Cheaper and Healthier Than Store-Bought: 10 Great Freeze-Ahead Burrito Recipes
Ah, freezer-to-microwave burritos, those tubular temptresses that deliver easy satisfaction with the added thrill of wondering if you will freeze or burn your tongue with every bite. My children would live on them if I let them, and to be honest, I love a good microwaved burrito myself — especially on days that I exercise the discipline to wait until the heat has evenly distributed and avoid burning my mouth. (See also: Top 5 Microwaves)
However, as a frugal mom, I've avoided buying pre-made frozen burritos unless I could combine a coupon and sale. As cheap as these goodies can be, making food at home is almost always cheaper — and healthier.
Luckily for the kids and me, lately I've noticed that homemade frozen burrito recipes are everywhere online. True, most of the recipes posted by bloggers who are into freezer cooking are not exactly authentic Mexican street fare — you won't find much in the way of carnitas, tripe, or carne asada on the ingredient lists. But once you absorb these cooks' basic methods for stuffing, wrapping, and freezing, you can swap in the ingredients of your choice. (See also: 15 Frugal Single-Serving Freezer Meals)
Here are 10 posts and articles that helped me reach my own personal freezer burrito heaven.
1. Money Saving Mom's Freezer-Friendly Brown Bag Burritos
I thought these burritos would be stored and baked in a brown bag, but according to Amy's Finer Things, which also posted the recipe, they get their name from the idea that they'd be great to pack for a cold lunch. (No thanks, I'll stick to heating mine up.) I like this recipe because it looks a bit spicy, and because the paper towel/foil wraps look like a good way to avoid freezer burn.
2. Shutterbean's Freezer Burritos
This post has great tips on how to work with the tortillas to make them wrap nicely. With two kinds of beans, rice, and other goodies, these burritos would have a nice textural variety with low-cost ingredients. Personally, though, I would not add the greek yogurt/hot sauce into the burrito before freezing, because I don't think that would taste good when the burritos are heated. It would make a great dipping sauce, though.
3. Mel's Kitchen Cafe Super Bean Burritos (or Freezer Beef and Bean Burritos)
I like the spices used in these two recipes to keep things from getting boring: Super Bean Burritos and Freezer Beef and Bean. These posts have good instructions on how to freeze the burritos. First lay them on a baking sheet in the freezer, unwrapped, then remove after half an hour to wrap in plastic wrap, then store wrapped burritos in a large freezer bag. The pre-freeze is supposed to prevent the burritos from falling apart while you wrap them.
4. Unconventional Kitchen's Five Different Frozen Burritos
My kids would be happy with plain refried bean burritos, but mama likes variety. So I flipped when I read that Unconventional Kitchen whipped up five different burritos for the freezer in one morning — before church! Fajita chicken burritos,sweet potato black bean burritos, butternut squash burritos, salsa chicken and brown rice burritos, and a curry wrap. This post made me realize that you can pretty much throw any old leftovers in your fridge into a tortilla and call it a wrap — as long as you use a good combination of moist and dry ingredients that taste good together. (See also: 8 Fancy Ways to Use Leftovers)
5. Andrea Dekker's Freezer-Friendly Burritos
This would be one of the quickest recipes to whip up, because it gets its punch from a jar of salsa and packets of taco seasoning. I like how Andrea spreads the refried beans thin all over the inside of the tortilla to glue the thing together.
6. Macheesmo's the Homemade Trials: Frozen Burritos
This post answers the nagging question that always occurs to me when I'm elbow-deep in a supposedly-money-saving project and my phone rings and one of my kids gets hurt and also I spill something hot on my toe: Is this really worth it?
In the case of frozen burritos, it turns out, making at home delivers a pretty large cost savings compared to buying a nice, big, high-end frozen burrito like those sold by Amy's.
The recipe looks good too, but the best part of this post is that Macheesmo does the math for us.
7. Vegan Freezer Burritos From The Runner's Plate
Of course, a plain bean burrito is perfectly vegan if the beans aren't cooked in lard, but why be boring? This recipe includes potatoes, carrots and onions, and sounds delicious and nutritious. You drizzle a spicy vegan "cheese" sauce over everything before wrapping them up. (See also: 25 Frugal Items for Your Vegan Grocery List)
8. Goodness Gracious' Breakfast Freezer Burritos
When do you need the convenience of a freeze-and-go meal more than at breakfast time? The ingredients are what you expect — but I loved learning how to cook two dozen scrambled eggs easily in the oven, and I like the idea of only wrapping these in just paper towels, no foil, so they're ready to microwave as soon as you take them out of the freezer bag. The foil, however, might provide a little more protection against frost.
9. Reluctant Entertainer's Chicken and Quinoa Burritos
With a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and grains from the rice cooker, these burritos can be thrown together very quickly.
10. The Oregonian's Vegetable-Heavy Freezer Burritos
Not only does it pack a nutritional punch with kale, broccoli and sweet potatoes, but this recipe has great, specific instructions on how to use freezer paper and tape to keep the burritos freezer-safe.
For any of these recipes, check out TheKitchn's system for protecting wraps from freezer burn and reheating them.
Does all this cooking, stuffing, wrapping and freezing sound like too much work? You can always fall back on the freezer aisle. This amusing post from From Away: Cooking and Eating in Maine compares 13 "sketchy" frozen burritos. The post also shares a bit of wisdom worth carrying over from store-bought frozen burritos to homemade ones: Although it's quicker to microwave them, baking a frozen burrito for about 30 minutes will have better, more even results.
What's your favorite frozen burrito recipe?