20+ “Best of the Best” Crockpot Freezer Meals

By Polly Conner
February 4, 2021

Crockpot freezer meals. This is what we do! Not only have we written an entire cookbook about freezer meals for the Crockpot and Instant Pot, but we have tested and re-tested hundreds of recipes over the years. We wanted to narrow down the best of the best, so you don’t waste your time on any mediocre recipes out there.

Because, trust us, there are a lot.

There is also quite a bit of misinformation regarding Crockpot freezer meals, as well. So before we dive into our top recipes, allow us to impart some hard-earned wisdom to you, will ya?

Crockpot Pro Tips

Slow cooker meals are a no-brainer, right? Well, we thought so, too. That is, until we began testing recipes for our cookbook. We discovered that many of our underlying assumptions about slow cooking were off. The good news is, after our countless recipe tests, we’ve learned some key guidelines that will help you make home run meals in the slow cooker every time.

Raw seasoned chicken in a slow cooker; one of many crockpot freezer meals

Tip 1: Know Your Crockpot

For many years, I used a bad slow cooker. What I mean by this is, it cooked my food way too hot. It dried out everything I cooked in it. It took years until I realized I was working with a dud. This is why it’s so important to know thy slow cooker!

With dozens of models on the market, not all slow cookers are created equal. Some models run hot and fast, while others heat more slowly and gently. The only way to find out where yours falls is by experience. Because you likely have a different model of slow cooker than we do, we’ve provided a range of cooking times in our recipes.

Check your meal’s doneness at the lower end of the cooking range. For example, for a 5- to 7-hour cooking time, check for doneness at 5 hours. After that, check the meal every 30 minutes.

Tip 2: Use a Meat Thermometer

We’ve found that there are a wide variety of opinions when it comes to how long meals should be cooked in the slow cooker. Because of this, we determined “doneness” by measuring the internal temperature of those recipes that are easy to overcook and dry out (i.e., chicken, pork, and egg dishes).

Numbers don’t lie. A meat thermometer will become your best friend when using a slow cooker. Let it be your guide instead of the clock, and you’ll be amazed at how great food can be when it’s cooked perfectly.

Tip 3: Do No Cook Frozen Food in the Slow Cooker

Sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but while cooking a frozen meal in the Instant Pot is safe, putting a frozen meal in the slow cooker is not generally recommended. Loading your slow cooker with icy ingredients will keep food in the temperature danger zone (40° to 140°F), where bacteria can flourish for too long.

We recommend that you always thaw your meals before putting them in the slow cooker. It’s just not worth the risk.

Tip 4: Keep the Lid On!

Each peek you take during the cooking process will add 15 to 20 minutes to the cooking time. So curb the urge to open the lid and stir, unless we specifically instruct you to. It’s usually not necessary and tends to slow down the cooking. It’s hard, we know!

Tip 5: Cook on the Low Setting if Possible

While some recipes do give the option of low- or high-heat cooking, low and slow is always your best bet. A general rule of thumb is that cooking on the Low setting takes about twice as long as cooking on High. High is only recommended for recipes that take at least 8 hours on Low, however.

Anything shorter than that will not do well on the High setting. We do not recommend ever cooking chicken on High, for instance. This will lead to a dried-out chicken dinner.

Raw beef roast in a slow cooker

Grab Our Free Slow Cooker Cooking Times Chart

Like I said, we’ve tested hundreds of slow cooker recipes while writing From Freezer to Cooker. During that time, we honed in on the best crockpot cooking times for all kinds of meals. Snag our free printable chart here!


20+ “Best of the Best” Crockpot Freezer Meals

Ready to bust out some crockpot freezer meals to have on hand? Give a few of these top-notch recipes a try!

1. Slow Cooker Crispy Carnitas

It’s hard not to like Carnitas made in the Slow Cooker. In fact, pork shoulder is one of my favorite cuts of meat to cook this way! Carnitas can be prepped in minutes, they make a great freezer meal, and they feed a large number of people. Be sure to quarter the pork shoulder before freezing in the marinade!

