Our Editors’ 10 Favorite Big-Batch Dinner Recipes
Meal prep has been a game-changer for my dinner routine, and I’m not alone. Many of the Kitchn editors feel the same way. Carving out a block of time to prep ingredients or cook a big-batch recipe that can extend over several meals is a savior on weeknights and makes it a whole lot easier to feed ourselves and our families. Of all the recipes that show up during our meal prep sessions, these are the favorites we make again and again.
“What started as a holiday tradition turned into a go-to favorite in my meal prep rotation. I make this every year for my friends who come to celebrate New Year’s Eve at my house (we jokingly call it “2 a.m. ziti” because we have some for dinner and then reheat more at 2 a.m.). It makes enough for a crowd, so when it’s just me and my husband I know we’ll get plenty of dinners out of it. We’ll eat the leftovers for a few days, and freeze the rest for another time.” — Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director
A big batch of roasted vegetables is always a must in my dinner meal prep. It gives me a chance to clean out the crisper, plus having lots of cooked veggies on hand means instant toppings for grain bowls and salads, a filling for meat-free tacos, a side dish that pairs with just about anything. And if there’s anything leftover on Friday, it becomes the topping on my pizza.
An easy batch of pulled pork is at the top of New & Culture Editor, Ariel’s list. “For dinner, I love any meat in the slow cooker that I can add to sandwiches or tacos.”
Senior Food Editor, Grace, always goes for an easy batch of beans in the slow cooker. “A big batch of black beans becomes easy black bean burgers, a filling for vegetarian tacos, or a great addition to a grain bowl. I like eating white beans on toast with pesto or stirring them into tuna salad.”
Associate Food Editor, Meghan, loads up an easy-cooking rice and grains to keep meal options flexible. “For easy dinner prep, I find myself cooking big batches of grains in the slow cooker or Instant Pot — just depending on what else I’m cooking during meal prep time. Then I freeze the resulting brown rice, barley, or quinoa in quart-sized bags for future use. Way more cost-effective than buying frozen, cooked grains, and saves me time when making fried rice or grain bowls for dinner.”
“I love to make grain bowls with brown rice, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted chicken, and sautéed kale with Caesar dressing,” says Staff Writer, Lauren.” Since I’m cooking for one, the easiest way for me to get a head-start is with a basic sheet pan chicken recipe. I usually cook a few chicken thighs, cubed sweet potatoes, and sometimes some broccoli.”
Because this sauce benefits from a slow, steady simmer for an hour, I reserve it for weekend meal prep. And when I make it, I always make a double batch. It’s not a lot of extra work and having a stash in the freezer is always handy.
Do yourself a favor and make a double (even triple!) batch of these burgers during your next meal prep session — they freeze like a dream.
This is one of my favorite soups to keep on hand for comforting, meatless dinners. It’s hearty and filling on its own, though if you want a little something extra, toss together a simple green salad or grab a loaf of bread.
The best recipes for meal prep, have to make good leftovers. Not only goes this recipes check that box, but it’s even better on the second and third day.