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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  1. Starting prepping recently due to all the shortages at the stores. I love your recipes, much better then storing all items separately. I’m fairly new to this and just wondering if I can use chicken/beef/potatoes that I’ve dehydrated myself instead of freeze dried items?

    1. Dehydrated potatoes would work. I don’t know about the meat though. Dehydrating is different than freeze drying and I’m not as familiar with how it affects meat. You could certainly try a test batch. You’ll likely have to adjust the liquids used to reconstitute and the cook time as dehydrated typically takes much longer to rehydrate than freeze-dried. Generally I think dehydrated meat doesn’t rehydrate quite the same, so the taste and/or texture will not be the same. Just be aware of that. But let me know if you try some out and how it works!

      I know FD meats are super expensive at times as we continue to have periodic shortages. If you want to try a cheaper alternative you can also use TVP in place of the FD meat – that one I have tried. (I just can’t use it anymore because I’m horribly allergic to soy all of a sudden. Oops.)

  2. My question is can I put everything into these recipes except them meat products, and then just add fresh meat when cooking the meal?

    1. Yes! You will need to adjust the amount of liquid a bit and cook time may change slightly – but totally doable.

  3. Hey Friend – Just found your Pinterest and LOVE your info. Just a quick FYI regarding the TVP. I too am allergic to this. It’s made from Soy and many, many people have reactions to Soy. My is severe. Cheers 🙂 Tina

  4. My husband is on a gluten-free diet, for some of the recipes can I substitute like gluten-free products, i.c., gluten-free macaroni noodles for the mac and cheese.

    1. You sure can! You may have to adjust the liquid requirements just a bit as GF pasta can vary a little on how much liquid it needs to rehydrate.

  5. Hi Candi~
    I absolutely love this idea! I’m going to give one a try! Do you have a meal in a jar that has freeze-dried pork in it? Or could it be substituted in another one of your recipes? Do you think you have may have more of these kinds of recipes coming?
    Very nice job! Thank. you so much for this!

    1. You can substitute freeze-dried pork in any of them just fine. But I also do have more recipes coming! Chicken Broccoli Alfredo in a Jar is coming as is a French Onion Chicken and Rice which would be amazing with pork! And I’ll try to work on some more pork recipes – I have done sausage ones before but just saw that one of the big brands is offering freeze-dried pork now so time for me to experiment! 😊

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