Air Fryer Meal Prep - Make 10 Easy, Tasty Freezer Meals

Let's make 10 delicious, easy recipes with an Air Fryer Meal Prep session! Includes a full grocery list, meal labels, and full step-by-step instructions.

air fryer and several frozen meals in containers on a counter.

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We're wrapping up this little mini-series on freezer meal prep today with a full collection of Air Fryer freezer meals!

What is an Air Fryer?

If we're being honest, an Air Fryer is just a fancy convection oven. 🙂 But they're all the rage right now, and with good reason - it's a fantastic kitchen appliance to have in your home!

We love using our Air Fryer to reheat foods that aren't necessarily microwave-friendly. Think breads, fried foods, pizza, etc. It keeps your food nice and crisp without drying it out too much.

The Air Fryer is also incredible for cooking different "faux-deep-fried" foods. If you want the crunch and texture of fried meat/vegetables but want to use less oil, the Air Fryer is the way to go. We love cooking chicken wings, roasting vegetables, and even baking frozen French fries in the Air Fryer.

Different Air Fryers have different settings. Our current Air Fryer has roast, dehydrate, broil, and even bake functions, making it the perfect appliance for homes without a lot of counter space.

Air Fryer vs. Instant Pot

I kind of consider the Air Fryer the opposite of the Instant Pot when it comes to freezer meals. Whereas you're going to cook foods with a lot of water content in the Instant Pot, you're going to cook dryer foods in the Air Fryer. That's not a bad thing though - think crispy, crunchy, well-roasted meats and veggies.

Although my #1 appliance is absolutely the Instant Pot, it has its limitations. If you want to make food crisp, you're not getting it in a pressure cooker. If you want concentrated flavor, it can't really do that either. And you absolutely can't cook without some kind of liquid in a pressure cooker.

air fryer on a counter.
air fryer on a counter.

After using my air fryer since last summer, I really think it makes up for the few gaps in the Instant Pot's abilities. It absolutely gets food crispy and totally makes meats and veggies taste like they're fresh from the oven. There is usually less mess than oven roasting, cook time is typically lower than in the oven, and electricity use is much lower. It's an amazing kitchen appliance to have around.

So, naturally, the next step for me after falling in love with the Air Fryer was to make an Air Fryer Meal Prep session! I knew almost immediately that this appliance would be perfect for easy dinner freezer meals - the issue was learning how to cook fully frozen meals in this appliance. As it turns out, it's not any more difficult to do than using an Instant Pot for frozen meals.

I worked through 10 recipes to make this collection. I think they're absolutely delicious and a wonderful way to change up your freezer meal routine.

Let's start that Air Fryer meal prep!

Step 1: Gather supplies.

Having the right supplies on hand before you ever start the boot camp is the key to making this process as easy as possible. This is a small list...you should be able to find most of this at your local grocery store or on Amazon.

First thing's first - an air fryer! There are so many different brands/models available...from what I've seen, they all cook in a very similar fashion, so don't get too hung up on which one you'd buy, as long as it has solid reviews. (The Air Fryer model you see in this post is a NuWave Brio. It's a great option!)

Gallon freezer bags are really important to have. I would also make sure I had my bag/container labels printed (scroll down for those printables) and cut…be ready to label those as soon as you finish making the meals, before they go in the freezer. I recommend sticking the labels on with packing tape, so make sure there’s a roll of that handy. There’s also a specialty Freezer Tape that’s made for sticking labels onto freezer dishes and it has incredible reviews.

One note about freezer space…you need a lot for this. It is totally possible to cut down on the amount of meals you make if you’re short on space! I had a big freezer clean-out for a week or two before I make these meals to make sure I had enough room for everything.

Summary: Make sure you have...

  1. Air Fryer
  2. Gallon-sized zip-top freezer bags
  3. Labels (scroll down for printables)
  4. Packing Tape or Freezer Tape
  5. Freezer space

You might also need…

  1. A food chopper (makes chopping vegetables a breeze!)
  2. A bag opener (I have this set and it's awesome when prepping meals. You simply snap the bags into the opener and easily toss in ingredients)

Step 2: Buy groceries.

freezer meal boot camp grocery list.

As with the other Freezer Meal Boot Camps, there's no need to make your own list! I've got everything you need to make and serve these meals on one list. You can access this printable in the Printable Collection for my newsletter subscribers. Click the button below to sign up.

After you make the big grocery run outlined in that list, you’ll need to make a very small trip to the store for the filler/perishable/side items you’ll need each week.

