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Mar 20, 2013 07:20 PM

Any tips on freezing / thawing for lunch at work?

I'd like to be more efficient and cook in larger quantities. I'd like to freeze and thaw ready-to-go lunches for work.

I don't like cooking or heating in plastic, so I have these nifty corningware containers.

I added 4oz of chicken, 4oz of sweet potato, and some home made bone broth. I put it in the freezer.

I intend to transport it frozen to work and use the microwave to thaw and heat.

I would very much appreciate any thoughts, tips or pitfalls I am likely to encounter with my plan. Specifically, I'd like to thaw and heat without the chicken exploding, or the corningware from cracking.


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  1. Are the chix and sweet potatoes pre-cooked or are you hoping to cook them there?

    5 Replies
    1. re: DuchessNukem

      Sorry. Everything is pre-cooked and delicious.

      I just need to heat it up from a frozen state.



      1. re: mike2401

        Maybe move it from your freezer to the fridge the night before so you are primarily heating it up rather than defrosting first. I find it easier to reheat in a microwave than to start out with something frozen.

        1. re: mike2401

          I'd cut the chicken into smallish bite-size pieces to avoid the blowups. I don't think it will thaw much in the breakroom fridge, but I can't really safely recommend leaving it on your desk for 2 hours before lunch, can I, lol?

          It will probably heat well from the fridge anyway, just watch for boilover, stir after 2 minutes and recheck every minute thereafter, until you know how it performs.

          I use a tiny heat-up crockpot for my soup-y/stew-y lunches, also 20 oz., like your mug. Removable stainless steel liner, heat-safe plastic internal lid (that pops as it warms), can keep warm as long as needed (lunch can be delayed until 3 or 4 pm for me some days). I'd recommend it but you've already invested in corningware (I looked at those too when shopping - very nice looking).

          1. re: DuchessNukem

            Frozen container at room temp is thoroughly safe for even 4 hours. Reheat it on low power, venting the lid, for even heating and avoiding exploding meat. Stir, then let the heated container rest for 5 minutes to equalize the temps. You will probably find that the texture of the sweet potato has changed for the worse. When frozen, then thawed and reheated, (or heated from frozen, for that matter) cooked potatoes and rice tend to have a grainy texture and to leach liquid.

            1. re: greygarious

              I'm sure that would work great.

              This also worked (2nd day in a row):

              2 minutes on high, stir (but it probably didn't matter)
              2 minutes on high,
              2 minutes on high,

              Perhaps because the pieces were small and cooked in pressure cooker, they didn't explode.

              You are soo right about the potato and sweet potato. I'll be posting a separate question about tips for cooking, freezing and reheating them in a separate thread.


      2. Since it's all already cooked, I'd put it in the microwave on 3 (or whatever the "defrost" number is) for 3-5 mins, until defrosted, stir and nuke for 2-5 mins on high, checking regularly so as not to overcook. Good luck!

        1. Anytime I brought frozen, homemmade food to work, I would take it out of the freezer in the morning and leave it in my office until lunch time. It is only several hours, but enough to thaw it quite a bit without it going bad.

          1. I would transport the container straight from the freezer, and leave it to thaw at room temp for heating for lunch. You will need to vent the lid when you reheat. It should work.

            1. I freeze lunch portions in ziplocks and label the bag. I put the ziplock in the fridge the night before. I bring a dish/bowl to heat up my lunch as I hate heating in plastic as well. At lunch I empty the thawed ziplock lunch into the glass bowl and heat.
              Favorites are soups and beans.