Batch-cooking is a great way to save time and energy while giving you options for future quick meals. Be successful with these 4 tips.
As summer approaches and brings rising temperatures, I am always on the lookout for recipes that don’t take long to cook. Or recipes that don’t require a lot of heat, so the house stays cooler. In south Texas, July and August are brutal. Especially on the electric bill. So I try to do whatever possible to keep the temperature in the house down.
One way to use less electricity and keep the house cooler is to do some batch-cooking. Batch-cooking is when you cook a large portion of food or even double a recipe you are making so that you have enough leftovers to freeze for later. Some recipes are better than others for this, but most foods can be frozen and reheated later.
Originally Published On: April 12, 2018
Last Updated On: March 13, 2020
Know the Recipe
The first step to batch-cooking is to know your recipe. Make sure it’s something that will double (or triple) well when you make it. Verify that you have enough of all the ingredients before you start cooking. You also want to know the best way to reheat the meal. Soups and chili and sauces can usually be reheated quickly on the stovetop. Bread can be eaten as-is or toasted. Pancakes and waffles do best if they are heated in the toaster.
Remember that cooking times may vary. For example, if you are doubling a soup, it will take longer to come to a boil because there is a lot more liquid in the pot than usual. Make sure you take this into account and cook everything thoroughly.
Some of my favorites to batch-cook are:
There are others that you can freeze as well, but you will want to separate some of the elements first. For example, double your taco meat the next time you make them for dinner and freeze half of the meat (you’ll want to chop fresh vegetables for the reheated meat). You can also freeze homemade sauces, or blanch your vegetables and freeze those as well.
Containers for Batch-Cooking
Having the correct containers for freezing your foods is essential! You can purchase leftover dishes that are made for freezing, meaning they will keep the food good for much longer before it starts to get frostbite on it.
Look for containers that are either single-serving size or the right size to freeze enough for your family. You don’t want to freeze an entire pot of soup if your family doesn’t eat that much because then you will have leftovers again or you have to chip away at a frozen block of chili just to get out enough to thaw.
When filling your containers, always make sure you leave space at the top. Any liquid in the food will expand, and you don’t want the container to break. Trust me; it’s not fun to clean a broken glass jar from the freezer. I did this when I was making homemade baby food a few years ago, and it was a mess.
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Label Your Containers
Always label your containers. Add a label with the food inside and the date that it was frozen. You can also put a “eat by” date on it as well. There are many ways you can label, and it will vary based on the type of containers you have. Since I use glass dishes, I write on it with a dry-erase marker since that will wash off when I am done. Sometimes it rubs off a bit, but I can usually tell what it is.
Another option is to get numbers to put permanently on your containers, then keep a master list on the outside of the freezer. Either get vinyl numbers or use a permanent marker to mark the outside of the dish. I suggest marking the container itself, not the lid, to make sure they don’t get switched on accident.
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Know How Long Your Batch-Cooked Foods Last
Some foods will stay good in the freezer much longer than others. Freezing stops bacterial growth, so in theory, it could be frozen indefinitely, but most foods will start to lose flavor and texture after being frozen for too long. Make sure to rotate the foods in your freezer, so the oldest ones are brought to the front to make sure they are used first. Here’s a handy chart I found on the suggested time for freezing various foods:
30 thoughts on “4 Important Tips for Successful Batch-Cooking”
I actually did not know you could freeze an egg! This is a great chart!
interesting! I am a mess in the kitchen!
Thanks, Stephanie, for those great tips, summer is around the corner and cooking could be difficult when it is so hot. Batch cooking seems to be the solution.
I believe in cooking once and eating at least twice if not more. We do tons of prepping ahead of time. I will spend one whole day making several meals to put in the freezer. Saves time and money. During the summer what we pick from the garden is what we eat for dinner.
These are some fantastic tips. I love Batch cooking. It makes for easy meal nights come sport season and on the hot days when you don’t want to cook a large meal. I will definitely be trying out some of these recipes. I freeze lots of my stuff in ziploc bags and write on them. I find it’s easier in my small freezer to stack them all flat on top of each other.
We tend to do a lot of BBQ come summer, because it’s easy and not in the house. I tend to batch prepare my cookies but that’s about it. I’d love to do more. The frozen food storage time sheet will definitely come in handy!
Love this post! It’s just my boyfriend and I at our house so we always have left overs. Many times I just throw them out to the dog because we don’t feel like having them for the next week. I love the idea of freezing them and having them for later!
We do not batch cook.. because we sadly dont have a stand alone freezer.. but we do cook outside a lit! On a grill or a hot plate.. sometimes even a fire yumm.. now if it would just stop snowing
These are great tips. I love batch cooking, but so often I feel like I totally screw it up!
Man, this is amazing! I have never done batch cooking before but it seems like it saves a lot of time!
Wow always looking for ways to save time and energy! Also I’m going to print out the frozen food chart – so helpful, thank you!
Very useful tips there, especially the freezing times. I love cooking batches of Chili myself.
I need to start focusing on doing this more!! My problem is thinking of things to cook ahead of time when you arent hungry and none of it sounds good.
I definitely need to focus on this because the summers in Miami are equally dreadful and the electricity bill a nightmare. Never thought about this aspect but really sound so helpful.
so many helpful tips! i love having some meals ready in the freezer, and on those unexpected long days, it feels especially nice!
I really need to be better at the freezing things for use later. It would help so much when it comes to cooking in batches. I didn’t think about freeze times at all though. That does make a lot of sense.
I admit that it is a type of preparation or in any case of method and making that little appears in Italian kitchens, but I like to learn something new!
Good tips! I only ever batch cook the recipes I know inside out and am super confident with. The worst thing is when you make loads of something new and it is awful then you are left with a massive batch!
We often cook every Sunday for the whole week but reading your tips, we definitely should be a lot more organized…
I love the idea of doing as much batch cooking as possible. I really look forward to the free time and need to do this more.
These are great tips. I agree, the right container is really important when batch cooking. I always make sure I label containers clearly so I know when foods were made.
Great information! Sometimes it is nice to make a big batch of something and put the extra way for an easier meal to make at another time when you don’t want to cook or go out.
These are such useful tips. I have never done batch cooking, but you never know! I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind! Thanks for sharing 🙂
These are very helpful tips. I am learning how to cook now and these tips will help me a lot.
Ahh that chart is so wonderful! I have to save that. Perfect way to keep track and great tips here!
Some great tips here especially knowing the amount you will get when you double/triple the recipe. I often batch cook chilli and pasta sauce as well
It is nice that you have a strategy for batch cooking. I haven’t tried doing this before and it would be helpful when it comes to planning ahead and saving money.
Amazing tips! I need to get more containers.
Batch cooking always seems so daunting! These tips are really helpful though, thank you so much for sharing.
I really need to learn how to do more batch cooking, it saves time and money and that’s what I need right now, thanks so much for sharing these tips