Freezer Meals for Slow Cookers

  Posted on   by   51 comments

As avid slow cookers we are all aware of how convenient they are in our busy, busy lives.
If in any doubt pop by and read our earlier blog on ‘Why use your slow cooker for that!?
But is there even MORE convenience we can get from these wonderful machines??

The answer is Freezer Meals or Freezer Bags for Slow Cookers – sometimes called ‘dump bags’ … because on the day of cooking you need only to ‘dump’ the bag contents into the slow cooker and dinner is done! πŸ˜‰

Often the longest process in slow cooking (even as short as it may be) is the preparation time.Β  The dicing, peeling, measuring and prepping of your ingredients.
Dump bags take the work out of this for you.

The basic technique is to prep all your recipe components in advance…. many people will do several batches of each recipes, and often several recipes, on the one day.
Each bag contains all the ingredients of the recipes already prepared and in the bag and any you don’t want to add in advance you simply mark on the outside of the bag with a permanent marker to add on the day when you cook.

If you clearly label your Dump Bags in the freezer then you just browse your selection, pick the bag you want the day before, pop it in the fridge to defrost then hey presto the next day you dump and run!

Here are some basic tips to remember with Freezer Meals/Dump Bags in general:

# Label all meals with the name of the meal, the date it was frozen, any ingredients it that may need to be added (stock, water, canned tomatoes, etc.) and cooking time (e.g. 8 hours on low, 4 hours on high) Use a water proof permanent marker to ensure the writing stays on.

# Use the best quality bags zip seal bags you can afford for the best seal and least chance of any tears or rips.

# Store meals as flat as you can to save space and for a more even defrosting time.

# When packing foods in to the bag for freezing remove most if not all the air. The air in the bags will cause freezer burn. This is why it is a good idea to use good quality freezer bags so you can also add liquids (tinned tomatoes, stock, soup mix) to fill the gaps between your ingredients. Vacuum sealing the bag is great too if you have that option.

# Avoid adding potatoes to the meal base that is to be frozen. To save time during the week peel potatoes and store in a container of water ensuring that the potatoes are covered.

# Other foods to avoid are ones high in water content such as zucchini’s (courgettes), yellow squash and again potatoes. You can always Google your particular vegetable and its suitableness for freezing if you are unsure. Also dairy products should be avoided as they will curdle and split upon defrosting.

# Freezing bulk raw meals will save you time but they also have an expiry date, a maximum of 3 months is the general consensus for keeping raw frozen meals.

# If you are unsure how a meal will freeze, take a portion of the next slow cooker meal you are about to cook and freeze it as a test run.

# Try out new recipes to be sure you like them before you do bulk lots of them to freeze.

# Blanch vegetables before freezing where possible to preserve quality.

# Make a menu, decide what you want to prepare and how many of each.Β  Then make a shopping list from this menu.Β  You will often find cooking in this way is cheaper since you can buy in bulk.

# Keep in mind how some foods will respond to freezing.Β  eg some fresh herbs and seasonings could decrease in flavour, pastas and grains if pre-cooked can be softer after the freezing process etc.

# Schedule ahead a day or a half a day to prep, chop, and bag your freezer meals.Β  The time you spend now will save you in the long run.

# Remember to always thaw safely prior to slow cooking.Β  Some people will cook these bags from frozen but I advise against this (see the section of cooking from frozen on our Tips/FAQ page).Β  Defrost in fridge overnight or in microwave in a microwave safe container.Β  Do not thaw on bench tops at room temperature.

That’s really all you need to know to get started πŸ™‚

Why not comment below with your favourite meal to freeze ahead from our recipes section!

Or start with one of our ready made recipe and shopping lists that has all the preparation work done for you!

14 Slow Cooked Freezer Meals!! ~ Instructions, Recipes & Shopping Lists ~

14 Slow Cooked Freezer Meals!! – WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER – Chicken Recipes

*All New* 14 Day Slow Cooker Dump Bag Freezer Meals (Shopping Lists Included)

 


51 comments

  1. Larell says:

    Great info for Freezer Meals for the Slow Cooker…I have done this several times and although it takes some time for prepping, with organization, it can be done and is such a breeze in the mornings…

  2. Yvonne burg says:

    Thanks Paulene you have been so helpful to me I am learning so much

  3. Alison Riddle says:

    Im worried about having meat in these bags then cooking the entire dump bag on low. Your other page that discusses cooking frozen meat suggests meat is cooked at high then low, (cant do that while Im at work, thus defeating the purpose of a slow cooker). so are you meant to cook defrosted meat in the dump bag on low or as per the other page – is this where you risk getting food poisoning?

