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I keep seeing trends online where people make meal preps in single-serving glass containers, then cook them and keep them in the fridge for meal prep through-out the week like this one here.

I like the idea of cooking everything in a single serving container, but I'm not a fan of cooking them all at once and then having them sit in the fridge for the entire week.

Since I tend to freeze a lot of my meals, I was wondering: maybe I could freeze the ingredients in the container raw, and then bake it fresh every night.

Like so:

  • Prepare 5 single serve containers of a recipe, don't cook
  • Freeze containers
  • When I want dinner, take out a container, (probably defrost it) and then cook it

I know that the sudden temperature change of a frozen container to an oven would crack something, but I'm wondering if there's a method and container combo that could make this work. Like defrosting on the counter until it's room temp and then cooking?

Is there a type of container that could stand up to those temperature changes without damaging? (I'm in Australia if that is relevant: I know some things like pyrex containers might be made of different glass depending on location)

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  • When I made a lot of meals for my sister in law when she was pregnant, I used aluminum takeout containers. It’s not as environmentally friendly, although they should be recycleable.
    – Joe
    Mar 18 at 17:12

3 Answers 3

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Easy method one - there certainly are or have been freezer and oven safe casserole dishes made, find some. <Use the thrift store, Luke...> Then learn what you need to do to not break them, since freezer straight into hot oven is still a bit stressful, though metal pans will take it without fuss.

Easy method two - freeze in a container (need not be oven safe), thaw enough to tip out of the container into a baking dish, bake.

Of course, this requires that your meal cook well from frozen, which may not be the case for a recipe that does not expect to be frozen between gathering the ingredients and cooking them.

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  • I'll note that if a recipe does not cook well from frozen, it might be possible to replace fresh ingredients with frozen ingredients to "fix" it. Of course, this may require recipe tweaks, mostly to cooking times. Probably 90% of my ground beef recipes became cookable without prep once my grocer started selling frozen, uncooked beef crumbles.
    – Brian
    Mar 18 at 19:25
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I often do something similar, but reversed. I make two single portion dishes of macaroni cheese in one session, freezing one for another time. It microwaves well after defrosting in the fridge for 24 hours, or reheats in the oven, but part of the point is to reduce the number times I heat up the oven.

I use a (UK, borosilicate) Pyrex dish for one, and a ceramic pie dish for the other. They work equally well. If I was planning to reheat it in the oven, I'd take that one out a few minutes early, so it's done but not browned.

There aren't that many meals that cook straight into the oven from frozen or from assembled, frozen, and defrosted. Most things like pasta bakes and casseroles are better cooked fully (if lightly), then frozen. The same dishes work for both approaches.

Metal containers also work. Ceramic and Pyrex (even the non-borosilicate type is designed for this) should be able to go from fridge to oven, but I'd be wary of starting from the freezer in a material that can crack. However modern ovens heat up so fast that not preheating is feasible, and a good way to eliminate the thermal shock of putting a chilled dish on a hot rack.

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  • When you’re cooking for one, a toaster oven is often the right size for this and doesn’t tend to heat up too quickly. If I had to try to go straight from the freezer to the oven, I might try putting it in a water bath to reduce the thermal shock.
    – Joe
    Mar 18 at 17:11
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    @joe toaster ovens aren't common here, but my microwave also has a convection mode (top heat +fan). That serves a similar purpose for me, especially on simultaneous combination mode, though it does release a lot of heat into the kitchen. also I generally plan to cook in the proper oven and bake bread on the same evening; cooking a portion to freeze makes good use of the oven space then.
    – Chris H
    Mar 19 at 8:07
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As alluded to in Ecnerwal's answer, there is a material that at one point was used to make bakeware (specifically, Corning Glass) called pyroceram, which has an incredibly low coefficient of thermal expansion. This material can withstand thermal shock of up to 840°F/450°C. That is technically sufficient to go from a 0°F freezer to a 500°F oven without trouble, even if it still makes me cringe to consider doing so. I have one such casserole dish, and I'm still not comfortable doing so, to be perfectly honest. Note: even with true pyroceram casserole dishes, the lid is a different material and not as resistant to thermal shock.

Unfortunately, they stopped using this material to make new bakeware somewhere in the early 2000's, and now sell stoneware instead, which has much worse properties in that regard, though allegedly it's still possible to buy new pyroceram bakeware. Unfortunately it's a bit difficult to locate, and since Corning now sells equivalents of their formerly pyroceram-only bakeware with other materials, it can be a challenge to really be assured that you're getting what you want to use. I believe you can find "Corningware StoveTop" sold some places which is still made of pyroceram, or you can try to brave the secondhand market to find pre-2000 bakeware.


At the end of the day, it's probably easier to go with what Chris H and Ecnerwal recommend with a metal container, or not preheating the oven. However, if you're dead-set on non-metal bakeware and want to go directly from a freezer to a hot oven, you're going to want to invest some time in locating and acquiring some pyroceram-based bakeware, as it's the only thing I know of that can do so.

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  • I'm having a little trouble tracking down a better citation for the thermal shock resistance properties (I recall seeing one years ago), but if anything that could be a low estimate. A more current mostly transparent version apparently called Pyroceram III apparently has a thermal shock resistance of 700 Kelvin which is just absurd Mar 17 at 8:24
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    Arcoflam was similar, and could even be used on a gas hob. Unfortunately my casserole dish broke, and a lasagne dish (which I still have) doesn't really need that.
    – Chris H
    Mar 19 at 8:08

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