Is it just me or does last week feel like a lifetime ago? Many of us are at staying home, doing our part to flatten the curve. Our locations are intentionally separate, but we are still working together. Over the last few days, I’ve heard from many of you who are scrambling to adjust your meal plan to cook from shelf-stable ingredients and freezer items. During this time of disruption and uneasy feelings, I hope this post will be a resource to help you find healthy, delicious recipes that use pantry staples and freezer-friendly ingredients.

A bowl of lentil soup
While putting together this post, I was pleasantly surprised to find that DOZENS of my existing easy, healthy recipes use mostly (if not only!) pantry, basic refrigerator, and freezer items. Further, many recipes that don’t rely heavily on these items can be easily adapted to use what you do have on hand.As we adjust to this new, unfamiliar phase of life, I’m happy to report that making yummy, healthy recipes that the entire family will love is still attainable. I hope these recipes help alleviate some stress and enable you to find comfort in the kitchen with those nearest to you.

Below, I’ve grouped recipes by common pantry and freezer ingredients. You’ll find dozens of healthy dinners and lunches. Because there are few happy distractions like baking, I also included a selection of my favorite wholesome baked goods and easy desserts. I think we could all use a warm, cozy muffin and a matching cookie right about now, don’t you?

Healthy Recipes from Pantry and Freezer Ingredients

I’ve grouped the recipes by common pantry and freezer ingredients, but you’ll find some overlap (many recipes use ingredients from multiple categories, for example). Don’t be afraid to make adjustments based on what you have on hand. You can often swap one vegetable for another, use frozen vegetables instead of fresh, or change up the type of beans the recipe calls for, to name but a few examples.

When in doubt, you can always leave a comment on the corresponding recipe post, and I’ll do my best to respond within a day.

Scoped out this list and can’t find what you are looking for? Feel free to use the search bar at the top of the page, or browse my full recipe index, which groups the recipes into dozens of helpful categories. You can also search recipes by specific ingredient.

Rice

The World's Best Homemade Fried Rice in a Skillet with Vegetables and Eggs

Rice is one of the most versatile pantry staples. Rice can be used to make stir fries, burrito-style bowls, casseroles, soups, and so much more!

Beans

A bowl of vegetarian chili

Beans are a powerhouse when it comes to healthy pantry recipes. They’re filled with protein and fiber, which help keep you full, and taste deliciously creamy once cooked. Most of the recipes below call for canned beans. You also can the beans yourself from dried, then swap them in for recipes that call for canned beans.

Lentils

Two bowls of healthy lentil soup

If you’re looking for a pantry staple that’s low in calories and high in protein, lentils are your answer! Lentils add wonderful body to soup and curry recipes and bring hearty, filling protein to vegetarian recipes. They’re also quick cooking.

Pasta

Healthy penne alla vodka with chicken on a white plate

A classic pantry staple that the entire family loves! These pasta recipes include mainly simple and shelf-stable or frozen ingredients, but they’re also easily adaptable to whatever you have on hand. I like to use whole wheat pasta for maximum nutritional benefits.

Frozen Vegetables

A white plate with roasted frozen broccoli and lemon slices

Frozen veggies are one of my favorite items to stock up on and use in healthy recipes. This list has ideas for using them in pasta, pot pies, soups, or roasted on their own.

Pantry Baking: Simple Breakfasts and Desserts

white plate full of healthy banana muffins surrounded by walnut pieces

During these anxious times, nothing warms my soul quite like a scrumptious baking recipe. I especially love when that recipe is also filled with wholesome, simple ingredients that I already have in my pantry. I hope you’ll try one of these comforting recipes soon and that it will bring a smile to your face!

Freezer-Friendly Recipe Ideas

In addition to searching for recipes by specific pantry or freezer ingredient, I know many of you are also seeking all-around recipes that you can generally make ahead and freeze.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of meal categories that are generally very freezer-friendly. Click on any category to view the recipes within it. From there, choose a recipe that looks good to you. In that recipe’s post, wherever possible I’ve listed specific tips on freezing and reheating it.

I’m here to be a resource for you! Be sure to join The Well Plated Community Facebook Group, where we will be sharing even more healthy pantry recipe ideas. If you have a specific request, feel free to leave it in the comments section below.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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16 Comments

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  1. Yes, it feels like last week was ages ago! Last Friday, I cut my long-time long hair, to donate two 15-inch ponytails to Wigs For Kids. They are a Westlake, Ohio organization that makes wigs for children who have lost their hair. I hope to encourage others to do the same. ?

    Thank you so much for this overview of ideas for meals from the pantry and freezer, which should prove helpful to all of us. Cooking and baking is good therapy! ?

    1. Carolyn, that is so touching and generous of you! Thank you for sharing <3 Stay safe and healthy!!

  2. I love this post! I have cooked many of these recipes already, but to have them indexed like this is super! I will bookmark this entry for when I’m in a hurry.

  3. Thank you for this post, Erin!  Lentil soup is on the stovetop as I type.  We have already enjoyed so many of your recipes this week.  Looking forward to many more in the weeks ahead.  Take care.

  4. Thank you for this round up! For your sausage and rice casserole, do you know if it would work with frozen brown rice?

    1. Hi Steph! I’ve never tried it with frozen brown rice, but you could experiment. If you want to try it, I would suggest sautéing the meat and vegetables in one skillet (you can drain the tomatoes first, then add them to the sausage and peppers at the end, heating until most of their liquid evaporates) and cooking the rice separately as directed on the package. Then, combine the two at the end with a bit of extra chicken stock as needed if the mixture is too dry. Again, I haven’t tried the recipe this way, but that is my best suggestion!

  5. Just wanted to thank you for your freezer meals recipes. I wanted to make small meals to share with those that don’t have the resources that I am blessed with. Please stay safe and know how much your web site means to others. God bless.

    Thank you.5 stars

  6. Hi, Erin, I’m trying to decide about buying your cookbook. I’ve borrowed it from the library two times! I have two questions tho’ 1. I read somewhere that evoo shouldn’t be used at high heat. Thoughts? 2. If I substitute full fat Greek yogurt for the nonfat version you used, will the result be awful? I’m finally learning to cook at 57 years old and your cookbook makes the most sense to me. Thank you!
    Best wishes!
    Susan

    1. Hi Susan! So glad you are following along and thanks for your support with the cookbook. I don’t really have any thoughts about the extra-virgin olive oil. I stand by the way I use it in my recipes because I test every recipe multiple times and you are getting the final, tested product. It would be really hard for me to give a standard answer concerning substitutions for ingredients across the board. It would really be based on specific recipes. Normally though, I encourage anyone who does substitutions for any recipe that if you are not finding it in the description, tips or suggestions that they would be experimenting and I am always open to hear your feedback! Hope this helps and thank you!