freezer meals perfect for fall

Autumn’s shorter and shorter days make it hard to get home and cook dinner before it’s pitch black and all you really feel like doing is crawling into bed. Here are some fall freezer meal favorites that you can make on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy in the weeks to come. All of these recipes keep well, and you can scale the portions appropriately.

Most are at least a little indulgent, because this is the season of comfort food—and speaking of comfort (and indulgence), since the bulk of the work is already done beforehand, you’ll have time to get cozy with a warm drink while they reheat.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Chowhound

Beef stew is easy and comforting. Chowhound’s version is full of vegetables and reheats well with pasta, rice, or any starch you feel like whipping up. Or grab a crusty baguette and use it for sopping up any leftover stew in your bowl. Get our Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe.

Spaghetti Sauce

freezer spaghetti sauce

The Pioneer Woman

Spaghetti sauce, with or without meat, is a great thing to keep in the freezer, and you’ll never regret making a double batch. This recipe from the Pioneer Woman has a ton of flavor plus ground beef for extra protein—with some parmesan cheese on top it’s a perfect weeknight meal. Get the recipe.

Spicy Black Bean Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sour Cream Sauce

Spicy Black Bean Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sour Cream Sauce

Ambitious Kitchen

For another familiar favorite that features an autumnal twist, try these chicken and black bean enchiladas on for size. Smothered in a pumpkin sour cream sauce, they can be frozen and reheated at your leisure, whether you want to make them far in advance or just have a ton of leftovers you want to save for later. Get the recipe.

Make Ahead Freezer Mac and Cheese

Make Ahead Freezer Mac and Cheese

Savory Spice Rack

Mac and cheese may be the ultimate comfort food, and it can be convenient too—even when the infamous blue box is not involved. The trick to avoiding mushiness is to undercook the pasta before mixing it with the cheese and sauce and freezing. Get the recipe.

Broccoli and Wild Mushroom Casserole

wild mushroom broccoli casserole

Lucy Schaeffer/Food & Wine

This veggie casserole with a Ritz cracker topping makes a great vegetarian main dish that you can keep on hand for an impromptu dinner party. Wild mushrooms are Robert Rausch’s tasty solution for replacing canned mushroom soup. Get the recipe.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

slow cooker split pea soup

Chowhound

Our slow cooker split pea soup recipe is a great one to have in your repertoire. You can easily alter this to make it vegetarian by leaving out the ham bone and replacing chicken broth with veggie broth; plus, you can freeze individual portions for an easy-to-grab lunch option that doubles as an ice pack. Get our Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup recipe.

Lasagna

freezer lasagna

Deb Lindsey/Washington Post

This lasagna recipe is easy to make ahead in steps and lasts for up to three months in the freezer, so you’ll have dinner ready to go whenever you choose to defrost. This recipe has mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta—the cheesy goodness will not go unnoticed. Get the recipe.

Crumb-Topped Apple Pie

Make Ahead Crumb-Topped Apple Pie

An Oregon Cottage

Let’s not forget about dessert. Apples, the ultimate fall fruit, are tumbled with cinnamon and sugar and a bit of flour in a buttery crust, then topped with a generously thick cinnamon crumb layer before being frozen—and the best part? You don’t even need to thaw this before you bake it. Get the recipe.

Single Serve Frozen Oatmeal Cups

Single Serve Frozen Oatmeal Cups

The Kitchn

Breakfast is in the bag too! If you start the day off with these single-serve almond and dried cherry frozen oatmeal portions, there’s no way it won’t be a great day. Take one or two and microwave them with some milk or water and you’ll have a hot breakfast in only a minute or two. Get the recipe.

Related Video: The Best Way to Store Food in the Freezer

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy is a New York City–based food writer and editor at Penguin who has worked on and recipe-tested several cookbooks. She is currently in search of NYC’s best ramen, and is one of the few people who admit to disliking brunch.
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