    • Alison the ‘dump bags’ are meant to be defrosted first.
      NOT cooked from frozen.
      The other post on cooking from frozen suggests that some like to begin the cooking from high but it’s not mandatory πŸ™‚
      Also you can use your auto feature which means the first two hours is in fact high then it becomes low … and you don’t have to be home to change it!

      • Alison Riddle says:

        Thanks Paulene!! I dont have an auto feature on my SC but perhaps what I need is a new one!! I have now made up 3 dump bags for future meals and if these work for me, I will def be using them again.

    • Mercedes Zopfi says:

      I have a timer I set in the morning that turns my crock pot on automatically at the time I set. I dump a frozen bag in usually at seven when I leave and set my timer to come on at 10 or 11. Then my meal defrosts while it is waiting for the timer to come on. My crock pot is turned on low always. I set it to turn off anywhere between 5 and 7 when my husband gets home. No food poisoning because it’s thawing for a safe amount of time and you dont have to worry about the low.high thing.

  4. Karen says:

    TryiNg this for the first time .. Was actually proud to have 9 meals it the freezer prepared for the week ahead. Thanks for opting my eyes to SCing

  5. alison says:

    Do you have any actual dump bag recipes?

  6. Louise Lomu says:

    Great idea. I will definitely be trying this.

  7. lisa says:

    I love this idea but the only thing which concerns me is the amount of plastic bags used which will end up in landfill. I am trying to reduce my families waste by half, then more, by buying bulk, avoiding plastic, excess packaging, reusing jarsAnd bottles and making things myself where possible, and using my own shopping bags…so for this i would use reuseable containers. πŸ™‚

    • No reason you couldn’t wash and reuse your bags πŸ˜‰

    • Paula says:

      You are also helping the environment because you are choppinall your meat and veg up on one day and therefore using less water. You can use flat reusable containers as well to freeze and stack these meals because you take it out the day before to defrost so just dump the contents into the cooker and off you go! It doesn’t have to be ziplocked bags!

  8. Donna Perks says:

    Where do you buy the freezer bags for slow cookers from please?

  9. Toni English says:

    Can red meat be browned then added to the bag with the rest of the ingredients before freezing?

  10. kels says:

    can you freeze potato at all? or is it best not to? I really wont to do this but really unsure what can and cant be frozen. what about creams and sauces?? tia

  11. Trish hinz says:

    I Thought I read somewhere that you can freeze coconut cream /milk, in the dump bags is this correct?

  12. Kerry Wilson says:

    Wow! Thank you for all this info. Going to try some of this, to give me more time . If doing spaghetti bolognese. Would I put my mince and herbs in and add the sauce then cook on slow. One of my grandchildrens favourites
    Cheers

  13. shicara says:

    Most recipes I’ve made have always been to the top of the sc, (I’m a newbie at this) and they have cooked 6-8hrs, so if the bags are only one meal size… How long do you cook them for?

  14. michelle page says:

    I have always browned my meat, will it be okay to brown it then add to dump bag or how would I get round this?

    • Michelle some do still pre brown their meat, cool is sufficiently, then add it to the bags.

      My personal choice is not to do this … pre browning would only semi warm the meat (not up to full safe cooking temps) then cooling it, then adding it to raw ingredients, then freezing, then defrosting, then cooking …. just too many opportunities in my mind for potential issues with food safety there :/

      I just don’t choose recipes that need pre browning/searing when I’m choosing freezer meal recipes, or if I do I leave out this step (which I do in most of my slow cooking – I hardly ever pre brown when I slow cook πŸ˜‰

      But as I said other people do still do this step then add the browned meat to their freezer bags so I’ll leave that up to your call for what you feel comfortable doing πŸ™‚

  15. Julie says:

    Hi, would you always put the meal into the slow cooker still in the dump bag or empty it into the cooker.

  16. michelle says:

    Do I just put raw chicken/meats with ingredients like veg and stuff all together and freeze?

  17. Jus says:

    Hi, I have seen in the past people had cooked multiple meals in their slow cooker in the one setting but cannot remember what they used to divide each meal. Do you have any tips for doing this as I would like to cook my meals and then freeze.

  18. Tiffany says:

    Is it safe to have uncooked bacon and chicken together in a dump bag to feeeze ?

  19. Alyson says:

    I’m sorry. I’m reasonably new to sc. do you need to put water or anything in the cooker with the bags? Thank you

  20. Shelley says:

    Does lkquid go into bags such as tin tomatoes liquid broth
    Thank you

  21. Jennifer says:

    If I double the recipes, can I freeze them after they’ve been cooked?

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