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10 Freezer-to-Grill Chicken Packs in 20 Minutes

By June 24, 2015Freezer Prep Session

After prepping 28 slow cooker freezer meals with my mom I decided to freeze some meals for the grill too.  Chicken breasts were BOGO at the grocery store, so I bought 10 pounds, marinated it, and froze it for the grill.  Now we’re stocked for the summer!

10 Freezer to Grill Marinated Chicken Packs in 20 Minutes

The best part was that these marinated chicken packs were so easy to make.  It took me all of 20 minutes to combine the chicken and marinades in freezer bags and pop them in my freezer.  Now all we have to do is thaw them and put them on the grill.

I already had extra virgin olive oil and seasonings on-hand, so I only spent $32 on ingredients!  That includes 10 pounds of chicken, quart-sized freezer bags, and fresh cilantro and lime for one of the marinades.

10 Freezer to Grill Marinated Chicken Packs in 20 Minutes

To each freezer bag I added:

  1. One pound boneless chicken breasts
  2. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. One tablespoon dried herbs and seasonings

10 Freezer to Grill Marinated Chicken Packs in 20 Minutes

(I use these baggy holders to keep my bags upright while filling.)

I thought about making all of my spice mixes from scratch, but decided to save time with these pre-made spice mixes in my spice cabinet:

10 Freezer to Grill Marinated Chicken Packs in 20 Minutes

Then, I got a little more creative with these two:

  • Honey Garlic Chicken Marinade – 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 tbsp honey, and a pinch of salt and pepper
  • Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade – 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, the zest of one lime (I read that the juice gives the outside of the chicken a tougher texture), and a pinch of salt and pepper

(Both were added to their own quart-sized freezer bag with a pound of chicken breasts and 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil.)

10 Freezer to Grill Marinated Chicken Packs in 20 Minutes

I think these homemade combos would also be delicious:

  • The zest of one lemon, 1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary leaves, and 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • The zest of one lemon and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1.5 teaspoons paprika plus 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • One teaspoon of each: chili powder, paprika, and cinnamon (or cumin)
  • One teaspoon of each: onion powder, garlic powder, and parsley flakes

Simply add to a freezer bag with one pound of chicken breasts, 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt.

10 Freezer to Grill Marinated Chicken Packs in 20 Minutes

Freezer meals last in a standard fridge/freezer combo for three months so now we’re set for the summer.  Serve with a big salad or steamed broccoli with rice and dinner is done.

My plan is to thaw the chicken freezer packs in the refrigerator overnight or in a pan of water before cooking.  Then they only need to be grilled for 6-8 minutes.  So easy!

10 Freezer to Grill Marinated Chicken Packs in 20 Minutes

If you’ve never prepped and frozen meals raw before, prepare to be amazed.  There’s no easier way to make cost-effective and delicious meals.  You can find tons of tips and recipes in my “no-cook” freezer cookbooks.

Freezer eBooksThoughts or questions?  Please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you. 

133 Comments

  • Hey, I love this idea. I’m just wondering, do you bother to flatten or pound the breasts at all before you put them in the bags?

    • Kelly says:

      It’s not necessary, but I do when I buy really big chicken breasts (ones that weigh a pound or more each).

      • Elise says:

        Or if you have the 1 pound chicken breasts you could just cut it into 3 or 4 pieces (that’s what I do when I purchase the larger chicken breasts)

    • Marea says:

      Hi quick question, have you found this method to work well? I am researching new methods of cooking and through some google searching found that chicken should not be marinaded longer than 2 days? Have you cooked the frozen chicken? Did it work well?

      Also, I cook for one, any recommendations? Should I just freeze enough for one meal for use portions and keep the rest frozen?

      Thanks!

      • Kelly says:

        Yes, we are really loving the frozen packs. I agree that meat should not be marinated for long periods of time, but I don’t think the time in the freezer counts. If I were you, I’d freeze the chicken in portions that you want to cook at a time.

        • Shakti says:

          I think the danger of a long marinade is particularly true of acidic marinades. Because Kelly’s recipes here use only oil, herbs and seasonings, including citrus zest but not juice, they work. I think when the marinade is acidic the time freezing and thawing (and maybe in the freezer too?) can negatively affect the texture of the meat.

      • Angi says:

        I have made chicken, pork and shrimp freezer meals with marinade for years. They always turn out amazing. The marinade starts working on the chicken but stops as soon as it starts to freeze. As it thaws it starts working again. Dive in.

