Our 50 Best Meal Prep Recipes of All Time

updated Nov 28, 2023
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Head on shot of two halves of the breakfast burrito. stacked on top of each other.  In each half you can see layers of melted cheese, scrambled eggs, sausage and hashbrowns.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

Inspiration can go a long way — and that’s definitely the case when it comes to meal prep. You might have the desire to prepare a bunch of things to eat through the week but knowing exactly what to make can sometimes feel overwhelming. Let this be your guide. We rounded up our 50 best meal prep-friendly recipes so you look to them easily, all in one spot. They include grab-and-go breakfast options, packable lunches, and dinners that take well to be reheated, along with some basics that can be incorporated into all three meals. Meal prep planning just got a whole lot easier.

The Best Grab-and-Go Breakfasts To Meal Prep

Incorporating breakfast into your meal prep plan is a smart play, especially if you’re the type who wakes up late and rushes out the door. All of the breakfast options below are items that can either freeze well, come together super quickly, or be re-used in a variety of ways throughout the week. (Or all of the above!)

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Breakfast Burritos
This hearty breakfast burrito is stuffed with fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy hash browns, pork sausage, and a special spicy creamy sauce.
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Breakfast Grain Bowl Mix
This breakfast grain bowl features quinoa and steel-cut oats and is flavored with ginger and lemon. Make it on Sunday and enjoy throughout the week.
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Freezer-Friendly Breakfast Sandwiches

If you love eggs in the morning, often buy breakfast on the way to work, wouldn’t mind saving a few bucks, or all of the above, then boy oh boy, freezer-friendly breakfast sandwiches are about to make you very happy. Here’s what to do.

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Loaded Savory Breakfast Muffins
This savory muffin's got it all: eggs, sausage, cheese, spinach, and even a bit of apple to help you power through your day.
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Week of Steel-Cut Oats in 5 Minutes
The easiest way to make a week's worth of steel-cut oatmeal in 5 minutes.
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Ham, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Quesadilla

This is your classic ham, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich reimagined into a freezer-friendly quesadilla. Creamy scrambled eggs are piled between slices of deli ham, along with a layer of mild, nutty Gruyère and a swipe of Dijon, for a hot, make-ahead breakfast that will get you excited for the morning meal.

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Sheet Pan Veggie Frittata
This cheesy, veggie-packed big-batch frittata is the best way to meal prep breakfast.
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Scrambled Chickpea and Spinach Pitas

For a vegan breakfast sandwich that will power you through the morning, look to this pita pocket stuffed with a blend of spiced chickpeas and sautéed veggies. It’s prepared in advance, then stashed in the freezer, ready to be reheated in the oven while you buzz through your morning routine.

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Muffins: The Simplest, Easiest Method

With a short ingredient list and only a few key steps, it’s a simple recipe that works for a basic breakfast, a celebratory office treat, or even an improvised dinner roll. Here’s the most basic muffin recipe — one to know by heart.

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Easy Muesli
This healthy muesli recipe is packed with whole grains, nuts, and seeds for an easy, satisfying breakfast.
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The Best Packable Lunches To Meal Prep

Lunch is often the center of a meal prep plan, as it’s nice to have feel-good things to reach for instead of having to revert to your closest fast-casual spot. Sandwiches that can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator or freezer without getting soggy are wins, as well as hearty pasta, grain, bean, or green salads that won’t wilt. Here are several to choose from:

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The Best Pesto Chicken Salad
Juicy, shredded chicken is tossed with a creamy combo of fresh pesto and mayo, and studded with sundried tomatoes for extra richness.
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Freezer Club Sandwiches

Freezer club sandwiches take that concept and make them hot and satisfying and available on demand from the freezer. You do a little prep work at home, and then take your friends a quick meal that they can reheat and enjoy any time of day or night. A freezer club sandwich requires just two considerations and a handful of ingredients.

