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20 Freezer Meals in 4 Hours

  20 Freezer Meals in 4 Hours

We are excited to share with you our 20 Freezer Meals in 4 Hours meal plan.  This plan will allow you to have dinner planned for almost three weeks or more depending on your family size and if they like to eat leftovers! I love to save time in the kitchen so I can enjoy more moments with my boys. I also like to be prepared and know what I am serving for dinner so I am not spending time looking around for what I am going to make. When I freezer cook I save both time and money.


This was my third time prepping freezer meals for my family. I will say that the first time took a long time but I am now getting a rhythm down and get through it in no time. If you think 4 hours is a lot of time you have to consider that you are going to have 20 meals ready at the end of the 4 hour time!  If you are new to preparing freezer meals or don’t have the 4 hours to invest you may want to start with this plan —–>How to make 8 Freezer Meals in 2 Hours. We love it too!

First of all invest in a good quality slow cooker.  Our favorite is this programmable cook and carry 6qt oval slow cooker. To start you will want to go through your kitchen and pantry and make a list of what ingredients you will need to get at the store and what you already have on hand. I had all of the chicken, beef and spices in my stockpile. I spent the majority of money on buying fresh produce. A great way to save money is to purchase your meat in bulk from ZayconFresh.  I LOVE their chicken! When you are ready to prepare the meals you will want to set everything out on the counter that you will need.

How to make 20 Freezer Meals in 4 Hours!

Next, you will want to label all your ziploc bags with cooking times and if you need to add anything to the recipe when you place it in or out of the slow cooker. The next step was to cook any meat that needed to be cooked for a recipe (ground beef for Crockpot Taco Soup). I did this first so that the meat could cool before putting in the bag. Next I got to chopping, slicing  and dicing the veggies and fruit. I put them in bowls to keep together to make it easier when I needed to measure them out into bags.

At this point I started with my meals that contained whole chicken breasts that did not need to be cubed. I filled the bags with the chicken and added ingredients. Placed the bags in the freezer and then started on my meals that needed to be in foil pans or baking dishes (Chicken Divan). After they were completed they went in the freezer (be sure to label the foil you wrap them in).

How to make 20 Freezer Meals in 4 Hours #freezermeal Now I started on my meals that needed cubed chicken. After they were filled they went in the freezer. Next I worked on my beef meals. If you are making Easy Crockpot Meatloaf it is important to get this meal in the freezer right away. After completing these I finished with my veggie freezer meals. Once all the meals were in the freezer I put dishes in the dishwasher and hand washed the skillet and sharp knives. I put all the spices away and took a big deep breath 🙂

I was super excited to know that my family had meals for the next three weeks and I would not have to stress about it. One of the best parts is when I went to the store I spent less than $50 dollars on what I needed, however I did not buy any meat or poultry because it was in my stockpile. You may also want to consider investing in a food saver if you decide to freezer cook on a long term basis.  It extends the life of your frozen food by up to two years according to the manufacturer.  20 Freezer Meals in Four Hours master shopping list

To make this process even easier for you we have a FREE Printable shopping list for you for the ENTIRE plan!!!!  Just print this list and you are ready for the store!

20 Freezer Meals in 4 Hours

We also have an individual shopping list for each recipe in case you are interested in specific recipes without preparing the entire plan.  We included a single, double, triple and x10 for each recipe. Hope you enjoy!  You will simply click on the recipe link below and print the recipe then you will print each shopping list or the master shopping list depending on what you prefer.

Easy Crockpot Meatloaf Recipe – Shopping List

Crockpot Cranberry Orange Chicken Recipe – Shopping List

Crockpot Honey Rosemary Chicken Recipe – Shopping List

Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe – Shopping List

Chicken Casserole Recipe Shopping List

Baked Ziti Recipe Shopping List

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Recipe Shopping List

Cheesy Rigatoni Recipe Shopping List

Chicken Divan Recipe – Shopping List

Crockpot Chicken Fajitas Recipe Shopping List

Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken Recipe ( I made 2 of these) – Shopping List

Crockpot Chicken with Apple and Sweet Potato Recipe – Shopping List

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches Recipe (I made 2 of these – My family’s favorite!) – Shopping List

