40 brilliant batch-cook recipes that'll feed you for weeks

Cook now, thank yourself later

<p>Indian in 7/Kyle Books</p>

Indian in 7/Kyle Books

There's nothing like sitting down to a home-cooked meal at the end of a long day, but that's easier said than done once the busy week begins. Save yourself the time and hassle by planning ahead and making a weekend project of batch cooking, filling your fridge and freezer with meals that can keep you going for weeks. From hearty soups and stews to comforting pies and spicy curries, these are our best batch-cook recipes to please everyone.

Feeling thrifty? Read on to discover 40 tasty cook-in-bulk recipes that will save you time and money.

Steak and ale pie



Meltingly tender chunks of beef in a rich gravy, with mushrooms and smoked bacon adding intense, savoury flavours – this steak pie is simply sensational. Make a big batch of the filling and portion up for the freezer. Once thawed, simply cover with a sheet of shop-bought puff pastry to bake.

Get the recipe for steak and ale pie here

Rum-spiced roast ham



A joint of ham, simmered in treacle and spices then coated in a sticky glaze, isn't just for the holidays. Cooked ham keeps for up to five days in the fridge and is perfect for enjoying in sandwiches and toasties, adding to pasta dishes and salads or simply serving with fried eggs for a hearty breakfast. What's more, any leftovers can be sliced and frozen.

Get the recipe for rum-spiced roast ham here

Chicken casserole

<p>Laura Edwards/BBC Books</p>

Laura Edwards/BBC Books

Chicken thighs, cooked in a creamy white wine and mushroom sauce with bacon and fresh herbs, is the perfect dish to help you get ahead. Cook double the quantity specified in the recipe, then freeze half for another day. Serve the remainder with creamy mashed potatoes and buttered greens.

Get the recipe for chicken casserole here

Butternut squash mac 'n' cheese

<p>Joff Lee/Ebury Press</p>

Joff Lee/Ebury Press

A tasty twist on classic mac ‘n’ cheese, thanks to the addition of roasted squash and a cheesy, crispy breadcrumb topping. Bake the whole dish, then freeze in individual portions. Once thawed, reheat in the microwave then flash under a hot grill to get the topping browned and bubbling again.

Get the recipe for butternut squash mac 'n' cheese here

Chinese sweet sticky ribs

<p>Louise Hagger/Quadrille</p>

Louise Hagger/Quadrille

Really great ribs, such as these not-too-sweet, wonderfully sticky and spicy pork ones, are a labour of love. They need to be marinated overnight, then gently cooked in the oven until meltingly tender. The good news is that once cooked, they can be frozen. When ready to eat, thaw them completely, add a little extra marinade and reheat in a very hot oven.

Get the recipe for Chinese sweet sticky ribs here

Broccoli and herbs quiche

<p>Graydon Herriott/Ebury Press</p>

Graydon Herriott/Ebury Press

If you're looking for a rich, creamy quiche without dairy, this fresh, herby tart – which uses almond milk instead of cream – is just the thing. It's quite a large quiche and serves six, so you can freeze individual slices for another day. The pie crust is a homemade gluten-free one, but you can substitute with shop-bought shortcrust pastry if you prefer.

Get the recipe for broccoli and herbs quiche here

Chilli con carne

<p>Elena Eryomenko/Shutterstock</p>

Elena Eryomenko/Shutterstock

A wholesome, warming chilli needs slow cooking to be at its best. This recipe serves eight, so you could easily make it for one meal and freeze the rest, or double the recipe to really get ahead of the game. Serve spooned over tortilla chips, rice or jacket potatoes and offer sour cream, guacamole and grated cheese on the side.

Get the recipe for chilli con carne here

Meatloaf with gravy



A new take on a classic, this recipe uses a combination of minced beef, pork and sausage meat and is topped with a moreish spicy tomato glaze. You can either pop the cooked meatloaf in the freezer whole or cut it into slices and freeze between sheets of baking paper. The rich, flavoursome gravy, meanwhile, should be frozen in a separate container.

Get the recipe for meatloaf with gravy here

Butter chicken

<p>Elena Eryomenko/Shutterstock</p>

Elena Eryomenko/Shutterstock

This creamy Indian favourite is easy to whip up at home, but it does require some effort to make the fragrant tandoori spice blend, so it's worth prepping ahead and making extra. What’s more, the flavours are intensified through freezing, and it will also keep for two days in the fridge. Serve with basmati rice and naan bread.