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Roasted Sweet Potato Wraps with Caramelized Onions and Pesto
These savory vegetarian wraps are made in a big batch so you can store them in the freezer for easy lunches.
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Mediterranean Chickpea and Feta Wraps

Spread this garbanzo mixture in a whole-wheat tortilla; add crunchy cucumber sticks, baby spinach leaves, and roasted red peppers; and roll the whole thing up, burrito-style. These sturdy wraps are full of protein, but also contain a hefty dose of fresh vegetables. They’re perfect for lunch, dinner, or anytime in between.

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Crisp Tuna-Cabbage Salad

I mixed the tuna with a generous quantity of finely chopped cabbage, which makes up the bulk of the salad. The tuna adds protein, and it’s all dressed with just a touch of mayonnaise helped out by Greek yogurt. This lighter approach to tuna salad is simple and fresh; it benefits from a healthy helping of black pepper, too.

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Antipasto Tortellini Salad
A potluck-friendly recipe for tortellini pasta salad filled with marinated vegetables, salami, cheese, and herbs.
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Warm Beet and Farro Salad

This salad, which makes a generous amount, is great warm or at room temperature, and to be honest, tastes even better a day or two later. Pack it up for lunch, or serve the salad with some grilled seafood or meat for dinner.

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Cold Lentil Salad with Cucumbers and Olives

If you’ve neglected lentils in light of rising temperatures, give this refreshing, filling salad a try to bring them back on your culinary radar.

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Kale & Quinoa Salad with Dates, Almonds & Citrus Dressing

It’s a little taste of hippie hipster desert paradise in the depths of winter, and one to make you say of kale and quinoa, “Delicious and satisfying.”

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The Best (Balanced!) Bowls To Meal Prep

Well-rounded bowls that incorporate protein, vegetables, and whole grains can be enjoyed for either lunch or dinner, which is why they’re a great thing to have on a meal prep plan. Pick one to add to your plan and you can pack individual servings in containers to bring on-the-go or assemble the components at home in a bowl right before eating.

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Moroccan-Spiced Chickpea Bowls
These saucy, spiced chickpea bowls with kale, avocado, and a runny-yolked egg are all the proof you need that comfort food can also be healthy.
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Greek Chicken Grain Bowls
These Greek chicken grain bowls are inspired by classic Greek salad and lemon-herb chicken, and topped with a tangy, 3-ingredient feta sauce.
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Spicy Thai Chicken and Brown Rice Bowls
These vibrant Thai chicken and brown rice bowls are topped with a rainbow of crunchy vegetables and drizzled with curried peanut sauce.
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Beef and Broccoli Buddha Bowls
These grain-free beef and broccoli Buddha bowls are packed with vegetables and greens and drizzled with creamy miso-ginger sauce.
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Peanut Chicken Power Bowls
These nourishing peanut chicken bowls are packed with quinoa, a rainbow of veggies, and finished with a creamy peanut sauce.
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Slow Cooker Veggie Burrito Bowls
Veggie burrito bowls are a one-stop shop with tender brown rice, smoky pinto beans, and fresh veggies, all topped with a dollop of citrusy sour cream.
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One-Pot BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowls
Burrito bowls filled with tender spiced rice, beans, corn, and tangy barbecue chicken.
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The Best Hearty Dinners To Meal Prep

The best meal plan-friendly dinners fall into two camps. They are either dishes that get better with age, like chili or a curry, or they are made almost fully in advance and just need a few minutes of time to bring together at night, like meatballs, which you just need to boil some spaghetti for.

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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
Spicy, savory, and tender pork shoulder.
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Slow Cooker Salsa Pulled Chicken
Our best recipe for shortcut salsa chicken in the slow cooker.
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Easy 5-Ingredient Black Bean Veggie Burgers
Easy vegetarian black bean veggie burgers, made with pantry staples and ready in 30 minutes.
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Easy One-Pot Chicken Taco Soup
Loaded with juicy chicken, hearty black beans, and sweet corn, this quick soup was made with weeknight dinners in mind.
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Slow Cooker Golden Chickpea Soup
This is wholesome comfort food at its finest, with a taste and texture that's equal parts hearty as can be, yet bright and totally nourishing.
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Simple & Tasty Slow Cooker Chili
Invest your prep time in chili powder from scratch and you'll have the best bowls of simple, tasty chili waiting in the slow cooker when you get home.
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Slow Cooker Coconut Lentil Curry
This slow cooker coconut lentil curry is seasoned with garam masala & turmeric, laced with tomatoes, & finished with coconut milk for a touch of richness.
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Meatballs
Learn how to make classic meatballs with this step-by-step cooking lesson that makes tender and rich meatballs every time.
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The Best Ground Turkey Meat Sauce
Akin to a restaurant-style bolognese, with a full-flavor and mellow, velvety texture, this is the ground turkey meat sauce I’ve been after for years.
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The Best Basics To Meal Prep