Freezer meal Slow cooker Crispy Carnitas on a plate with mexican toppings.

How Freeze For Later: Place the quartered pork and marinade ingredients in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and freeze. 

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw your meal using one of our safe defrosting methods. Cook as directed in the recipe.


2.Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

This dump-and-go Tortilla Soup is one of the easiest you’ll ever make. Almost every ingredient comes straight from your pantry!

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup in a brown bowl

Freeze For Later: Add all the ingredients, except the rice, to a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal, toss gently to combine and freeze. Place the cooked rice in a separate small freezer bag. Seal and freeze alongside the soup. 

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw your meal using one of our safe defrosting methods. Cook as directed in the recipe.


3. Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

With only 6 main ingredients, this Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce couldn’t be easier or tastier! Serve over pasta, zoodles, or spaghetti squash for a delicious and healthy dinner.

a hand with a fork twirling a bite of spaghetti on a plate

Freeze For Later: Saute the onions, garlic, meat, and seasoning. Stir in the marinara sauce. Pour the uncooked meat sauce into a gallon-size freezer bag. Seal and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need to have cooked whole-grain pasta, zoodles, etc and (optional) Parmesan on hand to complete this meal. Thaw your meal using one of our safe defrosting methods. Cook as directed in the recipe.


4. Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken

A little sweet and a little spicy, this EASY Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken recipe is BIG on flavor and takes just minutes. It’s a fan favorite and, of course, freezer friendly.

Freezer friendly Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken with vegetables

Freeze For Later: Pour the sauce and chicken into a gallon-sized freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Note: Have cornstarch and (optional) cooked rice and stir-fried veggies on hand to complete this meal. Thaw your meal using one of our safe defrosting methods. Cook as directed in the recipe.


5. Slow Cooker Cheddar and Bacon Potato Soup

When the air turns crisp and the leaves start to change, making a comforting batch of Cheddar and Bacon Potato Soup is mandatory. Using the slow cooker means your home will feel cozy and smell delicious, too!

Slow cooker cheddar and bacon potato soup in a white bowl

Freeze for Later:  Place cooked bacon in a quart-sized freezer bag and seal. Place cooked and cooled veggies, broth, thyme, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and potatoes in a gallon-sized freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze. Package up the cheese in a quart-sized freezer bag and freeze along with the soup.

Prepare From Frozen: (Note: You will need sour cream, half and half, and green onions to make this recipe.) Thaw your meal using one of our safe defrosting methods. Cook as directed in the recipe.


6. Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

It’s hard to mess up a pork shoulder recipe in the slow cooker. It gets perfectly cooked and tender using our recipe instructions. Our quick Homemade BBQ Sauce takes this dish over the top.

Freezer friendly slow cooker Pulled Pork Sandwich on a white plate with an asian salad

Freeze for LaterPlace the seasoned pork and 1 cup of the BBQ sauce in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and freeze. Place the remaining 1 ⁄2 cup BBQ sauce in a small freezer bag or container and the buns in a separate freezer bag. Seal and freeze them alongside the pork.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw your meal using one of our safe defrosting methods. Cook as directed in the recipe.


7. Chicken and Dumpling Stew

You may never return to making chicken and dumplings on the stove! It’s soooo good made in the crockpot.

Slow cooker chicken and dumpling soup

Freeze for Later: Place seasoned chicken in a gallon-sized freezer bag.Add the broth, bay leaves, and cooled veggies. Seal and freeze. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley in a quart-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze alongside the stew.

Prepare from Frozen: Note: You will need to have butter, milk, and frozen peas on hand to complete this meal. Set aside the dry dumpling mix. Thaw your meal using one of our safe defrosting methods. Cook as directed in the recipe.


8. Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

These kid-friendly Chicken and Cheese Taquitos go from frozen chicken breasts to a delicious dinner on the table in 45 minutes with very minimal hands-on work. You can easily double and freeze these for later using this free PDF.

