13 Yummy Freezer Bag Cooking Recipes - Greenbelly Meals

13 Yummy Freezer Bag Cooking Recipes


freezer bag recipesOats + Raisins + Dried Blackberries + Cinnamon + Chia Seeds + Milk Powder

Freezer bag cooking is a convenient way of preparing meals in the backcountry. The process starts at home where dried ingredients are assembled and pre-portioned into freezer bags, usually at home before you leave. Recipes range from the simple to the complex, but the process of cooking is the same.

When it is mealtime, you just add hot water to the bag, zip it up, drop it into a cozy to keep it warm and wait a few minutes for everything to heat up. You then can eat directly from the bag and throw it into your trash when you are done. It couldn't be any easier.

Freezer bag cooking has a loyal following, but not everyone is on board with this way of cooking. We break down the pros and the cons so you can decide for yourself.


Benefits of Freezer Bag Cooking


Pros

1. Easy to prepare - just boil water and mix in

2. Inexpensive - make meals yourself

3. Clean - little to no dishes or cleanup since you eat out of your cooking vessel

4. Yummy - ideal for real foodies looking for more customizable gourmet meals

Cons

1. Planning - need to plan ahead, organize and source which takes time

2. Quality - not great for hard-to-cook items that might not thoroughly cook in the bag and need more consistent heat from a stove

3. Health? There are some concerns with adding hot water to a plastic bag

Tips and Tricks

  • Use a cozy to help keep the baggie warm and improve cooking. You can make them yourself.
  • Use high-quality freezer bags, so you don't have unexpected leaks
  • Write the water needed for the recipe and other nutritional facts on the outside of the bag. Worst case it's just a little runny.
  • Use near boiling water. Boiling water can be too hot and may melt your bag.
  • Higher altitudes may require longer soaking times.
  • Use a long spoon to eat and fold down the bag as you eat
  • If you run out of fuel, you can use cold water (called 'cold-soaking') to rehydrate your meals. It just takes several hours instead of several minutes. The overnight method is useful for breakfast meals.

Our 13 Favorite Recipes


To help get you started with freezer bag cooking, we've compiled 13 of our favorite recipes. Nom nom.

1. Brown Sugar & Quinoa

A traditional porridge breakfast with Quinoa replacing the oats. Quinoa cooks as quickly as oats and has a pleasant nutty flavor. Source: Trail Cooking

  • 1/3 cup Instant quinoa flakes
  • 1½ tsp Brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup Water to Rehydrate

Add 1 cup near boiling water to rehydrate the freezer bag ingredients. Start stirring and keep stirring for a minute. Let sit in a cozy tightly sealed for 5 minutes. It will thicken up considerably as it cools.

View the full recipe at trailcooking.com.

freezer bag recipe


2. Cheesy Bacon Grits 

The bacon and cheese make this a savory dish. A nice change from the typically sweet breakfast options. Great for when you want something different than oatmeal. Source: Trail Cooking

  • 2 pkg Instant grits
  • 2 tbsp Dry milk
  • 2 tbsp Bacon bits or shelf stable bacon
  • 1⁄2 tsp Onion powder (not onion salt!)
  • 1⁄2 tsp Dried diced garlic (or substitute garlic powder)
  • 2 oz Shelf stable cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Water to Rehydrate

Dice the cheese up, add to the freezer bag of ingredients. Add in 1 cup of near boiling water to rehydrate the freezer bag ingredients and stir well. Seal the bag tightly and let sit for 5 minutes or until cool enough to eat.

View the full recipe at trailcooking.com.

freezer bag recipe


3. Breakfast Rice Pudding

Load up on carbs first thing in the morning with a breakfast version of rice pudding.

  • 1/2 cup Instant White rice
  • 1/4 cup Raisins
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • Pinch of Cinnamon (about 1/4 tsp)
  • 3/4 cup Water to Rehydrate

Add 3/4 cup of near boiling water to rehydrate the freezer bag ingredients and stir well. Seal the bag tightly and let sit for 10 minutes or until the rice is softened. Use a cozy to help the rice cook more thoroughly. 

freezer bag recipe


4. Trail Oatmeal

The tried and true version of oatmeal for breakfast. Change it up by swapping the raisins with dehydrated fruit and adding in other flavors such a peanut butter powder, coconut, cocoa powder or instant espresso.

  • 1/3 cup of Oats
  • 1 tsp of Chia seeds
  • 2 tsp Powdered milk
  • 1 to 3 tsp of sugar (or other powdered sweeteners; add to taste)
  • Pinch of Cinnamon (about 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup of Water to rehydrate

Add 1/2 cup of near boiling water to rehydrate the freezer bag ingredients and stir well.  Seal the bag tightly and let sit for 5-8 minutes or until the oats are softened.

freezer bag recipe


5. Alfredo Vegetable Rice

A creamy treat to fill your belly after a long day of hiking. Substitute couscous or instant brown rice for a subtle change in flavor.

  • 1 cup Instant white rice
  • 2 tbsp Alfredo sauce mix
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (shelf stable)
  • 2 tbsp Dry milk
  • 1/4 cup Freeze dried vegetables
  • 1 cup Water to rehydrate

Add 1 cup of near boiling water to rehydrate the freezer bag ingredients and stir well. Seal the bag tightly and let sit for 15 – 20 minutes. Season with olive oil if desired.

freezer bag recipe


6. Moroccan Chicken Couscous

Apricots and almonds add a twist to this chicken and couscous dish.

