how to make freezable paleo chili

When people tell me that they don’t have time to cook a real meal, I normally suggest stir-fry. A pound of meat (ground beef, turkey, cubed chicken) plus vegetables (fresh or frozen) plus spices (onion powder, garlic powder, chili pepper, etc) equals a delicious meal in under 20 minutes. The options are endless, it’s easy to make, it’s quick, and it’s way better than some boxed meal from your freezer.

I thought the stir-fry option solved all problems. But I forgot one. What happens if you finally make it home after a long day of work and you realize you don’t have any groceries?

Instead of reaching for something processed out of a box, why not make your own emergency meal?

Not only is this paleo chili recipes pretty darn good, but it’s also freezable. Just portion it out into individual servings and you have your own frozen dinners.

Freezable Paleo Chili

Paleo Chili ingredients


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (cooking)
  • 1 yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 sausages, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 lb ground grass-fed beef
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cans 14 oz diced tomatoes
  • Optional: 1/2 cup water or beef broth

onions in olive oil

In a large pot heat up the olive oil and add your chopped onion and garlic. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the onions soften.

sausage, ground beef and ground turkey

Add all of the meat (chopped sausage, ground beef and ground turkey). Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until meat has browned.

water released from ground beef

You’ll notice that after the meat is cooked, it releases quite a bit of water (grease). I normally leave it if I’m making chili, but this time I thought there was a bit too much so I drained about half of it. You could also drain all of it and add back in 1/2 cup of water or beef broth.

paleo chili

After you return the pot to the stove, add chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, salt, apple cider vinegar and your cans of diced tomatoes. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 1.5 hours.

Keep your eye on it. As it simmers, some of the liquid will evaporate. You don’t want the bottom of your chili to burn (which I’ve done before accidentally). Every 30 minutes or so, give it a quick stir just to check.

Now normally you would call this chili done and eat it. But I wanted to use it for my emergency food stash.

Freezing Chili

bags of chili in the fridge

I grabbed a couple of small bowls and placed a quart-sized freezer ziplock bag in each of them. Each bag will be one individual sized serving. You should be able to get about 4 to 5 servings from this recipe.

In each bag I fit 2 large scoops of chili. Keep the bags open so the steam can get out and place each bowl of chili in the fridge.

You need the chili to cool off before placing it into the freezer. If you put anything hot in your freezer, it can lower the temperature, temporarily unfreezing and then refreezing everything else you have in there. Not good.

And you want to cool the chili in the fridge, not on your counter. If you let it cool at room temperature, you run the risk of bacterial growth.

freezable chili

It should probably only take about an hour for the chili to cool. I forgot about mine and accidentally left it in there for three.

Once they’re cool, take them out of the bowls, close them and place them in the freezer. You can keep bags of chili in the freezer for 4 to 6 months.

Defrosting Your Paleo Chili

defrosting chili

Defrosting your chili is easy but it can take a while. I grabbed two servings out of the freezer (one for me and one for Jake) and placed them in a bowl of cold running water. How much chili is in the bag and how thin of a layer it froze will determine just how long it will take to defrost. For me it took 20 minutes. It’s a bit longer than stir-fry but at least you don’t have to watch it. Set it up and then go do something else while you wait.

Alternatively, if you know it’s going to be a long day, just grab them out of the freezer in the morning and let them defrost in a bowl in the fridge.

Once they’re defrosted, scoop them out into your bowl and heat up for 2 minutes in the microwave.

paleo chili

What about you guys? What foods do you keep on hand for emergencies? Are any of them gluten, dairy and soy free?


This post was shared at Head over there for more meal ideas.

2 thoughts on “Emergency Meals: Freezable Paleo Chili”

  1. One of my favourite freezer meals! I’m constantly trying to convince my mum that it’s more hygienic to put food straight in the fridge – she won’t listen…

  2. Yum! Freezer chili is one our favourite meals in my house. I also freeze all kinds of soups and stir fries. Anything I can make a larger portion of will typically be frozen assuming it freezes well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *