Prepping Protein for Freezer Storage

When you’re making freezer meals, one of the handiest things about them is not having to process your protein. You can save costs by buying bigger packs of meat when they’re on sale and save time by preparing them all at once. You can save time and money by cooking a big bag of beans at once and freezing them in batches to add to recipes later. For texture and safety, you’ll get the most out of this method by following a few basic guidelines.

Red Bean Chilaquiles

Red Bean Chilaquiles

Two Guiding Stars iconTwo Guiding Stars indicate better nutritional value. You can either make and freeze this full casserole or make the dish from frozen beans.

View recipe »


  • Flavor beans with simple flavors like onion, garlic, and salt to make them as flexible as possible with the kinds of dish they’ll do well in.
  • Cook only until just tender enough to bite, as freezing and reheating will break them down more.
  • Measure out in one or two cup portions, as most recipes call for.
  • Freeze flat in small freezer bags to make them easier to reheat later.


  • Do not refreeze meat that has already been frozen. It’s terrible for texture and questionable for food safety.
  • Freeze meat before its “sell by” date.
  • If removing meat from original packaging to freeze, double wrap the meat in plastic or foil and write the date on the package.
  • Follow the FDA guidelines (PDF) for time limits on storing meat.
  • Thaw meat thoroughly before cooking, unless it has been prechopped and stored flat in a single layer for fast reheating.
  • Never put raw, frozen meat in a slow cooker.

Next week’s tip: Prepping Produce for Freezer Storage

Last week’s tip: Blueprint of a Freezer Meal