The meal plans and shopping lists for those weeks are included in that pack in the printable collection as well (they're the ingredients highlighted in pink on the list). I bought my first week's worth of small trip items when I did the big grocery trip for the freezer meals.

Where to shop for groceries

I am a huge fan of using Walmart’s Grocery Pickup service for bigger trips like this…just order your items online using the grocery list I have in the printable collection and pick them up from your local store at no extra charge! It’s incredibly convenient and a great way to organize your groceries to ensure you get everything. Click here to get a $10 off coupon for trying it out.

Step 3: Print and cut freezer meal labels.

I’ve got you covered in this department too! These label printables cover each and every meal you’ll make for this boot camp. All directions for the final cooking of each meal, any side item ideas, and extra ingredients needed for the meal are printed right on this label.

screenshot of air fryer freezer meal labels.
screenshot of air fryer meal prep recipe cards.

I have a lot of boot campers who love having recipe cards. These are slightly bigger, more detailed versions of the labels that have the full recipe, prep instructions, and side item/serve day needs. No need to have these for meal prep day, but you might want to save these Air Fryer recipes for future reference.

These are included in the pack in the printable collection - it's free to sign up for access.

After the labels are printed, just cut them out (I love this paper cutter for making the process easier) and have them ready to attach to your containers with packing tape or painter’s tape before you freeze.

I made the mistake of waiting until after they were frozen to try to attach the labels…doesn’t work. The frost made the tape fall right off. So make sure they’re labeled before they ever go in the freezer.

Step 4: Prep your veggies.

Once you’ve got dinner for tonight going, it’s time to start prep work for the freezer meals. I’ll go on and tell you…this is the time-consuming part. It took me a good hour or two to prep all of the veggies. Something like a food chopper makes life a lot easier! I've used one like this for so many freezer meal sessions now.

All of this needs to be done before you start assembling your meals - it takes a while, but it makes the assembly part so much easier.

  • roughly chop 1 onion
  • roughly chop 2 green bell peppers
  • remove tops of 6 bell peppers (chop tops into small pieces)
  • finely chop ½ onion
  • roughly chop 1 red onion
  • roughly slice 1 onion
  • roughly slice 1 green bell pepper
  • roughly slice 1 red bell pepper
  • halve 3 limes
  • halve 1 lemon
  • peel, core, and chop 1 pineapple
  • chop ½ cup cilantro
  • remove ends of 1lb asparagus
  • roughly chop ½ head cabbage
  • peel and chop 1lb sweet potatoes into 1” pieces

The term "roughly chop" is a new one to this boot camp - that just means to cut it into 2-3" pieces (large enough so that you won't have an issue with the pieces falling through your air fryer grates).

chopped ingredients spread on a countertop

Then, I set them all out buffet-style on my counter to make it easy to put everything together.

Step 5: Prep proteins.

Not as much meat/dairy prep is involved in this one - lots less than the veggie part of the prep session! Here's what you need to do:

  • separate 2lbs chicken wings into drums and wings
  • chop 1lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • chop 2lbs ham into 1-2” chunks
  • halve 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • cook and drain 1lb Italian sausage
  • roughly chop 1lb smoked turkey sausage
  • trim and separate 2lbs pork ribs
  • melt ½ stick butter and mix in 3 packs ranch dressing mix

Again, put these out buffet-style to make for easy assembly (preferably away from the veggies to avoid any cross-contamination).

Step 6: Assemble Air Fryer meals.

It's assembly time!

freezer bag holders on a counter.

I like to load 4 bags into the bag openers at a time - once those are finished, take them off and do 4 more.

Here’s what I put in each bag:

Meal 1: Barbecue Air Fryer Chicken Wings

In the freezer container:

  • 2lbs chicken wings, separated
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

Serving Day Instructions:

  1. Thaw your meal enough to pop out of the freezer container.
  2. Add the frozen meal to your air fryer basket in an even layer.
  3. Air Fry at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Shake contents and cook for another 10 minutes at 400 degrees. (It might be necessary to cook your wings in 2 batches, depending on the size of your air fryer.)
  4. While meal cooks, peel and chop carrots, chop celery, and mix together ranch mix/
    sour cream/mayo to make a dip. Serve veggies on side of wings with ranch to dip.

