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7 BEST Chicken Marinades (+ Printable Recipe Cheat Sheet)

By Rachel Tiemeyer

These 7 easy marinades for chicken breasts will transform this boring cut into several tasty and healthy meals! Learn how to prep and freeze for later OR how to make them for dinner tonight. Plus, snag our FREE one-page cheat sheet of all the recipes.

7 chicken marinades

Affiliate links included.

Why We Love Marinating Chicken Breasts

Chicken breasts are the go-to cut of poultry in our houses. They are lean, easy to find, and versatile. But, without some serious culinary help, this cut can be flat-out boring and lackluster.

chicken marinade in freezer bags

That’s where our 7 marinades for chicken breasts come in! Marinating chicken helps to infuse flavor throughout and adds moisture to a cut of chicken that can be notoriously dry. We’ve developed 7 delicious combos of marinade ingredients so you never get bored again!

marinades in small mason jars

In this article, you’ll find:

  • Video Tutorial: How to Make 7 Chicken Marinades
  • FREE Printable Cheat Sheet
  • 7 Amazing Chicken Marinades
  • FAQ: Can you freeze chicken marinades?
  • FAQ: How long should I marinate chicken breasts?
  • FAQ: Can you use these marinades for other cuts of chicken?
  • FAQ: Where do you buy your chicken from?

1 Minute Video: How to Make All 7 Marinades for Chicken Breasts

Check out just how quickly these marinades come together using mostly pantry staples…

Download our Free Chicken Marinades Cheat Sheet Printable!

If you want to have these simple marinade combos on hand anytime, download our quick cheat sheet. This handy one-page printable includes all the recipes and 4 options for cooking your marinated chicken breasts. Tape it up inside a cabinet or pantry door, so you can whip up these recipes anytime.

7 Chicken Marinade Recipes

There is a marinade for everyone in our collection! Each recipe works for 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts. Which flavor profile looks tastiest to you?

chicken breasts in marinades in freezer bags

1. Asian Sesame Chicken Marinade

With just a few key Asian-inspired ingredients, you can create some seriously tasty marinated chicken. Serve it in wraps, on salads, or over rice. A perfect side dish is our Asian Slaw…yum!

marinade in a small mason jar and two chicken breasts in a freezer bag with marinade

2. Honey Dijon Chicken Marinade

You had me at 5 ingredients! That’s right. This recipe only requires 5 pantry staple ingredients for a perfect sweet and tangy result. Delicious on top of salad with our Honey Dijon Dressing or serve on a bun with your favorite chicken sandwich toppings.

Honey Dijon Chicken Marinade

3. Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade

Thanks to fresh lemon, garlic, thyme, and more, this bright and flavorful marinade completely transforms any cut of chicken. Pairs perfectly with our Crispy Smashed Potatoes and Strawberry Fields Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette.

lemon garlic marinade in mason jar and in a freezer bag with chicken

4. Balsamic Herb Chicken Marinade

Fresh herbs and pantry staples combine to create this complex marinade. Grill or bake the chicken, then enjoy on its own or atop a salad. Side dish ideas include our Simple Boiled Baby Potatoes or No Boil Corn on the Cob.

chicken breasts in freezer bag with balsamic marinade and marinade in a mason jar

5. Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

Cilantro, lime, garlic and more marry together to create this fresh, citrusy marinade. Serve on tacos, in quesadillas, or shredded on top of nachos, like these Instant Pot Chicken Nachos.

marinade in a mason jar and marinade and chicken in freezer bag

6. The BEST Savory Chicken Marinade

This marinade packs a flavor punch! In fact, I think it’s the BEST savory one you’ll find. With just a few pantry staple ingredients, boring chicken is taken to a whole new flavor level! Enjoy a la carte, on top of our Favorite Cobb Salad, on a sandwich, or in a wrap.

savory chicken marinade in a mason jar and in a freezer bag with chicken breasts

7. Southwest Chicken Marinade

Of all the marinades in the world, THIS Southwest Chicken Marinade is the one I make the most. Hands down. My kids love it. All adults love it. And it can be served any way you dream up–a la carte, in tacos or quesadillas, in Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls, or in our Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps.

chicken marinade in a small mason jar and in a freezer bag with chicken

FAQ: Can you freeze these chicken marinades?