Slow cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos piled on a serving platter with avocado lime salsa on top

Freeze For Later: Follow recipe instructions but do not bake. Place rolled up tortillas in a freezer bag or freezer container (BEFORE baking) in a single layer. Separate the single layers with parchment paper. Seal tightly and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place frozen taquitos on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or foil. Cover them lightly with a piece of foil (so they don’t brown too quickly). Bake for about 25 minutes or until warmed through and cheese is melty. Remove foil and bake about 5-10 more minutes until golden brown on top. 


9. Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Sandwiches

This well-seasoned, fall-apart shredded BBQ Beef will make your home smell amazing! Serve with our Homemade BBQ Sauce for extra deliciousness!

Crockpot BBQ shredded beef sandwich on plates with corn and grapes

Freeze For Later: Place the seasoned meat and 1 cup of the BBQ sauce in a gallon-sized freezer bag or round container. Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen). Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce into a small bag/container and seal. Freeze the sauce and buns alongside the meat.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw your meal using one of our safe defrosting methods. Cook as directed in the recipe.


10. Slow Cooker Chicken Fiesta Soup

This delicious, slow cooker chicken soup is not only gluten free and dairy free (if you don’t add cheese at the end), but it freezes beautifully either before cooking or after. Packed with fresh flavor, the veggies give it that fiesta vibe that everyone will love. This easy and healthy freezer meal is great for feeding a large group of people.

Crockpot chicken fiesta soup in a white bowl with a spoon

Freeze For Later: Let sautéed veggies cool and then add to a one gallon freezer bag with all of the other ingredients and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw your meal using one of our safe defrosting methods. Cook as directed in the recipe.


11. Tomato Soup

This Tomato Soup has it all. Since it is a great freezer meal, we’ve written the recipe to be very large. This meal works well for large groups or simply to freeze in small portions for lunches down the road. This recipe is linked to an Instant Pot version but will work in the slow cooker as well.

Slow cooker Tomato Soup in a bowl with bread

12. Crowd Pleaser Mexican Soup

This is the only Mexican Soup recipe you’ll ever need. I’ve been making a variation of this soup for my family and guests for years. I love to fully cook this soup and freeze it in small portions to have for lunches down the road.

slow cooker Mexican soup in a white bowl with a spoon

Freeze for Later: Cook the onions and beef, then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Seal and freeze. (Or you can fully cook, cool, and freeze your soup.)

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw your meal using one of our safe defrosting methods. Cook as directed in the recipe.


13. Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Sliders

You can’t go wrong with this classic recipe. With only five ingredients and the magic of the slow cooker, you’ll have a healthy dinner on the table with very little effort.

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Sliders on a cutting board

Freeze For Later: Place raw chicken breasts and marinara in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw your meal using one of our safe defrosting methods. Cook as directed in the recipe.


14. Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Slow cooker pot roast is a savory dinner to feed a crowd. Made without processed ingredients too!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast has no processed ingredients. Just real food that's really good!

Freeze for Later: Fully cook and cool pot roast (do not leave out of refrigerator or freezer more than 2 hours). Place in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Try to remove as much air as possible and seal and/or wrap it well before placing in the freezer.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw for 24-48 hours in the refrigerator (preferred method) or in the microwave using the defrost setting. Then, warm over low to medium-low heat on the stove, gently stirring occasionally.


15. Any of our 7 Best Chicken Marinades

We have a collection of amazing chicken marinades that will all work to cook in the slow cooker!

Here are the recipes:

  1. ASIAN SESAME CHICKEN MARINADE

2. HONEY DIJON CHICKEN MARINADE

3. LEMON GARLIC CHICKEN MARINADE

4. BALSAMIC HERB CHICKEN MARINADE

5. CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN MARINADE

6. THE BEST SAVORY CHICKEN MARINADE

7. SOUTHWEST CHICKEN MARINADE

Freeze for Later: Add marinade and chicken to a gallon-sized freezer bag, seal, and shake.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw your meal using one of our safe defrosting methods. Cook as directed in the recipe.

