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You don't need to be reminded that it's a bad idea to skip breakfast… so don't! Turn your freezer into your own personal mini-mart stocked with your favorite morning meals—everything from egg sandwiches to French toast to steel-cut oats—that can be made in big batches and reheated in minutes. Here's the best way to freeze, thaw, and reheat these breakfast foods so you can subsist on more than a snack.
To avoid a rubbery or overcooked texture when reheating, scramble or bake your eggs first before freezing. Adding cheese and other dairy like milk or yogurt helps the eggs retain moisture, and pre-cooking them as a scramble or a frittata lets you bring more flavors to the party, like bacon, scallions, herbs, or spinach. Cook eggs by whisking and scrambling in a skillet or baking the eggs frittata-style, either in muffin tins for single servings or as one large frittata cut into wedges.
To freeze: Assemble breakfast sandwiches, wrap breakfast burritos, or remove mini frittatas from muffin tins. Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Wrap each serving in foil or store in zip-top bags until ready to thaw and reheat.
To thaw and reheat: Remove any foil from sandwiches or burritos before microwaving. Microwave frozen egg meals for 5-6 minutes or reheat in a toaster oven for about 12-15 minutes until warmed through (timing will vary based on the size of sandwiches or frittata wedges). Sandwiches and frittatas can also be thawed in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Overnight oats left to soak in the fridge are a no-stress way to wake up to a filling, healthy breakfast—but for those cold mornings when nothing but a warm bowl of oatmeal will do, your freezer can help. Cook a big batch as you usually would, then freeze as noted below. Use steel-cut oats or rolled oats for best results; quick-cooking oats tend to dissolve when frozen and reheated.
To freeze: Grease the wells of a standard 12-cup muffin tin and fill with cooked oatmeal. Freeze until solid, then run a butter knife or paring knife around the edges of each disc to help them pop out of the tin. Store in zip-top bags until ready to thaw and reheat.
To thaw and reheat: Microwave frozen oatmeal for 2-3 minutes in a microwave-safe bowl with a splash of milk, stirring every minute or so to help the oatmeal break apart. Or reheat on the stovetop with milk, stirring occasionally until reheated. Oatmeal cubes can be thawed in the refrigerator overnight before reheating—place them in a bowl first.
Pancakes, waffles and French toast
Got leftovers from the past weekend's brunchstravaganza? Don't force yourself to wolf down every slice of French toast or the rest of the waffles that the kids refused to eat—freeze them for almost-instant breakfasts that taste like they were made fresh.
To freeze: Cool the cooked pancakes, waffles, or French toast on a wire rack to room temperature. Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid, then transfer to zip-top bags until ready to thaw and reheat.
To thaw and reheat: Place the frozen pancakes, waffles, or French toast directly on the rack of a toaster oven and toast for 3-4 minutes until heated through, or microwave for 1-2 minutes. All items can also be thawed overnight in the refrigerator and eaten at room temperature if preferred.
One of the easiest on-the-go breakfasts to prep ahead of time, smoothies are tailor-made for batching in the freezer. Make them any way you like: with tons of greens, with nuts and yogurt, or even with a few spoonfuls of rolled or quick-cooking oats for added fiber.
To freeze: Blend the smoothie and pour into Dixie cups (choose your size based on your morning hunger levels) or silicone molds for oversized ice cubes—silicone soap molds also work perfectly for larger-sized cubes!
To thaw: The night before, transfer your smoothie cubes to your to-go cup of choice and place in the refrigerator. Certain insulated mugs will keep the cubes very cold and extend the thaw time, so experiment with how long it takes for your particular mug/fridge combo to bring your smoothie back to liquid consistency. Don't leave the cubes on the counter overnight, unless warm and soupy smoothies are your thing.