Get the recipe for butter chicken here

Jollof arancini

<p>Ellis Parrinder/Ebury Press</p>

Ellis Parrinder/Ebury Press

This recipe combines the West African rice dish, jollof, with Italian rice balls, arancini, typically made with leftover risotto. While they aren't taxing to make, doing so does take a little time, so it's worth preparing a big batch and stashing the extras in the freezer. You can follow the basic method to use up any leftover risotto or other rice dishes, too.

Get the recipe for jollof arancini below

Squash, lime and chilli soup

<p>Andrew Hayes-Watkins/Seven Dials</p>

Andrew Hayes-Watkins/Seven Dials

With a smoky kick from the chipotle chillies, extra creaminess from the cauliflower and a vibrant, fruity acidity courtesy of the lime, this soup is warming, nourishing and comforting – and packs a real flavour punch. Make double and freeze in sealable bags or plastic tubs.

Get the recipe for squash, lime and chilli soup here

Caribbean curried jackfruit

<p>One Pot: Three Ways/Yellow Kite</p>

One Pot: Three Ways/Yellow Kite

If there are vegans or vegetarians in the household, this plant-based take on Caribbean goat curry would be great to have in the freezer. Jackfruit has a meaty texture and absorbs all the hot and fragrant spices perfectly.

Get the recipe for Caribbean curried jackfruit here

Lamb koftas

<p>Cristian Barnett/Bloomsbury Absolute</p>

Cristian Barnett/Bloomsbury Absolute

Lamb koftas are spicy, fragrant patties which are often served with flatbreads, fresh lemon and coriander. For optimum flavour, they should be chilled in the fridge for an hour or so before cooking. Alternatively, open freeze them on a tray, then bag up in individual portions and keep in the freezer until needed. Allow them to thaw fully before cooking on the barbecue or under the grill.

Get the recipe for lamb koftas here

French onion soup



As a comforting winter warmer, this soup really hits the spot. The onions must be cooked low and slow, so they soften and caramelise, giving a hint of sweetness to the dish. Our recipe uses chicken stock, but traditionally a rich beef stock is used. Freeze the soup in portions, then once thawed and reheated, top with toast covered in bubbling, melted cheese.

Get the recipe for French onion soup here

Burmese pork curry

<p>Cristian Barnett/Bloomsbury</p>

Cristian Barnett/Bloomsbury

This Burmese-inspired curry is sweet, fragrant and mild. It's easy to make (the hob does all the work for you) but does need slow cooking, as it uses pork leg or shoulder, which takes time to tenderise. The slow cooking also accentuates all the flavours. With that in mind, this is a great dish to double up on for the freezer. Simply serve with rice and stir-fried greens.

Get the recipe for Burmese pork curry here

Shredded chicken



A whole chicken, gently poached with vegetables and fresh herbs until the meat is falling off the bone, is one of the most versatile and thrifty batch-cook dishes you can make. The chicken will keep in the fridge for up to five days (or you can freeze it in portions) and you’ll end up with a tasty stock, too. Shred the cooked meat, then use in stir-fries, tacos, wraps, sandwiches and soups.

Get the recipe for shredded chicken here

Pea, Parma Ham and feta quiche

<p>Tim Atkins/Prosciutto di Parma</p>

Tim Atkins/Prosciutto di Parma

Sweet, salty and cheesy, this straightforward quiche made with shop-bought pastry freezes very well. Open-freeze wedges on a tray before wrapping in cling film and returning to the freezer. If feta's not your thing, halloumi or soft goats' cheese work well, too.

Get the recipe for pea, Parma Ham and feta quiche here

Beef shin ragù

<p>Rita Platts/Quadrille</p>

Rita Platts/Quadrille

Beef shin is an economical, wonderfully tasty cut of meat; here it’s used to make a meltingly tender, rich sauce, which is perfect for spooning over pasta or polenta. The dish does require slow cooking, though, so it’s worth making in bulk. The ragù keeps for up to four days in the fridge, or can be frozen in portions and thawed as required.

Get the recipe for beef shin ragù here

Fresh basil pesto



Homemade pesto knocks the socks off anything you can buy and makes for an instant meal when stirred through pasta – think tagliatelle, penne or spaghetti. Whip it up in a food processor, then simply freeze portions in ice cube trays. Even better, it only takes around 20 minutes to thaw at room temperature.

Get the recipe for fresh basil pesto here

Goan tofu curry

<p>KRK Imaging Services/Shutterstock</p>

KRK Imaging Services/Shutterstock

Here, chunks of roasted tofu are marinated in a spice mix and cooked in a creamy coconut and tomato sauce. It's a really tasty vegan option, although you could replace the tofu with paneer, if you prefer. The recipe serves two, so double up the ingredients to make an extra portion for the freezer.