Items Needed for Serving Day:

  • 8oz barbecue sauce
  • 4oz hot sauce
    4oz melted butter
    1lb carrots
    1lb celery
    1 pack ranch dressing mix
    8oz sour cream
    4oz light mayo

Side Dish: fresh veggies

Meal 2: Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

In the freezer container:

  • 1lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Serving Day Instructions:

  1. Thaw your meal enough to pop out of the freezer container.
  2. Add the frozen meal to your air fryer basket in an even layer.
  3. Air Fry at 375 degrees and cook for 20 minutes, stirring contents halfway through cook cycle.
  4. While meal cooks, cook rice according to package directions. Stir together ketchup, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic powder, and salt/pepper.
  5. Once cook cycle is done, toss chicken in sauce mixture. Serve over white rice.

Items Needed for Serving Day:

  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1.5 cups white rice

Side Dish: White rice

Meal 3: Air Fryer Shrimp Fajitas

In the freezer container:

  • 24oz frozen shrimp
  • 1 onion, roughly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, roughly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, roughly sliced
  • 2 packs fajita seasoning mix
  • juice of 1 lime

Serving Day Instructions:

  1. Thaw your meal enough to pop out of the freezer container.
  2. Add the frozen meal to your air fryer basket in an even layer.
  3. Air Fry at 375 degrees and cook for 13 minutes. Once cook cycle is over, stir contents and set for another 13 minutes at 400 degrees.
  4. While meal cooks, cook rice according to package directions. Slice lime for serving.
  5. Once cook cycle is done, serve shrimp mixture on tortillas, topped with sour cream, cheese, guacamole, and lime juice. Serve rice on the side.

Items Needed for Serving Day:

  • 1 pack fajita-sized tortillas
  • 8oz sour cream
  • 8oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 pack pre-made guacamole
  • 1 lime for serving
  • 1 pack Mexican rice mix

Side Dish: Mexican rice

Meal 4: Air Fryer Hawaiian Ham Toss

In the freezer container:

  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 2lbs ham, chopped into 1-2” chunks
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard

Serving Day Instructions:

  1. Thaw your meal enough to pop out of the freezer container.
  2. Add the frozen meal to your air fryer basket in an even layer.
  3. Air Fry at 375 degrees and cook for 20 minutes, stirring once during cook cycle.
  4. While meal cooks, prepare stuffing according to package directions.

Items Needed for Serving Day:

  • 1 box stuffing mix (+ ingredients to prepare)

Side Dish: Stuffing

Meal 5: Air Fryer Cilantro Lime Chicken

In the freezer container:

  • 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper

Serving Day Instructions:

  1. Serving Day Instructions:
  2. Thaw your meal enough to pop out of the freezer container.
  3. Add the frozen meal to your air fryer basket in an even layer.
  4. Air Fry at 350 degrees and cook for 20 minutes, flipping chicken once during cook cycle.
  5. While meal cooks, mash together avocado, cilantro, and seasonings. Cook black beans until warm.
  6. Serve chicken topped with avocado mash, with black beans on the side.

Items Needed for Serving Day:

  • 2 avocados
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 15.25 cans black beans

Side Dish: Avocado mash, black beans

Meal 6: Garlic Lemon Air Fryer Salmon & Asparagus

In the freezer container:

  • 1lb frozen salmon fillets
  • lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1lb asparagus, ends removed

Serving Day Instructions:

  1. Thaw your meal enough to pop out of the freezer container.
  2. Add the frozen meal to your air fryer basket in an even layer.
  3. Air Fry at 350 degrees and cook for 10 minutes. Once first cook cycle is over, flip the filets and set for another 8 minutes at 350 degrees.
  4. While meal cooks, prepare rice pilaf according to package directions.

Items Needed for Serving Day:

  • 1 box rice pilaf mix

Side Item: Rice pilaf

Meal 7: Air Fryer Ranch Pork Chops & New Potatoes

In the freezer container:

  • 2lbs boneless pork chops
  • 3 packs ranch dressing mix mixed in 4 tablespoon melted butter
  • 2lbs new potatoes, frozen

Serving Day Instructions:

  1. Thaw your meal enough to pop out of the freezer container.
  2. Add the frozen meal to your air fryer basket in an even layer.
  3. Air Fry at 375 degrees and cook for 25-30 minutes, flipping contents halfway through.
  4. While meal cooks, mix together water, sour cream, and ranch mix. Toss green beans in seasonings and microwave (in about ¼ cup water) for 6-8 minutes, until warm.
  5. Serve pork chops/new potatoes drizzled with sour cream sauce.