      • Patty Briant Elliott says:

        I have had no problem cooking these frozen chicken, make ahead meals.
        Freezing rather stops the margination process, but when you thaw them, it starts to marinate again.
        Patty

      • Lisa B says:

        That caution applies if your marinade contains acid, like lemon juice or vinegar.
        Over-marinading, in that case, will break down the chicken and cause it to become mushy. Overnight thawing of frozen marinaded chicken in the fridge or quick thawing in COLD water shouldn’t cause any problems.

    • Maria says:

      I order my chicken from the butcher a few different ways including thin sliced and cut for kabobs. When I want buffalo style I order the chicken for kabobs and marinate only for an hour in hot sauce. I put the chicken on the skewers then grill up real quick. After they are finished I out all the skewered chicken on a platter and ten dice up carrots and celery and load the veggies on top of the chicken. Lastly I pour blue cheese dressing on top of everything and serve.

    • Frankie says:

      I have a meat tenderizer that I bought from QVC that pokes holes in the meat. It is great for marinating. All the seasonings are throughout the meat when done. Awesome!

  • fedeRica says:

    i really really love your blog and this kind of post! you changed my cooking life!! now i work till 6 pm and i found i way to have almost always a good dinner! . we are italien so 2-3 times at week i made pasta but for the other night your recipes are so good!! nowi have in my crockpot the apricot ginger chicken!! bye fede

  • Karis says:

    Two questions:
    1. Cuts of chicken: I notice all your recipes calling for chicken use boneless breasts only. Have you used other chicken cuts – boneless tenderloins, boneless thighs? Are there any points to consider if changing out the type of chicken?

    2. meat portions: When you set aside one pound of boneless breasts, how many people do you plan for one pound to serve? what is the rule of thumb for amount of meat per adult being served?

    • Kelly says:

      1) Tenderloins would be great on the grill, but I don’t like them in the crockpot because I think they’re more likely to dry out. Chicken thighs are DELICIOUS in the crockpot, but my husband isn’t a big of fan so I rarely use them.

      2) I think a pound of chicken breasts will typically feed three adults, but it depends on the number of breasts. A lot of one-pound packages in my grocery store contain three breasts, so I think it makes sense to serve one to each adult…but sometimes I buy bigger packs of chicken breasts and the breasts weigh more (even as much as a pound per breast) and it’s more weird to cut a breast into three pieces. For grill recipes, I would probably pound out the large breast and cut it into three pieces before freezing.

      Hope this helps, Karis!

      • Shannon says:

        I love the idea. I am not very organized. With the kids going back to school everyone is always on a different schedule. When I read the portion of 1lb of meat I was thinking hmmmm…so I was reading through your comments for your thoughts on portions. No wonder my grocery bill is so high. We need at least 3 to 4 lbs of chicken for a family of 5!
        We don’t each very many carbs so the sides are likely a salad or fruits.

        • Diana says:

          Shannon, you are not alone! I always cook 3-4lbs of protein for our family of five (two adults, 2 teens and a growing 7yo). We are also a lower carb intake family as well.

      • Linda Fassnacht says:

        Karis,
        I asked Kelly about the boneless skinless thighs last year. They work great in all her recipes! We buy them through Zaycon and they are amazing. They are so large that I only use 2 – 3 per recipe for a family of 4!

        • kathyet says:

          I am getting some turkey from zaycon Fresh this week do you like their meats???? I am a little nervouse buying from them your the first person I have heard that uses them//

  • Liz says:

    Not sure I know what pre-made spice mixes for -BBQ and •Spinach and Herb
    Can you clarify what you have in the pre made spice mixes for them
    thanks

  • Shelly says:

    My family prefers smaller portions rather than the whole chicken breast. I usually take my kitchen shears and cut the large breast into two or three smaller portions. Grilling time is also less!

  • Helen says:

    Hi Kelly,
    Thanks for all the good ideas you share with everyone! We’re doing a lot of grilling at the moment, and I usually marinate the meat in the morning or day before. However, I’ve never tried the frozen method. My question is whether the meat actually marinates while it is in the freezer, possibly a dumb question LOL, or does it marinate whilst defrosting?
    Many thanks
    Helen

    • Kelly says:

      To be honest, I’m not sure how it works. Haha. My guess would be while it’s thawing, because if it was actually marinating while in the freezer that would be a long, long time.

  • Reynaul says:

    Love this! Trying this this holiday weekend!

