It’s widely known that if you want to score points for presentation on anything, use mason jars. From substituting as soap dispensers to being viable alternatives to flower vases, there’s a rustic charm about those little glass containers that amps up the cuteness of anything that’s in them about tenfold.
Needless to say, the same goes for food. No longer just for jams and preserves, mason jars are actually godsends when it comes to meal prepping. Not only do they give your food a magazine cover-worthy appearance, but they also allow you to pre-portion your eats for the week, are easily microwavable if you need to reheat the contents, and are even oven-safe.
So take a break from Tupperware and prep these 21 mason jar meals. And don’t worry—it’s not just about appearances. The recipes themselves are as tasty as the mason jars make them look.
With chia seeds, acai powder, and lots of mixed fresh berries, these naturally sweetened smoothie and pudding jars are bursting with antioxidants. You’ll be getting a lot of healthy fats and fiber, all from a cool and creamy concoction that tastes like dessert.
They taste like muffins, but they’re much healthier for you, and you get to eat ‘em out of jars. We’d say these portable baked oats are a win on all levels. Make them if you’re not into the texture of regular overnight oats but still need something fast and hearty on busy mornings.
Don’t let the compact look of the jars fool you—with turkey, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and eggs layered into each one, they’re packed with nutrients to fuel you all morning. A pinch of cinnamon and cardamom gives them a unique kick, and as a bonus, these are totally Whole30-friendly for anyone in search of compliant recipes.
Of course you can have apple pie for breakfast—that is, as long as you’re making this recipe. With just two tablespoons of added sugar in the four-serving batch, a Greek yogurt topping instead of whipped cream, and some chia seeds lending good fats to the apple “jam,” each layer offers plenty of nutrition.
No protein powder necessary to give this pumped-up jar its power. All of that macronutrient comes from the milk and Greek yogurt, which, when combined, make the oats taste especially creamy. While this recipe only makes one serving, it’s such an easy process—just mix everything together!—that you can easily multiply the batch to fill a few jars.
You’ll be sautéing the meat and veggies in a skillet first, but the actual omelets are cooked in the mason jars themselves. Baked until perfectly set and fluffy, they are amazing straight out of the oven or reheated in a microwave later in the week.
With cauliflower rice adding some extra volume (and veg!) to the eggs, you won’t notice that these compact casseroles are low-carb creations. Topped with cheese and cooked right in the jars, they’re so much cuter, more space-efficient, and more portion-controlled than if you were to make them in a giant baking dish.
The only real work you have to do for this recipe is blending together the ingredients for the herb dressing—in other words, it’s a really quick and easy salad that’s perfect for meal prep. Make sure to put the dressing at the bottom of the jars so the veggies don’t get soggy before you’re ready to eat!
With quinoa, white beans, and chunks of hearty butternut squash, this recipe may be called a salad, but it’s as filling as a main dish. Cook the quinoa while the veggies are roasting to make the most of the time, and don’t let the 45 minutes of prep scare you off—after all, you’ll be getting a good three to four meals out of this.
This zoodle-based pasta salad may be low on the carbs, but with edamame, feta, and a creamy dressing made from avocados, it’s got no shortage of protein or healthy fats to keep you full. The dressing also includes spinach so you’re getting some extra nutrition from leafy greens without actually having to chomp on them.
In just 30 minutes, you can build yourself a well-balanced French salad that includes everything from tuna and roasted sweet potatoes to a boiled egg and fresh veggies. You may be eating it at your desk, but it’ll make you feel like you’re on a sidewalk café in Paris.
Sweet, savory, spicy, crunchy… all of it fits neatly into these wholesome fruit and quinoa salads, thanks to the dried apricots, the feta, the curry and mustard dressing, and the slivered almonds. Knowing that you have these flavor- and texture-packed salads prepped and ready will make you look forward to lunchtime every day of the week.
A meal involving steak doesn’t have to be something you wait for a special occasion to enjoy. Take all of 20 minutes on a weekend to season some sirloin and pack it in a jar along with some veggies, juicy mango chunks, and a zippy dressing, and you can enjoy this Thai-inspired salad a few days of the week.
Chicken salad may not sound like the most exciting thing in the world, but when you give it some Mediterranean flair with feta cheese and a zippy balsamic olive oil dressing, then layer the ingredients in jars for a rustic effect, the lunchtime staple goes from standard to special.
Put that weekday Chipotle habit on hold and get your Mexican food fix with this healthier and more affordable meal-prep version. With sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, and rice, each jar is full of satisfying carbs that won’t have you crashing mid-afternoon. Plus, you’re likely getting four meals for the price of one burrito bowl at a restaurant.
Rolling sushi? Way too much work. Putting everything you love about sushi into a jar and digging in with a fork? Much better. From the vinegary rice to the seaweed to the veggies cut like matchsticks, these free-form shrimp sushi jars don’t skimp on any of the ingredients of a traditional maki, but they’re so much easier to make.
These colorful jars really do make you feel like you’re tasting the rainbow (sorry, Skittles). Layered with rice noodles, lots of refreshing raw veggies, and juicy sautéed chicken, with a tangy lime dressing to pour when you’re ready to eat, they’re as tasty as they are eye-catching.
This meal-prep mason jar version of minestrone couldn’t be easier—you don’t even need to cook the pasta beforehand. Simply layer it with pre-sautéed veggies, beans, and some veggie bouillon. When you’re ready to eat, all you need to do is add water and microwave until it resembles the chunky, rich soup we all love.
Sure, spring rolls are crunchy and deep-fried and delicious, but oftentimes, there’s simply too little filling in them. Get rid of that problem with these meal-prep meals, which take everything you love about spring rolls—the juicy meat, the vermicelli, the crunchy veggies, and the creamy dipping sauce—and give you an entrée-sized portion of them in jars. Trust us, you won’t miss those greasy wrappers. After all, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
These single-serving shepherd’s pies may look like they take a lot of work to make, but they’re really not much harder than a regular recipe. The only difference is, instead of putting each component in a casserole dish, you’re spooning it into jars. If you’re enjoying one a day or two after making them, nuke it when it’s time to dig in. The cheese will be melty, the potatoes will be fluffy, and the meat/veggie mixture will have marinated nicely.
The insanely high-sodium count, the fried noodles, the weird preservatives… there isn’t much about instant ramen that’s good for you. For a solution that’s almost as quick to make but infinitely healthier, turn to this recipe, which uses spiralized zucchini, chicken for added protein, extra veggies for fiber, and a broth made from nutritional yeast and simple seasonings. It’s definitely not the ramen we ate in college—it’s so much better.