Get the recipe for Goan tofu curry here

Chicken and bacon pie



For this dish, juicy chicken thighs are cooked in a creamy mushroom sauce with smoked bacon and vegetables, then topped with shop-bought pastry. The recipe makes six servings, so why not prep individual pies to have to hand in the freezer? If freezing, leave the pastry raw; once thawed, bake as instructed.

Get the recipe for chicken and bacon pie here

Cajun seafood gumbo

<p>Eula Mae Doré/Tabasco</p>

Eula Mae Doré/Tabasco

Enjoy the flavours of the Deep South with a big bowl of gumbo packed with prawns, crab, vegetables and a lovely chilli kick. The recipe serves eight, so there's likely to be plenty leftover. If you do plan to freeze the extras, ensure you use raw fresh prawns rather than frozen (as a general rule, and to avoid food poisoning, food shouldn’t be re-frozen).

Get the recipe for Cajun seafood gumbo here

Lamb tagine

<p>Georgia Glynn Smith/BBC Books</p>

Georgia Glynn Smith/BBC Books

This North African-inspired tagine is full of warming spices, with sweetness from the honey and dried apricots to match the lamb. There's plenty of vegetables and chickpeas, too, and it would be lovely served with couscous or rice. It freezes really well and keeps for two days in the fridge.

Get the recipe for lamb tagine here

Pappardelle with mushroom ragù

<p>Garofalo Pasta/loveFOOD</p>

Garofalo Pasta/loveFOOD

Rich, meaty ragùs are perfect batch-cook dishes, not least because they keep well in the fridge and taste just as good after being frozen. This dish is loaded with savoury flavours, with three different meats, red wine and mushrooms. It needs an hour or two on the hob, so best to double up the recipe, as it won't take much longer to cook and you'll have portions to freeze.

Get the recipe for pappardelle with mushroom ragù here

Potato, paneer and chickpea curry

<p>Nassima Rothacker/Mitchell Beazley</p>

Nassima Rothacker/Mitchell Beazley

This veggie curry is wonderfully light, with fluffy potatoes, cubes of paneer and chickpeas all cooked in a spicy sauce. Use your food processor to do the chopping and you'll save time. It's lovely served with herby rice or flatbreads.

Get the recipe for potato, paneer and chickpea curry here

Fish pie



A creamy, cheesy, comforting fish pie is always a winner – but speedy it is not. There are potatoes to prepare, fish to cook and a sauce to make. It does freeze well, though, so is a perfect batch-cook option. Freeze it once assembled, and allow to thaw before baking. In this case, it's best to omit the traditional boiled eggs from the pie, as they’ll go rubbery in the freezer.

Get the recipe for fish pie here

Salmon and dill burgers

<p>Laura Edwards/BBC Books</p>

Laura Edwards/BBC Books

Salmon and dill is a classic combination that works brilliantly in these easy burgers, which are served with lemon and caper mayonnaise. The recipe makes eight patties, so cook what you need and freeze the rest raw. Take the burgers out of the freezer in the morning, leave in the fridge to defrost and dinner will be ready in a dash come evening.

Get the recipe for salmon and dill burgers here

Smoky chicken and black bean stew

<p>Mowie Kay/Ryland, Peters & Small</p>

Mowie Kay/Ryland, Peters & Small

The key to this warming stew is in the slow cooking, which tenderises the chicken to perfection and brings out the smoky flavours from the chorizo, chipotle and paprika. It freezes well or will keep for up to three days in the fridge. The black beans are dried, with no pre-soaking required, but if you'd rather use canned beans, add them to the pan 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

Get the recipe for smoky chicken and black bean stew here

Parma Ham and fennel pasta bake

<p>Steve Lee/Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma</p>

Steve Lee/Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma

A rather special pasta bake, here the rich white sauce is flavoured with fennel and sweet-salty Parma Ham, then topped with Parmesan. Make two dishes and freeze one, or divide into portions and decant into individual containers to freeze. Thaw thoroughly before reheating in the microwave.

Get the recipe for Parma Ham and fennel pasta bake here

Quiche Lorraine

<p>Slawomir Fajer/Shutterstock</p>

Slawomir Fajer/Shutterstock

Quiche Lorriane is a classic French dish, rich with Gruyère cheese (you could also use mature Cheddar) and salty, savoury flavour from the smoked bacon. If you don't want to freeze it in its tin, open freeze on a tray, then wrap tightly in cling film. Alternatively, freeze individual slices for a quick lunch in the future. It's best served warm, so do reheat in a hot oven.