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore Recipe – Shopping List

Crockpot Veggies in a Bag Recipe (I made 2 of these – Great side dish to most meals!) – Shopping List

Crockpot Taco Soup Recipe – Shopping List

Crockpot Butternut Squash Chili Recipe – Shopping List

How to make 20 Freezer Meals in 4 Hours #freezermeal #crockpot #slowcooker SPM-Pin-it-here

8 Crockpot Freezer Meals Collage We also have 8 Crockpot Freezer Meals in 2 hours plan too!

20 Healthy Freezer Meals For Your Slow Cooker in 3 Hours

We have a 20 Healthy Freezer Meals For Your Slow Cooker in 3 Hours Plan too!

10 Crockpot Freezer Meals in 2 Hours

We have a 10 Crockpot Freezer Meals in 2 Hours Plan too!

20 Freezer Meals

We have a 20 Slow Cooker Freezer Meals in 4 Hours Plan too!

Freezer Cooking 101 resized 2

New to Freezer Cooking? We have a Freezer Cooking 101 Series that you may enjoy!

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        1. Is the 20 meal shopping list for the single recipe of each recipe and if so how many does the single feed?

      1. They are listed under 20 Freezer Meals in 4 Hours in green font – just click these links for each recipe.

  1. A shopping list would be nice. Did you have a chance to make one? These recipes look wonderful. Thank you so much.

      1. Yep – that is correct – I have updated the Chicken Divan Recipe with a link to how to cook a Whole Chicken in the Crockpot or you can use a Rotisserie chicken too!

  2. Just moved from CA to IA so I had to buy everything. I was able to buy everything for $190. I plan to use the 20 meals for weeknight meals. I have enough meals to last me a 4 weeks. I think I did pretty well price wise.

  3. Thank you for the time and energy you spent on this!! I did this plan a week and a half ago, and it has been such a fabulous time saver!! I have not had any last minute eating outs since I did all the cooking. I have shared my experience with others and plan to do it again!! Thanks again!!

  4. We are taking the bags and breaking them down into even smaller batches – my other half travels with his job – Leaves on Sundays and gets back home on Thursdays, by doing the half bags he is able to take them with him for his crockpot and not eat the same thing for a week. It is just enough for him to have dinner and lunch the next day.

    1. Mine better half does the same! I am so glad to find this site and start getting some better meals prepared for him to take when he leaves on Monday morning. He comes home Friday night and leaves in the early morn on Monday!

  5. This is awesome! I will be making it tomorrow- spending all of Sunday making meals so for the next 4 weeks I am covered. Thank you so much!!

    1. Yes. You roast them and shred to use in the recipes and can be used for other recipes too.

  6. For the French dip do you think you could substitute turkey? Turkey breast maybe and if so how long to cook it?

  7. This is a great idea, I think I might try it. I don’t see the recipes list though, or do you just have to go in and print each one separately?

  8. Great recipes. Freezer meals are now a must in my house. If I don’t have any it’s difficult for me to cook dinner. Can’t wait to try these!


  9. So excited to try these!! Is there some way to print the recipes all at once. I have the complete shopping list but don’t want to have to open each recipe and then print each recipe. These will be great to keep in the freezer when i get home late from work!! Which is 3 our of 5 days a week! TIA!!

        1. I was looking for that too. I have the list of what to buy but wondered what to do with it without printing out 20 recipes 🙂

  10. I’m confused also. I printed out the master list of ingredients but cannot find the master list of the 20 recipes? HELP!

  11. Thanks for publishing this! I see the list of all 20 shopping lists combined. Is there a way to print all 20 recipes at once?

  12. Can I check that a crockpot is the same as a slow cooker? Has anyone made these in the UK? Are the ingredients easy to substitute? TIA

    1. Yes, crockpot and slow cooker is the same thing 🙂 I am sure you can. I have friends in England so I may be able to help you with substitutions.

  13. When using meats that are in stockpile are they already frozen? Did you portion them out prior to freezing? I know it’s not safe to refreeze raw meat. I’m trying to understand how to incorporate what I already have in stockpile. Not sure why this confuses me so much.

    1. We did not thaw out the meat that was in the stockpile. We had frozen chicken breast and browned ground been already in our stockpile that we used for this plan. Hope that helps!

  14. I bought everything on the shopping list and am ready to start cooking but what are the “whole chickens” for?

  15. Nevermind I read they are supposed to be roasted. I guess it’s my fault for not reading ahead. I think you should post somewhere more clear about that since it could throw a lot of people off. I would prefer to have bought extra chicken breast. I have no idea how to cook two whole chickens or how to carve them up. I have four kids and limited time and money. Just a bit frustrated that I have to now roast these chickens…look for a recipe and instructions on how to carve it. Extra time that I do not have when I’m ready to prep right now.

      1. THANK YOU! After I got over my melt down and made the meals, I was able to get most of them done and in the freezer. We are about 1/2 way through them now and I am so thrilled that my kids LOVE them. They are 10, 7, 4 and 1. Their favorite is the Taco Soup and it will be a new “regular” in our menu plan. Thank you for this, I am sorry if I sounded ungrateful in my previous post. This has saved me so much time. One thing I wanted to tell everyone is to make sure and follow the directions and lay the bags flat in the freezer. I was rushed and didn’t do that, and three of them froze to my freezer shelf. I had to get hubby to loosen them for me, but all was well and they still cooked great. Just a tip for those newbies out there.

    1. Debra,
      Instead of roasting the chickens, I would put them in a pressure cooker. When they are done cooking, the meat just falls off the bones and you have great juices. You may have to let the chicken cool a bit then use a fork to get the remaining meat off the bones.

  16. Most freezer meal plans I have seen are basically just prep work, without any “real” recipes. This is completely different, and better yet, the recipes sound like stuff we will actually eat and enjoy! Thanks so much! I see several people have asked for a master list of the recipes, and I keep seeing a link, but it only takes me to a master list of the shopping list, NOT the recipes. I don’t really mind going in and printing each one up individually, but if there IS a master recipe “book” without having to go to each link, I think that’s what many are asking for. Thanks again!

    1. There is not a master recipe “book” – just head over to each link and print. Thanks so much for your kind words! We may create an ebook soon though because this is so popular.

      1. See my similar comment below — please consider aggregating these into a single master recipe list — thanks!

  17. Hi…

    I totally love this! The meals I can have (I’m allergic to a lot of foods) are awesome! Quick question though…have you used venison as a substitution for the beef? If so, would the cooking time change? Would I need to add a little olive oil or something as it is so lean?

    1. Yes, we have actually substituted venison. The biggest changes would be be sure to season well (a little extra) and olive oil is a good idea too!

  18. I have been doing this for years. If I am making pot roast dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy I will cook two package up the beef and gravy and potoatoes in separate containers that will serve two people. I purchase them by the case at restaurant purveyors and they go from freezer to oven or microwave. I cook the veggies fresh in the microwave each night depending in what we are in the mood for. I do the same with meatballs and sauce, sausage and peppers, chicken cutlets, which can be heated up in the oven to crisp back up and topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese for chicken parm. I also have a food sealer and I make large quantities of soups and freeze in Ziploc freezer bags and then put them into my food sealer bags and seal them up good. My adult kids are constantly coming by to raid my freezer to see what is there. Yesterday my daughter left with potato and leek soup and veal oso buco. Tough to get a combo like that in one night, unless you go out. Then you get all the salts and preservatives from restaurant food. I also have a basic muffin receipe that I use for all kinds of fruit muffins and bake them plain during strawberry season. They I can pop out a few and split them to make individual strawberry shortcakes with fresh local strawberries and fresh whipped cream. It is amazing how much you can cook ahead and save with all these new freezer to oven containers and food sealers. It is like living with homemade tv dinners.

  19. Love love love that a good number of these recipes have their WW’s points plus points on them! That was my hesitancy on doing freezer meals again last time so many were smothered with cheese

  20. This is such a great idea. Thank you for sharing. I have the list printed and plan to go shopping tomorrow, but I can only find a few of the recipes. Am I over looking the link for them?