Absolutely! As freezer cookbook authors, we especially love how easy it is to prep these chicken breast marinades ahead of time and freeze them to have on hand for another night. Every recipe includes freezing instructions, so you can double and freeze a batch anytime.

frozen chicken in marinades in freezer bags

To Freeze: Simply add all the marinade ingredients to a BPA-free gallon-sized freezer bag or one of our favorite freezer meal dishes, toss or whisk to combine, and add in 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts per marinade batch. Then, squeeze out as much air as possible, seal, and freeze for up to 3 months for best results.

To Thaw: Thaw, using one of these safe thawing methods and then cook the chicken according to our recipe instructions. No additional marinating time needed once it is thawed!

We encourage you to stock up on all the ingredients for these marinades and prep them in bulk for an hour or so over the weekend. You’ll love having them on hand in the freezer!

FAQ: How long should I marinate chicken breasts?

In our tests, we found that it’s best to marinate your chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Less than 1 hour didn’t seem to infuse enough flavor into the chicken breasts and more than 24 hours can cause them to become a bit mealy and mushy, especially if the marinade has a high acid content.

marinades for chicken breasts in freezer bags

If you’re freezing your chicken in the marinade, skip the time in the refrigerator and throw it immediately into the freezer. It will not over marinate in the freezer, but the chicken will begin to absorb some of the flavor during its stay. Then, while it thaws using one of these safe methods, it will marinate even more.

FAQ: Can you use these marinades for other cuts of chicken?

Absolutely! All cuts of chicken can benefit from a dip in a marinade. So, these marinades work just as well for chicken thighs and bone-in chicken. Cooking time will vary from our recipes, however, since we direct you how to cook chicken breasts.

chicken marinades in freezer bags

FAQ: Where do you get your chicken breasts from?

We are HUGE fans of Butcherbox and have been getting our chicken (and beef, seafood, and pork) from them for years now. We love that their chicken is 100% organic and all their meat is healthy and sourced responsibly. It’s so convenient to have it delivered to our doorsteps whenever we choose!

You should definitely check it out and see if Butcherbox would be a good fit for your family. Our readers and we just love it!

We hope you find these recipes helpful in your home and helpful for stocking your freezer with healthy and delicious meals!

Don’t forget your Free Chicken Marinades Cheat Sheet

Disclaimer: Some of the links in below are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Here’s our full disclosure.

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marinades for chicken breasts in freezer bags

7 BEST Marinades for Chicken Breasts

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 45 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Any cooking method
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

These 7 easy marinades for chicken breasts will transform this boring cut into an amazing meal! Prep and freeze for later OR make them for dinner tonight.

All of these marinades work best for 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts but feel free to double or triple the recipe.


Ingredients

Asian Sesame Chicken Marinade:

  • ⅓ cup oil (recommended: peanut or avocado)
  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar (make sure it’s not “seasoned” rice vinegar)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (Gluten-Free option: coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari Soy Sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Honey Dijon Chicken Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons (about ¼ cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (sub: ½ teaspoon dried thyme or ¼ tsp ground thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Balsamic Herb Chicken Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup oil (recommend: avocado or olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (sub: 2 tsp dried parsley, crushed in hand)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed in hand
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in hand
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade:

  • ½ cup oil (recommended: avocado or olive oil) 
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes (about ¼ cup)
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

The BEST Savory Chicken Marinade:

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Southwest Chicken Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup oil (recommend: avocado or olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Add the marinade ingredients to a gallon-sized freezer bag or a freezer container with lid, seal, and shake. Either seal and refrigerate until ready to use, OR add 1.5-2 pounds chicken to the bag, seal, and squish around to make sure the chicken is covered in marinade. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. Cook the chicken breasts however you’d like (grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake). See tips below in the Notes.