Make sure you grab your Chicken Marinade Cheatsheet!


16. Chicken Nachos

Chicken Nachos? From the slow cooker? You bet! See how!

Baked chicken nachos made in the slow cooker

Freeze For Later:  Place seasoned chicken, salsa, lime juice, and cilantro into a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and freeze alongside a bag of shredded cheese. 

Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need chips and your favorite suggested toppings to complete this meal. Thaw your meal using one of our safe defrosting methods. Cook as directed in the recipe.


17. Slow Cooker French Dip Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Everyone loves grilled cheese, so why not make it even more irresistible by turning it into a French Dip Grilled Cheese Sandwich?! The best part? It’s made in the slow cooker!

French Dip Grilled Cheese Sandwiches made in the slow cooker. Sandwich on a white plate with a small bowl of au jus next to it.

FREEZE FOR LATER: Pour the sauce into a gallon-sized freezer bag or container. Season the roast lightly with salt and black pepper and add to the bag/container with the sauce. Seal and freeze. Place the bread and cheese in separate freezer bags or containers. Seal and freeze alongside the roast.

PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Note: You will need to have butter on hand to complete this meal. Thaw. Place in the slow cooker. Cook as directed.


18. Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef

Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef is an easy, dump-and-go, delicious dinner. This freezer friendly recipe is a win for my family and is a great recipe for large groups. So simple!

slow cooker shredded balsamic beef on top of polenta

To Freeze: Place all ingredients together in a gallon-sized freezer bag, seal, and freeze.

To Prepare from Frozen: Thaw your meal using one of our safe defrosting methods. Cook as directed in the recipe.


19. Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Sweet Potato and Black Beans

This lean turkey chili is not only hearty and absolutely delicious, but it’s also chock full of fiber, protein, and nutrients. It’s also gluten-free & dairy-free! This crockpot chili is delicious fresh but is also a great make ahead meal.

slow cooker turkey chili in a white bowl with a spoon and napkin next to it

Freezer For Later: Add the cooked and cooled meat and vegetables to a gallon-sized freezer bag or container. Then, add the remaining ingredients (chili powder through black beans) to the same bag. Seal, toss gently to mix, and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw for 24-48 hours in the refrigerator. Cook according to instructions.


20. Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken

This Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken recipe is easy, tasty, freezer-friendly, and made in the crock pot. Shred up those tender chicken thighs and serve it over rice for a delicious, filling dinner. For a dump and go crock pot freezer meal, it doesn’t get much better!

teriyaki chicken on the bone made in the crockpot

To Freeze For Later: Place the raw chicken thighs and all of the marinade ingredients (except for the cornstarch) into a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and freeze.

To Prepare From Frozen: Thaw using one of these safe methods and then cook as directed.


21. Baby Back BBQ Ribs

You don’t need a smoker or to heat up your kitchen with the oven for hours to make amazing ribs. Your slow cooker and a few minutes under the broiler will do all the hard work for you, resulting in fall-off-the-bone, caramelized BBQ ribs.

slow cooked ribs on a cutting board with extra sauce on the side

Freeze For Later: Make the rub and cover both sides of the racks of ribs in the paste. Either cut the racks in half and place in a gallon-sized freezer bag OR wrap the full racks in several layers of plastic wrap and foil. Seal tightly and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw using one of our safe thawing methods. Cook according to the recipe instructions. (Do NOT cook from frozen in the slow cooker.)


23. 4-Ingredient Drumsticks

Our Crockpot Chicken Drumsticks require only 4 pantry ingredients and come out moist and delicious every time. Not only are they gluten-free and dairy-free but they work great as a make-ahead freezer meal too. All ages love these.


Want Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot?

If you like Crockpot freezer meals, then you’re going to love our post highlighting 20+ Best of the Best Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot. It includes freezer meal instructions for EVERY recipe plus tons of pro tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years.

freezer meals for the instant pot

Want Slow Cooker Recipes for a Crowd?

Here are 25+ Crockpot Recipes for Groups of People.

slow cooker recipes for groups of people
 

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