Topic 5 Batch cooking for families

Batch cooking is a method of meal preparation which implies cooking in batches – more food, less often. Batch cooking means preparing food ahead of time in large batches to be eaten later as meals or to be used as ingredients for multiple meals or snacks.

Batch cooking has no standard definition or process for all. Batch-cooking for one family could mean having several meals pre-cooked or prepped and frozen for the following weeks. For another family, it may mean cooking three or four meals at the same time. First, you must know how much your family really eats to define batch-cooking for your own family’s preferences and needs, and with experience you may perfect your practice until you find your sweet spot.

  • Cook less often and, consequently, maximize the time spent in the kitchen by preparing multiple meals in about the same amount of time
  • Enjoy more time together
  • Save money on groceries, time and stress
  • Avoid unhealthy food foods and recipes or eating out
  • Have ready-to-go meals on hand for busy weeknights
  • Cut down on wasteful packaging and reduce our environmental impact
  • Reduce the energy bill
  • Meal plan the week considering portion sizes depending on your family members (how many people, their age, how they eat…)
  • Make an ingredient list considering that some will be incorporated in multiple recipes. For instance, potatoes can be implemented into several recipes (mashed potatoes or baked wedges)
  • Based on the ingredients list, make a grocery shopping checklist with the items you need to buy
  • Find your nearest grocery store
  • Go back home
  • Clear a few hours off your schedule to cook
  • After the food is ready, cooked meals need to be stored in the refrigerator or in the freezer, depending on when you are planning to eat them
  • If you have the time and space, sectioning meals into different containers can be helpful
  • Plan ahead: organize your schedule and set some time apart to make a list of meals and snacks you and your family would like to eat during the week. Transfer this list into a menu plan, and have the recipes for each meal on the side.
  • Start simple: big changes require small steps. Start planning for a few days until you get to plan the whole week. Look for simple and easy recipes
  • Find your batch-cooking method: as explained above, batch cooking can be done in many ways. Choose the one that better suits your situation. When starting, decide if you will be cooking full meals or meal components to assemble meals later on. You choose to either double or triple the recipes. Remember to cook with minimal seasoning and sauces so you can repurpose the foods as much as possible
  • Repurposing is key: one single ingredient can be used for several recipes. This will save you time and money. Versatile foods include: quinoa, rice, potatoes, pasta, …
  • Batch-cook effectively: before cooking, read over all of the recipes to find common ingredients, for example chopped onions, minced garlic, lemon juice. This will save you time and avoid food waste. You can have a list of commonly used ingredients that usually repeat between recipes.

Nowadays there are a lot or resources available to learn tips for beginners about these essential questions: how to batch-cook with easy recipes and kitchen tips, what equipment you’ll need, how to plan ahead and which meals you can freeze.

QUESTION: Which equipment or materials are necessary to prepare lots of meals at one?


You don’t need any special equipment for batch cooking. To start with, just check you have the following:

  • Several large pans because you could need more than one. Make sure the recipe you want to cook will fit into your available pans
  • Sharp knives and a cutting board to prepare and cut all ingredients
  • Storage containers with the right size for your meal plan and your family needs
  • Labels to mark your food or recipes, date and number of portions, so you can keep track of what’s in your freezer. Label your meals with the recipe.


  • Seasonal menu – winter and summer– batch cooking