    1. They are all listed under 20 Freezer Meals in 4 Hours – in green font. Click each link for the recipe.

  21. So I know that if I use beef for a recipe, I will need to cook it before putting it with the rest of the stuff in the bag before freezing, but do you cook the chicken also or will it cook in the crocket with the rest of the stuff?

  22. Printed off a bunch of the recipes that my family would eat. Noticed most of these recipes are chicken based. How about some pork and more beef (not ground) recipes in the future? Looking forward to trying these with our busy family schedule!

  23. Thank you so much! I found another blog recently that had a how to plan meals for a year. While I’m not sure I can do a WHOLE year, I’d be totally happy with 3-4 months. I hate meal planning, but it keeps my days sane. These 20 are definitely going on to my plan!!

  24. Do you by chance have a shopping list formatted on or for Evernote? My printer is broken and I make all my shopping lists on Evernote.

  25. Thank you for taking the time to share this and put together the shopping list. I have a few comments on the list, hope you don’t mind me sharing what I discovered by making all of these.
    ~What are the 9 bulbs of garlic for? Making every recipe with the amount specified I only used one bulb.
    ~For the french dip your list has the chuck roast for two batches, but only enough consomme for one batch. Gotta run back to the store before my beef goes bad!
    ~You have dry bread crumbs listed under boxed and again under canned, I think those should be combined under boxed 🙂
    Thanks again for posting all of this! I am so happy to be embarking on the freezer meal journey for my family!!

  26. Found my answer. When you open each recipe page, there are directions on how to freeze if you wish to. I had printed out all the recipes. I wish the freezing directions option was on the recipe itself. I will have to add the instructions to my printouts. Looking forward to having a freezer full of ready to go meals. Thanks again.

  27. Finished these over the weekend. So far my (picky) family has had three of the meals. They are a hit around here and I’m feeling like a new woman without the stress and mess of dinner each night. It took me close to 8 hours but I had plenty of distractions (a 3 yr old and 9 mo). Would recommend to anyone. Had to adjust, substitute, guess, and change a few things to fit our family but this is a great plan and I’m so happy to have stumbled across here!

    1. Not as much as you think. We used gallon ziploc bags and freeze them flat to save space. For the casseroles use disposable pans to help with space or freeze then pop out and wrap with foil.

  28. Should the Chicken Casserole be baked before freezing? I couldn’t see if it should be baked before or after freezing in the recipe.

    1. I bake it after freezing. Just freeze and then put in the refrigerator to thaw and then bake when ready.

  29. For both the Mexican Chicken and the Crock pot mixed veggies do they need to thaw overnight before going in the crock pot or can they go right from the freezer to the crock?

  30. I’m sure I’m just blind, but I only counted 17meals on the list. What are the other 3? I know I roasted an extra chicken during the Divan Chucken preparation. What do you suggest we make with it?

        1. Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken Recipe ( I made 2 of these)

          Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches Recipe (I made 2 of these – My family’s favorite!)

          Crockpot Veggies in a Bag Recipe (I made 2 of these – Great side dish to most meals!)

  31. How did you have that much chicken already in your stockpile? Did you have it frozen, thaw it out to make the recipes and then freeze it again?

    1. We purchase 40 lbs boxes of chicken from Zaycon – We either bulk cook the day after we pick it up or we use it frozen (do not thaw and make the recipes and re-freeze).

      1. I do that as well, my child gets very sick of the same repetitive chicken meals so this will be a good change for her. Thanks

      2. I’ve always heard not to thaw then refreeze, but why? Also what about the chicken I buy in the store? I think it’s been previously frozen then thawed in the meat display case then I buy it, take it home, separate and freeze. I never realized it but now I’m wondering about it all.

        1. The U. S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) advises: Once food is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through thawing. After cooking raw foods which were previously frozen, it is safe to freeze the cooked foods.

  32. Hi there, I don’t have a printer to print out all the ingredients I would need to make 20 meals ahead of time! Does anyone have any suggestions? TIA

    1. You don’t need to print them. We cook with our laptop or off our phones all of the time. Just pull the recipes up when you are ready to start.