Freeze For Later: Follow step 1. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw, using one of these safe thawing methods, and follow Step 3. No additional marinating time needed once it is thawed!

COOKING NOTES:

How to Know If Chicken Is Done: Chicken is done when it reaches 165°F internal temperature. (A digital meat thermometer is a must to help cook chicken perfectly.)

How to Cook Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts:

  • Bake in Oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until done.
  • Slow Cooker: Place chicken and marinade in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Really! That’s all it takes to get it done, otherwise you’ll overcook and dry it out.
  • Instant Pot: Place chicken, marinade, and 1/3 cup chicken broth in a 6 quart Instant Pot. (Note: If using an 8 quart, add an additional 1/2 cup of broth.) Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes and use a quick release of the pressure when the cook time is up. (Note: It will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before the cook time starts.)
  • Grill: Pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even cooking. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and clean the grates well. Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, maybe longer depending on the thickness, until done.

Notes

These marinades work best for 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts, but feel free to double for triple the batch for a larger portion.

You can use other cuts of chicken with this marinade, but our cooking directions are specifically for chicken breasts.

The nutrition info below is for the Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade, but they are all fairly similar. Check each recipe in the post above for specific nutritional information. 

More Freezer Meal Round-Ups You Might Like

Top 10 Ground Beef Recipes

70+ Healthy Freezer Meals (Listed by Category!)

Southwest Chicken Marinade

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Of all the marinades in the world, THIS Southwest Chicken Marinade is the one I make the most. Hands down. My kids love it. All adults love it. And it can be served any way you dream up–a la carte, in tacos or quesadillas, on top of a burrito bowl or salad.

chicken marinade in a small mason jar and in a freezer bag with chicken

*Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of ButcherBox and have included links in this post.

Ingredients in Southwest Chicken Marinade

Marinating chicken is THE key to infusing flavor into typically lean, bland poultry cuts. This complex marinade requires mostly pantry staples to turn that lackluster cut into something that makes your tastebuds sing.

ingredients for southwest chicken marinade on a counter

Let’s meet the key ingredients…

  • Avocado or olive oil – Use a fairly neutral oil keeps things moist without an overpowering flavor.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Cider vinegar adds a delicious twist on the acid component but white vinegar will work.
  • Fresh chopped cilantro (or parsley) – Adds a pop of green and fresh flavor. Leave out if you don’t have it on hand, though.
  • Chili powder – Smoky, subtle heat from ground chilis. Flavor can vary between brands.
  • Garlic powder – This pantry staple adds big (and convenient) garlic flavor that rounds out the whole marinade.
  • Ground cumin – Love this smoky yet not spicy addition.
  • Dried oregano – Crush in your hand before adding to release the oils in this dried herb.
  • Salt – A must in any chicken marinade.
  • Ground black pepper – Gives a little bite. Add more if you’d like.

How to Make and Store the Marinade

marinade in a small mason jar

You can mix up this marinade and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a jar to use when ready. Or, you can freeze it in a mason jar, too, but allow at least 1 inch of headspace at the top for expansion.

marinating chicken breasts in a freezer bag

When ready to use the marinade, pour it over chicken in a zip-top bag or container with a lid. Let it marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours to infuse flavor. If you plan to freeze the chicken in the marinade, do not let it marinate first.

chicken marinade in a freezer bag with chicken breasts

Then, grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake your marinated Southwest Chicken. You choose your method! We’ve included instructions for how to cook boneless chicken breasts any of these ways in the recipe below.

Ideas for Serving Southwest Chicken

Idea #1: Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Kids love this fun way of eating chicken! You can also thread your favorite veggies, like onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini, on separate skewers and grill at the same time. I keep the chicken on separate skewers from the veggies because they usually cook at different rates.

Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Idea #2: Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls

I love this make ahead meal option. Cook your chicken ahead of time. Then provide cooked rice or quinoa, the chicken, black beans, and all your favorite Mexican toppings so everyone can personalize their bowls.

Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls - A healthy and filling dinner idea for everyone!

Idea #3: Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps

Inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in town, I created this build-your-own wrap recipe using marinated chicken and a super simple sauce. Plus…BACON! You’ll love it!

More Ideas:

MORE CHICKEN MARINADES YOU MUST TRY

Try some of other other favorite healthy chicken marinades to mix things up:

Download our Free Chicken Marinades Cheat Sheet Printable!

If you want to have these simple marinade combos on hand anytime, download our quick cheat sheet. This handy one-page printable includes all the recipes and 4 options for cooking your marinated chicken breasts. Tape it up inside a cabinet or pantry door, so you can whip up these recipes anytime.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in below are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Here’s our full disclosure.

Print
southwest chicken marinade in a freezer bag with chicken breasts

Southwest Chicken Marinade

  • Author: Rachel Tiemeyer
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 5 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Any cooking method
  • Cuisine: Southwest
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

The perfect combo of smoky southwest ingredients without being too spicy, this chicken marinade makes kids and adults alike happy! Use the chicken for taco and burrito filling, salads, kabobs, quesadillas, and more.


Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup oil (recommend: avocado or olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Add the oil, vinegar, cilantro/parsley, chili powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, ground cumin, salt and pepper to a gallon-sized freezer bag, seal, and shake. Either seal and refrigerate until ready to use, OR add 1.5-2 pounds chicken to the bag, seal, and squish around to make sure the chicken is covered in marinade. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. Cook the chicken however you’d like (grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake). See tips below in the Notes.

Freeze For Later: Follow step 1. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw, using one of these safe thawing methods, and follow Step 3. No additional marinating time needed once it is thawed!

COOKING NOTES:

How to Know If Chicken Is Done: Chicken is done when it reaches 165°F internal temperature. (A digital meat thermometer is a must to help cook chicken perfectly.)

How to Cook Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts:

  • Bake in Oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until done.
  • Slow Cooker: Place chicken and marinade in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Really! That’s all it takes to get it done, otherwise you’ll overcook and dry it out.
  • Instant Pot: Place chicken, marinade, and 1/3 cup chicken broth in a 6 quart Instant Pot. (Note: If using an 8 quart, add an additional 1/2 cup of broth.) Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes and use a quick release of the pressure when the cook time is up. (Note: It will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before the cook time starts.)
  • Grill: Pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even cooking. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and clean the grates well. Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, maybe longer depending on the thickness, until done.

Notes

We get our meat from ButcherBox. The chicken is organic and curated from small, trusted farms. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat–like uncured bacon, wild salmon, and grass-fed beef–and have used it for years ourselves. 

ingredients for chicken marinade on a counter

Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Cilantro, lime, garlic and more marry together to create this fresh, citrusy Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade.

marinade in a mason jar and marinade and chicken in freezer bag

According to Epicurious (and our readers’ comments over the years), “cilantro’s flavor is described by some as bright and citrusy, and as soapy by others.” If you’re a cilantro lover, this marinade is WHAT YOU WANT.

Ingredients in Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

ingredients for cilantro lime chicken marinade on a table

Everyone has their part to play in this fresh, bold marinade.