  • maggi says:

    hi,
    just found your blog. these all sound so good. thanks.

  • Karen Waters says:

    Love this idea. I can make these for winter too and use and iron skillet or grill pan. Thanks for the recipes.

  • Lee Ann says:

    I absolutely LOVE this! Thanks for the information, you can bet we’ll be doing this! Do you have anything similar for venison (or beef)?

  • Tammy says:

    Thanks so much, these are great recipes!!

  • Alexa says:

    How wonderful of you to share this. Thanks for the great ideas!!

  • Luanne Heiner Cottle says:

    Is Freezer to Grill Marinated Chicken Pack recipes in one of the cookbooks?

  • Sharon says:

    Why do you put the olive oil in with the chicken for freezing?

  • Jeanine says:

    LOVE THIS!! I am ALWAYS on the go, work three jobs, and cook for myself. This is going to save my life! Hahaha! Question, do you think I could pop these in a glass pan or a convention oven since I don’t have a grill or a grill pan yet? Thanks again so much! 🙂

  • Paula says:

    Good ideas. Just wondered where you purchased the handy holders for your zip top bags?

  • Paula says:

    Sorry! when I reread your post I found the link!

  • Carol says:

    Can you start with frozen chicken breasts?

  • Amy says:

    Thank you for these great recipes! It looks like you thawed the breasts during preparation. Is that right? Or do you prep everything and keep the breast frozen until cooking time?

    • Kelly says:

      I used fresh chicken breasts. If you use frozen, keep them frozen until you’re ready to cook them. (In other words, don’t thaw and re-freeze.)

  • Liz says:

    Can I thaw the chicken, marinade it, then re-freeze it?

    • Kelly says:

      No, I don’t think it’s safe to thaw frozen meat and re-freeze it without cooking.

      • Lisa says:

        Actually you can and safely too. You can google and find the government page for this. There may be a loss of some quality but I’ve been doing this for a few years now and haven’t noticed any.

  • Lyn says:

    For those who don’t have access to or a place to grill, would these meals work as good broiled or baked?

  • Ruth-Anne Cain says:

    What a delicious idea! I’m headed to the grocery store tomorrow for lots of chicken and I keep a pantry full of spices, herbs, seasonings. These would be wonderful thrown on the grill with fresh veggies (fresh mushrooms, asparagus, summer squash, etc.) and you’ve got a fabulous summer meal in a flash. Thanks for sharing this ingenious idea!

    • Kelly says:

      Yum. Thanks for sharing, Ruth-Anne. I made some freezer-to-grill veggie shish kabobs a few weeks ago and they were an amazing side dish.

  • Jeanine says:

    One more question, Kelly, how would I change this for single servings? If I just put one breast in a quart sized bag? Thanks again so very much!

  • Krystine says:

    Im going to ask a really stupid question here, but what is the zest of a lime or lemon? is that the peel?

    • Kelly says:

      You grate the peel and add what comes off to the recipe. Does that make sense? Happy to answer any questions that you have, Krystine!

  • Nikki says:

    I love this idea so much – thank you! A quick tip for those who do not have access to a grill (or, in my case, I have a grill but I don’t grill in 98 degree heat!), I invested in a grill pan a few years ago and it is perfect for grilling chicken on the stove.

  • Phillip Williams says:

    These are great ideas for wings too. We don’t do boneless skinless, but we are all over wings.

  • natasja says:

    Hi Kelly,
    Love this post and your blog. It,s to bad that we don,t have these lovely seasonings over here in the Netherlands. I use almost every time chickenfilet. Easy to cut and easy to prepare. My favorite seasoning is: take some ketjap, olive oil, sliced garlic and the juice of a big orange. I make this always when we have a large bbq with friends and family. Use 4 kilo,s of chicken and let it rest in the marinade for 24 hours in the cooler. The smell when you open it makes your tummy roar 😉 The chicken always ran out first so i think it,s wel ok. Greetings from Gouda, the Netherlands

  • Kimberley says:

    For me a middle school teacher, work starts again in 2 1/2 weeks. I need to do this for my busy/tired nights. Keeps us from having fast food and usually will give some leftovers for lunch the next day. Also I will marinade for 1/2 an hour veggies in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, rosemary and garlic and then grill them along with the meat. I use a veggie basket on the grill and cut my veggies into large chunks.