        1. Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken Recipe ( I made 2 of these) – Shopping List

          Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches Recipe (I made 2 of these – My family’s favorite!) – Shopping List

          Crockpot Veggies in a Bag Recipe (I made 2 of these – Great side dish to most meals!) – Shopping List

  33. I’m wondering if you have a plan stating what order you made these meals. I would love some direction! The shopping list is awesome.

    1. You can do them in whatever order that you want but we normally do all the like meats together at the same time and then move down the list.

  34. Hi there,
    I couldn’t find it, but maybe I missed it. How many are these meals serving?
    I have 4 kids and 2 adults! Not sure if I need to double or anything…

    1. They serve a family of 5 with no concern – ages 15, 11 and 5 are the kids served plus 2 adults.

      1. Hi! We also have a family of 5. But they are all adults and I also have a 1.5 year old. Will this be enough for all the adults? Thank you!

        1. This would be enough for reasonable size servings 🙂 You can always add an extra protein (chicken breast) or buy slightly larger meats.

  35. Do each of these recipes fit into a 1 gallon bag?? I was unsure if all the ingredients from the taco soup would fit…

  36. Do I cook the beef and chicken before hand or just the beef? I know some crockpot recipes call for frozen chicken and take just as much time as these.

  37. I CAN NOT TELL YOU HOW AWESOME THIS IS – the trick for me was to do all the shopping that day – so everything one on the kitchen table, and I knew it all had to get used. I did find I increased a few things like 3 lbs meatloaf instead of 1.5. Also- I suggest the next time to do the Butternut Squash Chili — ADD 2 teaspoons of Garlic Powder – and sprinkle Nutmeg – and then just before its ready to be served, stir in crumbled – fried Italian Sweet Sausage — IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE.. This is the greatest thing, I have friends asking me to come to their house and do it for them

  38. We are on day 5 of these meals and everything has been very satisfactory. I made all of the freezer meals exactly as instructed, and tweaked some of them before serving to adjust for our family’s taste. Every fourh day we have had enough that we have a leftover’s night (we are a family of 3 adults).I can’t recommend trying this out highly enough, especially for busy families, it makes life so much easier. One tip I can give is to buy two rotisserie chickens when shopping, and after you clean the meat off the chicken carcass (you can do this the day before) and make your chicken stock from the carcasses and your mirepoix. It saved me $15 on stock! Also, if you wanted to mix the meats up with less chicken you can substitute pork or beef on a lot of these recipes. Thanks so much stock piling moms!

  39. So on the master list you said 2 whole chickens. Did you mean 2 frozen chickens cause thats what we bought yesterday and none of these recipes are listing a whole chicken. I’m really hoping I didnt waste money those..

      1. Hi there – I’m getting ready to embark on this project during the upcoming long weekend. So excited!!! I was wondering about the whole chickens too….seems that Corckpot Cranberry Orange Chicken calls for any kind of chicken (1 lb) – is this one of the whole chickens? Not sure how much is 1 lb of meat. What is the other recipe for the other chicken? Also, what is the “3c Roast Chicken Master Mix” listed in the Chicken Divan recipe? Thank you so much!

        1. The Chicken Divan uses the Whole Chicken to make the Roast Chicken Master Mix. 3 cups cooked chicken normally equals (1) Whole Chicken. Hope that helps!

          1. That’s great, thank you. Is there something else that goes into the “Roast Chicken Master Mix”? Not sure what that is.

    1. When Stephanie went to the store she spent less than $50 dollars on what she needed, however she did not buy any meat or poultry because it was in her stockpile (as stated in the blog post). I would guess $100-$125 if you are purchasing your meat.

  40. This is something I definitely need to start doing – I can definitely imagine how much easier this would make the whole 30 program if I had the week’s dinners already planned out and frozen. <3 Thank you for this!

    1. I am working on a 20 – Whole 30 Freezer Meals in 4 hours post now! Should be live in about a week or so! 🙂

      1. Thank you stockpiling moms. I am so excited to get started doing this for me hudbsnd and I. Wish I had tried it sooner when I still had 3 growing, hungry boys at home.
        I will be sharing some of the recipes with my retired parents. And I look forward to seeing and trying your ideas from Whole30.
        Thank you for answering so many question too!