Get the recipe for quiche Lorraine here

Chicken soup and dumplings

<p>Cravings: Hungry for More/Michael Joseph</p>

Cravings: Hungry for More/Michael Joseph

If there was ever a soup you should stash in the freezer for when someone is under the weather, chicken soup is it. This version is nourishing, rich and creamy and comes topped with comforting dumplings. It takes a bit of effort to make, but is well worth it. Freeze the soup and open-freeze the raw dumplings separately until solid, then bag up. Defrost the soup and dumplings, then heat through in a saucepan – the dumplings will cook in the liquid.

Get the recipe for chicken soup and dumplings here

Beef stifado



This traditional Greek stew sees chunks of beef marinated in red wine and orange, then slow cooked with small pickling onions and tomatoes. Freeze the completed dish or store in the fridge for up to three days. Serve with small pasta shapes such as orzo or macaroni.

Get the recipe for beef stifado here

Shepherd's pie

<p>margouillat photo/Shutterstock</p>

margouillat photo/Shutterstock

British comfort food at its best, shepherd's pie comprises minced lamb cooked with mushrooms, vegetables and Worcestershire sauce, topped with creamy mashed potato and baked until browned and bubbling. Divide the filling and topping between containers for the freezer, but don't do the final bake until it's thawed. Add an extra 10 minutes or so to the cooking time specified in the recipe.

Get the recipe for shepherd's pie here

Marinara pasta sauce

<p>Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock</p>

Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

It's worth making a big batch of this roasted pepper, tomato and garlic pasta sauce – it tastes much better than anything from a jar. Shop-bought sauces can be overloaded with salt and sugar, whereas here you’re in control. Serve with pasta or simmer with meatballs for a wholesome, family-friendly meal.

Get the recipe for marinara pasta sauce here

Beef casserole

<p>Kiran Oksana/Shutterstock</p>

Kiran Oksana/Shutterstock

Slow cooking beef in red wine creates a rich, wholesome gravy that's fragrant with rosemary. This recipe only requires 15 minutes prep, but it does need two-and-a-half hours in the oven, so it's worth making a double batch – one for dinner in a day or two (it will keep for up to three days in the fridge) and one to freeze. The recipe uses Chianti, but any full-bodied red wine will do the job.

Get the recipe for beef casserole here

Pulled pork

<p>Elena Veselova/Shutterstock</p>

Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

Juicy pulled pork needs to be first marinated and then slow cooked, but it freezes well and keeps in the fridge for two days, so it's worth cooking a large piece. Freeze in portions, then use to make burgers, wraps, tacos, stir-fries or pasta bakes.

Get the recipe for pulled pork here

Tarka dal

<p>Indian in 7/Kyle Books</p>

Indian in 7/Kyle Books

This spiced, aromatic lentil dish is easy on the wallet, super-tasty and vegan. It will keep for up to four days in the fridge or you can freeze it – just don’t add the fresh coriander until you’re ready to eat. It can be served as is with flatbreads or rice, or add a little extra water or vegetable stock to thin it down for a delicious soup.

Get the recipe for tarka dal here

Beef pho



Originating from Vietnam, this noodle soup is warming, nourishing and bursting with flavour – think lemongrass, hot chillies, ginger and spices. It uses beef short ribs, which taste fantastic, but also need slow, gentle cooking. The recipe uses a slow cooker, but you can simmer the ribs gently on the hob for two hours too. Make the base and freeze, then defrost and add cooked noodles, lime and fresh coriander to serve.

Get the recipe for beef pho here


<p>Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock</p>

Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Everyone's favourite carby, cheesy, meaty comfort food, the perfect lasagne takes time. The meat sauce needs slow-cooking and there's also a béchamel to prepare. For that reason, it makes sense to make one large lasagne or a couple of smaller ones. You can freeze lasagne unbaked or fully cooked – ideal if there are leftovers.

Get the recipe for lasagne here

Spaghetti with meatballs

<p>Andrew Hayes-Watkins/Seven Dials</p>

Andrew Hayes-Watkins/Seven Dials

Herby, garlicky pork meatballs simmered in a rich, wine-laced tomato sauce are a sure winner. They'll keep for up to two days in the fridge and freeze perfectly once cooked. When you want to serve the meatballs for dinner, all you need to do is thaw them and reheat in the microwave or on the hob until piping hot throughout.

Get the recipe for spaghetti with meatballs here

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