  • Nana Juju says:

    You don’t actually have to thaw these before they go on the grill. I’ve been doing these for years and you can put them on the grill as soon as you light it. The slow heat-up of the grill will thaw them and if you cook over indirect heat (i.e. light the right side of the grill and place the meat on the left side) it’ll get done in the middle.

  • Joan Hough says:

    I must be dense or something. I’ve looked over your recipes for the no-precook freezer meals. But it seems like they just give instructions for crock pot cooking from scratch. Which is it? Cook in crock pot first, then freeze or put the raw ingredients in the freezer and THEN cook in pot? lm confused, even after reading numerous comments.

    • Kelly says:

      You can either add the ingredients directly to the crockpot and cook for dinner or freeze them (raw) for later.

  • Janna says:

    Hi ! I just tried to look at your “crackpot recipes” (giggle) but it tells me the website is down.

  • Karen says:

    what a great idea – this well really come in handy in the motorhome – the feezer is small and stacking nice flat bags of pre-measured seasoned chicken will be so handy for a fast meal after traveling – take the bag out of the freezer in the morning – set it in the sink and it will thaw by noon stop for lunch and put it back in the refrigerator for the evening meal.

  • Jenn says:

    Really only 6-8 minutes on the grill? Call me paranoid but that doesn’t seem like enough time… Feel free to let me know I’m in the wrong here… I tend to overcook things just to make sure we don’t get sick as food poisoning is one of the few things I’m deathly afraid of 😛

  • Holliday says:

    I want to know where you got the thing to stand up your zip lock bags and what it is called. 🙂

  • Holliday says:

    oops. Never mind. I found it. 🙂

  • Joelle says:

    I don’t like to freeze chicken or most meat (sausage and things with high fat content do OK) because when it freezes the cells pop, and when the stuff thaws the juice runs out and the end result is much less juicy and flavorful. I guess the marinade helps disguise that somewhat. I freeze cod because it lives in waters close to freezing temperature so it isn’t much different, and shrimp in the shell are OK if frozen, but in general I don’t do it.

  • sally says:

    Love love love this idea! I always buy the chicken BOGO or BOG2 free 🙂 Never thought about this but I have a relatively small freezer and this would work GREAT. Thank you

  • mbgribbons says:

    I bought your Ebundle book today and I’m looking forward to getting started. I was surprised to see a few dishes with such a high fat content though. For instance, the BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Mediterranean Shredded Pork Pita Pockets, Jalapeno Lime etc. One of them was as high as 53 grams per serving. It seems pretty high for a meal. I may just skip those recipes all together, unless you have some suggestions to make them lighter? Thank you!

    • Kelly says:

      You’re welcome to pick and choose recipes that will be best for you and your diet. All of the fat contents are below the recommended daily value and I try to get 100% per day.

  • Brenda says:

    Where can I find those cool baggie clips???

  • Cassandra says:

    I really love these ideas and will try them!!!! What about using the frozen chicken breastt you get in the bags at the grocery store? Thanks and have a very blessed day!!!! ♡

    • Kelly says:

      Yes, frozen chicken will work just fine. Add it to the freezer bags frozen (in other words, don’t thaw it first).

  • Gail Plaskiewicz says:

    We have 2 grills but my dad is 91. He doesn’t grill anymore. I’d like to but he says no because the house will catch on fire if I do. I did buy a grill for the microwave on QVC though and I love it! I’m thinking of trying a few of these in that. I love freezing them in a bag with enough for how many you are feeding and making it flat. I so have to try this! Thanks for showing this!

  • jeanette says:

    This is a great idea to send my daughter back to college with. She has an apt but not a bbq grill. Can she pan fry these?

  • Kim says:

    Can you freeze potatoes, onions and celery? We like crock pot roast beef with those other ingredients.

    Kim

    • Kelly says:

      Yes, definitely. Potatoes are a little bit tricky, so I always use fresh ones and cut and add them to the bags right before I’m ready to seal them. They don’t like being exposed to air for very long.

  • […] Freezer to Grill Marinated Chicken Packs from New Leaf Wellness […]

  • Katie says:

    Hubby doesn’t like chicken and I don’t eat meat (although our kids enjoy chicken). Which other meats would work well with these marinades?

    • Kelly says:

      I haven’t tried them myself, but I think you could use any kind of meat that you like to cook on the grill, like steaks or pork chops.