Beyond actual composed dishes, prepping a few basics is a smart move that leaves you with more room for experimentation during the week. Boiled eggs or roasted vegetables can be used in salads or sandwiches, baked potatoes can become a side dish, and marinated beans can be piled on toast for lunch or even mashed and eaten with crackers as a snack.

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Quinoa
Here's how to cook great quinoa — not mushy or bitter, but delicate and perfectly fluffy.
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Brown Rice
Forget the crunchy or mushy stuff that you may have suffered through in the past — we've got our method locked down.
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Easy Shredded Chicken in the Slow Cooker

Behold the single food that has revolutionized my weekly meal plan! From tacos to salads to grain bowls, the simplicity and versatility of shredded chicken really can’t be beat. Thanks to the slow cooker and a foolproof ratio, making a large quantity of shredded chicken at once is possible. Here’s how you do it.

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Slow Cooker Poached Salmon

This “poached” salmon recipe isn’t necessarily about long cooking but it definitely highlights a slow cooker’s other abilities — like putting something into the pot and walking away. What you get is a moist, flavorful salmon without the usual worries of dry, overcooked fish.

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Hard-Boil Eggs
A perfect, foolproof way to make boiled eggs perfectly every single time, with timing and methods for both hard boiled and soft boiled eggs.
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Marinated White Beans
A recipe for quick, garlicky marinated white beans that can be enjoyed on toast, tossed with grains, or eaten on their own as a side dish.
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Sheet Pan BBQ Tofu
Sheet pan BBQ tofu cooks up with crispy, jagged edges, and a crunchy coating with bold, smoky flavors, before it's tossed with a sticky blanket of sauce.
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Roast Any Vegetable
Use your step-by-step guide to learn how to roast any vegetable.
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Potatoes in the Instant Pot
Forget the oven! Instant Pot baked potatoes cook in a fraction of the time and have the same crave-worthy tender, ultra-creamy center.
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The Best All-Purpose Sauces To Meal Prep

Sauces aren’t an essential part of meal prep but if you do have the time to whip one up, you’ll quickly become a believer. Make one flavorful, versatile sauce like chimichurri or tahini and it can be used so many different ways through the week. You can dip raw vegetables into it as a snack, use it as a spread in a sandwich, drizzle it over a grain bowl, or even use it as a salad dressing.

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Chimichurri Sauce

It is a rich, herby sauce made from what feels like a whole garden’s worth of herbs, along with red wine vinegar, garlic, and shallots — has no time for illusions. It’s so intensely green it’s almost glowing, and it tastes just as bright and bold as it looks.

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Quick Ranch Dressing Recipe

Forget the bottled stuff. Homemade ranch dressing is one of the most refreshing ways to dress any salad recipe. A touch of cool, creamy buttermilk ranch, speckled with fresh herbs, drizzled over fresh greens? Heavenly. And making ranch dressing is literally a 2-minute affair. But first, we need to talk about mayonnaise.

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Easy Creamy Peanut Sauce
The goes-with-anything, does-everything creamy peanut sauce you can make from pantry staples.
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3-Ingredient Green Tahini Sauce
It has the nuttiness you expect from a tahini sauce and an irresistible light, bright freshness and herbal flavor.
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3-Ingredient Roasted Lemon Sauce
This easy lemon-garlic sauce is just the right balance of sweet with a hint of bitter, and goes with just about everything.
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Green Goddess Dressing
This herby creamy green goddess dressing can be used to dress lettuce or as a dip for veggie. We go classic, including anchovies and Greek yogurt.
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