  41. I am in desperate need of this kind of planning for my family, super grateful for your hard work and sharing! I am struggling with the format and copy pasting the list to import in Trello or simply excel. Is there a list you could send so I can shop the recipes electronically and check off my list over and over again?
    Thank you!!

    1. If you use a “note/list” app on your phone it will work quite nicely. Just check off what you already have at home and then as you by your ingredients. As long as you don’t “delete” checked items, your list will remain when you are finished shopping.

      Takes a bit to create the list initially but it is a 1 time deal. I created a separate list for each of the plans.

  42. Freezer meals are great. I’ve been doing them for my family for about a year. I’m excited to try your list. Thanks.

    Thanks again!

  43. It would be awesome if there were a document that listed the recipe/directions for each of the recipes in this series rather than having to click through each page. Or am I missing that somewhere?

      1. Some of us do not have reliable internet. You have the technology to put together a series of Ebooks that I would be happy to pay a couple for bucks each for. The other problem with this website is the ads; they slow my pc to such an extent that I can not just open and print each recipe. This makes it a cumbersome process. you have no idea how much I do not want to come back here for this info. This info would be a big help but maybe I can find a similar ebook elsewhere. I’ll keep checking back just in case you decide to help those of us that can not depend on the grid always being available. Thank you.. .

  44. I bought everything on the shopping list and I don’t see any uses for the pork tenderloin? Or for that matter half the things on the list? Am I not seeing all of the recipes?

  45. I’m about to start this today and am super excited! Are we able to use regular breast in place of the whole chickens for the master mix? I’m not a fan of dark meat and would prefer all white meat.

  46. I have printed out all of the recipes, but I am doing Weight Watchers and I know some of the recipes show the Points Plus values on them and some don’t, how would I get that information to find out how many points each meal is.Also how did you get the information for the points?

  47. hi! For the crockpot Taco Soup, is it okay that I cooked it using the raw meat, 8 hours on low, and didn’t brown it first? When u click on the recipe, it doesn’t say you need to brown it before freezing it and then thawing and cooking in crockpot, but on your main page it says to brown the beef first? Thank you!

  48. Hi!! First of all thank you!! I often meal prep, but need more. I’m starting with the 20 meals in 4 hours, I got my list supply’s and the only question is where are the recipes!? ??? Did I miss that part? Help!!

      1. I’m not seeing a link for the number of recipes mentioned, just four to five of them. Where are the links, not seeing them in this story? Thanks!

  49. We are a family of 3. 2 adults and a baby that doesn’t eat much. Would each meal be 2 days worth? If we didn’t have any ingredients on hand about how much would it take to buy everything at Aldi?

    1. I would say yes – each meal will be enough for you both plus leftovers the next night for for lunch. My guess is $200 with no ingredients on hand.

  50. This is great! A few of us are going to do it together at a church next week Is there someplace all the recipes are compiled that I am missing?

  51. I’m thinking of putting these together for my family. My daughter is in college and I’d like to send her with a portion of each meal. Do you think the smaller portion would cook okay in the oven? I think a smaller portion would probably not cook as well in a crock pot. What do you think?

  52. This is thorough and awesome! Can you clarify what the Roast Chicken Master Mix is in the Chicken Divan recipe is?
    Thanks for compiling all of this!

  53. Just found this and went to the store this morning to get all the ingredients but I cannot figure out what I use the 2 whole chickens for. There are also ingredients missing on the list like the broccoli for the chicken divine. Can’t wait to try the ones that I have completed though! These will be great to use while we are remodeling our kitchen!

    1. I figured it out! Broccoli is under frozen and I roast the chickens to use in some of the meals. Thank you for this great resource!

  54. If I wanted to make some of these in an instant pot rather than a slow cooker, do you have any advice? Like which ones the instant pot may be good for, and what the conversion would be, like 8 hours on low = 20 minutes in the instant pot?
    I know me, and there will be days that I wait till the last minute, so having some instant pot meals would help me.
    🙂 Thanks!!!

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