Items Needed for Serving Day:

  • 8oz sour cream
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 pack ranch dressing mix
  • 24oz frozen green beans
  • 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, garlic powder

Side Item: Green beans

Meal 8: Air Fryer Supreme Pizza Stuffed Peppers

In the freezer container:

6 green bell peppers, tops removed, stuffed with…

  • chopped tops of green bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 8oz mozzarella cheese
  • 1lb pork Italian sausage, cooked and drained
  • 5oz turkey pepperoni
  • 8oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Serving Day Instructions:

  1. Thaw your meal enough to pop out of the freezer container.
  2. Add the frozen meal to your air fryer basket in an even layer.
  3. Air Fry at 350 degrees and cook for 15 minutes. After first cook cycle is over, top with mozzarella cheese and cook for another 3 minutes at 350 degrees.
  4. While meal cooks, bake garlic knots according to package directions.

Items Needed for Serving Day:

  • 1 pack frozen garlic knots
  • 8oz mozzarella cheese, shredded

Side Item: Garlic knots

Meal 9: Crispy Air Fryer Sausage & Cabbage

In the freezer container:

  • 1lb smoked turkey sausage, roughly chopped
  • ½ head cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Serving Day Instructions:

  1. Thaw your meal enough to pop out of the freezer container.
  2. Add the frozen meal to your air fryer basket in an even layer.
  3. Air Fry at 400 degrees and cook for 24 minutes, tossing meal halfway through cook cycle.
  4. While meal cooks, peel and chop potatoes. Cook in the microwave (with about ½ cup water) for 10-12 minutes, until potatoes are soft. Mash with butter, sour cream, and seasonings.

Items Needed for Serving Day:

  • 1lb russet potatoes
  • 8oz sour cream
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, garlic powder

Side Item: Mashed potatoes

Meal 10: Sweet & Smokey Air Fryer Ribs

In the freezer container:

  • 2lbs pork ribs, separated
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Serving Day Instructions:

  1. Thaw your meal enough to pop out of the freezer container.
  2. Add the frozen meal to your air fryer basket in an even layer. Arrange ribs around outside of
    the Air Fryer basket with sweet potatoes in the middle.
  3. Air Fry at 375 degrees and cook for 25 minutes, tossing sweet potatoes and flipping ribs halfway through cook cycle.
  4. Serve ribs with barbecue sauce.

Items Needed for Serving Day:

  • 1 bottle favorite barbecue sauce

Side Dish: sweet potatoes

You're done! You now have 10 different Air Fryer meal prep recipes ready for weeks of dinners. Doesn't it feel good?

close up of air fryer and freezer meals.

More Tips and Tricks

  • The full cook times, items needed for serving day, etc. are on those printable labels I mentioned above. If you'd like a pack of printable grocery lists, labels, and recipe cards, as well as all of the instructions for your Freezer Meal prep session in one document, click here to get access info sent to your inbox! It's free to join.
  • When cooking these meals, it helps to use aluminum foil or parchment paper in your Air fryer basket. This makes for super simple clean-up.
  • I recommend having at least an 8-quart Air Fryer for these recipes.
  • This air fryer freezer meal collection gave me roughly 4-6 servings per meal. It kind of depends on how much your family eats. We have 2 adults and 2 smaller kids in our family, and we usually have enough for everyone and one meal of leftovers.

Air Fryer Meal Prep FAQs

Air fryers are fantastic for meal prep! It's so easy to throw a few things in a freezer bag and cook in the air fryer at your convenience. These recipes are simple, full of veggies, and baked to a crispy perfection in the air fryer.

I don't recommend cooking anything with a lot of water in the air fryer. Foods like rice, pasta, cheese, or popcorn aren't going to cook well with such dry heat.

Yes, you can put foil in an air fryer. Lining the bottom of an air fryer basket with foil or parchment paper is a great way to reduce spills and make clean-up a breeze.


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6 Comments

  1. Diana Schuster says:

    Hi! Just finished the boot camp air fryer meals! I feel very happy and accomplished except there are 2 pounds of cubed sweet potatoes still sitting on my counter! I looked at every meal label and directions... what did I miss?

    1. Not sure - the grocery list has 1lb of sweet potatoes, which go in the sweet and smokey ribs (meal #10). Did you add to that?

  2. Just tried the ham and pineapple in the airfyer and it turned out to be mush! Any ideas what went wrong?

    1. Not sure - I've never had a huge issue with things being too soft in the air fryer. It could be a number of things - cook time and temp, freezer time and temp, type of ingredients used...it's hard to say.

  3. Delilah Ekeberg says:

    Hi just wondering if I could find the freezer containers that you use in Australia whereby I'm from?

    1. Not really sure; you'd probably have better luck ordering the freezer containers I linked from Amazon in the post. However, with an Air Fryer, you can always use gallon-sized freezer bags, since you don't need the food frozen into any specific shape to fit a pot.