I had a very productive day on Saturday making frozen school lunch sandwiches and thought I would share the process with you. I posted a few pics and videos on Instagram and got quite a few messages that said, “You can freeze sandwiches??” The short answer is YES. Much like you can freeze prepared burritos, you can freeze most sandwiches as well. And they are great to have on hand because they make healthy packed lunches a breeze!
I made two different types of sandwiches in our panini grill:
- Panini 1:
- Goat cheese
- Spinach/basil pesto (recipe from my first cookbook)
- Roasted bell peppers (they had free pepper roasting at our farmers’ market!)
- Panini 2:
- Havarti cheese (one of my daughters is not a fan of goat cheese so these are for her)
- Spinach/basil pesto
- Roasted bell pepper
Rules for Making Frozen School Lunch Sandwiches
Think about it. You can freeze bread, cheese, cooked meats and veggies all by themselves – so why not assembled in a sandwich? There are a few ingredients that should be avoided though … much like raw veggies would not freeze well by themselves, they would not be a good fit frozen on sandwiches either.
GREAT in frozen sandwiches:
- Cheese (any type such as goat cheese, havarti, cheddar, mozzarella, etc. – grating it first could improve the texture)
- Cooked meat (such as leftover chicken, sliced steak, deli meat, bacon, etc.)
- Cooked onions (grilled, sautéed or even better – caramelized)
- Cooked, sliced veggies (roasted, grilled or sautéed – zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplant, bell peppers, etc.)
- Sliced, raw tomatoes are okay if you’re going to grill the sandwich before freezing
- Pesto (my favorite!)
- Peanut butter or nut butter (great paired with jam or honey for a homemade “Uncrustable“)
- Whole-grain sliced bread
- Whole-grain tortillas
- Whole-grain pitas
NOT good in frozen sandwiches (but could be added just before serving):
- Sliced cucumbers or other raw vegetables
- Raw onions
How to Freeze and Defrost Sandwiches
Putting the sandwiches away in the freezer is the easy part, but there are a couple of ways to do it.
How to freeze:
- You can portion out the sandwiches, wrap each one in foil, and throw them in one big freezer-safe bag together (don’t forget to mark the contents and date)!
- Or you can spread the prepared sandwiches out on a baking sheet, freeze them, and then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag together after they are frozen.
How to defrost:
I personally pull out any frozen school lunch items the night before (whether it’s a sandwich, soup, muffin, waffles, or biscuit) and let it defrost slowly in the fridge overnight. My girls took the sandwiches I made and froze on Saturday to school yesterday (pictured below) and both told me come lunchtime they tasted great! One even said she couldn’t tell at all it had been frozen. She said it tasted just like a regular sandwich I made that morning. Although she actually said it was even “better than a regular sandwich” because it’s hard to beat a yummy grilled panini with tasty ingredients. Even if it’s served cold. Yay!
I also made a big batch of tomato bisque that I froze in individual portions on Saturday as well and paired it with the sandwich to make for a quick and easy school lunch. All I had to do was boil and add the whole-grain noodles to the soup and cut up the fruit, which took no time at all!
I’m going to have to do my best to not use up all my frozen sandwiches too quickly – they are so nice to have on hand. If you have any tips for freezing sandwiches please share with us in the comments below!