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup dried apricots chopped
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 pack olive oil
  • 7 oz pack chicken
  • 1 cup Water to rehydrate

Add 1 cup of near boiling water to rehydrate the freezer bag ingredients and stir well. Seal the bag tightly and let sit for 10 minutes. Add an olive oil packet for more fat and calories. Fluff with a fork or spoon and enjoy!

View the full recipe at freshoffthegrid.com.

freezer bag recipe


7. Mexican Beans and Rice

A tasty meal packed with protein that has cheese fan Fritos.

  • 1 cup instant rice
  • 2 Tbsp Instant refried beans (Available on Amazon)
  • 1 Tbsp Taco seasoning (adjust to taste)
  • 1 ounce cheddar cheese
  • 1 ounce Fritos
  • 1 1/4 cup Water to rehydrate

Add 1 1/4 cup of near boiling water to rehydrate the freezer bag ingredients and stir well. Seal the bag tightly and let sit for 15 minutes in a cozy if possible. Dice up the cheese. Stir rice to fluff up and fold in both the cheese and Fritos.

View the full recipe on Andrew Skurka's blog.

freezer bag recipe


8. Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Liven up your mashed potatoes with cheese and sausages in this backpacking version of everyone's favorite comfort food.

  • 1/2 cup instant mashed potatoes
  • 4-5 cubes Cheddar cheese
  • 1 slice Summer sausage (or similar shelf stable sausage)
  • 2/3 cup Water to rehydrate

Add 2/3 cup of near boiling water to rehydrate the freezer bag ingredients and stir well. Seal the bag tightly and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Add cheese and sausages before eating.

freezer bag recipe


9. Couscous Primavera

Add some vegetables to your diet with this light and refreshing meal that uses couscous as a base.

  • 1 cup Couscous
  • 1/4 cup Freeze-dried mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 cube Chicken or vegetable bouillon, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
  • Optional: foil pack chicken or salmon; olive oil packet
  • 1 cup Water to rehydrate

Add 1 cup of near boiling water to rehydrate the freezer bag ingredients and stir well. Seal the bag tightly and let sit for 10 minutes in a cozy if possible. Add an olive oil packet or foil pack chicken or fish.

View the full recipe at mountainbakerexperience.com.

freezer bag recipe


10. Bacon and Cheese Pasta

Ramen noodles are the staple of a thru-hikers diet. Spice up these fast-cooking noodles with some protein-rich cheese and bacon.

  • 3-ounce pack Ramen (any flavor)
  • 1⁄4 cup Bacon (shelf stable)
  • 1⁄4 cup Parmesan cheese (shelf stable)
  • 1⁄2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 1⁄4 tsp Ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Olive oil (1 packet)
  • 1 1⁄2    cups Water to rehydrate

Mix seasonings and store separately. Add 2/3 cup of near boiling water to rehydrate the ramen noodles and stir well. Seal the bag tightly and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Drain off the water, mix in seasonings and eat.

View the full recipe at rokslide.com.

freezer bag recipe


11. Thanksgiving on the Trail

Stuff yourself with this creative take on the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Great for fall camping when you need a warm and filling meal at the end of the day.

  • 1 1/2 cups Dry chicken stuffing
  • 4 tsp Chicken gravy (about ½ a packet)
  • 4.1-ounce Packet Instant Baby Red & Garlic Idaho potatoes
  • 1/4 cup Freeze dried veggie mix
  • 1 tsp Olive oil (1 packet)
  • 1 pouch of chicken (7 oz) (packaged separately)
  • ¼ cup dried craisins (packaged separately)
  • 3 cups Water to rehydrate

Add 1 cup of near boiling water to rehydrate the freezer bag ingredients and stir well. Seal the bag tightly and let sit for 5-10 minutes in a cozy if possible. Add chicken, top with craisins and season with olive oil.

View the full recipe at theoutbound.com.

freezer bag recipe


12. Brownie in a Bag

Chocolate tastes good no matter how you eat --even when it is cooked in a bag. This gooey goodness will put into a food coma you won't forget. 

1 packet Crushed graham crackers

  • ¼ cup Chopped walnuts
  • ¾ – 1 cup Chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp Dry milk
  • 2 tbsp Powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup Water to rehydrate

Add 1/4 cup of near boiling water to a freezer bag with the dry milk and chocolate chips. Melt the chocolate by dipping the bag in simmering water, then mix in the rest of the ingredients.

View the full recipe at backpackingmastery.com.

freezer bag recipe


13. Cranberry Crisp

Finish off your meal with this sweet treat. Substitute dried apples with cinnamon for a seasonal change. 

  • 2 cups Dried Cranberries or Cherries
  • 1 tbsp. sugar (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup Granola or oats (packaged separately)

Add 1½ cups near boiling water to the cherries and sugar. Seal well and put in a cozy for 15 minutes. Divide into personal mugs and sprinkle granola topping over each bowl.

freezer bag recipe

To download a PDF with all 13 recipes listed in this post, click here.



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By Kelly Hodgkins: Kelly is a full-time backpacking guru. She can be found on New Hampshire and Maine trails, leading group backpacking trips, trail running or alpine skiing.
About Greenbelly: After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Chris Cage created Greenbelly to provide fast, filling and balanced meals to backpackers. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail.



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