  • Cilantro and lime bring the bright, citrusy notes.
  • Garlic brings on the palate-pleasing pungent part (#alliterationbomb).
  • Cumin adds a little smokiness.
  • Red pepper flakes lend a little heat in the background.
  • Salt, well, is good ole salt.
lemon garlic marinade in small mason jar

How to Make and Store the Marinade

You can mix up this marinade and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a jar to use when ready. Or, you can freeze it in a mason jar, too, but allow at least 1 inch of headspace at the top for expansion.

cilantro lime marinade over chicken breasts in an open freezer bag

When ready to use the marinade, pour it over chicken in a zip-top bag or container with a lid. Let it marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours to infuse flavor.

cilantro lime marinade and chicken breasts in a sealed freezer bag

Then, grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake your marinated Cilantro Lime Chicken–your choice! We’ve included instructions for how to cook boneless chicken breasts any of these ways in the recipe below. Enjoy your final product on its own or use as a salad topper, taco filling, or burrito bowl ingredient.

Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls - A healthy and filling dinner idea for everyone!

MORE CHICKEN MARINADES YOU MUST TRY

Try some of other other favorite healthy chicken marinades to mix things up:

Download our Free Chicken Marinades Cheat Sheet Printable!

If you want to have these simple marinade combos on hand anytime, download our quick cheat sheet. This handy one-page printable includes all the recipes and 4 options for cooking your marinated chicken breasts. Tape it up inside a cabinet or pantry door, so you can whip up these recipes anytime.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in below are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Here’s our full disclosure.

Print
cilantro lime marinade and chicken breasts in a sealed freezer bag

Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

  • Author: Rachel Tiemeyer
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 45 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Any cooking method
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Cilantro, lime, garlic and more marry together to create this fresh, citrusy Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade.


Ingredients

  • ½ cup oil (recommended: avocado or olive oil) 
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes (about ¼ cup)
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Add the oil, lime juice and zest, cilantro, garlic, cumin, salt and red pepper flakes to a gallon-sized freezer bag, seal, and shake. Either seal and refrigerate until ready to use, OR add 1.5-2 pounds chicken to the bag, seal, and squish around to make sure the chicken is covered in marinade. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. Cook the chicken however you’d like (grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake). See tips below in the Notes.

Freeze For Later: Follow step 1. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw, using one of these safe thawing methods, and follow Step 3. No additional marinating time needed once it is thawed!

 

COOKING NOTES:

How to Know If Chicken Is Done: Chicken is done when it reaches 165°F internal temperature. (A digital meat thermometer is a must to help cook chicken perfectly.)

How to Cook Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts:

  • Bake in Oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until done.
  • Slow Cooker: Place chicken and marinade in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Really! That’s all it takes to get it done, otherwise you’ll overcook and dry it out.
  • Instant Pot: Place chicken, marinade, and 1/3 cup chicken broth in a 6 quart Instant Pot. (Note: If using an 8 quart, add an additional 1/2 cup of broth.) Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes and use a quick release of the pressure when the cook time is up. (Note: It will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before the cook time starts.)
  • Grill: Pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even cooking. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and clean the grates well. Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, maybe longer depending on the thickness, until done.

The BEST Instant Pot Vegetable Soup {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This Instant Pot Vegetable Soup is filled to the brim with hearty vegetables, black beans, and barley. It provides the nutrition you need this winter to boost your immune system and fight off sickness plus amazing taste that will make you want to lick the bowl clean.

Why is this the very best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup, you ask?

For starters, you’ll slurp up the very best healthy, vegetable-based foods that are filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and more PLUS enjoy incredible taste in one bowl. I have a hard time stopping eating this soup…but, hey, that’s not a bad problem to have when it’s this good for you! I love that it’s filling and will satisfy even the meat-lover in your life. (I’m looking at you, hubs).

The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

You’ll begin building flavor with the classic combination of sautéed onions, celery, carrots, and garlic, which you’ll season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. The red pepper adds a hint of heat in the background that helps to clear the sinuses. (At the end, you’ll stir in kale, which melts into the soup adding the nutritional powerhouse of greens but not adversely affecting the taste.)

The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

Then, you’ll throw in vegetable broth (I prefer organic) and fire-roasted tomatoes into the Instant Pot. Fire-roasted tomatoes are my go-to type in soups, because they have a notably more complex flavor than just regular ole diced tomatoes. They add in Vitamin C, fiber, and are an excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene, which is shown to help lower the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and macular degeneration (poor eyesight as you get older). Whoop-whoop!

