Eight Great Meal in a Jar Recipes

Be ready for emergencies big and small with these eight great meal in a jar recipes! All you need to do to get a great meal on the table is add water and cook! Or give them away as gifts!! Printable cut files for the label stickers and tags are available!!

Picture of eight meals in a jar stacked on countertop, in mason jars, with labels and gift tags.

Easy Meal in a Jar Recipes

I have been working on putting together some food storage for my family for the last several years.  There are many options out there nowadays for ready-to-go meals, but they can be incredibly expensive!  So I’ve spent some time researching ways to make my own.  I came across several options for recipes for meals in a jar.

A few years ago I did a class for a local women’s group on make-ahead meals and mixes, and I put together several meals in jars as examples.  We generally tend to focus on food storage for times of emergencies, but I’ve also found these meals can be incredibly useful for small-scale “emergencies” of the dinner kind – you know, those nights when things have been crazy chaotic and it’s 6pm and everyone is starving, but you haven’t been to the grocery store, or you haven’t pulled anything out of the freezer for dinner, or you just generally don’t have any thing planned for dinner that night…

These have been great options to keep on the shelf for THOSE emergencies!  These meals in a jar can be used as part of your long-term food storage if you wish.  When properly sealed, they can last 5-1o years on the shelf.

But they can also be used as part of your dinner emergency stash – those meals you pull out when you need to get dinner on the table quick!

Freeze-dried Ingredients

Most of these meal in a jar recipes will require freeze-dried or dehydrated ingredients.  Depending on where you live, these might be available locally, or you may have to order them online.  There are several companies that specialize in producing these items:  Augason Farms, Emergency Essentials, Honeyville Grains, The Ready Store, and Thrive Life, just to name a few.  All of these companies have websites where you can order products and have them shipped to you.  You can also find many options on Amazon or on Walmart.com.

I don’t really have a preference among the brands, as I’ve tried several of them.  I don’t generally use the Thrive products because you have to order through a consultant, and I’ve found them to generally have higher prices than the others.  Most of the items in my storage come from Augason Farms, Emergency Essentials or Honeyville Grains, because they all have stores near me or are readily available at my local Walmart.  

Not Just for Food Storage!

Now, the tags on the jars are there for gift-giving, should you choose to use these as neighbor gifts!  You absolutely do not need to put tags on yours, especially if you’re just keeping them on your pantry shelf (although you do need to label the jar somehow), but if you would like to add tags, or if you’re thinking about making some of these up to give as gifts, you can find the Cricut cut files for both the instruction labels AND the gift tags at The Happy Scraps – my awesome friend Amy (and she’s my neighbor, too – lucky me!) designed the labels and tags especially for this project, and I think they turned out AMAZING!!

Eight Great Meal in a Jar Recipes

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40 Comments

    1. That is a really good question! The meals are shelf-stable until they are hydrated, meaning they do not need freezing or refrigeration. They are meant to be stored on a pantry shelf. I’ve never actually tried freezing one of these meals after I’m made it up as a full meal…but I see no reason why you couldn’t freeze leftovers. And leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.

      You *could* technically freeze or refrigerate the meals in the jars although you shouldn’t need to if they are correctly vacuum-sealed. The main issue is that any freeze-dried meat if exposed to air will begin rehydrating just from the moisture in the air and that starts the clock ticking on expiration and spoilage.

    1. Under each picture is a button that says “Get the recipe” – if you click on that it will take you to the recipe post for that specific meal in a jar. In the recipe card at the bottom of the post you will find the full recipe, the list of ingredients and their quantities, and the instructions for both making the meal in a jar and for making the actual meal for eating. Hope that helps!

  1. Can you use both freeze dries ingredients and dehydrator items in the same jar without having to worry about spoilage. I understand needing oxygen absorbers, but I’m afraid that adding them both even with adding an oxygen absorbers that for some reason I’d have a problem. I’ve never tired the meals in the jar, mostly because I’m nervous about putting the wrong ingredients together and ending up with spoilage.

    1. Yes you can, as long as you are careful to make sure the dehydrated items are shelf-stable and will not give off moisture. Most dehydrated items you get from stores in #10 cans will be fine to use. Things you dehydrate at home will need to be checked to make sure they are thoroughly dry (fully dehydrated) before you add them. Many of the recipes on the site will call for freeze-dried meats in the same jar as dehydrated vegetables and beans and I have not had any problems with the meals so far.

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