  • […] click here >>  Freezer-To-Grill Chicken Packs […]

  • […] click here >>  Freezer-To-Grill Chicken Packs […]

  • Hannah says:

    This is gonna sound silly. But I’m new to cooking, so when I buy chicken breast from the grocery store, I buy them already frozen in the freezer area. Do I need to thaw them first and then cut and portion them into bags to add seasoning and then refreeze them?

    • Kelly says:

      No, I would definitely add them to the bags frozen. Thawing and re-freezing meat without cooking it is not recommended by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

  • Lindsey Hudock says:

    Hey Kelly!
    What system do you use to keep the plastic bags open during the seasoning/marinating process? I see green clips and stands, etc. Wondering if you’ve found a best way to keep things propped up for their sprinkling of herbs and spices?
    Thanks from the bottom of my heart,
    Lindsey

  • dee says:

    Hi Kelly,

    WOW what a fabulous idea, I already separate bulk bought chicken breasts into usable size bags for our family, so just adding the rest as a marinade would save unnecessary work after I take them from the freezer, I can’t thank you enough for some fabulous ideas. I just wish here in Scotland we could buy chicken breasts at the same prices as you.

    Thanks again Kelly

    Dee

  • The CK says:

    What do you do with all the plastic bags once you’ve used them? Is there a a less environmentally harmful way of doing this?

  • Mona says:

    This is my firs visit on your site and I know I will be visiting quite often from now on. Have you frozen marinated meat in the same way? I can’t weight to state this process.

  • Pam says:

    Kelly, I love your ideas, for the chicken. We have boneless pork chops on sale this, week, so I am going to try those, also. Have you ever tried this idea with fish or shrimp?

  • mandy cat says:

    One of our favorite pre-made spice mixes is the rosemary and garlic mix made by Tones. It’s delicious with chicken and I actually prefer it to fresh rosemary. You can find it at most grocery stores and at Sam’s Club.

  • Hilary (France) says:

    I have been marinating chicken (and other meats) or a while now.
    You mention the oil herby/lemony options but I have a Port wine marinade that is delicious and not too oily
    1 cup of ready made low oil vinagrette dressing + 1 cup of ruby port +.2 teaspoons of chinese 5 spice powder + a tablespoonfull of red wine vinager + 1 tablespoon of soy sauce = 1 tablespoon of ready made oyster sauce. Stir thoroughly and pour over skinless chicken breasts in a shallom bowl. marinade in the fridge for an hour or two.
    Bag up & freeze.

  • Hilary (France) says:

    Sorry that should have been a shallow bowl…..I am not Jewish !

  • Linda Fassnacht says:

    Kelly,
    My question about these recipes, do you place the chicken directly on the grill racks? Being skinless, won’t they burn easily? Since we have switched to the boneless skinless thighs, I have used your recipes and made foil packs or, recently, we have been using the foil pans when they are on sale and covering with foil, then cooking on the grill. My hubby thinks they would not do well put directly on the grill. Your thoughts?

    • Kelly says:

      We grill chicken breasts all the time directly on the grill. The skin does get a little bit crispy, but that’s what we love about the grill.

  • Celine says:

    This looks convenient and easy. Is there a printable link?
    Thank you.

  • shannon says:

    Our favorite is 1 can of beer, 1 cup of BBQ sauce and some garlic powder and onion powder for about 5-6 chicken breasts.

  • […] Marinate meats for grilling or baking and freeze. You can read more about this here. […]

  • […] 10 Freezer-to-grill Chicken Packs in 20 Minutes from New Leaf Wellness… […]

  • […] 10 Freezer-to-grill Chicken Packs in 20 Minutes from New Leaf Wellness… […]

  • Liat Galon says:

    Hi,
    what’s the snazzy bag holder you have there in the pictures?
    What is it called? 🙂

  • […] the stove top or under the broiler. We tend to wing our marinades, but there are some great recipes here if you’re looking for some guidance.   Both the fish and the chicken are prepackaged in […]

  • […] Source: 10 Freezer-to-Grill Chicken Packs in 20 Minutes | New Leaf Wellness […]

  • Allie says:

    Would dried herbs also work if I don’t have fresh on hand ?

  • Amber says:

    I love the idea of ‘pre’ preparing meals! It makes it so much easier to just pull it out of the freezer that morning and cook it that evening; great way to set-up weekly meal prep! I was a little confused with some of the types and measurements. First I wanted to clarify that, unless otherwise stated, it’s 1 tbsp of the seasoning per bag. Second, what did you use for the “BBQ” one and the “Spinach and Herb” one?

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