The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

Heartiness and fiber comes from the black beans and barley in this vegetable soup. At the store, look for pearl barley, which is one of the cheapest whole grains you can find. I found it in the bulk bin in the health food section. The barley holds its texture well in the soup, which surprised me the first time I tested this. It’s does much better than pasta or orzo, which can get mushy pretty quickly. I am officially a pearl barley fan.

The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

Lastly, bay leaves and the coveted Parmesan rind (the outside edge of a Parmesan wedge) take this brothy soup to new horizons. Vegans can omit the optional Parmesan rind, but it sure adds depth to the soup that’s hard to replicate. Just ask the cheese counter to cut you off a piece of rind, if you don’t want to invest in a wedge. Mine was less than $2.

The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

Time to fill your pot and get cooking the BEST Instant Pot vegetable soup, in my humble opinion. Bonus: you can freeze this soup in small quantities after it’s done to warm up for quick, healthy lunches in the future, too.

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The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

The BEST Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 19 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Instant Pot Vegetable Soup is filled to the brim with hearty vegetables, black beans, and barley. It provides the nutrition you need this winter to boost your immune system and fight off sickness plus amazing taste that will make you want to lick the bowl clean.


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 34 celery ribs, sliced
  • 34 medium carrots, sliced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 quart (32 ounces) all-natural vegetable broth (sub: chicken broth)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ⅓ cup pearl barley (sub: 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 1 (2-3 inch) Parmesan rind*
  • 23 cups chopped kale, packed (sub: chopped baby spinach)
  • Optional Toppings: grated Parmesan cheese*, fresh chopped parsley

*omit if making a Dairy-Free version


Instructions

  1. Turn on the Saute function and heat the oil. Saute the onions, celery, and carrots, stirring frequently, until the vegetables softened, about 5-7 minutes. Season with kosher salt and black pepper, to taste, as they cook. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes the last 30-60 seconds.
  2. Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, barley, bay, and Parm rind, and stir to combine.(Option 1 freezing instructions begin here.) 
  3. Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 7 minutes at high pressure and use a quick release when done. Remove the bay leaves and Parm rind (or leave the rind to add more flavor as it sits, if you want). 
  4. Stir in the kale and let it sit for about 3-5 minutes, until softened. Taste and adjust salt and pepper amounts, to taste. 
  5. Serve warm in individual bowls, and top with Parmesan cheese and parsley as desired.

Freeze For Later:

Method 1 (Before Cooking): Follow Steps 1-2. Transfer the uncooked soup to a gallon-sized freezer bag or round container. Seal and freeze. Tip: Place freezer bag in a bowl until frozen to freeze in the shape of the Instant Pot.

Method 2 (After Cooking): You can also fully cook this soup, freeze in small portions for individual meals, and rewarm in the microwave or stove top. Or you can fully cook it, freeze the whole recipe in a round container or freezer bag. Tip: Place the freezer bag in a round container in the freezer until it freezes in the shape of the Instant Pot.

Prepare From Frozen:

Method 1 (Before Cooking): Turn on the Sauté function. Sauté the frozen soup for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 12-15 minutes at high pressure and use a quick release. Follow Steps 4-5.

Method 2 (After Cooking):

For individual portions, thaw and warm up the soup in the microwave or on the stovetop.

For an entire frozen batch, drop the frozen soup block in the Instant Pot and saute for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Then, lock and seal the lid and cook at high pressure for 5 minutes with a quick release. 

Want More Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot?

We’ve got you covered. Hop over to this 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.

Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner
Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

Disclaimer: This recipe was created in partnership with Frigidaire Gallery®. But the opinions are all ours! 

Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

My kids are totally on a quesadilla kick. No matter what we put in it, if we put something between two tortillas and call it a quesadilla, it’s a win. 

