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40 Best Make-Ahead Meals That Make Meal Prepping a Breeze

Fill up your fridge and freezer!

meatballs with spinach and peas in a skillet
Beatriz da Costa

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!

Good Housekeeping
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Good Housekeeping Easy Meal Prep: The Ultimate Playbook for Make-Ahead Meals
Hearst Home

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.

chickpea salad with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese
Mike Garten
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Chickpea Salad with Smashed Cucumbers

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.

Get the Chickpea Salad with Smashed Cucumbers recipe.

quiche lorriane on a white plate
Mike Garten
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Quiche Lorraine

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.

lemon almond poppy muffins with icing drizzled on top
Mike Garten
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Lemon-Almond Poppy Seed Muffins

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.

Get the Lemon-Almond Poppy Seed Muffins recipe.

slow cooker chicken pozole verde with sliced radishes
Mike Garten
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Slow Cooker Chicken Pozole Verde

Slow cookers are great for making big-batch meals ahead of time. Case in point: this flavorful stew made with chicken thighs, tomatillos and poblano peppers.

Get the Slow Cooker Chicken Pozole Verde recipe.

RELATED: 70 Easy Slow Cooker Recipes

two bowls of butternut squash soup with slices of bread on the side
Mike Garten
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Air Fryer Squash Soup

This cozy, comforting soup comes together quickly, thanks to the air fryer. After your soup has cooled, you can portion it out and keep it in the freezer for up to three months, perfect for a busy weeknight.

Get the Air Fryer Squash Soup recipe.

RELATED: 40 Easy Air Fryer Recipes

a closeup of raisin walnut coffee cake
Mike Garten
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Raisin-Walnut Coffee Cake

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.

mexican beef meatballs with red chipotle sauce and served on top of white rice
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Mexican Beef Meatballs With Chipotle Sauce

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.

Get the Mexican Beef Meatballs With Chipotle Sauce recipe.

chocolate banana cake in a cake pan
Mike Garten
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Chocolate Banana Cake

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.

a person holding a gray pot of white bean sausage stew
Mike Garten
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Quick White Bean and Sausage Stew

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.

Get the Quick White Bean and Sausage Stew recipe.

sausage and egg casserole
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Make-Ahead Sausage and Egg Casserole

If you have trouble waking up in time to make a filling, balanced breakfast, try making this casserole the night before!

Get the Make-Ahead Sausage and Egg Casserole recipe.

meatball sub
Mike Garten
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Air Fryer Meatball Sub

Make an extra batch of meatballs and freeze for future use!

Get the Air Fryer Meatball Sub recipe.

make-ahead meals
Mike Garten
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Supergreen Mushroom & Orzo Soup

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.

Get the Supergreen Mushroom & Orzo Soup recipe.

make ahead meals
Mike Garten
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Chickpea Pasta Salad in a Jar

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.

make-ahead meals
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Chicken Quinoa Bowls

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.

make-ahead meals
Mike Garten
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Traditional Chicken Curry

This savory favorite actually heats up super well. Save on delivery by making it yourself!

Get the Traditional Chicken Curry recipe.

make-ahead meals
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Creamy Lemon Pasta With Chicken and Peas

Creamy and cheesy, you're going to be wanting leftovers from this pasta dish, anyway.

Get the Creamy Lemon Pasta with Chicken and Peas recipe.

make-ahead meals
Mike Garten
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Very Berry Quinoa Muffins

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.

For a lighter and nuttier version, substitute unsweetened almond milk for heavy cream.
  Get the recipe for Baked Butternut-Squash Rigatoni »
Getty Images
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Baked Butternut-Squash Rigatoni

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.

Get the Baked Butternut-Squash Rigatoni recipe.

RELATED: 50 Best Casserole Recipes for the Ultimate Comfort Food

Make Ahead Meals - Skillet Meatballs Recipe
Beatriz Da Costa
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Skillet Meatballs

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.

Make Ahead Meals - Sausage and Broccoli Quinoa Bowl
Danielle Occhiogrosso
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Sausage and Broccoli Quinoa Bowl

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.

Get the Sausage and Broccoli Quinoa Bowl recipe.

RELATED: Is Quinoa a Grain? 100% Yes, According to Nutritionists

chicken breast recipes - Cheesy Tex-Mex Stuffed Chicken
Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly
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Cheesy Tex-Mex Stuffed Chicken

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.

Get the Cheesy Tex-Mex Stuffed Chicken recipe.

RELATED: 60+ Chicken Breast Recipes That Are Anything But Boring

super bowl snacks   smoky maple turkey chili
Mike Garten
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Smoky Maple Chili & Tortilla Cups

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.

Get the Smoky Maple Chili & Tortilla Cups recipe.

RELATED: 40 Super Easy Chili Recipes That Are Perfect for Cold Winter Days

Make Ahead Meals - Supercarb Loaded Sweet Potatoes Recipe
Mike Garten
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Supercarb Loaded Sweet Potatoes

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.

Get the Supercarb Loaded Sweet Potatoes recipe.

RELATED: 56 Best Sweet Potato Recipes You'll Ever Try

Make Ahead Meals - Pea Pesto Pappardelle
Danielle Occhiogrosso
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Pea Pesto Pappardelle

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.

RELATED: 30 Healthy Pasta Recipes That Will Keep You Full All Night

Make Ahead Meals - Creamy Chicken Potpies
Rebecca Sanabria
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Creamy Chicken Potpies

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.

Make Ahead Meals - Sheet Pan Pancake with Blueberry Syrup
Mike Garten
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Sheet Pan Pancake With Blueberry Syrup

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.

Get the Sheet Pan Pancake with Blueberry Syrup recipe.

Make Ahead Meals - Pork Ragu Rigatoni
Mike Garten
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Pork Ragu Rigatoni

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.

Make Ahead Meals - Butternut Mole Enchiladas
Mike Garten
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Butternut Mole Enchiladas

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.

RELATED: 30+ Easy Enchilada Recipes Your Dinner Rotation Has Been Missing

Make Ahead Meals - Five-Spice Beef Stew
Mike Garten
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Five-Spice Beef Stew

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.

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