar meal and you're good to go!
Get the Chickpea Pasta Salad in a Jar recipe.
Protein, greens, and whole grains, this earthy bowl really is a well balanced meal. Just heat it up, and you've got a satisfying lunch or dinner.
Get the Chicken Quinoa Bowls recipe.
This savory favorite actually heats up super well. Save on delivery by making it yourself!
Get the Traditional Chicken Curry recipe.
Creamy and cheesy, you're going to be wanting leftovers from this pasta dish, anyway.
No need to feel guilty about having these sweet, berry muffins for breakfast — the recipes calls for quinoa and almond flower for a lighter way to start off your day.
Get the Very Berry Quinoa Muffins recipe.
Baked rigatoni is the ultimate comfort food, make-ahead meal. Try this easy freezer trick: Line a casserole dish with foil, leaving an overhang on two sides before adding the prepared pasta and freezing until just firm. Then, use the overhangs to lift the casserole out of the dish so it can stay in the freezer up to two months and simply pop back into the dish when it's time to cook.
Who says meatballs have to be paired with red sauce? Cook up a big batch and freeze them (up to two months!) to use any way you want for a quick and easy addition of protein to any weeknight meal.
Get the Skillet Meatballs recipe.
Calling all meal preppers! Sausage and broccoli can be roasted up to three days in advance and stored in the fridge. Quinoa also stays up to three days in the fridge once cooked. Mix up the yogurt sauce and use it to top the bowl just before serving.
Save this make ahead meal for a night when company's coming. You can stuff the chicken breasts up to a day ahead, refrigerate, and cook them just before guests arrive, leaving you ample time to focus on your Spotify playlist instead.
Turkey chili like this smoky, maple one can be made ahead of time and frozen in smaller portions. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake up the tortilla cups just before serving so they stay super-crisp.
Want a super simple and satisfying make-ahead meal? Bake a batch of sweet potatoes ahead of time and store in the fridge. They reheat beautifully, and can be topped with anything for a fast and fresh weeknight dinner.
Pasta is the ultimate comfort food make-ahead meal. Pesto can be made up to one day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, so all you have to do for dinner tonight is boil some pasta and open a bottle of wine.
Get the Pea Pesto Pappardelle recipe.
The best part about chicken potpies? (Besides the creamy, gooey filling and the flaky, buttery crust?) The entire thing can be assembled and then frozen whole for those nights when you literally just can't.
Get the Creamy Chicken Potpies recipe.
Bake this beauty for brunch Sunday morning, then portion it out to reheat a square (or two!) for breakfast all week long. Bonus: the fresh blueberry syrup can stay in the fridge up to a week, and it is also delicious over pound cake or even ice cream.
Ragu is the perfect hearty make-ahead sauce, because it can be frozen for up to three months. When ready to make, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating it in a large saucepan, then boil up the pasta and toss it all together just before serving.
Get the Pork Ragu Rigatoni recipe.
Get your fiesta on faster with these make-ahead enchiladas. The tortillas can be filled, wrapped, and frozen up to two months without the sauce. Or, you can keep the whole casserole assembled in the fridge for up to a day before baking.
Get the Butternut Mole Enchiladas recipe.
Here's a reason to break out your Dutch oven: Soups and stews can be frozen up to three months, then thawed in the fridge overnight and reheated, covered, on the stovetop. Simply add more water or broth if it seems too thick.
Get the Five-Spice Beef Stew recipe.