In light of the kids’ quesadilla obsession and my continual hunt for easy, healthy, freezable breakfast ideas, a breakfast quesadilla recipe was born.

Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

Here’s the great thing about breakfast quesadillas: they are totally customizable. Each person can pick what they want on them which makes fickle, power-hungry children happy. Kids also love to help with the assembly so this is a great way to get them involved in the meal making process.

On this particular morning, we assembled Farm Fresh Quesadillas. The ingredients were simple and things that you mostly likely have on hand:

  • eggs
  • ham
  • bacon
  • cheddar cheese
  • spinach
Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

Three secrets you need to know about making breakfast quesadillas:

  1. Assemble them on top of parchment paper or foil. This makes transferring them to the skillet or freezer bag a lot easier.
  2. Start and end with cheese. The cheese serves as a binding that holds the quesadilla and its contents together after cooking. It needs to be in contact with the tortilla to do this.
  3. If you plan to freeze these bad boys, undercook your eggs a tad. They will likely cook a little in the reheating stage so you don’t want overcooked eggs.

Assemble Your Breakfast Quesadilla

Starting with cheese, add your preferred ingredients to make your Farm Fresh Quesadilla. Here’s what mine looked like.

Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

After it’s assembled, warm a large skillet to medium heat and melt a little butter in the pan. Slide the quesadilla off of the parchment paper and onto the pan. Top the quesadilla with a bit more melted butter. (The butter on the tortilla helps give it a little bit of a crisp when cooked). Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side or until the tortilla starts to brown.

Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

Want to make a bunch and freeze them? Here’s how:

There are two ways to go about freezing breakfast quesadillas.

Freezing Method One: Assemble the quesadillas and freeze just before cooking. To prepare them, simply let them thaw out and cook them as normal.

Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

Freezing Method Two: Cook quesadillas as normal, let cool and then freeze. To prepare, either wrap frozen quesadilla in a moist paper towel and microwave for 30-60 seconds OR let them thaw and warm them up in the oven at 350 for 5 minutes. (I prefer the oven method.)

Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

Feel free to branch out with the ingredients! Some other ideas to get your creative juices stirring: grilled onions and peppers, breakfast sausage, ham & pineapple, fresh herbs, pepper jack cheese, etc.

Eat up!

Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!
Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

What to Do with Leftover Tortillas

P.S. If you have leftover tortillas, did you know you can freeze them? Here is the best way to freeze tortillas for later.

tortillas in a freezer bag
Print

Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican-American

Description

Farm fresh quesadillas are your family’s next must-try! Every family member can choose his/her favorite toppings in order to create the perfect, healthy masterpiece.


Ingredients

  • 12 whole wheat tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 eggs, scrambled
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 pound ham, diced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 23 tablespoons butter

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Lay out parchment paper or foil for assembly.
  2. On a tortilla, assemble by evenly distributing ingredients in this order: 1/4 cup shredded cheddar, about 1/3 cup scrambled eggs, 1/3 cup spinach, sprinkle of bacon, sprinkle of ham, and end with another 1/4 cup shredded cheddar. Top with another tortilla.
  3. Warm skillet to medium and melt a little butter in the pan.
  4. Using the parchment paper as help, slide assembled quesadilla carefully into hot pan and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes or until tortilla begins to brown and cheese is melted.
  5. Slice it up like a pizza and serve!

Freeze For Later: Method 1: Assemble the quesadillas and freeze, just before cooking, in a freezer bag between layers of parchment paper. Lay flat in the freezer. Method 2: Cook quesadillas according to instructions but do not cut into pieces. Let cool completely and then freeze in freezer bag or container, separating layers with parchment paper. Prepare From Frozen: Method 1: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and cook according to instructions. Method 2: Either wrap frozen quesadilla in a moist paper towel and microwave for 30-60 seconds OR let thaw in refrigerator and warm up on sheet pan in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes.